meta-scriptHow R&B Took Over The 2024 GRAMMYs: From Best New Artist Nominees To The GRAMMY Stage | GRAMMY.com
(From left) Janelle Monáe, Coco Jones, SZA, Robert Glasper, Summer Walker, Chris Brown, Doja Cat, Victoria Monét
(From left) Janelle Monáe, Coco Jones, SZA, Robert Glasper, Summer Walker, Chris Brown, Doja Cat, Victoria Monét

Photos: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET; Gus Stewart/Redferns; Kyle Gustafson  For The Washington Post via Getty Images; Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images; Nicholas Hunt/FilmMagic; Paul Bergen/Redferns; John Parra/Getty Images for Live Nation; Udo Salters Photography/Getty Images

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How R&B Took Over The 2024 GRAMMYs: From Best New Artist Nominees To The GRAMMY Stage

More than just a set of categories, R&B is a global influence felt across fields at this year’s ceremony. Women are at the forefront, the genre's vets are making a comeback and the R&B Categories are absolutely stacked.

GRAMMYs/Jan 30, 2024 - 02:13 pm

R&B is poised to make a huge impact at the 2024 GRAMMYs

Just a couple of years after critics questioned whether R&B was dead, stars such as SZA, Victoria Monét and Coco Jones are cleaning up with multiple nominations across fields. Women are at the forefront of the current R&B movement, and there’s a multigenerational reverence for recording artists with longevity.    

And they’re not the only ones making noise.

At the 66th GRAMMY Awards, the genre has a broad reach that extends even beyond the categories that have R&B in the title. The genre's sound is present in nominated works in the new Best African Music Performance category, and in Songwriters and producers who excel in this realm are being recognized alongside colleagues who stand out in pop, country, and Latin circles. 

R&B will have a place on the GRAMMY stage, too. SZA will be among the performers during the 2024 GRAMMYs telecast, while Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Jordin Sparks and gospel/Christian R&B artist Kirk Franklin will perform during the Premiere Ceremony.

Ahead of Music's Biggest Night on Feb. 4, read on for the myriad ways R&B will be a force to be reckoned with. 

2024 GRAMMYs: Explore More & Meet The Nominees

R&B’s Impact Is Heard Across GRAMMY Categories

Comeback queen SZA is the most-nominated artist at the 2024 GRAMMYs, receiving nine nods. SZA's nominations  extend beyond the R&B categories into the general field and pop sphere: Her "Kill Bill" is nominated for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year, her sophomore full-length SOS is up for Best Progressive R&B Album and Album Of The Year, both alongside Janelle Monáe’s The Age of Pleasure. And "Ghost In The Machine," a collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, is vying for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. 

Singer/songwriter Victoria Monét is not far behind in nominations, appearing in seven categories including Best New Artist. She’s also nominated for Record Of The Year and Best R&B Song for "On My Mama," Best R&B Album and Best Engineered Album, Non Classical for Jaguar II, Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Hollywood" and Best R&B Performance for "How Does It Make You Feel." 

Although she is vying for Best New Artist, Monét isn't a first-time nominee. She was nominated twice at the 62nd GRAMMYs for her work with Ariana Grande (Album Of The Year for thank u, next and Record Of The Year for "7 rings") and for Best R&B Song at the 63rd GRAMMYs for "Do It" by Chloe x Halle. Her current nominations  are her first that acknowledge her own solo work.

"I have GRAMMY dreams, I have award show performance dreams, I have world tour dreams," Monét told GRAMMY.com in 2020. "But really just being able to make music a career, and doing what I love—it’s a privilege. I think I’m just trying to keep that perspective, because you can really become wrapped up in this."

First-time GRAMMY nominee Coco Jones is up for golden gramophones in five different categories this year, including Best New Artist alongside Monét. She is also nominated for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance for her smoldering "ICU," Best R&B Album for What I Didn’t Tell You (Deluxe) and Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Simple" with Babyface (a single from his Best R&B Album nominee Girls’ Night Out).

