And that’s a wrap on the 65th annual Grammy Awards!
Music’s Biggest Night finally returned to Los Angeles, at Crypto.com Arena, on Sunday night (Feb. 5) for the first time since 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was certainly a full house. Billboard was positioned on the red carpet, backstage in the media center, and in the audience to bring you all the scoop behind this year’s telecast. (All times in PT.)
12:30 p.m.: Nominees for best Americana performance (The Blind Boys of Alabama), best tropical Latin album (La Marisoul), instrumental jazz album (Bob Mintzer), musical theater album (Shoshana Bean), traditional blues album (Buddy Guy) and gospel album (Maranda Curtis) kick off the Grammy Premiere Ceremony with a stirring performance of “I Just Want to Celebrate.”
12:45 p.m.: Randy Rainbow, the host of the Grammy Premiere Ceremony, reads through the laundry list of rules for tonight’s pre-celebration before giving the first award of the evening to Encanto for best compilation soundtrack for visual media. Encanto also takes home the trophy for best score soundtrack for visual media, which is awarded to composer Germaine Franco.
12:56 p.m.: Beyoncé wins her first award of the night for best dance/electronic recording with her Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 smash “Break My Soul.” She’s now surpassed Quincy Jones as the living artist with the most Grammys with 29 trophies. If she wins two more awards out of her nine nominations, she’ll tie the late classical conductor Sir Georg Solti for the most wins by anyone in Grammy history. If she wins three more, she’ll set a new record.
1 p.m.: Harry Styles‘ Billboard 200-topping album Harry’s House wins its first award of the night for best engineered album, non-classical. Harry’s House is also up for album of the year and best pop vocal album.
1:13 p.m.: Samara Joy, who’s up for best new artist and best jazz vocal album, gets the audience in a sultry mood with her swoon-worthy performance of her single “Can’t Get Out of This Mood.” Not even 10 minutes later, she wins the Grammy for best jazz vocal album with Linger Awhile.
1:31 p.m.: Reporters excitedly clap and cheer for Viola Davis from the media center while she tearfully accepts her first Grammy for best audio book, narration and storytelling recording during the Grammy Premiere Ceremony. She now officially achieves EGOT status, becoming the 18th person in history to do so.
1:33 p.m.: Muni Long beats Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Lucky Daye and Jazmine Sullivan for best R&B performance with “Hrs and Hrs.” She’s also nominated for best new artist and best R&B song.
1:35 p.m.: Beyoncé wins her second Grammy of the evening for best traditional R&B performance with “Plastic Off the Sofa.” She needs to win one more to tie Solti for the most wins by anyone in Grammy history and two more to set the record.
1:36 p.m.: Steve Lacy wins his first Grammy of the evening for best progressive R&B album with Gemini Rights. He’s also nominated for record of the year, song of the year and best pop solo performance for his Hot 100 chart-topper “Bad Habit.”
1:38 p.m.: Purple Disco Machine visits the media center while holding his Grammy for best remixed recording for his remix of Lizzo‘s Hot 100 No. 1 “About Damn Time,” which took him about a week to do. “Her voice was so outstanding, so I just had to remix this one. I thought I’d do it a little bit more disco for DJs,” he said. “I listened to the original version a few times and each would be something in it I really like or I can work with, some funky elements. And then I start thinking of the remix, and once I have an idea, I start doing the remix.”
1:39 p.m.: Kendrick Lamar wins two Grammys for best rap performance and best rap song with “The Heart Part 5,” which will also be up for record and song of the year during the primetime telecast. He’s trailing behind Beyoncé as the second-most nominated artist during this year’s awards show with eight nods.
1:41 p.m.: Producer ATL Jacob accepts the Grammy on behalf of Drake, Future and Tems for best melodic rap performance with “Wait for U.”
1:43 p.m.: Brandi Carlile wins two Grammys of her seven nominations for best rock performance and best rock song with “Broken Horses.”
1:48 p.m.: Andrew Watt and Robert Trujillo accept Ozzy Osbourne‘s Grammy on his behalf for best metal performance with the Tony lommi-assisted “Degradation Rules.” Watt says the Prince of Darkness had only two messages to pass along: “I love you all, and f— off!” Osbourne also wins best rock album with Patient Number 9.
