meta-scriptTaylor Swift's Essential Music Videos, From "You Belong With Me" To "Anti-Hero" | GRAMMY.com
Taylor Swift's Essential Music Videos, From "You Belong With Me" To "Anti-Hero"
Taylor Swift on the 2023 GRAMMYs red carpet.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Taylor Swift's Essential Music Videos, From "You Belong With Me" To "Anti-Hero"

In honor of Taylor Swift's history-making Best Music Video win at the 2023 GRAMMYs for "All Too Well: The Short Film," revisit some of the superstar's most iconic videos to date.

GRAMMYs/Feb 7, 2023 - 09:05 pm

At the 2023 GRAMMYs, Taylor Swift won Best Music Video for her short film set to the 10-minute version of "All Too Well."

It's a golden gramophone the singer has won once before, nearly a decade ago for the star-studded visual to 1989 single "Bad Blood." But this win was different. As Swift collected the 12th GRAMMY of her storied career, this victory came from a video she had single-handedly directed; it also marked the first time an artist won the category for a video they directed solo. 

Delivering iconic visuals is nothing new for the superstar, either. After all, she's been doing it from her earliest days as a teenage wunderkind known for penning diaristic country-pop hits like "Tim McGraw," "Our Song," "Love Story," and "You Belong with Me." But over the years, Swift's precision in executing her singular, cinematic vision has only gotten more creative, more exact and more ambitious — and now, those talents are GRAMMY-winning.

To celebrate Swift's big GRAMMY win for "All Too Well: The Short Film," GRAMMY.com has distilled her extensive filmography down to the 11 most essential and unforgettable music videos in the Swiftian canon — from "Teardrops on My Guitar" to her latest No. 1 smash "Anti-Hero."

Check out GRAMMY.com's picks for the most iconic Taylor Swift music videos below.

"Teardrops on My Guitar" (Taylor Swift)

Although it was only her second single, the video for 2006's "Teardrops on My Guitar" contains many of the hallmarks for what would become Swift's signature visual aesthetic throughout her early career. Unrequited love interest in the form of One Tree Hill's Tyler Hilton? Check. An iridescent gown fit for a fairytale? Check. A narrative arc that establishes our girl as the underdog, who you can't help rooting for to get her happy ending? Check and check.

"You Belong With Me" (Fearless)

Is there any video more quintessential from Swift's country era than the one for "You Belong With Me"? Not only did the Fearless visual give Swifties their queen in her now-iconic "Junior Jewels" T-shirt, but it established the goofy side of Swift's personality — as yet unseen in her filmography — as well as her willingness to embody characters in her videos, like the brunette mean-girl of a cheerleader and an ultra-relatable band geek who are competing for the heart of the hunky boy next door.

"Mine" (Speak Now)

"Mine" was the lead single for Swift's third album — not to be confused with fellow Speak Now single "Ours," which led off the 2010 LP's deluxe repackaging. And though she'd dabbled in the past on videos for "I'm Only Me When I'm With You" and "The Best Day," the song marked the pop star's first true directorial effort helped along by co-director Roman White. And she was clearly taking notes that would inspire her future work during the process — just watch the scene where she and her rakish, blonde fiancé get into a screaming match in their kitchen and tell any Swiftie it doesn't look familiar…

"Everything Has Changed" feat. Ed Sheeran (Red)

This 2012 collaboration with Ed Sheeran upped the ante in Swift's videography by handing off the bulk of the storytelling to other people entirely — in this case, a pair of elementary schoolers portraying younger versions of Tay and the "Thinking Out Loud" crooner. The close friends and frequent collaborators only appear in the final moments of the video, but the kids and their adorable story would pick up nearly a decade later in the visual for the pair's 2022 duet remix of Sheeran's "The Joker and The Queen."

"Blank Space" (1989)

What does Swift do when the media paints her as a serial dater — verging on maneater — who's constantly burning her way through a revolving door of famous men? Write a smash hit about it, of course. With help from Joseph Kahn, Swift turns tabloid fodder into cinematic gold by casting herself as the unhinged nightmare dressed like a daydream, always ready to make the bad guys good for a weekend and add their names to her little black book. Too bad the poor fools won't find out until it's too late that their names are in red, underlined…

"Look What You Made Me Do" (reputation)

#TaylorSwiftIsOverParty? As if. With the release of the "Look What You Made Me Do" video, Swift officially entered her reputation era and shifted her skewed public perception off its tilted axis and back in her favor. Yes, there were snakes serving tea, bathtubs filled with diamonds, and a Taylor or two for every era that had come before. But the true feat of the glossy, karma-fueled visual was reminding the superstar's fans, doubters and haters alike that her ability to come back from the proverbial dead with a smash single in hand will always be stronger than anything thrown at her.