"Being a GRAMMY-nominated artist changes everything. It’s such a different creative mindset when the world says, ‘You’re good, we like what you do,’" Jones recently told GRAMMY.com. "It’s like a gold star. It makes you want to work harder, it makes you wanna continue to impress, and it makes you impressed with yourself, too."

R&B has a strong presence in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category, which honors solo or collaborative performances that use rapping as well as R&B melodies. This year’s nominees include "Attention" by Doja Cat and "Low" by SZA, which respectively find the stars doing both the rapping and singing duties. Other nominees in the category are "Sittin’ On Top Of The World," the Brandy-sampling song by Nigeria’s Burna Boy and rapper 21 Savage; "Spin Bout U" by Drake and 21 Savage, which utilizes the R&B song "Give Me Your Lovin" by Oobie; and "All My Life" by Lil Durk featuring J. Cole, a different tune for the drill rapper.

Two of the nominees for Best African Music Performance, a new category for the 2024 GRAMMYs, bring an international take on R&B mixed with regional styles from the continent: "Rush" by Nigerian singer Ayra Starr and "Water" by South African artist Tyla. The latter song was written by an international team of songwriters including American producer Chris "Tricky" Stewart (who has won three GRAMMYs for his work with Beyoncé and received nominations  for releases by Rihanna and Katy Perry).

"I did not expect a whole GRAMMY nomination, especially so soon," Tyla told Complex. "So it's really just a blessing that I was able to be nominated and be one of the first in the category because it's a new category. It's amazing for South Africa especially." She added in the interview that she’d love to collaborate with fellow American R&B stars SZA and Summer Walker.

Like Victoria Monét, Walker has her first nomination for her own work this year: Best R&B Album for Clear 2: Soft Life EP. Walker was previously nominated for Album Of The Year for her writing work on Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.

R&B Grooves Behind The Scenes 

This year, GRAMMY nominees with significant R&B experience and accolades appear in both the Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical and the Producer Of The Year, Non Classical categories. Both categories are part of the general field this year, rounding out the new "big six" categories.

Nominees for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical include the Virgin Islands-born Theron Thomas, whose place in the category is attributed to songs including Tyla’s "Been Thinking," Chlöe Bailey and Future’s "Cheatback," Chlöe and Missy Elliott’s "Told Ya," Ciara and Chris Brown’s "How We Roll" and Sekou’s "You and I." Thomas has previously been nominated for his work with Lizzo (Album Of The Year for Special and Song Of The Year for "About Damn Time") at the 63rd GRAMMYs and Best Rap Song for Saweetie and Doja Cat’s "Best Friend" at the 64th GRAMMYs.

In the Producer Of The Year-Non Classical category, Brooklyn’s Dernst "D’Mile" Emile II received a nomination in recognition of his work on Victoria Monét’s Jaguar II. Emile has an impressive five GRAMMY wins and 17 nominations under his belt. Three of his wins are with Silk Sonic for their slow jam, "Leave The Door Open," which won Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best R&B Song. 

He also won golden gramophones for Song Of The Year for "I Can’t Breathe" by H.E.R. and Best Progressive R&B Album for his work on Table for Two by Lucky Daye at the at the 63rd and 64th GRAMMYs, respectively.

The engineers of Alicia Keys’ The Diary of Alicia Keys 20 — an anniversary release of the star’s second album — are nominated for Best Immersive Audio Album, a category created in 2005 and renamed in 2019. The new version of Diary is available in 360RA and Dolby Atmos.

Last year, Chicago house DJ, producer and remixer Terry Hunter was nominated for Best Remixed Recording for his remix of "Break My Soul" by Beyoncé. In 2024, his remix of "Workin’ Hard" by Mariah Carey is in the same category. The song, which appears on Carey’s Music Box: 30th Anniversary Edition, tosses the original’s boom bap hip-hop beat and adds robust instrumentation that lives comfortably in the Venn diagram space that R&B and house shares.

