On Sunday, February 5th, the music industry will honor the past year’s most impactful artists at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. In a breakthrough year for female musicians, women are positioned to sweep many of the night’s top awards. Nominees Taylor Swift, SZA, and the “Barbie” movie soundtrack lead a slate packed with women across genres. Their representation signals meaningful progress in a historically male-dominated landscape.
Taylor Swift Could Make History (Again)
Taylor Swift heads into Grammys night with four nominations, including the prestigious Album of the Year race for her October 2022 record “Midnights.” If she emerges victorious, Swift would become the first artist ever to win that award four times, cementing her status among the music business’s greatest creative forces.
Swift was infamously robbed of a Grammy album victory back in 2016, when the Recording Academy controversially gave the award to Beck over her pop masterpiece “1989” despite Swift’s record-shattering sales and acclaim. Her performances and wins this time would be especially sweet redemption.
SZA Aims to End Long Drought
R&B singer-songwriter SZA could also make history as just the second Black female solo artist to win Album of the Year if her soul-baring December 2022 project “SOS” prevails. The last to do so was Lauryn Hill way back in 1999 for hip-hop landmark “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”
In one of the night’s biggest upsets, SZA was completely shut out at last year’s ceremony despite the massive success of her single “I Hate U.” She now arrives with a field-leading nine nominations in tow, representing a big breakthrough for an idiosyncratic talent held back by music industry gatekeepers for far too long.
Women Composers Recognized Through “Barbie”
While Swift and SZA take aim at the top prize, the most nominated work of the year comes from an unlikely source. The bubblegum soundtrack to 2022’s biggest box office smash, “Barbie,” scored an astounding 12 nominations. Included among those is a Song of the Year nod for Billie Eilish’s swooning “What Was I Made For?”, co-penned by singer-songwriter Julia Michaels.
Eilish and Michaels’ success speaks to the increasing visibility of women working behind-the-scenes in songwriting and production roles. After over a decade of stagnation, the percentage of female songwriters climbed to nearly 20% in 2023. The “Barbie” team making such a splash at the Grammys could inspire even more growth ahead.
As female superstars like Taylor Swift and SZA enjoy record-breaking concert tours and cultural ubiquity, it’s fitting their achievements would be recognized on music’s biggest night. Milestone Grammy victories would cap off their world-conquering years in spectacular fashion. Coupled with rising representation for women tunesmiths through works like the “Barbie” soundtrack, there are many positive signs ahead despite the industry’s enduring gender gaps. Tune into the 2024 Grammys this Sunday, February 5th at 8 PM EST on CBS to follow all of the history-making moments live.