Brandi Carlile and Kacey Musgraves swept the boards in their respective genre categories, Americana and Country, making the ones to beat in the night's main category - album of the year.
R&B singer Alicia Keys hosts a female-flavored Grammy Awards show on Sunday featuring performances by Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton, but which risks being overshadowed by the absence of some of music's most influential stars.
At a pre-Grammy brunch honoring Janelle Monae, a few hundred music industry players and performers packed tightly in a room to hear the singer speak passionately about women being the backbone of the music industry and dominating in nominations at Sunday's show. Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ella Mai, H.E.R., Hugh Jackman, Stingy, Shaggy, Dave Chappelle, "Weird Al" Yankovic, the late Chris Cornell, Greta Van Fleet and even former President Jimmy Carter also picked up early awards ahead of the live show, which was scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. "We feel this Grammys is going to be different and bigger and better than any other".
"The performance is based off of my grandma's childhood, and I have my family in the performance", she said on the red carpet. "I'm just so proud to be involved and to go into the studio with such an incredible talent, including the talent that's out there tonight and thank you guys for giving us this platform".
Monae hosted the Friday brunch alongside Instagram to celebrate her Grammy nominations, including album of the year for her groundbreaking release, "Dirty Computer". "This is a moment for women to love on each other and let each other know", she added. A representative for the Grammys didn't return an email seeking clarification about the tribute.
H.E.R., Chloe x Halle, Margo Price, Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith are also up for best new artist. "This is just the beginning of moving to a more inclusive future". This marks yet another rough year for the Grammys.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar - who won a Pulitzer Prize for his album DAMN. but has yet to snare a Grammy for Album of the Year - earned eight nods while Canadian rapper Drake snagged seven. Taylor Swift, who was snubbed and scored one nomination, also won't be at the show. Fifteen-time Grammy victor Alicia Keys will be the first woman to host the ceremony in over a decade. He later acknowledged that it was a "poor choice of words", and his much-criticized remarks forced the academy to launch a new task force focused on inclusion and diversity.