R&B Veterans Get Their Shine

R&B’s longevity will be on full display at the 2024 GRAMMYs via nominees who have withstood personal and professional obstacles to remain relevant in the music business for decades. 

With 11 GRAMMY wins and 53 nominations — including three at the 2024 GRAMMYs — Babyface can always be counted on to stay current with today’s R&B trends. He supports younger artists such as Coco Jones, Ella Mai and Baby Tate on Girls’ Night Out, which is nominated for Best R&B Album, and he is a producer of SZA’s Best R&B Song contender, "Snooze." His current work welcomes back old fans and feeds new listeners who have a taste to explore nostalgia. 

Chris Brown won his first golden gramophone for Best R&B Album at the 54th GRAMMYs in 2012 for F.A.M.E., and dedicated the win to those who have stuck by him. Twelve years later, he is up for Best R&B Performance for "Summer Too Hot" — his 22nd GRAMMY nomination.

To take it even further back to R&B in the rhythm & blues sense, check out I Am Everything, a movie about the late rock and R&B progenitor Little Richard (1932-2020) that is up for Best Music Film. Little Richard was a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and a GRAMMY Hall of Fame inductee. And Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos, a collection of various artists from the seminal record label founded in 1957, is a contender for Best Historical Album.

GRAMMY vets Earth, Wind & Fire have six wins and now 18 nominations under their sparkly belts; the latest nomination is for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Hollywood" by Victoria Monét. The multi-generational song also features a cooing contribution at the end from Monét’s daughter, Hazel. The two-year-old would become the youngest-ever GRAMMY winner, should "Hollywood" come out on top in the category.

With a live performance by SZA and so much influence and representation across categories, it’s truly R&B’s year at the GRAMMYs. Tune in on Sun., Feb. 4 to watch it on CBS.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Composite graphic with the logo for GRAMMY Go on the left with four photos in a grid on the right, featuring (clockwise from the top-left) CIRKUT, Victoria Monét, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., and Janelle Monáe
Clockwise from the top-left: CIRKUT, Victoria Monét, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., and Janelle Monáe

Graphic & Photos Courtesy of GRAMMY GO

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Recording Academy & Coursera Partner To Launch GRAMMY GO Online Learning Initiative

Class is in session. As part of the Recording Academy's ongoing mission to empower music's next generation, GRAMMY Go offers digital content in specializations geared to help music industry professionals grow at every stage of their career.

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 05:01 pm

The Recording Academy has partnered with leading online learning platform Coursera on GRAMMY GO, a new online initiative to offer classes tailored for music creators and industry professionals.

This partnership empowers the next generation of the music community with practical, up-to-the moment digital content that provides wisdom for both emerging and established members of the industry. Continuing the Academy’s ongoing mission to serve all music people, courses cover a variety of specializations tailored to creative and professional growth. 

GRAMMY GO on Coursera includes courses taught by Recording Academy members, featuring GRAMMY winners and nominees and offers real-life lessons learners can put to work right away.

Starting today, enrollment is open for GRAMMY GO’s first Coursera specialization, "Building Your Audience for Music Professionals," taught by Joey Harris, international music/marketing executive and CEO of Joey Harris Inc. The course features Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, 10-time GRAMMY nominee Janelle Monáe and three-time GRAMMY winner and the 2024 GRAMMYs Best New Artist Victoria Monét. This foundational specialization will help participants gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to build a strong brand presence and cultivate a devoted audience within the ever-changing music industry. 

The partnership’s second course, launching later this summer, aims to strengthen the technological and audio skills of a music producer. "Music Production: Crafting An Award-Worthy Song" will be taught by Carolyn Malachi, Howard University professor and GRAMMY nominee, and will include appearances by GRAMMY winner CIRKUT, three-time GRAMMY winner Hit-Boy, artist and celebrity vocal coach Stevie Mackey, five-time GRAMMY nominee and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., and 15-time GRAMMY winner Judith Sherman. Pre-enrollment for "Music Production: Crafting An Award-Worthy Song" opens today.

