Taking the stage, she said, “I am honored to be nominated alongside so many female artists this year — I guess we stepped up. I want to say a big thank you to my fans who have allowed me to be the best version of myself.”
She went on to thank her team and family. “For anyone who hasn’t realized how special they are to have a different story or background, just know that no matter where you’re from, never let that get in the way of your dreams.”
The singer beat out fellow nominees in the category Chloe x Halle, Luke Combs, Greta Van Fleet, H.E.R., Margo Price, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith.
Lipa’s “we stepped up” comment reminded audience members of Recording Academy president Neil Portnow’s remark in 2018 — of which he was heavily criticized — that female musicians should “step up” to improve gender representation at the Grammys.
Backstage, Lipa addressed the controversy surrounding Ariana Grande’s decision to cancel her Grammys performance. After producer Ken Ehrlich claimed that the pop star “felt it was too late for her to pull something together,” she accused him of lying: “It was when my creativity and self expression was stifled by you, that I decided not to attend.”
Said Lipa: “I believe first of all, every artist has their own right to decide what they want to do and how they’d like to perform and how they’d like to be perceived. I think it’s at every artist’s discretion to decide what they would like to do with their performance.”
Lipa also was asked about 21 Savage, the Grammy-nominated rapper who missed the show after being arrested in Atlanta by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for being in the country illegally. “I think it’s quite upsetting given that he hasn’t actually done anything and he’s also given so much to American culture even being a Brit,” said Lipa.
The 61st annual Grammys, hosted by Alicia Keys, were broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.