Beyoncé poised to break record for most Grammys by an artist


US musician Beyoncé accepts the award for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for "Renaissance." during the 65th Annual Grammy Awards at the Arena in Los Angeles on February 5, 2023.

Photo credit: Valerie Macon | AFP

Pop superstar Beyoncé on Sunday tied the record for winning the most Grammys ever, taking three prizes so far on music's biggest night -- with several more chances to come.

The 41-year-old entered the day with the most chances at Grammy gold with nine, following the release of "Renaissance," her rich, layered ode to club music.

After scoring the award for Best R&B Song for "Cuff It," she needs just one more victory to overtake classical conductor Georg Solti for the most wins by any artist.

It seemed increasingly likely she would: she still has four more chances at a trophy.

Bad Bunny kicked off the night by bringing the audience to its feet with the gala's first performance, after which Harry Styles jumped out of the gate by winning the award for best pop vocal album for his record "Harry's House."

"Thank you so much. This album, from start to finish, has been the greatest experience of my life," he said onstage.

Beyoncé is still a powerhouse contender for the night's major awards of album, record and song of the year -- but the same goes for British balladeer Adele, whose introspective album "30" earned her seven nods.

The 2023 face-off has prompted obvious comparisons to 2017, when Adele swept the top prizes at the glitzy music biz gala, shutting out Queen Bey's culture-shaking "Lemonade.

Despite breaking record after record, when it comes to the big three awards, Beyoncé curiously remains something of an underdog. 

She has never won Album of the Year honors and although she has the most Record of the Year nods with eight, she's never won that prize either.

She only scored Song of the Year once, for 2008's "Single Ladies."

Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift in the mix

Folk rocker Brandi Carlile scored three awards and rapper Kendrick Lamar added two from the early show, while Wet Leg, the British Best New Artist nominee, swept the alternative music categories. 

"Oh my god, this is amazing. Oh, I'll never be the same," said Carlile onstage. "I cut my hair and I learned how to scream and I just won a Grammy for a rock and roll song!"

And actress Viola Davis became the latest showbiz heavyweight to earn a coveted EGOT -- winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony -- by taking the Grammy for best audio book, narration and storytelling for her memoir "Finding Me."

The star-studded 65th annual gala, hosted once again by comedian Trevor Noah, will later feature performances from Styles, Lizzo and Mary J. Blige.

Bad Bunny, indisputably the world's biggest commercial artist, has three Grammy chances off his major drop "Un Verano Sin Ti," also an Album of the Year contender.

It's the first time an entirely Spanish-language album has a chance at that coveted award, and it's the first time the Puerto Rican reggaeton megastar has landed a solo nomination in the major Grammy categories.

"I want to know if the Grammys are ready for the real party," he said during his medley performance off his smash album.

Rosalia, whose "Motomami" was a critical hit, won the Grammy for best Latin Rock or Alternative Album -- after the Spanish superstar was snubbed in the main categories.

Industry watchers were also waiting to see whether pop juggernaut Swift -- who hit the red carpet in a sparkling, deep blue ensemble alluding to her most recent album "Midnights" -- could win the Song of the Year prize that has evaded her for years.

The superstar -- who has been making good on a vow to re-record her first six albums to gain control of her rights to them -- has a chance at the award celebrating songwriters for her 10-minute version of "All Too Well."

Best New Artist hopefuls get head start

After several Grammy years with clear Best New Artist favourites -- Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion and Billie Eilish -- Sunday's race is wide open.

The category has grown increasingly eclectic and reflective of the internet age's impact on popular music, and many of the nominees -- including Brazil's Anitta, Eurovision rockers Maneskin and rapper Latto -- have all found viral fame on TikTok.

And along with Wet Leg, several of the nominees jumped forward with early victories: Muni Long stole one of Beyoncé’s nine opportunities in taking home the award for Best R&B Performance, while Molly Tuttle won for Best Bluegrass Album.

Jazz performer Samara Joy scooped the award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Speaking on a pre-Grammy red carpet, the Bronx-born artist told AFP that simply earning nominations had amped up her career.

"You know, over the past few months, a lot more people started picking up the phone," she said with a laugh.