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Grammy nominations 2021: Beyoncé makes history, Taylor Swift gets 6
Nominations for the 63rd Grammys are in, and Beyoncé leads the pack with nine. Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift and Roddy Ricch each have six.
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Swift made history Sunday at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards by winning one of the night’s highest honors for the third time with her surprise quarantine album “Folklore,” a wistful and understated return to form after the boldface-pop grab bags of 2019’s “Lover” and 2017’s “Reputation.”
Swift became the fourth musician and the first woman to join the three-peat club at age 31. She previously won album of the year for “Fearless” in 2010 and “1989” in 2016.
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Swift thanked her fans, collaborators Laura Sisk, Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner and boyfriend Joe Alwyn, “the first person that I play every single song that I write.” Alwyn is credited on “Folkore” under the pseudonym William Bowery.
She added, “I had the best time writing songs with you during quarantine.”
The singer also expressed gratitude for “James, Inez and Betty and their parents,” actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, “who are the second and third people that I play every new song that I write.”
Swift lastly thanked her Swifties fanbase: “You guys met us in this imaginary world that we created and we cannot tell you all how honored we are forever by this.”
“Folklore,” Swift’s eighth studio album, debuted atop the Billboard charts in July. It was her seventh to debut at No. 1. With its escapist storytelling and emotional maturity, “Folklore” reinvented Swift as an indie folk-rock artist, and on Sunday night, Grammy voters awarded the next step in her evolution.
Sunday was Swift’s return to the Grammys’ stage
The 11-time Grammy winner brought cozy cabin vibes Sunday night with a mystical medley of “Cardigan,” “August” and “Willow.” This marked her first Grammys performance since opening the awards show in 2016 when her first official pop outing “1989” earned album of the year.
Swift opened her performance on a remote stage with an intimate rendition of “Cardigan” while laying on a grassy roof in the middle of a dreamy forest. She then entered a cabin and picked up a guitar to join Antonoff and Dessner on “August.” (Both songs are from “Folklore.”)
The pop star also highlighted her “Folklore” sister album “Evermore,” released in December, with a performance of “Willow,” during which she spun repeatedly in a whimsical dress.
“Cardigan” was up for song of the year. The Grammy went to H.E.R. for her song “I Can’t Breathe.”
Swift entered into Sunday’s ceremony with six nominations, tied with Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch, trailing only behind Beyoncé’s nine nominations.
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Swift’s performance arrives after a tumultuous stretch for the star following a public battle with music tycoon Scooter Braun. Braun sold the masters to Swift’s first six albums to a private equity firm in November 2020 after he controversially acquired her catalog in June 2019 without, she claims, her knowledge or permission.
Although Swift called the deal her “worst case scenario,” the superstar reclaimed her narrative and power in August 2019 by announcing plans to re-record her first five studio albums – “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” and “1989” – as a means to gain ownership of her catalog.
“I’ve spoken a lot about why I’m remaking my first six albums, but the way I’ve chosen to do this will hopefully help illuminate where I’m coming from,” she wrote on Instagram Feb. 11. “Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really ‘knows’ that body of work.”
She continued: “This process has been more fulfilling and emotional than I could’ve imagined and has made me even more determined to re-record all of my music. I hope you’ll like this first outing as much as I liked traveling back in time to recreate it.”
So far, Swift has re-recorded her 2008 album, “Fearless.” Her newly recorded edition, titled “Fearless: Taylor’s Version,” will be released on April 9.
Contributing: Patrick Ryan