"The Man" (Lover)

For her solo directorial debut, Swift wanted to make both a statement and a splash. So she chose to skewer the sexism and toxic masculinity she's endured throughout her career as "The Man," cleverly dressing in drag as a rich, cocky manspreader by the name of — you guessed it — Tyler Swift. As has become custom over the years, the music video was filled with Easter eggs and cameos from famous faces like TikTok star Loren Gray, Dwayne Johnson and even her own father. The video eventually made history as well, when Swift became the first solo female to ever take home the prize for Best Director at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2020.

"cardigan" (folklore)

Filmed at the height of the pandemic, Swift proved with the video for "cardigan" that she is always capable of creating magic, even in the most challenging of circumstances. Taking cues from the fantasy and period films she had devoured during the early days of quarantine, the visual took a more fantastical turn than many of the past videos in the star's filmography. As the sole star of the show, a nightgown-clad Swift is transported to magical worlds by her trusty piano — a perfect parallel to the fictional worlds she dreamed up on folklore.

"willow" (evermore)

When evermore arrived by surprise just five months after its older sister, Swift announced that she was venturing deeper into the metaphorical woods. And with that, the music video for "willow" picks up right where "cardigan" left off. The clip doubles down on the fantasy of folklore by setting the singer on a journey filled with witchcraft, scenes straight out of a storybook, and an onscreen reunion with Taeok Lee, who last appeared as a backup dancer on the Red Tour in 2013.

"All Too Well: The Short Film" (Red (Taylor's Version))

There was really only one way to do the mystical 10-minute version of "All Too Well" justice after Swift dug it out from the vault for Red (Taylor's Version) — a short film, directed by Swift herself. Enlisting actors Dylan O'Brien and Sadie Sink as the doomed lovers at the center of the autumnal tale, Swift wrote the treatment, took charge on set, and manifested her creative vision with her most fully-realized project to date. The sweeping, 15-minute mini-movie soon inspired Swift to write and direct her first feature film, and helped the singer win the 2023 GRAMMY for Best Music Video.

"Anti-Hero" (Midnights)

"It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me." With that witty inner dialogue, Swift introduced Swifties to the most hilariously self-destructive version of herself. But even self-loathing looks like a blast through the superstar's point of view, whether she's outrunning ghosts dressed in whimsical '70s-style bedsheets or commiserating with her gigantic monster of a doppelgänger who just wants to be part of the gang.

The Taylor Swift Essentials: 13 Songs That Display Her Storytelling Prowess And Genre-Bouncing Genius

How The 2024 GRAMMYs Saw The Return Of Music Heroes & Birthed New Icons
Victoria Monét backstage at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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How The 2024 GRAMMYs Saw The Return Of Music Heroes & Birthed New Icons

Between an emotional first-time performance from Joni Mitchell and a slew of major first-time winners like Karol G and Victoria Monét, the 2024 GRAMMYs were unforgettably special. Revisit all of the ways both legends and rising stars were honored.

GRAMMYs/Feb 9, 2024 - 09:02 pm

After Dua Lipa kicked off the 2024 GRAMMYs with an awe-inspiring medley of her two new songs, country star Luke Combs followed with a performance that spawned one of the most memorable moments of the night — and one that exemplified the magic of the 66th GRAMMY Awards.

Combs was joined by Tracy Chapman, whose return to the stage marked her first public performance in 15 years. The two teamed up for her GRAMMY-winning hit "Fast Car," which earned another GRAMMY nomination this year thanks to Combs' true-to-form cover that was up for Best Country Solo Performance. The audience went wild upon seeing a resplendent, smiling Chapman strum her guitar, and it was evident that Combs felt the same excitement singing along beside her.

Chapman and Combs' duet was a powerful display of what the 2024 GRAMMYs offered: veteran musicians being honored and new stars being born.

