Beyoncé has become the most awarded artist in Grammys history during a historic evening in Los Angeles.
The singer, who was a late arrival at the ceremony after being stuck in traffic, won for best R&B song, best dance/electronic recording, best dance/electronic album and best traditional R&B performance. She has now won 32 Grammy awards.
“I’m trying not to be too emotional,” the 41-year-old said on stage after winning the record-breaking prize for dance/electronic album. “I’m trying to just receive this night.” She also paid tribute to both her “beautiful husband” and the “queer community for their love and for inventing the genre”.
Nigerian singer Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems on Sunday night bagged her first Grammy award. Tems who featured alongside Drake on Future’s ‘Wait for You’ took home the award for Best Rap Melodic Performance. The song was also nominated for the Best Rap Song award.
Harry Styles picked up the biggest Grammy of the night, album of the year, for Harry’s House. “I’ve been so, so inspired by every artist in this category with me,” he said winning out over Beyoncé and Adele. “I think on nights like tonight it’s so important to remember there is no such thing as best in music … this doesn’t happen to people like me very often.” He also won the award for best pop vocal album.
Adele won best pop solo performance for Easy on Me, her sixteenth Grammy to date. “I really was just looking forward to coming tonight,” she said at the start of a brief but emotional acceptance speech that saw her choke up when talking about her son.
Kendrick Lamar brought home best rap performance, best rap song and best rap album. “I would like to thank the culture for allowing me to evolve,” he said in an acceptance speech, referring to the album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers as one of his “toughest” projects.
Lizzo won record of the year for About Damn Time. “This is so unexpected,” she said. “I want to dedicate this award to Prince. When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music.” She also paid tribute to Beyoncé for changing her life, calling her “the artist of our lives”.
Bonnie Raitt beat out Adele, Styles, Lamar, Lizzo and Beyoncé to win song of the year for Just Like That. “I’m so surprised, I don’t know what to say,” she said before paying tribute to her friend and inspiration John Prine. “Thank you so much, I’m just totally humbled,” she added.
Kim Petras also became the second transgender woman to win a Grammy, bringing home the award for best pop duo/group performance with Sam Smith for their song Unholy. “I want to thank all of the transgender legends before me,” Petras said, before paying paid tribute to the late singer Sophie, saying that her “inspiration will forever be in my music”. Madonna introduced a performance by Petras and Smith later in the night, saying: “If they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative, or dangerous you’re definitely onto something.”
The ceremony returned to Los Angeles after heading to Las Vegas last year as a result of increased Covid rates in the city. Host Trevor Noah celebrated music as a way of uniting us despite our differences. “Music isn’t just the harmony of sound but the harmony of human beings,” he said. He called it a means of “rejecting division to find moments of joy”.
The evening was kicked off with an energetic performance from Bad Bunny that saw stars on their feet, such as Jack Harlow and Taylor Swift, who won best music video for All Too Well: The Short Film. Bad Bunny also won the Grammy for best musica urbana album.
Migos member Quavo paid tribute to his late nephew and fellow member Takeoff, as part of an emotional montage of figures in music who died in the past year. Other performers within the section, which also remembered David Crosby and Coolio, included Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow.
There was also the introduction of a new award aimed at celebrating artists who have made a major contribution toward black music. The Dr Dre global impact award was awarded to Dr Dre himself in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. It preceded a special performance to pay tribute to the genre curated by Questlove and featuring artists including Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Salt n Pepa, Public Enemy, Ice T, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes and Nelly.
First lady Jill Biden was a surprise presenter, announcing the first winner of the best song for social change, awarded to Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour for Baraye, “a powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights”. Hajipour was arrested two days after the song was published, but was later released on bail.
The best new artist of the year award, that has previously gone to acts such as Billie Eilish, Lauryn Hill, Adele and Chance the Rapper, went to New York-born jazz singer Samara Joy.
Viola Davis also became part of the EGOT club tonight, the term bestowed upon entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. The actor won a Grammy for the audiobook of her memoir Finding Me. Other members in the exclusive category include Audrey Hepburn, John Legend and Whoopi Goldberg. Davis later received a standing ovation when presenting an award on stage.
Dave Chappelle won the Grammy for best comedy album for his controversial special The Closer, which received a backlash for comments against the transgender community. Chappelle beat out Louis CK, whose nomination was similarly divisive given that the comedian has been accused of sexual harassment.