Ladies night: Beyoncé, Swift make Grammy history as others win big

63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_77798 Beyonce accepts the award for best R&B performance for "Black Parade" at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Press_Room_03828 Aaron Dessner, from left, Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff pose in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_07006 Taylor Swift appears in the audience at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_47954 In this video grab provided by CBS and the Recording Academy, Taylor Swift performs a medley at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Press_Room_95437 Taylor Swift poses in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Press_Room_27675 Taylor Swift poses in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Press_Room_47842 Taylor Swift poses in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Press_Room_60954 Carlotta Kohl, left, and Jack Antonoff pose in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_64024 In this video grab provided by CBS and the Recording Academy, Bruno Mars performs "Leave The Door Open"at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_51344 Miranda Lambert accepts the award for best country album for "Wildcard" at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_98220 In this video grab provided by CBS and the Recording Academy, DaBaby performs at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Press_Room_20361 Harry Styles poses in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Press_Room_29792 Harry Styles poses in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
Music_Grammys_53860 FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, singer Beyonce Knowles attends the Tidal X: 1015 benefit concert in New York.
Music_Grammys_38224 FILE - This July 14, 2019, file photo shows Beyonce at the "Lion King" premiere in London.
Music_Grammys_78919 Taylor Swift appears at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Nov. 24, 2019, left, and Beyonce appears at the world premiere of "The Lion King" in Los Angeles on July 9, 2019. Swift could become the first woman to win the show’s top prize, album of the year, three times. Her first surprise album of 2020, the folky, alternative adventure “folklore,” is competing for the top honor. While Beyonce has never won album of the year, she is the most nominated act. With 24 previous wins and nine nominations this year, she could surpass Alison Krauss’ 27 wins and become the most decorated woman in Grammys history.
Music_Grammys_Womens_Study_57637 FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, various Grammy Awards are displayed at the Grammy Museum Experience at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The Recording Academy is partnering with Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University to complete a study focused on women's representation in the music industry.. The academy, which puts on the annual Grammy Awards, said the lack of female creators in music is “one of the most urgent issues in the industry today."
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_89266 Beyonce, left, and Megan Thee Stallion accept the award for best rap song for "Savage" at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_28183 Beyonce appears in the audience at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
63rd_Annual_Grammy_Awards_-_Show_92078 Beyonce appears in the audience at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
Music-Grammywatch-Songwriters_28766 FILE - Beyonce, right, and her daughter Blue Ivy Carter arrive at the world premiere of "The Lion King" in Los Angeles on July 9, 2019. Blue Ivy's name was added to the nominee list for best music video for her mother's "Brown Skin Girl."
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WTOP's Jason Fraley recaps the Grammys (Part 1)

NEW YORK (AP) — Female performers including Beyoncé and Taylor Swift had a record-making night at the 2021 Grammy Awards, a jam-packed but socially distanced show highlighted by live music sorely absent during the pandemic era.

Four women won the top four prizes Sunday, including Swift, who became the first female performer to win album of the year three times. Beyoncé — with her 28th win — became the most decorated woman in Grammy history.

H.E.R. won song of the year and Billie Eilish picked up her second consecutive record of the year honor, telling the audience that best new artist winner Megan Thee Stallion deserved the award.

Though women have won all top four awards in the past – including Eilish’s sweep last year – it marked the first time four separate and solo women won the top four honors.

“I feel like there’s been a lot of female empowerment and lots of women winning awards tonight. And so it’s been absolutely amazing to just be alongside all that, to feel that energy,” Dua Lipa, who won best pop vocal album, said backstage.

Swift won the top prize with “folklore,” the folky, alternative album she released as a surprise last year. She previously won album of the year with “Fearless” and “1989.”

Beyoncé walked into the show with 24 wins and picked up four honors, including best R&B performance for “Black Parade,” best music video for “Brown Skin Girl” as well as best rap performance and best rap song for “Savage,” with Megan Thee Stallion.

“As an artist I believe it’s my job, and all of our jobs, to reflect time and it’s been such a difficult time,” Beyoncé said onstage as she won best R&B performance for “Black Parade,” which was released on Juneteenth.

She went on to say she created the song to honor the “beautiful Black kings and queens” in the world.

She added: “I have been working my whole life … This is such a magical night.”

Beyoncé now ties producer and multi-instrumentalist Quincy Jones for second place among all Grammy winners. She is only behind the late conductor Georg Solti, who is the most decorated Grammy winner with 31 wins.

But Beyoncé didn’t only make history, her whole family did. The royal family of music all won honors Sunday: Jay-Z picked up his 23rd Grammy, sharing the best rap song win with his wife since he co-wrote “Savage.” And 9-year-old Blue Ivy Carter — who won best music video alongside her mother — became the second youngest act to win a Grammy in the show’s 63-year history. Leah Peasall was 8 when The Peasall Sisters won album of the year at the 2002 show for their appearance on the T Bone Burnett-produced “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack.

Megan Thee Stallion, who won three honors, also made history and became the first female rapper to win best rap song. She’s also the fifth rap-based act to win best new artist.

Beyoncé was the night’s top contender with nine nominations. She didn’t perform but Swift did.

She sang “cardigan” and “august” from “folklore,” as well as “willow” from “evermore,” and was joined by the collaborators who helped her make the albums, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, who both won album of the year with Swift.

The Grammys featured pre-taped performances that helped the nearly four-hour show run seamlessly — a not-so-easy feat during a global pandemic. Host Trevor Noah told jokes about the pandemic and the year that was 2020, appearing live from downtown Los Angeles with attendees wearing masks and sitting, socially distanced, at small round tables.

Silk Sonic, aka Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, also performed, bringing a throwback R&B vibe to the show with their smooth new single, “Leave the Door Open.” Lipa proved her pop star status with a performance of her hits “Don’t Start Now” and “Levitating,” where she was joined by DaBaby, who was an all-star during his own performance of his guitar-tinged rap hit “Rockstar,” flipping the song for an exceptional live rendition featuring R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, a skilled violinist and background singers.

Country singer Mickey Guyton – the first Black woman nominated for best country solo performance – gave a top notch performance of her song “Black Like Me,” which she released last year as police brutality continued to devastate Black families and the coronavirus ravished Black America disproportionately. Lil Baby, joined by Killer Mike and activist Tamika Mallory, gave a political performance that impressed.

“Black Parade” joined a list of songs honoring the Black experience that won Sunday, including H.E.R.’s protest anthem “I Can’t Breathe” and Anderson Paak’s “Lockdown,” which was released on Juneteenth like “Black Parade.”

Other performers Sunday included Eilish, Cardi B, Bad Bunny, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Harry Styles, who won best pop solo performance for the hit “Watermelon Sugar.”

“To everyone who made this record with me, thank you so much,” said Styles, the first member of One Direction to win a Grammy.

Double winners included H.E.R., Fiona Apple, Kaytranada and late performers John Prine and Chick Corea.

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Associated Press Writers Kristin M. Hall and Jamia Pugh contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s complete coverage of the Grammys at www.apnews.com/GrammyAwards.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

WTOP's Jason Fraley recaps the Grammys (Part 2)

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