Another celebrated musician who made a triumphant return was Joni Mitchell. Though the folk icon had won 10 GRAMMYs to date — including one for Best Folk Album at this year's Premiere Ceremony — she had never performed on the GRAMMYs stage until the 2024 GRAMMYs. Backed by a band that included Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Blake Mills, Jacob Collier, and other accomplished musicians, the 80-year-old singer/songwriter delivered a stirring (and tear-inducing) rendition of her classic song "Both Sides Now," singing from an ornate chair that added an element of regality.

Later in the show, Billy Joel, the legendary rock star who began his GRAMMY career in 1979 when "Just the Way You Are" won Record and Song Of The Year, used the evening to publicly debut his first single in 17 years, "Turn the Lights Back On." (He also closed out the show with his 1980 classic, "You May Be Right.") It was the latest event in Joel's long history at the show; past performances range from a 1994 rendition of "River of Dreams" to a 2022 duet of "New York State of Mind" with Tony Bennett. The crooner, who died in 2023, was featured in the telecast's In Memoriam section, where Stevie Wonder dueted with archival footage of Bennett. And Annie Lennox, currently in semi-retirement, paid tribute to Sinéad O'Connor, singing "Nothing Compares 2 You" and calling for peace.

Career-peak stars also furthered their own legends, none more so than Taylor Swift. The pop star made history at the 2024 GRAMMYs, claiming the record for most Album Of The Year wins by a single artist. The historic moment also marked another icon's return, as Celine Dion made an ovation-prompting surprise appearance to present the award. (Earlier in the night, Swift also won Best Pop Vocal Album for Midnights, announcing a new album in her acceptance speech. To date, Swift has 14 GRAMMYs and 52 nominations.)

24-time GRAMMY winner Jay-Z expanded his dominance by taking home the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, which he accepted alongside daughter Blue Ivy. And just before Miley Cyrus took the stage to perform "Flowers," the smash single helped the pop star earn her first-ever GRAMMY, which also later nabbed Record Of The Year.

Alongside the longtime and current legends, brand-new talents emerged as well. Victoria Monét took home two GRAMMYs before triumphing in the Best New Artist category, delivering a tearful speech in which she looked back on 15 years working her way up through the industry. Last year's Best New Artist winner, Samara Joy, continued to show her promise in the jazz world, as she won Best Jazz Performance for "Tight"; she's now 3 for 3, after also taking home Best Jazz Vocal Album for Linger Awhile last year.

First-time nominee Tyla became a first-time winner — and surprised everyone, including herself — when the South African starlet won the first-ever Best African Music Performance GRAMMY for her hit "Water." boygenius, Karol G and Lainey Wilson were among the many other first-time GRAMMY winners that capped off major years with a golden gramophone (or three, in boygenius' case).

All throughout GRAMMY Week 2024, rising and emerging artists were even more of a theme in the lead-up to the show. GRAMMY House 2024 hosted performances from future stars, including Teezo Touchdown and Tiana Major9 at the Beats and Blooms Emerging Artist Showcase and Blaqbonez and Romy at the #GRAMMYsNextGen Party.

Gatherings such as A Celebration of Women in the Mix, Academy Proud: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ Voices, and the Growing Wild Independent Music Community Panel showcased traditionally marginalized voices and communities, while Halle Bailey delivered a GRAMMY U Masterclass for aspiring artists. And Clive Davis hosted his Pre-2024 GRAMMYs Gala, where stars new and old mingled ahead of the main event. 

From established, veteran artists to aspiring up-and-comers, the 2024 GRAMMYs were a night of gold and glory that honored the breadth of talent and creativity throughout the music industry, perfectly exemplifying the Recording Academy's goal to "honor music's past while investing in its future." If this year's proceedings were any indication, the future of the music industry is bright indeed. 

10 Must-See Moments From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Taylor Swift Makes History, Billy Joel & Tracy Chapman Return, Boygenius Manifest Childhood Dreams

10 Acceptance Speeches That Made Us Laugh, Cry, & Smile At The 2024 GRAMMYs
Killer Mike accepts the GRAMMY for Best Rap Song for "Scientists & Engineers" at the 2024 GRAMMYs,

Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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10 Acceptance Speeches That Made Us Laugh, Cry, & Smile At The 2024 GRAMMYs

From Taylor Swift's record-shattering Album Of The Year win, to Killer Mike and boygenius category sweeps, these are the emotional GRAMMY winning moments that made up Music's Biggest Night.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 11:22 pm

Glitz, glamor, and great performances from legendary musicians are only part of what make the GRAMMYs Music’s Biggest Night. It’s also an occasion to honor the music industry’s best and brightest, highlight their greatest achievements from the past year, and watch them soak up the glory. 