"Whether it be through a GRAMMY Museum program, GRAMMY Camp or GRAMMY U, the GRAMMY organization is committed to helping music creators flourish, and the Recording Academy is proud to introduce our newest learning platform, GRAMMY GO, in partnership with Coursera," said Panos A. Panay, President of the Recording Academy. "A creator’s growth path is ongoing and these courses have been crafted to provide learners with the essential tools to grow in their professional and creative journeys."

"We are honored to welcome GRAMMY GO, our first entertainment partner, to the Coursera community," said Marni Baker Stein, Chief Content Officer at Coursera. "With these self-paced online specializations, aspiring music professionals all over the world have an incredible opportunity to learn directly from iconic artists and industry experts. Together with GRAMMY GO, we can empower tomorrow's pioneers of the music industry to explore their passion today."

GRAMMY GO also serves as the music community’s newest digital hub for career pathways and editorial content that provides industry insights for members of the industry; visit go.grammy.com for more. For information and enrollment, please visit the landing pages for "Building Your Audience for Music Professionals" and "Music Production: Crafting An Award-Worthy Song."

Meet 5 GRAMMY Nominees Who Started At GRAMMY U: From Boygenius Engineer Sarah Tudzin To Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying

Doja Cat headlines at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday, April 14, 2024
Doja Cat headlines at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Photo: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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7 Incredible Sets From Coachella 2024 Weekend 1: Doja Cat, No Doubt, Raye & More

With a weekend full of surprise guests, exciting reunions and breakout performances from first-time performers, this weekend in Indio was one for the books. Read on for seven of the top performances at the first weekend of Coachella 2024.

GRAMMYs/Apr 16, 2024 - 02:37 am

While every headliner at last year’s Coachella held some sort of historical cultural significance, Coachella 2024’s roster instead represented a series of graduations from opening slots and side stages to top-tier main stage titan status.

Friday featured Lana Del Rey, whose sole previous Coachella performance was at the Outdoor Theatre in 2014. Saturday was capped by Tyler, The Creator appearing for the third time in Indio (his last appearance as runner up to Haim and Beyoncé on the main stage in 2018). And on Sunday, Doja Cat occupied the uppermost spot after her penultimate main stage appearance in 2022.

Yet Coachella Weekend 1 this year’s attendees got astronomically more bang for their buck than they counted on, due to a surprise-guest-heavy lineup. The bulk of those special moments came from  A-list talent, from Billie Eilish with Lana Del Rey to Olivia Rodrigo with No Doubt, Justin Bieber joining Tems, Kesha with Reneé Rapp, most of the Fugees performing alongside YG Marley, Will Smith performing "Men in Black" with J Balvin … the list goes on. 

When all was said and done, the diversity, quality and impact of the weekend’s performances were tremendous. Even without elite bonus appearances, there were plenty of performances — quite a few of them newcomers, recent buzzbands and imminent breakthroughs — that made this year’s Coachella more than worthy of an early accolade for one of the first-rate fests of 2024. Read on for seven of the best sets from Coachella 2024.

Faye Webster Thrills Loyal Fans With Supreme Confidence

Underneath the shaded canopy of the Mojave Tent, Faye Webster held her sprawling audience in the palm of her hand during her Coachella debut on Friday. Deafening cheers rang out at the start of every song, which seemed to infuse the 26-year-old singer/songwriter with a level of energy unparalleled up to this point in her career.

Webster deftly worked her way through 11 tracks, each one received with wild cheers from fans, who sang with such gusto that they often nearly overpowered her own vocals. The crossroads of her confidence and creativity fully manifested during closing tune "Kingston," which saw her pausing to let the audience belt out the remainder of the line, a beckoning gesture that exuded self-assuredness. 

