+ A

Women set to take center stage at 2019 Grammys

Dec 10,2018
NEW YORK - After being nearly muted at this year’s ceremony, the 2019 Grammys are shaping up to be the year of the woman, with powerful female voices representing the majority in two of the top categories.

Kacey Musgraves, H.E.R. and Janelle Monae, performers who play instruments, write or co-write all of their songs and are also listed as producers on their projects, earned nominations for the coveted album of the year.

They are joined by singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Brandi Carlile, whose recent album is critically acclaimed and scored nominations in the big three categories, and Cardi B - a former stripper, social media darling and reality star who has become a pop culture sensation now competing for both album and record of the year.

Nominees for album of the year at the 2018 Grammys only included one woman - Lorde - and she was not given a performing slot on the show.

The only woman to win a solo award during the televised broadcast was best new artist winner Alessia Cara.

But this year nominees in the top four categories expanded from five to eight, and in album of the year, five are powerful female acts.

“I love being in the company of genius women and I think that every woman that is nominated has contributed so much excellent work and heartfelt work and truthful work this year, and it’s just deserving,” Monae said in an interview with the Associated Press after Friday’s nominations were announced.

Six of the eight best new artist nominees are women, including H.E.R.

Monae gave a powerful speech at the 2018 Grammys ahead of Kesha’s emotional and striking performance celebrating sisterhood and women’s rights. Monae said that back then she was hoping to see the upcoming Grammys make a change.

“This is what I envisioned. This is what I imagined. I imagined us having a stronger presence this year,” she said. “I’m so proud of them and I can’t wait to see them at the Grammys and celebrate them and let them know that they have my support, win or lose, we are stronger together and it’s incredible to see women who are so in control of their narrative.”

“Dirty Computer,” Monae’s third full-length album, features the singer and guitarist working behind-the-scenes to craft the right songs and style: “I did produce and engineer a lot of this record. I had a perspective and a vision that only I could sit down and execute.”

Other women nominated this year have multiple roles on their own albums. Musgraves, also a guitarist, co-produced her entire album, “Golden Hour,” which earned four nominations, including best country album, best country solo performance (“Butterflies”) and best country song (“Space Cowboy”).

“I knew I wanted to do something different than what I had been doing. I was craving the time to explore and just find that creative center again. Like when I first moved to Nashville and I just wrote every day for years and stumbled across songs that really meant something to me,” Musgraves, who worked on the album for a year and a half, told the AP on Friday.

AP