1:52 p.m.: Wet Leg wins back-to-back Grammys for best alternative music performance with “Chaise Longue” and best alternative music album for Wet Leg. The group will also be up for best new artist during the telecast.
2 p.m.: The engineers behind Harry’s House — Jeremy Hatcher, Randy Merrill, Nick Lobel and Oli Jacobs — describe the remote process of mixing of the album during COVID in the media center. “Harry has really high expectations for himself, and obviously, that’s really great to be around,” said Lobel.
2:26 p.m.: Robert Glasper casually strolls into the media room while wearing sunglasses and carrying his Grammy for best R&B album with Black Radio III. “The only thing I feel like I’ve done to bring music to young people is just play music that’s my age. A lot of people when they play jazz, they’re trying to play music that’s 40, 50, 60 years prior to them, and that’s not necessarily their story. I study jazz, I’m aware of the history, but I also have to tell my own story. So by being present and by acknowledging what’s around me and being in my vibe and being influenced by what’s now, I’m making history. And I’m influencing younger people,” he says, adding that he wants his legacy in this industry to be “someone who had the keys to the house of Black music and wandered room to room.” He also teases that there’s a possibility of a joint jazz album between him and Mary J. Blige, whom he defeated in the star-studded category alongside PJ Morton, Chris Brown and Lucky Daye. Glasper was met with a sympathetic “awww” from reporters when he said he was filming the category announcement and telling the camera he was going to lose but happy to be here before eventually winning.
2:46 p.m.: Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers of Wet Leg carry one trophy each while timidly answering questions from reporters. When asked if they’re experiencing a “storybook beginning” regarding their journey from the Isle of Wight to Los Angeles, Chambers whispers that they didn’t “expect anything like this to happen” while Teasdale said she “cannot compute” their double wins before giggling to herself.
3:13 p.m.: Carly Pearce — who won the Grammy for best country duo/group performance alongside Ashley McBryde with “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” — explains how this is the first time all women have won in this category. “I’ve always loved Ashley’s music and just was a fan and asked her if she’d write a song with me. So to see this song do what it’s done over the last year and a half for us and just continue to show the girls that are coming up behind us that you can write your truth and you can do everything that you want in this business, I feel very, very lucky,” she said.
3:31 p.m.: Bonnie Raitt wins back-to-back Grammys for best Americana performance and best American roots song for “Made Up Mind” and “Just Like That,” respectively, bringing her overall total to 12.
3:41 p.m.: Dave Chappelle wins best comedy album for the fourth time in his career with The Closer.
3:46 p.m.: Taylor Swift wins her first Grammy of the evening for best music video with All Too Well: The Short Film. She’ll be up for song of the year with “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (The Short Film)” in the telecast.
3:49 p.m.: Tobias Jesso Jr. wins the inaugural Grammy for songwriter of the year and thanks “all of the wonderful artists I’ve gotten to work with” during his acceptance speech. Some of the recent songs he’s received writing credits on include “Boyfriends” by Harry Styles; “Can I Get It” and “To Be Loved” by Adele; “C’mon Baby Cry” by Orville Peck; and “Careless” and “Thank You Song” by FKA Twigs.
3:53 p.m.: Jack Antonoff wins producer of the year, non-classical for the second year in a row.
3:56 p.m.: Bonnie Raitt takes a deep breath before being met with a round of applause from reporters, one of whom reminds her she won her first award as a songwriter with best American roots song. But the icon misunderstands the question and corrects her by saying she didn’t win songwriter of the year. “Ok, let me start over. I’m still a little clammy from winning, geez,” she says nervously. “I don’t write that often, so to be recognized… it’s great to get this kind of reception.”
4:36 p.m.: Saul Germaine tells reporters he’s “super honored and so grateful” to have produced Swift’s All Too Well: The Short Film. “Telling this story with Taylor was such an honor. She’s such a gifted filmmaker and to see her step into such a powerful position as both writer and director of the film, it made it very natural to produce,” he said after the short film wins best music video. “I’d be honored to work on everything with her for the rest of my life.”
