Alessia Cara was the only woman to take home a main Grammy Award on Sunday night (28Jan18), but the president of the Recording Academy has defended the ceremony’s lack of female winners.
The 21-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter was named Best New Artist at the star-studded awards inside New York’s Madison Square Garden, and told reporters after her victory that she hadn’t expected to win.
“I know it sounds really cliche, I didn’t expect this,” she said. “There are just so many people making good music right now. None of this feels real, to be honest. I probably won’t process this for another seven years.”
She continued to thank the Canadian music stars who have been an influence on her – including Drake and Nelly Furtado – as she admitted she had fulfilled a lifelong dream by going home with one of the lusted-after statuettes.
“I’ve been pretend-winning Grammys since I was a kid in the shower,” she laughed.
Alessia was the only woman to win a main award at the ceremony but, following her victory, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow told reporters that it’s up to female artists to “step up” if they want to see that change.
“It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level,” he explained. “(They need) to step up, because I think they would be welcome.”
Referencing 10-time Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift, Portnow said she had been “kind of off cycle” this year and added: “Hopefully we’ll see her next year”.
He concluded by stating: “I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face, but I think it’s upon us – us as an industry – to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”
The lack of female winners at the ceremony came as some of the industry’s biggest stars pledged their support for the Time’s Up movement, created to fight inequality and discrimination in response to the sexual harassment scandal sweeping Hollywood.