Kesha steals the show at the Grammy’s but male artists still dominate

Following a blistering, emotional performance from Kesha at the Grammys this year questions need to be asked about how much the industry is doing to address inequality, given male artists are still dominating these awards.

It was without doubt the performance of the night: Kesha’s thundering delivery of Praying, her first solo single since 2013, and after years of legal battles with producer Dr Luke. Kesha brought the house down at this year’s Grammys, in a powerful salute to the #TimesUp campaign.

Kesha wasn’t alone, singer Janelle Monae spoke eloquently about the need to end discrimination. “We come in peace, but we mean business” she defiantly told the audience at Madison Square Garden.

But when it came down to business, most of the gongs went to men.

Of the nine awards featured in the televised ceremony, just one went to a woman – Alessia Cara who won Best New Talent.

In some categories, such as Best Rap Album, no women were nominated at all. In many others just one woman was nominated, the exception being Best Solo Pop Performance (the award went to Ed Sheeran).

This under representation is nothing new; figures released just before the event revealed that only nine per cent of Grammy recipients over the past six years have been women. Some have argued the lack of women in the mix for Grammys is a symptom of a lack of women in the industry full stop.

But it still doesn’t explain why the only female nominated in the Best Album category, Lorde with Melodrama, was the only Best Album nominee not invited to perform in their right at the ceremony.

Let’s hope the Recording Academy, the industry body that organises the events every year, heeds the words of Monae: “Just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well. So, let’s work together, women and men, as a united music industry committed to creating more safe work environments, equal pay, and access for all women.”

The major Grammy awards went to:

  • Album of the Year – 24K Magic
  • Song of the Year – That’s What I Like, Bruno Mars
  • Best New Artist – Alessia Cara
  • Best Rap Album – DAMN, Kendrick Lamar
  • Best R&B Album – 24K Magic, Bruno Mars
  • Best Urban Contemporary album – Starboy, the Weeknd
  • Best Rock Album – A Deeper Understanding, the War on Drugs
  • Best Alternative Music Album – Sleep Well Beast, the National
  • Best country album – From A Room: Volume 1, Chris Stapleton


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