Even after an unusual pandemic year, the 63rd Grammy Awards still brought its usual lineup of premiere performances and talented award winners, which included Santa Barbara resident Marilyn Horne.
This year’s awards aired live from downtown Los Angeles Sunday evening, with Grammy nominees sitting social distanced on an outdoor patio near the event’s usual venue, the Staple’s Center. Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah hosted this year’s awards, opening the show with remarks about the power of music in difficult times.
“Tonight we’re going to celebrate some of the amazing music that touched our lives and saved our souls over this unprecedented year,” Mr. Noah said. He added that he was hopeful that the show would foreshadow a future “full of joy, new beginnings and coming together. Never forgetting what happened in 2020, but full of hope for the future.”
Award nominees came adorned in designer gowns and tuxedos with matching masks in true pandemic fashion. Going into the night, Beyonce led the pack with nine nominations and Taylor Swift trailed in a close second at six nominations. By the end of the night, Beyonce made history with a record achievement of 28 career Grammys, breaking the record for most Grammys won by any artist in history.
“I can’t believe this happened, this is such a magical night,” Beyonce said with tears in her eyes.
Notable evening award winners included Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” for Album of the Year, Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” for Best Pop Vocal Album and Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted” winning Record of the Year.
Only a small portion of the awards were given at the Grammys evening awards show, with the majority of the awards and award-winners recognized at a ceremony Sunday afternoon.
Ms. Horne, the legendary mezzo-soprano singer, was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award during the evening’s show. Ms. Horne, who now lives in Santa Barbara, won her first Grammy in 1964 and went on to receive 15 total nominations and win four Grammy awards. She is currently the Honorary Voice Program Director for the Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
The show boasted a range of performers, who performed indoors at the undisclosed venue while distanced from other musicians. Harry Styles opened the night with his song “Watermelon Sugar,” which took home the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance later on in the night.
Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Post Malone, Bruno Mars and Marren Morris, also delivered performances throughout the night, showcasing their musical hits from the past year. Megan Thee Stallion, who took home Grammy’s for Best New Artist and Best Rap Song at the evening awards, also took to the stage to perform a medley of her hit songs alongside fellow rap artist Cardi B.
The K-Pop group BTS took to the stage at the end of the night for a highly anticipated performance of their hit song “Dynamite,” making history as the first international group to perform at the Grammy Awards.
During a number of performances and speeches, a number of artists drew attention to the events of last summer, following the death of George Floyd and the deaths of other black Americans at the hands of police.
The events of the Summer of 2020 sparked inspiration for a number of Grammy-nominated artists, including country artists Mickey Guyton. Ms. Guyton, the only black female country singer signed by a major label, performed her song “Black Like Me” at the awards show, which she released just days after the death of George Floyd.
Singer/songwriter H.E.R. took home the Grammy for Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breath,” which she wrote in response to the police violence that killed Mr. Floyd and sparked protests throughout the summer.
“That fight we had in us in summer 2020, keep that same energy,” H.E.R. said in her acceptance speech.
This year’s Grammy awards also paid a brief tribute to musicians and performers who died in the past year. Photos of artists who died in the last year were displayed on screens at the venue, showing photos of the late Van Halen, Kenny Rodger and Mary Wilson of the Supremes, among others. Both Bruno Mars and Lionel Richie were among the artists that performed during the tribute.