Boygenius wins early Grammys as Taylor Swift chases album record

February 5, 2024 - 8:59 AM
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Boygenius accept the award for Best Alternative Music Album for The Record during the Premiere ceremony of the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 4, 2024. (Reuters/Mike Blake)

 Boygenius, a band formed by indie rock stars Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, won three Grammy trophies on Sunday as the top names in music began handing out the industry’s highest honors.

The trio – competing with Taylor Swift, SZA and others for the top prize of album of the year – claimed Grammys for rock performance, rock song and alternative music album for “The Record.” Successful solo artists, the musicians came together as boygenius in 2018.

“All I ever wanted to do in my life was be in a band. Music is the language I used to find my family,” Baker said as the group accepted its second Grammy award on stage in downtown Los Angeles.

When boygenius was named winner of a third trophy in a row, Bridgers exclaimed “What the hell?”

“This is so incredible. We are screaming backstage,” she said.

Other early winners included rapper Killer Mike, who claimed three honors including best rap album. South African singer Tyla won a new award for best African music performance.

The honors were among dozens of Grammys awarded in a non-televised ceremony ahead of the primetime awards show scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Pacific (0100 GMT) and broadcast live on CBS PARA.O.

Comedian Trevor Noah returns for a fourth stint to host the ceremony at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

During the primetime ceremony, Swift will compete for an unprecedented fourth album of the year trophy with “Midnights.”

No other artist in the 66-year Grammys history has claimed the coveted honor four times. Music legends Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder won three each.

Tight race between Sza, Swift

Swift is not a lock for the album award. Industry pundits said it could go to “SOS” from R&B artist SZA, who would be the first Black woman since Lauryn Hill 25 years ago to win the category as a lead artist. SZA, singer of dark ballad “Kill Bill,” leads all Grammy nominees this year with nine nods.

“It’s very tight between SZA for ‘SOS’ and Taylor for ‘Midnights,'” said Billboard awards editor Paul Grein, who gave the edge to SZA. “They are overdue for an R&B/hip-hop winner.”

Women figure prominently in the 2024 Grammys field. Just one man, Jon Batiste, made the cut among eight nominees for the album prize. Other contenders include Olivia Rodrigo and Lana Del Rey.

Swift also is vying for song of the year, a writing honor that she has never won despite widespread accolades for her lyrics. “Anti-Hero,” her examination of self-doubt, faces competition from Miley Cyrus empowerment anthem “Flowers” and others.

Music from the blockbuster “Barbie” movie received 11 nominations, including record of the year for Billie Eilish’s ballad “What Was I Made For?”

Contenders in the best new artist field included rapper Ice Spice, country singer Jelly Roll, R&B and pop singer Victoria Monet, singer-songwriter Coco Jones and folk-pop singer Noah Kahan.

Scheduled performers on the Grammys stage include SZA, Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Dua Lipa, Luke Combs and Burna Boy. U2 will perform live from the Sphere in Las Vegas.

Winners were chosen by the musicians, producers, engineers and others who make up the Recording Academy. The group has worked to diversify its membership in recent years by inviting more women and people of color to its ranks.

— Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Mary Milliken and Stephen Coates