Grammys Recap 2023

by Olivia Riportella '25 on March 5, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Music’s biggest night proved that they are back and better than ever after the historic 65th Annual Grammy Awards this past weekend. With performances from icons such as Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Steve Lacy, Lizzo, Stevie Wonder, Luke Combs, Kim Petras, and Sam Smith, and among others, this award show was jam packed with action that you did not want to miss.

Most notably, the celebration of hip-hop was at the center of the Grammys this year in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the genre. LL Cool J introduced the segment by awarding Dr. Dre a 2023 Global Impact Award to honor his achievements in the music industry over the decades. LL Cool J hailed Dre as “an icon who helped define West Coast Hip Hop and has become one of the most impactful success stories of our time.” Following his acceptance speech, the Academy invited a slew of the genre’s biggest and most innovative figures such as Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne, Big Boi, and even contemporaries such as Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Baby to perform during this special ceremony. 

History was also celebrated for a different reason at the 65th Award Show, as Beyoncé officially became the most decorated Grammy winner ever. Beyoncé is now rightfully crowned “Queen of the Grammys” as she took home her 32nd trophy this year for “Best Electronic/Dance Album.” Beyoncé’s whopping total of 88 Grammy nominations have her tied with her husband Jay-Z for all time number of Grammy nods. With her first ever award dating back to 2001, her 22 years in the making has finally surpassed the late legendary Hungarian conductor Georg Solti, who held 31 statues. Kim Petras also became the first transgender woman to ever receive an award from the Academy, marking another historical landmark for the 65th Award Show.

There was fierce competition amongst all 91 categories this year, and of course, especially within the “Big Four” categories: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. The top prize Album of the Year went to Harry Styles for Harry’s House, which was almost inescapable due to the mass media attention and love that Styles received for his third studio album, marking his first ever Grammy Award. Song of the Year went to Bonnie Raitt for “Just Like That” in a surprise win, as she beat out huge industry staples Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Harry Styles and Lizzo for one of the night’s biggest prizes. Record of the Year went to Lizzo, who became a fourth time Grammy winner, and dedicated her award to Prince in a heartfelt speech about the importance of dedicating her life to making positive music. Finally, Best New Artist went to Samara Joy, a Gen-Z artist born and raised in the Bronx. Samara released her first album, self-titled Samara Joy, in 2021, but her sophomore album, Linger Awhile released in 2022 is what demanded the Academy’s attention, getting her two nominations for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album. 

Renaissance: The Rebirth of Queen Bey

by Abigail Levasseur '24 on September 18, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

A Review of Beyoncé‘s Latest Effort

Singer, songwriter, producer, and pop icon Beyoncé released her new album, Renaissance, on July 29, 2022. The album is Beyoncé’s seventh studio album as a solo recording artist. Before going solo, she co-wrote five studio albums with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams—the trio made up the famous girl group Destiny’s Child. Some of Destiny’s Child’s most popular songs include “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Survivor,” and “Say My Name.” The group was most popular in the 90s and early 2000s before disbanding in 2006 after 16 years together. After another 16 years as a solo artist, it is safe to say that Beyoncé is still topping musical charts. On August 13th, Beyoncé’s Renaissance hit number one on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart, becoming the first album released by a female artist to reach number one in 2022. 

The last album recorded by a female artist to hit number one was Adele’s 30 in December 2021. This seven-month stretch was particularly unusual and marks the longest female drought for Billboard’s Top 200 in over five years. Beyoncé hasn’t produced a full musical album in six years, her last being Lemonade in 2016. The long wait makes Renaissance all the more exciting. But Beyoncé hasn’t exactly been living in the shadows. She produced a documentary film titled Black is King, voiced “Nala” in Disney’s live-action movie The Lion King, and helped produce Homecoming, a concert movie documenting her “Beychella” set, which was largely inspired by Black American Performance. 

Amplifying Black music and culture was also a driving force in the production of Renaissance.  The album pays homage to Beyoncé’s late Uncle Johnny, whom she calls her “godmother.” According to Beyoncé, her Uncle Johnny was the first person who exposed her to “the music and the culture” that inspired her seventh album. Uncle Johnny passed away from HIV-related health complications when Beyoncé was only seventeen years old, but apparently, the two were inseparable during her childhood. Uncle Johnny’s influence has helped draw a direct connection between Beyoncé and the Black queer community. Beyoncé calls her new album a “safe place, a place without judgment…a place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking.” The album is largely a celebration of safe spaces, inclusive of clubs, churches, and venues made for Black women and queer people. This celebration is all the more important after Covid-19 shut down these lively, cultural venues. The album title references the Renaissance period (1300-1600), which marked a “revival of art and literature.” While the album is titled “renaissance,” it symbolizes Bey’s “rebirth.” 

The term is very characteristic of Beyoncé’s album, which celebrates the rebirth of culture and music after the pandemic forced clubs to close their doors and concert venues to transform into medical sites. But despite the modern twist, Beyoncé still carries some history into her album cover, which mimics the famous Anglo-Saxon painting of Godiva. So, if you’re surfing through Spotify, and if you wish to listen to Renaissance, just look for Queen Bey posing on a holographic horse.