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Grammys 2021: The backstage scene

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Courtesy Recording AcademySunday night at the socially-distanced Grammys, artists spoke to reporters via Zoom, rather than in person. While some noted that it was an unusual year, it didn’t take away the thrill of winning the music industry’s most coveted award.

“It’s a normal year, we’re out on the road…so you’re feeling the love one-on-one with your fans every single night,” said Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay, who won Best Country Duo/Performance for their Justin Bieber collaboration “10,000 Hours.”

“But…this year has been super tough for our industry as a whole, and you aren’t able to feel the connection,” he noted. “You might have a hit song. You might have a song that climbs the charts…but you’re not feeling the fans singing back to you every single night. So to be acknowledged by our peers…to have tangible evidence of the success and the connection to that song is really cool.

Dua Lipa, who won Best Pop Vocal Album for her hit release Future Nostalgia, was cheered by the fact that so many women took home awards this year. Indeed, female artists won in all of the “Big Four” categories: Record, Song and Album of the Year, and Best New Artist.

“I feel like there’s been a lot of female empowerment…and so it’s been absolutely amazing to be alongside all that and feel that energy,” she noted.

Along those same lines, Miranda Lambert, who won Best Country Album for Wildcard, noted that every nominee in that category was either a woman, or a female-fronted act.

“It’s really cool,” she told reporters. “To me, it felt like whoever won, we are winning for each other and for Nashville, you know what I mean?…This isn’t just mine. This is ours, especially as a group of women.

H.E.R., winner of Song of the Year for “i can’t breathe,” said she felt that the track — inspired by the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, would continue to resonate through the years.

“I hope that it’s a tribute to the movement and that it will continue the fight and it will continue to give people hope, because I think that’s what music does,” she said. “It’s so much bigger than this.”

And Harry Styles, who generated over a million tweets Sunday night for his performance of “Watermelon Sugar” and his subsequent win for Best Pop Solo Performance, summed up how a lot of artists feel getting awards for their work.

“I feel incredibly lucky to get to work in music and make music as my job,” he said, reacting to his first Grammy win. “This is an incredibly sweet icing on the cake of what I get to do every day.”

By Andrea Dresdale
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