A New Decade for Music: The 2020 Grammys
Above image: Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Finneas, and Demi Lovato at the 2020 Grammys (credit: Entertainment Tonight)
2019 was a transformative year for music. At the 62nd Grammy Awards, an exciting wave of new artists entered the big leagues. Rookie nominees, unseated past winners and icons, make it clear that 2020 is signaling a shift in what artists are still relevant in this new decade.
The most successful artist of the night was Billie Eilish, winning five of the six most prestigious awards. A relative newcomer to the music industry, Eilish released her first EP, Don’t Smile at Me, in 2017 which rapidly skyrocketed her career as a pop-artist. At this year’s Grammys, her most recent and first full album, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?, secured her six nominations.
Within the Album of the Year category, the nominees included Ariana Grande, Lizzo, Lana Del Rey, H.E.R, Lil Nas X, and Vampire Weekend alongside Eilish. “We stand up here confused and grateful,” said Billie’s brother and producer, Finneas, after accepting their award for Album of the Year. In her speech, Eilish mentioned how much she respected Ariana Grande, explaining that she thought Thank U Next deserved to win.
The category’s nominees consisted of three first time nominees and four returning artists, which is higher in terms of rookie nominations in comparison to past years. At the 61st Grammys, hosted in 2019, only two nominees were first timers, and the rest of the Album of the Year category consisted of veterans. The influx of new artists seems to signify that the face of current pop music is changing. Many returning A-List artists came home empty-handed this year, prime examples including Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Beyoncé, and Ed Sheeran.
Lizzo, another Grammy rookie along with Billie Eilish, lead the pack with a total of eight nominations. Her most recent album, Cuz I Love You, released in April 2019, received praise by the Recording Academy for her songs “Truth Hurts”,“Jerome”and “Exactly How I Feel”. She walked away with three awards which included Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album, and Best Traditional R&B Performance.
“This is the beginning of making music that moves people again, and that feels good and liberates them,” said Lizzo after being awarded Best Pop Solo Performance for her hit song “Truth Hurts.”
Perhaps the reason why the landscape of pop-music is changing speaks to a refreshing shift in what audiences want to listen to. Billie Eilish and Lizzo don’t only write about falling in love or surface issues, but instead depression, loneliness, and empowerment. “The music just feels more relatable,” said Carolyn Casey (‘22). “I can put it on when I’m super bummed out but also can blast something that’s super feel good- I don’t really remember music I listened to always being this way.”
Ultimately, the 2020 Grammys mark the start of an exciting new decade for music.