Some of the night’s biggest moments came when artists accepted their GRAMMY trophies, from Taylor Swift announcing her next album to teary-eyed moments from SZA and Best New Artist Victoria Monét. Here are a few of our favorite acceptance speeches from the 2024 GRAMMYs. 

Killer Mike Sweeps With Three GRAMMYs In A Row

Atlanta rapper Killer Mike had already given a moving speech upon winning Best Rap Performance for “Scientists & Engineers,” saying “I want to thank everyone who dares to believe that art can change the world.” But his third and final win, Best Rap Album for Michael, sent him into another dimension: “It’s a sweep! Atlanta, it’s a sweep!” 

Tyla Was Shocked To Win Best African Performance

Although her hit song “Water” has dominated the charts, even Tyla was caught off guard by her Best African Music Performance win – the first ever awarded in this category – exclaiming “What the heck?!” The South African star continued "This is crazy, I never thought I’d say I won a GRAMMY at 22 years old."

Boygenius Sweep The Rock Categories

Boygenius already had something to celebrate when Phoebe Bridgers won a GRAMMY for her collab with SZA. They went on to win three categories during the Premiere Ceremony – Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, and Best Rock Album – enabling each member of the trio to give a separate speech. “We were all delusional enough as kids to think this might happen someday,” Lucy Dacus said. 

Miley Cyrus Was A Class Act

Accepting the prize for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Flowers,” Miley Cyrus took to the stage to strike a pose with presenter Mariah Carey – “This M.C. is gonna stand by this M.C.” — before launching into a story about a boy who tries desperately to catch a butterfly, before nabbing one when they least expect it. “This song ‘Flowers’ is my butterfly,” she concluded. 

SZA Runs From Backstage To Accept Award

Changing backstage after her GRAMMYs performance, SZA was caught off guard when “Snooze” won Best R&B Song. She embraced friend and presenter Lizzo before giving an emotional, funny speech. “I can’t believe this is happening, and it feels very fake,” she said. “I love you, I’m not an attractive cryer, have a good evening.” 

Taylor Swift Announces New Album

When the pop mega-star took to the stage to accept her lucky 13th overall GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album (Midnights), she decided to use the moment to give her fans the ultimate gift, announcing her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, will release on April 19. “I want to say thank you by telling you a secret that I've been keeping from you for the past two years,” she said. 

Billie Eilish Didn’t Know What To Say

After delivering a lovely performance of her Barbie movie ballad “What Was I Made For?,” Billie Eilish wasn’t exactly at a loss for words when the track won Song of the Year. The words that came out of her mouth were a bit less than rehearsed, however: “Whoa, whoops, yikes, whoa my goodness! Damn, that’s stupid guys!” she said. “I don’t even know what to say, I’m shocked out of my balls.” 

Victoria Monét Delivers Tearful, Eloquent Speech

Through tears of joy, Best New Artist winner Victoria Monét gave a speech worthy of an artist who spent years writing for others before striking out on her own. “This award was a 15-year pursuit,” she said, going on to compare herself to a plant growing in the soil of the music industry. “My roots have been growing underneath ground, unseen, for so long, and I feel like today I’m sprouting, finally above ground.” 

Miley Cyrus Makes An Even Wilder Record of the Year Speech

Cyrus returned to the stage twice after her first GRAMMY win, first to perform her award-winning song, and then once more to accept a second golden gramophone for Record of the Year. “This award is amazing, but I really hope it doesn’t change anything, because my life was beautiful yesterday,” she said. Then she ended the speech by saying “I don’t think I’ve forgotten anyone, but I might’ve forgotten underwear!”

Taylor Swift’s Record-Shattering Album of the Year

Lightning struck twice for Taylor Swift, as the evening ended with her taking home a record-breaking fourth GRAMMY for Album of the Year (Midnights), more than any other artist in GRAMMY history. Flanked by producer Jack Antonoff and friend and collaborator Lana Del Rey, she gave a speech that highlighted her passion for music-making, saying  “For me the award is the work. All I wanna do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much, it makes me so happy." As happy as Swift was, her fans probably left even happier. 

