Move over, guys – when it comes to the 2020 Grammy Awards, it looks like it’s finally going to be a ladies’ night out.
When the Recording Academy unveiled the nominees for this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, there were several surprises that took music fans by surprise – like the lack of love for artists like BTS, Normani, and Halsey. But none were more shocking than the fact that, for once, women had positively dominated the categories.
You needn’t look far to see the estrogen that’s permeated the lengthy list of nominees. The infectiously positive and sassy Lizzo racked up a whopping 8 nominations herself, while alt-pop megastar Billie Eilish managed to bag 6 herself. Lizzo received major recognition in the general categories for her album Cuz I Love You for Album of the Year, notably, and Billie Eilish’s “bad guy” is a contender for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Both Lizzo and Billie Eilish are also contenders for the Best New Artist award alongside other women: Maggie Rogers, Yola, and Rosalía.
Lizzo and Billie have the newcomer spots held down, but that’s still not even scratching the surface when it comes to the number of women filling out the rest of the nominees’ slots. No stranger to the Grammys herself, “thank u, next” singer Ariana Grande pulled out 5 nominations all her own, with two for Record of the Year for “7 Rings” and Album of the Year for thank u, next.
Beyoncé even snagged a few nominations of her own, despite not releasing a major album of her own this past year beyond The Lion King: The Gift, the companion album to the blockbuster film. Her documentary Homecoming is even in the running for Best Music Film.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Grammy ceremony without country and pop princess Taylor Swift joining the mix. While she didn’t receive as many nominations as she typically does year over year, she wasn’t left behind, as “Lover” was selected as a candidate for Song of the Year, as was her album of the same name for Best Pop Vocal Album.
Toss in artists like Lana Del Rey, H.E.R., Camila Cabello, India.Arie, Brittany Howard, Karen O, and Emily King into the mix and you’ve got a veritable cocktail of Grammy-nominated women who are coming ready to serve. While there are still plenty of male contenders nominated, the selection of women who made it in is astounding, and proof that 2019 truly was a phenomena.
Historically speaking, the Grammy Awards themselves have had something of a diversity problem as well as a nearly all-male problem, with some years worse than others. Just last year in 2018, the only woman who ended up taking home a Grammy was one Alessia Cara, who ended up winning for Best New Artist for the year.
Previously, the now-former Recording Academy president Neil Portnow claimed that women simply needed to “step up” to be included, in an infamous quote that would haunt him as he was eventually ousted from his role following unrelated allegations.
“It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level,” Portnow had claimed in an interview with Variety.
“They need to step up because I think they would be welcome. I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”
But female artists, as artist Dua Lipa famously noted during her 2019 Grammys acceptance speech, didn’t need to “step up” after all. It looks like the Recording Academy, now in a time of conflict, just finally started to pay attention. Hopefully, this deluge of talented women being recognized for their hard work over the past year isn’t a one-off, and rather indicative of a brave new world for the Grammys going forward. Women are going to rule, regardless of who tries to hold them back.
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