The 61st annual Grammy Awards turned into ladies' night Sunday, as country singer Kacey Musgraves racked up four Grammys, including the album of the year for “Golden Hour,” while rapper Kendrick Lamar was snubbed again.
Musgraves also won three Grammys in the country category: best country album for “Golden Hour,” best country solo performance Grammy for “Butterflies” and best country song for “Space Cowboy.” “I love country music with everything that I am and I’m very proud to be able to get to share my version of that with the world,” Musgraves said.
Lamar, who led the night in Los Angeles with eight nominations including nods in all three top categories, received an album-of-the-year nomination for all four of his albums and came out empty-handed for each. This year, all he managed was best rap performance for “King’s Dead.”
Grammy organizers took criticism about a lack of representation for female artists at last year’s awards in New York to heart, adding numerous performances from women, including nominees Camila Cabello and Janelle Monae, and star-studded tributes to Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton and Diana Ross. And female artists flourished.
Lady Gaga picked up three early Grammys: best pop duo/group performance and best song written for visual media for her duet with Bradley Cooper, “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” and best pop solo performance for “Joanne.”
She also was part of a female-empowerment group onstage that included Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Grammys host Alicia Keys and surprise guest Michelle Obama. “Music has always helped me tell my story, and I know that’s true for everybody here,” Obama said.
Brandi Carlile, who went into the Grammys as the top female nominee, also won three awards early, sweeping the Americana category, picking up best Americana song and best Americana performance for her song “The Joke” and best Americana album for “By the Way, I Forgive You.”
The Recording Academy added 900 voters from diverse backgrounds, in the wake of questions about Lamar's loss in the album-of-the-year category last year and angry reaction to CEO Neil Portnow's comments that female artists needed to "step up" if they wanted to win awards. It also expanded the field for its top three categories from five nominees to eight.
Best-new-artist winner Dua Lipa acknowledged the comments in her acceptance speech, saying, “I guess this year we’ve really stepped up.”
The changes helped expand the Grammys horizons, with Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” becoming the first hip-hop song to win the prestigious song-of-the-year and record-of-the-year awards. However, like most of the top hip-hop nominees, including Lamar, Gambino, who also won best video and best rap/sung performance, did not attend the awards.
Long Island’s nominees also fared well Sunday night.
Valley Stream’s Shaggy, who hosted the Grammy Awards premiere ceremony Sunday afternoon, won best reggae album for “44/876” with Sting.
“They always say about Grammys that it’s nice to be nominated,” Shaggy said. “I can tell you right now it’s better to win.”
Lynbrook native Jeffrey Biegel won the best classical compendium Grammy as part of the London Symphony Orchestra on Kenneth Fuchs' “Piano Concerto, ‘Spiritualist.’ ”
"I am so happy for my dear friend, Kenneth Fuchs, whose music is significant in the continuum of classical contemporary music in the 21st century,” Biegel said.