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Flavor Flav and Miley Cyrus attend the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena on February 04, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

PHOTO: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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13 Moments From The 2024 GRAMMYs You Might Have Missed

From Killer Mike's trifecta to excitement about Beyoncé, the 66th GRAMMY Awards candid moments between music’s biggest stars.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 06:35 pm

The 2024 GRAMMYs have come and gone, but viewers haven’t stopped talking about their favorite highlights from the show. But between backstage, the red carpet and on the show floor itself, there were plenty of candid moments between music’s biggest stars that rival the biggest performances. 

The internet has already taken off running with some of the night’s best underseen GRAMMY moments —  from Miley Cyrus’ red carpet randomness to Flavor Flav linking up with boygenius and Dua Lipa bringing her dad as her date. Here are a few of our favorite GRAMMY moments you might have missed.

Taylor Swift & Jack Antonoff Linked Up With Boygenius Backstage

Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff with boygenius backstage 2024 GRAMMYs

The boys were big at the GRAMMYs, winning three trophies, and fellow winners Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff had to join in on the fun! The group posed with their golden gramophones backstage. 

…And So Did Flavor Flav?

The Public Enemy rapper posed for photos with boygenius, writing "Getting educated on the genius of Boy Genius." He wasn’t the only one coming to class — Troye Sivan snuck in for the photo op too.

Miley's iPhone Confusion On the Red Carpet

"iPhones? What the hell?!" Before winning two GRAMMYs later that night, including Record of the Year, Miley’s surprise at cell phone photographers on the red carpet immediately went viral. What can we say, she’s just being Miley! 

Noah Kahan Brought His Mom

How sweet is Noah Kahan?The Best New Artist nominee decided to bring his own mother as his GRAMMYs date. If there was a GRAMMY for best son, he’d take it home easily. 

Tyla’s Parents Almost Upstaged Her

Kahan wasn’t the only GRAMMY nominee with parents in tow. After 22-year-old Tyla won Best African Performance, she told journalists backstage "My father already told me that it’s going in his room." Now that’s one proud papa! 

Killer Mike Celebrates A GRAMMY Trifecta

"Atlanta it’s a sweep! Atlanta it’s a sweep!!" Killer Mike couldn’t help but hide his excitement as he collected not one, not two, but three GRAMMYs during the Premiere Ceremony. 

Taylor Swift Fixes Lana Del Rey’s Hair On Red Carpet

Hours before paying tribute to her friend and collaborator in her Album Of The Year acceptance speech, Taylor Swift wanted to make sure Lana Del Rey’s beautiful black ensemble was just right on the red carpet. Giving Goth Loretta Lynn realness is easier with a bestie by your side!  

Ice Spice Meets Jay-Z And Beyoncé

She’s really In Ha Mood! The pop-rap princess and Best New Artist nominee was totally fangirling upon meeting Queen Bey herself, resplendent in a white wig and cowboy hat. A dream come true! 

Terry Crews And Jon Batiste Chop It Up

A late night pro and a former football star may seem like an odd couple, but Jon Batiste and actor Terry Crews got along pretty well. Batiste, a previous Album Of The Year winner and a nominee this year, also performed during the ceremony

Jay-Z Sips Cognac From His Global Impact Award

So much for a gold sippy cup! With Blue Ivy nearly grown, Jay-Z was able to keep his Dr. Dre Global Impact Award all to himself. He was seen sipping D’Ussé from the special black gramophone in celebration. 

Joni Mitchell Wins Best Folk Album

Before giving an astonishing, first-ever GRAMMYs performance during the GRAMMYs TV ceremony, Joni Mitchell collected a golden gramophone of her own, winning Best Folk Album during the Premiere Ceremony — 50 years after her first win. 

Lil Uzi Vert Hangs With Jay And Bey

As music’s most famous couple attempted to make a stylish exit, Lil Uzi Vert decided to join them! The Philly rapper could be seen sauntering between Hov and daughter Blue Ivy Carter as the Carter-Knowles clan left the arena. 