Notably, three of six new songs ("Wanna Quit All the Time," "He Loves Me Yeah!" and "Lego Ring") from her recently released fifth album Underdressed at the Symphony were live debuts. The fact that Webster saved them for Coachella showed a clear intention to ensure the set was extra special. Beyond any shadow of doubt, she succeeded. 

Lana Del Rey Taps Billie Eilish, Jon Batiste & Others For Standout Friday Set

With her notoriously downtempo demeanor, Lana Del Rey wasn’t the obvious choice for a Friday headlining spot on the main stage, but when all was said and done, her 20-song set delivered plenty to position her as a standout performer. 

Dressed in an elegant baby blue gown, her entrance — a slow ride on the back of a motorbike through the lanes of the crowd all the way to the stage — worked wonders to build excitement. And her first three song choices, a shortened version of "Without You" (not performed since 2014) and two more gems from the vault — "West Coast" (debuted 10 years ago to the day at her first Coachella appearance) and her superb cover of Sublime’s "Doin’ Time" — signaled her intention to make this show a truly special occasion (neither of the latter two tunes have appeared on a setlist since 2019).

From there it was a parade of hits culled from her robust catalog, as the GRAMMY-nominated singer waltzed her way across the expanse of a fairytale palace stage production, at several points venturing up flights of stairs to a towering terrace. Four of her 10 albums feature production from Jack Antonoff (who played with Bleachers on Saturday), so it was unsurprising when he took the helm of the white grand piano toward the end for a strikingly serene duet with a hologram Lana on "Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have — But I Have It."

Jon Batiste (who performed his own set on Saturday) also assisted on piano for an alluring take on "Candy Necklace," but the pinnacle moment arrived during performances of "ocean eyes" and "Video Games" alongside surprise guest Billie Eilish. Sitting side by side atop a balcony, the two harmonized through much of those tracks, and the occasions when Lana sat back to let Billie sing several sections solo were absolutely arresting. The two superstars stared adoringly at each other throughout, clearly just as awe-inspired by the unprecedented collaboration as the audience, which erupted with rapturous applause that rivaled the decibels of the set’s glittering fireworks finale.

Raye Races Toward Superstardom During Emotional Debut

After just one song of Raye’s Saturday afternoon performance, there was no question that her Coachella debut would be remembered as one of the most striking in recent years. The British songwriter and chanteuse, who shattered the record for most wins and nominations in a single year at this year’s BRIT Awards, poured every ounce of her soul into her 45-minute set. The crowd inside the Mojave tent hung on every note and went absolutely berserk all the way from the sultry intro of "The Thrill is Gone" to gloriously anthemic closer "Escapism."

Backed by a powerhouse band of eight backup singers, three string players, four brass aces and the standard guitar, drums and bass, each song was a showstopper. Without question, the most impactful moment came on "Ice Cream Man," which deals with her own experience with sexual assault and rape.

"I want you to know it’s not an easy song to sing," she started. And before she could continue, the audience released a loud roar of support, to the point that the singer shed tears. When she composed herself, she continued, "But it’s important to be loud .. and to be brave. This allows me to be loud about something I’ve been quiet about my entire life. I am very f—ing strong."

That moment — which culminated into a big band-style belter that evoked the power of Amy Winehouse and Billie Holiday — likewise drew tears from many in the audience. Further, it defined Raye as an artist destined for superstardom on the merits of genuine talent, an infinitely infectious spirit, and incomparably hard work ethic. To that end, it should be no surprise she’s the songwriter behind tunes from GRAMMY-winning artists including Beyoncé, no big deal. 

Sublime Revives Their Definitive Sound Alongside Jakob Nowell

Though many were referring to Sublime’s Saturday afternoon appearance on the Coachella main stage as a "reunion" in the days leading up to the festival, new frontman Jakob Nowell — son of the band’s deceased original singer Bradley Nowell — made it abundantly clear that wasn’t precisely the case.

"My name is Jakob Nowell and this is Sublime," he said following the conclusion of opening song "April 29, 1992," gesturing toward the beloved Southern California ska-punk band’s surviving members bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh.

