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The singer beat fellow nominees Jhené Aiko (Chilombo), Black Pumas (Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)), Coldplay (Everyday Life), Jacob Collier (Djesse Vol. 3), Haim (Women In Music Pt. III), Dua Lipa (Future Nostalgia), and Post Malone (Hollywood’s Bleeding).
The National’s Aaron Dessner and frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff joined Swift onstage after her name was announced.
When taking the stage, Swift thanked Folklore collaborators Dessner and Antonoff, as well as boyfriend Joe Alwyn, who Swift has revealed to be Folklore songwriter William Bowery. “Joe, who is the first person that I play every single song that I write and I had the best time writing songs with you in quarantine,” she said.
Swift also thanked “James, Inez and Betty” — names referenced in her song “Betty” and the names of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ children. Swift referred to Lively and Reynolds as the “second and third people that I play every new song that I write.”
At the end of her speech, Swift thanked fans for all their love and support: “You guys met us in this imaginary world that we created and we can’t tell you how honored we are forever by this.”
After winning the album of the year, Swift is now recognized as the only female solo artist to have won that top prize three times. Swift previously made history when she became the first female artist in Grammy’s history to win album of the year twice, for her albums Fearless in 2010 and 1989 in 2015. The feat was later achieved by Adele, with her albums 25 and 21.
Swift’s win comes amid a historic night for women at the Grammys, with Beyoncé breaking the record earlier in the night for most Grammy wins every by a female artist. Megan Thee Stallion won best new artist, becoming the first female rapper to win the honor since Lauryn Hill in 1999.
For Sunday’s show, Swift was nominated for six awards including a song of the year and pop solo performance nods for “cardigan,” which she wrote with Dessner. Swift’s surprise summer album Folklore also received noms for album of the year and pop vocal album. Her song “exile” featuring Bon Iver also received a nomination for best pop duo/group performance. In addition, Swift earned a nod for best song written for visual media for her work with Andrew Lloyd Webber on “Beautiful Ghosts” for last year’s Cats movie musical.
The Grammy nominations and historical win come amid a wave of recent success for the singer. Following the release of her ninth album, Swift’s folklore became the first to sell a million copies in the U.S. in 2020. Swift eventually surprised fans with another new album called evermore, where she continued to work with Dessner and Bon Iver, who co-wrote and sings on one of the tracks.
This year marked Swift’s first appearance at the Grammys for the first time in five years. Swift’s absence from the Grammys was discussed in her Netflix documenary Miss Americana, which filmed the singer learning her album reputation only earned one nod in 2018 for best pop vocal album rather than album of the year. “This is good. This is fine. I just need to make a better record,” she says in the documentary film. Meanwhile, her seventh studio album Lover, which was released just before the 2019 Grammys eligibility cutoff, also failed to land a best album nod and secured three noms including song of the year for “Lover,” best pop solo performance for “You Need To Calm Down,” and best pop vocal album for “Lover.”
Earlier in the night, Swift also took the stage and let her imagination run wild as she reimagined the enchanted forest setting for her folklore album as she sang a medley of folklore songs “cardigan” and “august,” as well as “willow” from folklore’s sister album, evermore.
In the music video for “Cardigan,” Swift is first shown playing a piano inside a cozy cabin before magical forces inside her piano transport her to an enchanted forest. Meanwhile, in the music video for “Willow,” Swift continues to follow the magical, golden string and steps inside her piano to find herself transported to the forest once again where she finds herself in a fairy-tale. The Grammys performance followed the same magical forces as the forest could be seen lit up with golden lights while Dessner and Antonoff could be seen playing the piano and guitar inside a cabin.
Ahead of the Grammys, Swift teased to Good Morning America that her performance would include Dessner and Antonoff. She also revealed that she was quarantining in the same house and getting COVID-19 tested everyday with the collaborators ahead of the show. Swift, Dessner and Antonoff previously performed together in the Disney+ special, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.
The Grammy Awards are airing live on CBS and Paramount+ on Sunday from the Los Angeles National Convention Center with Trevor Noah hosting.
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