Celine Dion Makes A Bold Entrance Backstage

Even for a night filled with icons, none were so legendary as Celine Dion. The singer looked resplendent as she arrived backstage ahead of presenting the GRAMMY for Album Of The Year

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9 Ways Women Dominated The 2024 GRAMMYs
Taylor Swift, SZA and Lizzo attend the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena on February 04, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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9 Ways Women Dominated The 2024 GRAMMYs

From Taylor Swift and Tyla's historic wins, to Miley Cyrus' first GRAMMYs and Joni Mitchell's first performance, the 66th GRAMMY Awards put ladies first.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 12:01 am

Women shined particularly bright at Music's Biggest Night this year. As Trevor Noah put it in his monologue: "There’s a band that has already won today called boygenius, it’s three women. That’s how good a year it is for women."

Beyond boygenius' first GRAMMY wins, the conversation about female artists' legacy at the 2024 GRAMMYs had been building since the nominations were announced, when it was revealed that seven of the eight nominees for Album Of The Year were women. The majority of the performers for the 66th GRAMMY Awards were also women, including the legendary Joni Mitchell, Billie Eilish, SZA, and Dua Lipa. And several female artists were on the precipice of making history (chief among them, Taylor Swift, who later became the first ever four-time winner of Album Of The Year.

The results of the ceremony were no less centered on the ladies. At the Premiere Ceremony, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus won three of the six Rock Categories for their work as boygenius. Lainey Wilson nabbed Best Country Album, Joni Mitchell won Best Folk Album, and Victoria Monét won Best R&B Album and Best New Artist. Gaby Moreno, Karol G and Tyla nabbed trophies as well.

As the night went on, that tally continued. In fact, other than Producer Of The Year and Songwriter Of Year, a woman won every category in the General Field, including Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" winning Song of the Year and Taylor Swift's Midnights pulling off the big fourth Album Of The Year win.

From every corner of the room, Music’s Biggest Night was filled with powerful women taking the spotlight. Here are eight moments where women ruled the 2024 GRAMMYs — with no sign of this reign ending.

Taylor Swift Hits Lucky Number 13 (And 14, Too)

While it’s true that Taylor Swift’s name has been at the center of what feels like 98 percent of music in the past year, and that continued at the 2024 GRAMMYs. Much speculation ahead of the 66th GRAMMY Awards came down to whether she would make history by winning her fourth Album Of The Year award.

Adding to the excitement, the iconic Celine Dion surprised the world and took the stage to announce the winner for the night’s final award, and it happened: "Taylor Swift."

Rather than bask in her own glory, Swift seemed shocked, fumbling to get a high-five and hug connected with close friend and uber-producer Jack Antonoff. And her acceptance speech made it clear that while she appreciated and was honored by the award, she wasn’t about to rest on any laurels, no matter how massive they may be.

"I would love to tell you that this is the best moment of my life, but I feel this happy when I finish a song, or when I crack the code to a bridge I love, or when I'm shot-listing a music video, or when I'm rehearsing with my dancers or my band, or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a show," she said. "For me the award is the work. All I wanna do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much, it makes me so happy."

True to that word, the evening also featured Swift announcing a new album — after Midnights won Best Pop Vocal Album (her lucky number 13th GRAMMY) earlier in the night, Swift made the surprise announcement that she’d be releasing her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, on April 19.

There was something inspiring, too, about the way Swift got to the stage — practically yanking Lana Del Rey from her seat at the same table, demanding she join her onstage. "I think so many female artists would not be where they are and would not have the inspiration they have if it weren’t for the work that she’s done," Swift told the assembly. "She’s a legacy artist, a legend in her prime right now."

Always a booster of other women in the industry, of course she had to share the spotlight even with her history-making fourth Album Of The Year award in hand.

Tracy Chapman Returns To The GRAMMY Stage

Sure, it was Luke Combs nominated for Best Country Solo Performance, but he made it crystal clear that he was there because of Tracy Chapman.

"That was my favorite song before I even knew what a favorite song was," he said in a video package prior to his performance, evocatively describing trips in his dad’s pickup truck, Chapman’s self-titled debut on the cassette player. Combs loved the song so much, he explained, that he wanted to put a cover of it on his 2023 album, Gettin' Old.

He went on to laud its universal appeal, the way Chapman’s chorus gets full-throated sing-alongs no matter the listener’s background — a powerful message, considering that Combs’ recording winning the Country Music Awards' Song Of The Year award made Chapman the first Black woman to receive that honor. "To be associated with her in any way is super humbling for me," Combs said.