Read more: Sublime's Jakob Nowell On Leading His Father's Legendary Band & What To Expect At Coachella

His resistance to co-opt his dad’s legacy was admirable, which was an issue for some when Rome Ramirez joined Wilson and Gaugh in 2009 to form Sublime with Rome, a chapter that ended for those original members when Gaugh left the band in 2011 and Wilson subsequently exited in February. With all the pieces in place, the next hour played out as a fantastically fun alliance of old and new.

Jakob sounded strikingly like his dad during most moments, though he asserted his own spin on the classic sound by adding a hardcore-esque growl at various points in the set. Among the 14 songs, they revived early-era material that hadn’t been played live since the mid '90s, including "Date Rape," "Badfish" and "Doin’ Time." One cut, "Romeo," had not been performed live since 1988. The band likewise included tunes that Bradley never got to perform from the band’s final self-titled album, including some of their biggest commercial successes. Tracks such as "What I Got" and "Santeria" were sung by thousands, a chorus oozing with celebratory mass catharsis. 

By the end, there could be only one conclusion: the most definitive version of a revived Sublime has arrived and, should they choose to continue on, they’ll be received by fans with open arms. 

No Doubt Snatches Headliner Status During Jubilant Reunion

Though the reunion of No Doubt was billed as the runner-up to Tyler, the Creator’s Saturday night finisher, it’s absolutely valid to argue that the beloved Southern California outfit — playing their first show since 2015 — was the evening’s true headliner. The eye-popping expanse and unerring enthusiasm of the audience (the largest of the weekend), combined with the group’s sheer joy and explosive energy, drove the feeling home.

Every member of the core group — bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont, drummer Adrian Young and frontwoman Gwen Stefani — emanated pure exultation, wide grins plastered permanently on their faces. Stefani was especially fired up; after the band powered through five treasured tracks — including opener "Hella Good" (performed at the end of long catwalk), "Ex-Girlfriend," and "Different People" (featured for the first time since 2009) — the singer stopped to address the sea of screaming fans.

"Wow … you showed up to Coachella Saturday night 2024 to see No Doubt play together on this stage for the first time in nine years. Are you crazy?!" Stefani said. "If I could just somehow explain the amount of love [we feel] and how much I wanna slap the s— out of you guys tonight!"

The sentiment was meant endearingly, but every song did hit intensely. In particular, a rendition of "Bathwater" featuring special guest Olivia Rodrigo — as hyped as Stefani with her never-ending spinning and bouncing antics — left a lasting mark. For old school fans, the Return to Saturn single was a special treat, and with Rodrigo in the mix, it elicited equal exuberance from younger audience members.

For the finale of the 16-song setlist, the band fulfilled the promise of euphoric nostalgia with a hard-hitting trio of tracks off 1995 breakthrough third album Tragic Kingdom: "Just a Girl," "Don’t Speak" and "Spiderwebs." The timeless tunes incited a sudden surge of fans toward the stage, and one would’ve been hard pressed to spot anyone not participating in the jubilant singalongs. It was a moment of multi-generational unity and unbridled joy — unquestionably unforgettable, and hopefully just the precursor to a triumphant new era of No Doubt.

Olivia Dean Enters the Stateside Festival Scene With Humbling Authenticity

Watching the first few moments of British neo-soul singer Olivia Dean’s Sunday afternoon performance in the Gobi tent, you’d never know this was her first American festival appearance. And what an incredible debut, at one of the States’ most prestigious festivals with only one album under belt (2023’s Messy) to boot. The 25-year-old stunned with utmost finesse and confidence, working the stage like a long-established diva and immediately eliciting rapturous applause after each of the first two songs, "OK Love You Bye" and "Echo."

