The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, held on January 26th, was a night full of ups and downs. There was a lot of cheer in the audience as the excitement of being nominated ran high for many artists, there was still an underlying layer of sadness over the audience. Just hours prior to the ceremony, basketball superstar Kobe Bryant passed away and seeing as the Grammys were held in his Los Angeles Laker’s home stadium, the Staples Center, there were a lot of opportunities to remember Bryant and pay tribute to him.
Lizzo, who had received eight nominations including Album of the Year and Best New Artist, kicked off the night with two of her songs, “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts.” By declaring that “Tonight is for Kobe,” she promised an electric performance filled with passion and energy. During “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo brought out her infamous flute and delivered a fast-paced, intense flute lick, not unlike that of any classic rock guitar solo. She later won two Grammys, including Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Alicia Keys, who hosted the Grammys and was the first female host in 14 years, performed a rendition of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” in honor of the late Kobe Bryant. Joined by Boyz II Men, the song relayed an emotional yet important homage to the basketball legend.
Other performance highlights included Ariana Grande’s mashup of her songs ‘imagine’, “7 rings,” and “thank u, next.” Tyler, the Creator performed his songs “EARFQUAKE” and “NEW MAGIC WAND,” also joined on stage by Boyz II Men. Later in the evening, he took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album. Usher, with Sheila E. and FKA Twigs, gave a tribute to the late singer-songwriter Prince with a medley of his songs “Little Red Corvette,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Kiss.”
Demi Lovato gave her first public performance in 18 months debuting a new song that was written shortly before her overdose and rehabilitation back in 2018. Rosalia performed two songs as well, showcasing her impressive live shows and continued to demonstrate her ability to bring her Spanish sound to global audiences. She won the award for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album.
The biggest winner of the night was inarguably 18-year-old Billie Eilish, who won all four of the general field awards, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist, and also took home the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Beating out contemporaries like Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Lizzo, Eilish seemed embarrassed about her success and even went so far as to say Grande deserved the award for Best Album. Nevertheless, after a year of positive critical response and record-breaking sales, Eilish certainly worked hard enough for her success.
Overall, it was a big night to celebrate what was a very active year for music. The performances were creative and innovative, respectfully reflecting the same characteristics of the albums and musicians nominated. Despite the sadness that had originally clouded the atmosphere of the Staples Center, the 2020 Grammys ceremony proved that music does have healing qualities.