Ariana Grande’s Sweetener won Best Pop Vocal Album at the 61st Grammy Awards tonight, beating out a field of competitors including Camila Cabello, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, P!nk, and Taylor Swift. Somewhat shockingly, this is Ariana Grande’s first Grammy win, and she wasn’t even in the audience to accept the award.
Although she was originally supposed to perform at the ceremony, Grande promised to stay home following a disagreement with Grammys producers over what song she would perform. She wanted to do her recent thank u, next single “7 Rings,” but the producers insisted on picking specific songs for her to perform in a medley.
In an interview, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich said that they had “multiple conversations” with Grande about performing but that “she felt it was too late for her to pull something together for sure.” Grande responded with an instantly iconic clapback: “i’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me. i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken.”
“it was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that i decided not to attend. i hope the show is exactly what you want it to be and more,” she continued. “i offered 3 different songs. it’s about collaboration. it’s about feeling supported. it’s about art and honesty. not politics. not doing favors or playing games. it’s just a game y’all.. and i’m sorry but that’s not what music is to me.”
Ehrlich responded to Grande in a follow-up interview of his own. “The thing that probably bothered me more than whatever else she said about me is when she said I’m not collaborative,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m good at anything else, but I understand artists and I can hear other artists in an artist. I don’t say to people, ‘This is what you should do.’ I approach it casually and say, hey, this might be a good idea, let’s find something in the middle.”