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Taylor Swift makes history at the 2024 Grammy Awards


In the midst of flash flood warnings and a vast storm system, the Grammys were handed out in downtown Los Angeles last night.


And the big winner was Taylor Swift.


TAYLOR SWIFT: (Singing) It must be exhausting always rooting for the antihero.

MARTIN: The Grammy ceremony was dominated by women artists.

FADEL: And joining us to talk about all this is another woman, NPR's Mandalit del Barco. Hi, Mandalit.


FADEL: OK. So Taylor Swift taking a lot of Grammys home - tell us about that.

DEL BARCO: Yeah. Well, Taylor Swift actually made history by becoming the first artist ever to win the Grammy for album of the year four times.


DEL BARCO: And in doing that, she surpassed Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.


SWIFT: All I want to do is keep doing this, so thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do what I love so much.


SWIFT: Mind blown. Thank you so much.

DEL BARCO: Mind blown. And, you know, she also surprised all her fans, the Swifties, by announcing her next album is dropping on April 19. But, you know, Leila, in addition to Taylor Swift, it was a really big year for female artists who won in all nine of the big categories handed out during the televised ceremony. Miley Cyrus - she gave a fabulous mic-dropping performance onstage, and she won two Grammys, record of the year and best pop solo performance of the year. Then Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O'Connor (ph) picked up the song of the year for "What Was I Made For?" from the "Barbie" soundtrack. And other winners included R&B singer SZA, Colombian singer Karol G and R&B star Victoria Monet, who won for best new artist.

FADEL: So the Grammys are known for their live performances. What were the big highlights?

DEL BARCO: Well, there were some really poignant performances by legends, including Billy Joel, making a comeback on the piano, and Joni Mitchell, who, at age 80, had never before performed at the Grammys. Annie Lennox sang in tribute to the late Sinead O'Connor, and afterwards, she made a call for peace and a cease-fire in Gaza. You know, another live performance that was really a highlight was when Tracy Chapman took the stage with country singer Luke Combs to sing.


TRACY CHAPMAN AND LUKE COMBS: (Singing) I had a feeling that I belonged. I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone...

FADEL: Beautiful. So some amazing performances, women sweeping at the Grammys - but there are always strange and unusual moments. What were they last night?

DEL BARCO: Yeah. Well, during the pre-televised ceremony, when most of the Grammys are handed out, Atlanta rapper Killer Mike won three awards, and then he was handcuffed and arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. He was released last night, and I'm sure we're going to get more details today.

But, you know, another thing that happened onstage during the televised ceremony, one speech went in a really unexpected direction. When Jay-Z accepted the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, he called out the Grammys for neglecting to honor some Black musicians, specifically his wife, Beyonce. Let's hear what he said.


JAY-Z: We love y'all. We want y'all to get it right. At least get it close to right. Obviously, it's subjective because, you know, it's music, and it's opinion-based. But, you know, some things - you know, I don't want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won album of the year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn't work.

DEL BARCO: You know, last year, Beyonce lost to Harry Styles in that top category, and Jay-Z really questioned the Recording Academy while he still accepted his trophy.

FADEL: All right. Mandalit, thanks so much for that.


(SOUNDBITE OF BEYONCE SONG, "CUFF IT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.