4:53 p.m.: When asked about the male-dominant producer of the year, non-classical category, Antonoff reminds reporters that they should “look at the fine print,” because he’s co-producing records with Swift, Lana Del Rey, Clairo, Lorde and more female superstars rather than working solo. “In truth, we’re doing them together,” he explained.
5 p.m.: Host Trevor Noah kicks off the main ceremony from a platform overlooking Crypto.com Arena by introducing the evening’s opening performer, Bad Bunny.
5:07 p.m.: Jesso comes back to the media center holding the songwriter of the year Grammy, saying, “I think this is a big step forward. I don’t really think this is for me, this is more for the community of songwriters that I was able to work with. I learned a lot from a lot of people who I’m sure would be equally deserving to be standing right here right now. And I owe a lot of it to a lot of the artists I’ve got to work with. I hope it’s moving in the right direction.”
5:31 p.m.: The media center erupts in applause when Beyoncé’s “Cuff It” wins best R&B song, officially giving the superstar her 31st Grammy and tying the record for the most wins by any individual. She has four more chances during the telecast to break the record for most Grammy wins.
5:55 p.m.: Reporters clap during Kim Petras‘ acceptance speech during the telecast as she announces that she’s the first transgender woman to win best pop duo/group performance, thanks to her and Sam Smith‘s Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Unholy,” which they’ll perform later on in the show.
6:29 p.m.: Applause within the media center hits a new decibel once Cardi B announces Lamar won his third best rap album Grammy with Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, which will also be up for album of the year during the main telecast.
6:31 p.m.: Lizzo‘s choir of backup singers is heard harmonizing backstage shortly after her performance of “About Damn Time” and “Special.”
7:04 p.m.: The cheering and clapping heard ’round Crypto.com Arena began before James Corden could even announce that Beyoncé made Grammys history when she won best dance/electronic music album for Renaissance, now giving her the all-time record for most Grammy wins with 32 Golden Gramophones to her name.
7:33 p.m.: The reverberations of the arena from the Grammys’ all-star hip-hop tribute underscores reporters’ cheering during Busta Rhymes‘ lightning-speed performance of his verse from Chris Brown‘s “Look at Me Now,” their echoing of Too $hort‘s “B—-!” from his “Blow the Whistle” performance, and their laughter at Lil Uzi Vert‘s spiky hairdo during his “Just Wanna Rock” performance. This was arguably the loudest and cheeriest the media center had been all day.
7:45 p.m.: Looking gorgeous in a bedazzled red-and-black gown, Kim Petras pulls up to the incredibly jazzed media center with her history-making first Grammy win, exclaiming, “All these years are going through my head of people saying I would be a niche artist because I’m transgender and my music would only ever play in gay clubs and what’s wrong with that? I love gay clubs, they raised me. Anyways, I got a Grammy for making gay club music with my friend, and that’s the best feeling in the world. I just think that people need to judge less, and I hope that there’s a future where gender and identity and all these labels don’t matter that much and for people to just be themselves.” She also describes Smith as “a very special friend and supporter of mine for years” and says they’ve sent a lot of songs back and forth to each other over the years that “weren’t the right fit” until their “little baby” “Unholy” was born. “Sam will never get rid of me, and we’ll always sing this song for eternity,” she rejoiced. Petras also pondered aloud if one can take a shot from the Golden Gramophone, and someone assured her she could, much to her delight. Before she could experiment and “get really, really drunk to process this,” Petras also explained the concept behind her and Smith’s Grammys performance of “Unholy.” “I think a lot of people honestly have labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as ‘religiously not cool,’ and I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it but then slowly realizing it doesn’t want me to be a part of it,” she explained. “It’s a take on not being able to choose religion and not being able to live the way that people might want you to live because as a trans person, I’m kind of not already wanted in religion. And I was kind of Hellkeeper Kim.”
8:06 p.m.: Everyone in the media center erupts, “What?!” nearly in unison as first lady Jill Biden announces Raitt has won the Grammy for song of the year with “Just Like That.” She’s the only nominee in the Big Four category who’s the sole songwriter of their nominated song.
