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66th annual Grammys are a hit

(Photo courtesy of: Variety) “Billy Joel closes the Grammys with a stunning performance.”

Tyler Browne
Connector Editor

The biggest names in the music industry came together for the 66th annual Grammy Awards, held by the Recording Academy on Feb 4. Hosted for the fourth year in a row by South African comedian Trevor Noah, the Grammys honored the best music released between Sep 2022 and Oct 2023.

The most awarded artist of the night was indie rocker Phoebe Bridgers with four Grammys. Bridgers took home the award for Best Duo/Group Performance for her feature on SZA’s “Ghost in the Machine”, while also taking home three awards for her work with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker as part of supergroup Boygenius.

This year’s ceremony was a big night for women in the music industry, with each of the “Big Four” awards going to female artist.

This year’s Best New Artist was Victoria Monet. Previously best known for her work as Ariana Grande’s longtime songwriting partner and collaborator, Monet burst into the mainstream in 2023 with the release of her debut album, “Jaguar II”.

Record of the Year went to Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers”. Earlier in the night, her win for Best Solo Pop Performance gave Cyrus her first Grammy nearly two decades into her storied career.

The Song of the Year award was given to Billie Eilish for “What Was I Made For”, Eilish’s contribution to the “Barbie” soundtrack.

The biggest award of the night, Album of the Year, went to Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”, the singer’s second win of the evening. It was a big night for Swift, who announced the upcoming release of her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department”, during her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Arguably the biggest draw of the Grammys each year is the incredible musical performances, and 2024’s ceremony was no different.

Dua Lipa opened the evening with two songs from her upcoming third album. Lipa’s performance was nothing short of incredible, with impressive vocals and dance moves throughout.

When Luke Combs was introduced to perform his hit cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”, he surprised the audience by bringing Chapman out with him, allowing the reclusive singer to recreate her first Grammy experience in 1989.

Cyrus’s performance of “Flowers” was a highlight of the night. While the singer showed off her impressive vocal range, she also interacted with the crowd in a way not normally seen during award show performances, and she added an extended ending to the song, reminiscent of a Tina Turner track.

In September, the state-of-the-art Sphere opened in Las Vegas with U2 playing a residency at the venue through early March. To show off the impressive capabilities of the venue, U2 performed their new single, “Atomic City”, live via simulcast, before singer Bono announced Swift’s win for Pop Vocal Album.

The traditional in memoriam segment took time to recognize each member of the music industry who passed away since the previous ceremony, with a focus on certain high-profile artists.

Stevie Wonder’s stirring tribute to Tony Bennett was the highlight of this segment, with one musical legend saying a heartfelt goodbye to another.

Joni Mitchell made her Grammy debut, performing, “Both Sides, Now”, while surrounded by friends such as Brandi Carlile and Blake Mills. This was only Mitchell’s third public performance since she suffered a damaging aneurism and had to relearn how to sing and play the guitar.

The final performer of the night was perhaps the most iconic. Just days after releasing his first new song in 30 years, Billy Joel took the stage to give the live debut of “Turn the Lights Back On”. Joel’s voice has aged noticeably since he first began performing in 1974, but he sounded strong and gave a stirring performance.

After the final award of the night was announced, Joel came back, now accompanied by his band for “You May Be Right”. Joel has been closing his concerts with the track for the past decade, and he showed why it was the perfect show closer. Guitarist Mike DelGuidice and saxophonist Mark Rivera played strong solos while Joel’s voice sounded just as warm as ever.

The Grammys have long marketed themselves as, “Music’s biggest night”, and they earned that billing with this year’s ceremony.

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