While it can sometimes be off-putting when an artist introduces every song with a tidbit explaining what it’s about, this method had the opposite effect for Dean. Her context made each moment feel intensely personal, and the audience reaction was overwhelming. One of many tunes with a distinctly Motown bop, "The Hardest Part," was prefaced with the remark that it "recently changed [her] life," and spoke to the process of overcoming grief. After the final note was sung, she received a deafening standing ovation, prompting her to endearingly cover her face in response. And there was so much power in her anecdote before "Carmen," a tribute to how her grandmother made everything possible for her. 

"My granny came to London when she was 18 … had never been on a plane … left her life behind and had my mom, and my mom had me," she said, already being drowned out by cheers before the final remark: "This song is for my granny and anyone brave enough to move and any immigrant in the crowd right now."

As she wrapped up her short set with the bewitching single "Dive," the sun broke through the clouds, illuminating her with the loveliest natural spotlight to complement a performer who already naturally, effortlessly shines on her own.

Doja Cat Exudes Total Command & Flawless Flow For Sunday Finale 

It cannot be overstated: Doja Cat’s fest-closing performance on the main stage was a visionary masterpiece, and the strongest headlining set of the first weekend. That wasn’t certain from the stripped-down beginning moments when the GRAMMY-winning singer/rapper appeared on a circular b-stage mid-audience, dressed in a hazmat suit and encircled by a black and yellow biohazard pattern.

But excitement built steadily as she bombastically delivered opening song "ACKNOWLEDGE ME," which, even in an abbreviated format, lived up to its title and created a palpable air of anticipation. From there, she strutted back toward the main stage via a connected catwalk, meeting briefly in the middle with South African quintet the Joy (set to release their self-titled debut album on June 21) offering up fiery raps amidst the group’s arresting a cappella.

Shortly after, Doja appeared on the main stage dressed in a knee-length platinum blonde weave, flanked by an army of dancers who all wore matching getups covered in the same synthetic hair. The effect when they all converged, their movements completely in sync, created an optical illusion of one enormous hairy creature moving across the stage to punctuate the ferocity of "Demons." 

That was just the first taste of a breathtaking series of visual sequences over the course of the 70-minute show, each profoundly enhanced by cinematography that created the effect of watching a top-quality music video on the main stage’s massive screens. If you witnessed the camera work during Beyoncé’s Homecoming show back in 2018 or Rosalía’s production in 2023, you’ll understand the aesthetic. 

Other key moments when the video work was utterly astonishing arrived during the live debut of "OKLOSER" (one of five first-time song features) where the previously smooth camera went rogue, shakily weaving through the gang of dancers to create the effect of maneuvering through a chaotic house party; again during "Attention" as the lens wove through dancers in fur coats wielding Cruella de Vil-inspired cabrioles until it settled on Doja at the end of the line; and finally during closing track, "Wet Vagina," where Doja and her dancers rolled and writhed (in perfect choreographed unison) on the b-stage filled with brown mud, the sequel ending in a stunning birds-eye shot. 

Backtracking a few moments earlier, maybe the most jaw-dropping production element came on "WYM Freestyle" in the form of a giant T-Rex skeleton following Doja down the catwalk while flames erupted from the stage behind her. The precise reason for that wasn’t evident, but it certainly boosted the ferocity of her raw rap delivery.

The unending visual feast only served to amplify Doja’s already flawless flow. She never missed a vocal mark, whether singing or rapping. She didn’t even once pause to banter with the audience, creating the effect of total focus and command. Big bonuses: 21 Savage materializing mid-set to serve up "n.h.i.e.," Teezo Touchdown’s cameo on "MASC" and A$AP Rocky (who likewise performed with Tyler, the Creator on Saturday) swooping in for "URRRGE!!!!!!!!!!" before Doja dazzled with super-hit "Paint the Town Red."

When all was said and done, Doja Cat more-than-earned her graduation to festival headliner, and while she’s already set for an arena tour this year, she’s clearly destined to stun at stadiums not far in the future. 

