Beyoncé Breaks Record for Grammy Wins But Earns No Top Awards
Beyoncé accepts Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for “Renaissance” during the 65th GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 5.
Photographer: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
February 5, 2023 at 7:13 PM ESTUpdated onFebruary 6, 2023 at 12:26 AM EST
Beyoncé won four Grammy Awards on Sunday, breaking the record for the most wins of any artist in history, before she once again came up empty in the top categories at the music industry’s biggest event.
Harry Styles, Lizzo and Bonnie Raitt split the three biggest prizes — album of the year, record of the year and song of the year — as the Recording Academy spread the wealth. Adele, Bad Bunny and Willie Nelson also won during the prime time broadcast.
Beyoncé entered the night as the favorite and the most-nominated musician thanks to her album “Renaissance.” She won best dance/electronic recording, best traditional R&B performance, best dance/electronic music album and best R&B song, giving her 32 Grammys across her career. She competed for the three biggest prizes of all, but lost all of them, as has become routine over the last decade. While Beyoncé has won more awards than any other performer, she has never won album of the year or record of the year. She won song of the year in 2010 for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”
“I’m trying to just receive this night,” she said in her acceptance speech for best dance/electronic music album, which gave her the record. She thanked god, her late uncle, her parents, her husband Jay-Z, her children and the queer community. Conductor Georg Solti was the previous record holder with 31.
The Recording Academy has a history of electing surprise winners in the biggest categories, and Sunday night was no different. Styles won album of the year for “Harry’s House,” a pop smash that vaulted the British singer-songwriter to the top of the music industry. Blues singer Bonnie Raitt won song of the year for “Just Like That,” a victory that shocked everyone in the room, including the 73-year-old Raitt. Lizzo took home record of the year for her song “About Damn Time” and acknowledged Beyoncé in her acceptance speech. She said she skipped class as a kid to go to a Beyoncé concert.
“ You clearly are the artist of our lives,” she said.
The 65th Grammy Awards broadcasted live on CBS, as well as on the streaming service Paramount+. Trevor Noah, the former Daily Show host and comedian, emceed the event for the third year in a row. Award shows have faced an uphill battle in recent years, losing audience and relevance. This past year’s Grammy Awards drew just 8.93 million viewers, the second-smallest audience on record. (Last year’s Oscars also drew the second-lowest audience.)
The Grammys have done a better job of nominating popular artists than other award shows and the program’s performances tend to travel well on platforms like YouTube, where they are clipped and shared after airing. More than a dozens artists took the stage to honor hip hop’s 50th anniversary including Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, Big Boi and Busta Rhymes. Bad Bunny opened the show, while a performance involving Lil Wayne and Jay-Z ended it.
Yet popular Black artists, including Drake and The Weeknd, have pulled their work from the nominees list and refused to attend or perform at the show, citing lack of recognition for Black artists’ contributions to the broader industry and culture, especially those that make hip-hop and R&B. Jay-Z is one of many artists that has been overlooked for top prizes despite winning in the rap categories. The Recording Academy voted for Adele over Beyoncé in 2017 for album of the year, prompting Adele to devote most of her acceptance speech to her fellow nominee.
In an attempt to address diversity concerns, the Recording Academy has tried to attract and build a younger, more diverse voter pool and make its voting process transparent. More than half of this year’s nominees were people of color and nearly half were women. Samara Joy, a jazz singer with less than half a million monthly listeners on Spotify, won best new artist. The wins for Joy and Lizzo means Black women took home a couple of the night’s highest honors.
Actress Viola Davis won in the best audio book, narration and storytelling recording category for her memoir Finding Me, cementing her as an EGOT winner, or a performer who has won four major industry awards — an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. More Grammy history was made with Kim Petras winning the award for best pop duo/group performance for her song “Unholy” with Sam Smith, making Petras the first trans woman to win in that category.
The night ending up being a big one for Sony Music Entertainment, the record company behind Beyoncé, Adele and Styles. Adele won best pop solo performance for “Easy On Me,” a song written to her son about her unhappy marriage. Universal Music Group NV, the biggest music company by market share in the US, works with Joy, as well as winners Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift. Lamar won three awards while Swift took home the Grammy for best music video. Warner Music Group, the third major record company, works with Lizzo.