The show transitioned from that heartfelt praise directly to Chapman’s hand on her guitar neck, picking out that iconic acoustic riff. Thirty-five years after its initial release, there was Chapman again on the GRAMMYs stage, this time dueting with a country star clearly in awe of sharing her space, mouthing along with the lines he wasn’t singing. It was an unforgettable performance, astonishing in its ability to pull us all out of our bodies and into the spirit of music.

The Endless Allure Of SZA

"Nobody got more nominations this year than SZA," Trevor Noah announced during his opening monologue — and that was after the experimental R&B artist born Solana Rowe had already won two GRAMMYs at the Premiere Ceremony earlier in the evening.

SZA had many more special moments left in the night. She performed a section of the GRAMMY-nominated "Snooze" in a black trenchcoat and hat, and the blade-wielding rebuke triggered the transition to another smash hit from 2022’s SOS: "Kill Bill". The cinematic performance featured a squad of leather-clad woman assassins slicing and dicing a series of men in suits, as SZA effortlessly walked the stage to deliver the world’s sweetest anthem centered on homicide. (For the record, the sight of Phoebe Bridgers’ outright glee at the sight of a sword-wielding dancer standing on her table at the song’s outset has to go down as one of the night’s best moments.)

Later, she would take home the GRAMMY for Best R&B Song for "Snooze" — her tally of three awards tying for the second largest of any artist at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. SZA was handed the golden gramophone by Lizzo, the two women clearly sharing a special moment.

"Lizzo and I have been friends since 2013 when we were both on a tiny Red Bull tour, opening up in small rooms for like 100 people. And to be on the stage with her is so amazing, I’m so grateful," SZA said after sprinting onstage, having just changed out of her performance attire. The tearful, brief acceptance speech that followed showed the incredibly honest and passionate person — and performer — that she is.

Boygenius Win Their First GRAMMY Awards

For a trio of badasses like boygenius, one or two GRAMMYs just wouldn’t do. They needed an award apiece: Best Rock Performance, Best Alternative Music Album, and Best Rock Song (all handed to them by queer icon Rufus Wainwright, no less). Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus sprinted down the aisle in their matching white suits at the Premiere Ceremony, giddy, shocked, together.

Befitting the trio’s history — both together and separately — as brilliant writers and lyricists, each had their own memorable line. 

"Music saved my life. Everyone can be in a band, this band is my family," Baker said, beaming after they won the Best Rock Performance award. "We were all delusional enough as kids to think that this might happen to us one day," Dacus said with a laugh. But just two days after the public announcement that the band was going on hiatus to focus on their own solo projects, it was this quick aside from Bridgers during their acceptance for Best Rock Song that brought the warmth: "I owe these boys everything. I love you guys so much." 

Tyla Makes Africa Proud

Trevor Noah may have been the host, but he wasn't the only one bringing South African flavor to the 2024 GRAMMYs.

"What the heck!?" Tyla said earlier in the evening at the Premiere Ceremony, grinning as her Johannesburg accent dripping with gleeful shock. At just 22 years old and a month out from even releasing her debut studio album, the viral pop star was nominated in the stacked inaugural Category of Best African Music Performance, including Asake & Olamide, Burna Boy, Davido and Musa Keys, and Ayra Starr. But it was Tyla’s "Water" — an amapiano-driven pop instant classic — that took home the award.

The song had already made history, as the first South African single to reach the Billboard Hot 100 since jazz legend Hugh Masekela achieved that feat in 1968, not to mention that the song reaching number seven made Tyla the highest-charting African female solo musician in Billboard history. 

"If you don’t know me, my name is Tyla, I’m from South Africa, and last year God decided to change my whole life," she said, the glow of the GRAMMY gold radiating on her face.

Annie Lennox Knows We Are Never Forgotten

The In Memoriam segment inevitably provides some of the most touching moments of any GRAMMY Awards. But every once in a while, a truly special performance will stand out amidst the heartache. Such was the case with Annie Lenox’s tear-stained performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" from the late Sinéad O’Connor. The Eurythmics vocalist sat piano-side, a tear-like streak of glitter applied below her left eye, delivering the Irish legend’s best-loved song with every ounce of gravitas the moment demanded — and then some.

"Nothing compares/ Nothing compares to you," she sang with her eyes gazing skyward, before clenching them tight, her lips quivering. And as the song rounded to a finish, Lenox raised a fist, and spoke a simple, direct sentence that the outspoken activist O'Connor surely would have appreciated: "Artists for ceasefire, peace in the world."