Coachella 2024 Weekend 1 Recap: 20 Surprises And Special Moments, From Billie Eilish & Lana Del Rey To Olivia Rodrigo With No Doubt

Women's History Month 2024 Playlist Hero
(Clockwise, from top left): Jennie, Janelle Monáe, Anitta, Taylor Swift, Victoria Monét, Ariana Grande, Lainey Wilson

Photos (clockwise, from top left): Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella, Paras Griffin/Getty Images, Lufre, MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY, Paras Griffin/Getty Images, JOHN SHEARER/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Listen: GRAMMY.com's Women's History Month 2024 Playlist: Female Empowerment Anthems From Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Jennie & More

This March, the Recording Academy celebrates Women's History Month with pride and joy. Press play on this official playlist that highlights uplifting songs from Taylor Swift, Victoria Monét, Anitta and more.

GRAMMYs/Mar 8, 2024 - 04:44 pm

From commanding stages to blasting through stereos, countless women have globally graced the music industry with their creativity. And though they've long been underrepresented, tides are changing: in just the last few years, female musicians have been smashing records left and right, conquering top song and album charts and selling sold-out massive tours.

This year, Women's History Month follows a particularly historic 66th GRAMMY Awards, which reflected the upward swing of female musicians dominating music across the board. Along with spearheading the majority of the ceremony's performances, women scored bigtime in the General Field awards — with wins including Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Album Of The Year.

Female empowerment anthems, in particular, took home major GRAMMY gold. Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" took home two awards, while Victoria Monét was crowned Best New Artist thanks to the success of her album Jaguar II and its hit single "On My Mama." As those two songs alone indicate, female empowerment takes many different shapes in music — whether it's moving on from a relationship by celebrating self-love or rediscovering identity through motherhood.

The recent successes of women in music is a testament to the trailblazing artists who have made space for themselves in a male-dominated industry — from the liberating female jazz revolution of the '20s to the riot grrl movement of the '90s. Across genres and decades, the classic female empowerment anthem has strikingly metamorphosed into diverse forms of defiance, confidence and resilience.

No matter how Women's History Month is celebrated, it's about women expressing themselves, wholeheartedly and artistically, and having the arena to do so. And in the month of March and beyond, women in the music industry deserve to be recognized not only for their talent, but ambition and perseverance — whether they're working behind the stage or front-and-center behind the mic.

From Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT" to Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)," there's no shortage of female empowerment anthems to celebrate women's accomplishments in the music industry. Listen to GRAMMY.com's 2024 Women's History Month playlist on streaming services below.

Doja Cat & SZA GRAMMY Rewind Hero
(L-R) Doja Cat and SZA at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Doja Cat & SZA Tearfully Accept Their First GRAMMYs For "Kiss Me More"

Relive the moment the pair's hit "Kiss Me More" took home Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, which marked the first GRAMMY win of their careers.

GRAMMYs/Mar 1, 2024 - 06:11 pm

As Doja Cat put it herself, the 2022 GRAMMYs were a "big deal" for her and SZA.

Doja Cat walked in with eight nominations, while SZA entered the ceremony with five. Three of those respective nods were for their 2021 smash "Kiss Me More," which ultimately helped the superstars win their first GRAMMYs.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the night SZA and Doja Cat accepted the golden gramophone for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance — a milestone moment that Doja Cat almost missed.

"Listen. I have never taken such a fast piss in my whole life," Doja Cat quipped after beelining to the stage. "Thank you to everybody — my family, my team. I wouldn't be here without you, and I wouldn't be here without my fans."

Before passing the mic to SZA, Doja also gave a message of appreciation to the "Kill Bill" singer: "You are everything to me. You are incredible. You are the epitome of talent. You're a lyricist. You're everything."

SZA began listing her praises for her mother, God, her supporters, and, of course, Doja Cat. "I love you! Thank you, Doja. I'm glad you made it back in time!" she teased.

"I like to downplay a lot of s— but this is a big deal," Doja tearfully concluded. "Thank you, everybody."

Press play on the video above to hear Doja Cat and SZA's complete acceptance speech for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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