The 2024 Grammy Awards unfolded with unexpected and delightful surprises as music legends Tracy Chapman and Taylor Swift took center stage, contributing to the celebration of female artists who dominated the nominations. The year 2023, often dubbed “the year of the girl,” set the stage for this trend with significant releases like Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE and Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, alongside Greta Gerwig’s impactful Barbie.
The main categories at the 66th Grammy Awards witnessed a dominance of young female performers who left an indelible mark on the pop charts in the preceding year. Seven of the eight nominees for Album of the Year were female artists under the age of forty, including Boygenius, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monáe, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, and SZA. The exception was five-time Grammy winner Jon Batiste, who was nominated for six awards.
Dua Lipa performed two brand-new songs, “Houdini” and the unreleased “Training Season,” in the opening medley, which comedian Trevor Noah hosted. The evening unfolded with Miley Cyrus securing her first-ever Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance with “Flowers” and delivering a lively performance.
Taylor Swift seized her moment to announce her upcoming album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” slated for release on April 19, while accepting her 13th Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. Colombian singer-songwriter Karol G also triumphed with the Best Musica Urbana Album for “Mañana Será Bonito.”
SZA’s emotionally charged performance of “Snooze” and “Kill Bill,” featuring a real trash fire and nods to Quentin Tarantino’s films, set the stage for her Grammy win in the Best R&B Song category. Billie Eilish secured a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media with “What Was I Made For?” from the Barbie soundtrack.
One of the highly anticipated moments was the unexpected collaboration between Luke Combs and Tracy Chapman, who delivered a poignant rendition of Chapman’s 1988 hit, “Fast Car.” Clad in all black, the two artists, representing different musical styles and generations, stood in front of traffic light-like lighting, mesmerizing the audience with their acoustic performance. The iconic chorus had the entire audience singing along, creating a memorable moment.
Tracy Chapman, known for rare live appearances, made this performance especially significant. Luke Combs, who breathed new life into “Fast Car” with his 2023 album “Gettin’ Old,” expressed admiration for Chapman, acknowledging the song’s impact on his life since childhood.
Despite the anticipation, Combs fell short in the Grammy race for his country solo performance of “Fast Car,” with Chris Stapleton taking the honors for “White Horse.” Nevertheless, the collaboration between Chapman and Combs stood out as a unique and touching moment at the 66th Grammy Awards, adding to the list of surprises that made the evening unforgettable.