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The theme of the 2019 Grammy Awards seemed to be girl power and inclusivity, which was reflected among the many female singers, songwriters, producers and engineers that took home honors before and during the ceremony. In total, 31 women won awards during the 61st annual ceremony on Sunday.
The number of female winners is a drastic change from last year’s ceremony, in which only 17 of the 86 awards were won by women or female-led bands. This year, female artists were honored in 38 categories.
Additionally, 15 women were nominated in the big four categories — album of the year, song of the year, record of the year and best new artist, which was significantly more than the six women that were nominated in the same categories last year.
Following the 2018 ceremony, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow told reporters backstage that women needed to “step up” in order to be nominated. The comment was met with criticism, which likely influenced the more inclusive nominations for this year’s ceremony.
Dua Lipa called out Portnow’s “step up” comment during her acceptance speech for best new artist. After she said that it was an honor to be nominated along so many women, she added, “I guess this year we really stepped up.”
Lady Gaga won the first award of the night, which was for best pop duo/group performance for “Shallow.” The singer shared the award with Bradley Cooper, who did not attend the ceremony. She also won in the best song written for visual media category alongside Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt and took home the best pop solo performance Grammy for “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?).”
Kacey Musgraves snagged four awards, including album of the year and best country album for Golden Hour, best solo country performance award for “Butterflies” and best country song for “Space Cowboy.”
Backstage, Musgraves told reporters that she was glad to see more women represented among the Grammy winners.
“I think that women have a really necessary perspective to art, to music and it’s really nice to see that getting a chance to be included,” Musgraves said. “I think it takes two to tango and I think it takes women having the balls to put out art that might not always be liked by everyone, but it also takes people on the other side of that to reach out and give those things a chance to be heard or seen.”
Cardi B became the first woman to win in the best rap album category for Invasion of Privacy, while H.E.R. won for best R&B album and best R&B performance for “Best Part.”
“It’s very empowering,” H.E.R. told reporters backstage. “First of all, so many women were nominated alongside each other. I love that camaraderie. We need women to support other women. … We all represent different types of women, all shapes and sizes.”
Lipa scored two awards on the night. In addition to being named best new artist, she also took home the best dance recording Grammy for the song “Electricity” alongside Silk City’s Mark Ronson and Diplo.
Before the show began, it was revealed that Ariana Grande had won her first Grammy in the best pop vocal album category for Sweetener.
St. Vincent’s “Masseducation” was named best rock song, while Ella Mai took home the best R&B song award for “Boo’d Up.”
Beyonce won the best urban contemporary album alongside Jay-Z for The Carters’ Everything Is Love.
Opium Moon’s self-titled album was tapped as best new age album, while Cecile McLorin Salvant won the best jazz vocal album Grammy for The Window.
The best gospel song/performance award went to Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin for their song “Never Alone,” while Kelly also nabbed best gospel album honors for Hiding Place.
Lauren Daigle also took home two awards. She won for best contemporary Christian album for You Say and best contemporary Christian music performance/song for “Look Up Child.”
Brandi Carlile won for best American Roots performance and best American Roots song for “The Joke,” as well as best Americana album for By The Way, I Forgive You.
Carlile told reporters backstage that it was a “huge” night in terms of what it meant for female musicians and for her personally.
“It’s huge to me. I’m a kid from the ’90s. … They completely controlled the airways and to watch that backslide for the last 20 years has been heartbreaking and tonight gives me hope as a mother of two young daughters,” she said.
Katrina Lenk won in the best musical theater album category alongside Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, Ari’el Stachel, Dean Sharenow and David Yazbek for the cast recording album A Band’s Visit.
Other female winners included Claudia Brant in the best Latin pop album category for Sincera; Lucy Kalantari & The Jazz Cats in the best children’s album category for All the Sounds; and Meghan Foley and Annie Stoll in the best boxed or special limited edition package category alongside Al Yankovic for Squeeze Box: The Complete Work of “Weird Al” Yankovic.
April Ledbetter won in the best historical album category for her work on Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris, while mastering engineer Emily Lazar won for best engineered album, non-classical for Colors.
Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones and Elizabeth Ostrow are among the winners of the best opera recording category for Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Rebecca Harris, Arlen Hlusko and Mandy Wolman also shared the award for best choral performance for “McLoskey: Zealot Canticles.”
Additionally, Laurie Anderson & Kornos Quartet took home the best chamber music/small ensemble performance Grammy for “Anderson, Laurie: Landfall.” Jeanette Sorrell won in the best classical solo vocal album category for her work as the conductor for Karim Sulayman’s Song Of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’India & Landi. And JoAnn Falletta won in the best classical compendium category for her work as a conductor on Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems of Life, Glacier, Rush.
Rashida Jones won a Grammy in the best music film category for her work as a video director on the documentary Quincy. She shared in the award with Paula DuPre Pesman, who worked as a video producer on the film.
The 2019 Grammy Awards were hosted by Alicia Keys. The ceremony took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles and was broadcast on CBS.
Lindsay Weinberg contributed to this report.
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