Joni Mitchell Proves It's Never Too Late For Firsts

When word got out that Joni Mitchell would be making her first performance at the GRAMMYs, the global anticipation for the ceremony seemed to hit a boiling point. Since recovering from a brain aneurysm in 2015, Mitchell has been stepping into the spotlight more in recent years, but the thought of her onstage at the 66th GRAMMY Awards still felt miraculous.

But then there was Brandi Carlile, extolling Mitchell’s many virtues before introducing one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time. "Joni just turned 80 my friends, but we all know she’s timeless," Carlile smiled, noting as well that "the matriarch of imagination" had already won a GRAMMY that same evening for Best Folk Album. 

And then the lights came up on Joni, seated in a gold-framed armchair, clutching a cane with a silver cat’s head on its hilt, singing the first lines of the all-time classic "Both Sides Now." Backed by a band of GRAMMY-winning heroes in their own right (Carlile, along with SistaStrings, Blake Mills, Lucius, Allison Russell, and Jacob Collier), it seems impossible that any eye in the room could have remained dry, let alone focused anywhere except right on Mitchell, with her beating heart and sky-scraping lyricism. Even Carlile, seated at her left, couldn’t stop looking up from her guitar to smile in awe.

"Well something's lost, but something's gained/ In living every day," she sang with a soft hint of a smile, before the well of strings, clarinet, guitars, and piano brought the final chorus in. 

Miley Finally Gets Her Flowers 

With what appeared to be four outfit changes between the red carpet and the stage and a sky-high, Dolly Parton-inspired brown bouffant, pop superstar Miley Cyrus delivered her fair share of memorable moments throughout the evening. Cyrus arrived at the 66th GRAMMY Awards without any GRAMMYs to her name, despite two previous nominations, a slew of hit albums, and 11 Top 10 singles dating back 17 years — which made her two wins even more noteworthy.

The GRAMMY drought ended thanks to smash single “Flowers,"which won Best Pop Solo Performance and Record Of The Year, solidifying Cyrus’ place both in GRAMMY history and as one of the year’s most celebrated pop stars. 

The former teen star took the stage at the 66th GRAMMY Awards as well, delivering “Flowers” to a star-studded — a daunting task for anyone, even a seasoned star. But it should have come as no surprise that Cyrus would be comfortable in that spotlight, as evidenced by her joking question for the entire room (and, it seemed, viewers at home, too): "Why are you acting like you don't know this song?" 

Despite her glowing near-speechlessness at finally earning a GRAMMY, the comfortable quips didn’t stop there. "I don't think I forgot anyone, but I might've forgotten underwear... bye!" she exclaimed before zipping offstage with her brand new GRAMMY hardware.

Celine & Mariah: Presenters Make History, Too

Even when just presenting awards, powerful women were at the forefront at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. The evening’s first presenter was Mariah Carey, onstage just three days after receiving the Impact Award from the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective. The five-time GRAMMY-winner received the honor for her art’s influence and her inspirational legacy of service — and considering the ovation in the room, that impact was felt by her peers as well as the fans watching along at home.

Carey was presenting for Best Pop Solo Performance, and used her inimitable falsetto to deliver the ecstatic announcement: "And yes, this year all five nominees are women!" The sight of Carey handing Miley Cyrus her first GRAMMY (in honor of disco-tinged bop "Flowers") was, as Miley aptly put it, "too iconic."

While that opening set the stage for women dominating the show, the other bookend to the evening’s awards proved perhaps even more tear-jerking. At the end of 2023, the update came that Celine Dion’s battle with the rare neurological disorder "stiff person syndrome" had left the legendary vocalist without full control of her muscles, sometimes causing trouble walking or even using her vocal cords. As such, the sight of her walking down the golden tunnel and up to the microphone to announce the nominees for Album Of The Year felt like a special honor in and of itself.

"When I say that I’m happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart," she said. "Those who have been blessed enough to be here at the GRAMMY Awards must never take for granted the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and to people all around the world."

Dion offering those lines — that positivity and beauty in the face of unprecedented difficulty — before presenting the award that would make history for Taylor Swift felt so fitting, emblematic of the powerful women who made the evening what it was.

Check Out The Full Winners & Nominees List For The 2024 GRAMMYs