8:13 p.m.: It’s about damn time! Applause erupts when Lizzo is announced as this year’s Grammy winner for record of the year with “About Damn Time,” and the pop star ends her joyous acceptance speech by jumping up and down and screaming, “We won a f—ing Grammy!”
8:21 p.m.: “I’m just so surprised, I don’t know what to say,” Raitt tells reporters humbly when she returns to the media center with her surprising song of the year award, but she visibly becomes more amped as the win settles in. “I can’t believe this is happening! I just can’t. It’s like when I went for Nick of Time [in 1990], I just could not believe that they called my name. And Dr. Biden gave me my damn award! Get the hell out of Dodge! Sorry, I’m losing it,” she exclaims as reporters respond with laughter. “I’m pinching myself. It’s a wonderful thing.”
8:31 p.m.: Reporters are audibly shocked to hear last year’s best new artist winner Olivia Rodrigo call out Samara Joy’s name as this year’s winner.
8:40 p.m.: There’s a mix of joy yet slight confusion when Styles is announced as the winner for album of the year for Harry’s House.
8:52 p.m.: Wearing an all-black leather ensemble with a matching black eye mask, Lacy is the first Grammy winner to come into the media center after the telecast has officially wrapped. He talks about his best progressive R&B album win, defining the category as the “gray area when it comes to Black music. It doesn’t always get acknowledged. I’m grateful for this category to acknowledge those more weird Black artists,” he said, later shouting out his collaborator Fousheé as one of the artists who’s currently inspiring him and calling Static Major his “biggest R&B influence.”
9:02 p.m.: Longtime hitmaker Muni Long — who’s written for superstars like Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Chris Brown and more as Priscilla Renea before embarking on her solo career with the moniker Muni Long — celebrates her first Grammy win, best R&B performance for “Hrs & Hrs,” in the media center. “To be the winner, it just means to me that as long as you trust your heart and go where the joy is that that is always going to be the highest vibration,” she says. “My deepest desire is that somebody is following my story, there’s a little one out there that’s going to see me and understand what it took for me to get here and realize that they can do it, too. Also, hopefully, this means that people will listen to me the first time when I say something and I don’t have to continue to fight to get my vision across.”
9:15 p.m.: An incredibly grateful and joyous Samara Joy walks into the media center to celebrate both wins for best new artist and best jazz vocal album. When asked by Billboard what it means to win best new artist as a Black woman, she sighs with relief before responding, “It means everything because some of my biggest inspirations were in the room, as far as being confident in who you are and… being their own boss — Beyoncé, Lizzo, to name a few. So for me to be able to win this and look at my niece and my little brother and my siblings, my family, my cousins and be like, ‘You can do this. Whatever dream you have, whatever goal that you have, whatever you’re passionate about, go after it no matter what,'” she says.
9:21 p.m.: Styles walks into the media center following his surprise album of the year win with Harry’s House, the last award of the night. When asked by Billboard if he, too, was surprised to win over Beyoncé, whose Renaissance album was expected by many to take home the album of the year award and rectify the many years it took for her to do so, he was visibly stunned. “You never know with this stuff. I don’t think you can look at any of the nominees and not feel like they’re deserving. When I look at this category, it’s all the people that’ve inspired me different times, so it’s not like — you would understand anyone winning. And yeah, I’m really grateful they chose us,” he answered. Styles, accompanied by Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson, spoke for the three of them when he expressed how “overwhelmed” they all felt about the win. “Being nominated for stuff like this kind of really feels like the winning part — being recognized by your peers. It’s obviously incredibly nice to receive this. I don’t think it’s the reason any of us in the room do it. I’m so, so grateful that they thought our album was worthy of it. I think more than anything it just kinda feels like validation that you’re on the right path.”
9:53 p.m.: “About Damn Time” producer Ricky Reed tells reporters about when he first knew that Lizzo’s record would be special, while holding the record of the year trophy. “It started on that big piano chord,” he explains, later identifying it as an E flat, minor 9. “It’s an interesting chord — it’s not major, it’s not really minor, it doesn’t really tell you how to feel, but it has intensity and it has intention. We started there, but when I hit the bass part, when the bass line came in was when [co-producer] Blake [Slatkin], that was when we screamed.”