Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Harry Styles win top prizes while Beyonce become the most awarded female artist in Grammy history.

H.E.R., left, and Tiara Thomas accept the award for song of the year for
H.E.R., left, and Tiara Thomas accept the award for song of the year for "I Can't Breathe"at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021. (Chris Pizzello / AP)

The writers of "I Can't Breathe" by R&B artist H.E.R have won the song of the year Grammy in a stripped-down ceremony aimed at moving past the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the music industry.

The song of the year award recognises writers rather than performers and was written to mark the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States last summer.

"That fight we had in us, the summer of 2020, keep that same energy," H.E.R said on Sunday, while accepting the award.

Beyonce, Taylor Swift make Grammys history

Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish also won the top prizes at the Grammy Awards in a ceremony that also saw Beyonce become the most awarded female artist in Grammy history.

Swift's surprise lockdown record "Folklore" was named album of the year and Eilish's "Everything I Wanted" won record of the year. Sunday's win made Swift, 31, the first woman to take home album of the year three times.

Beyonce's four Grammys on Sunday took her total career wins to 28, surpassing the previous record for a woman set by bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

British singer Dua Lipa won best pop vocal album for her dance-y "Future Nostalgia."

Harry Styles' first Grammy

Britain's Harry Styles won the closely-contested pop solo performance category for "Watermelon Sugar" – his first ever Grammy – defeating Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish and Justin Bieber.

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion was named best new artist and the 26 year-old known for promoting women's empowerment also won for her rap performance of single "Savage", featuring Beyonce.

She later took the stage with Cardi B for a performance of their raunchy summer hit single "WAP."

Styles, wearing a feather boa over a bare chest, and Eilish, sporting her trademark green hair, kicked off the socially-distanced ceremony, playing in a room empty apart from a handful of their peers.

Pandemic dents ceremony

Hosted by Trevor Noah, the hybrid ceremony was packed with pre-recorded and live performances by the likes of Lipa, Swift, DaBaby, Black Pumas and Mickey Guyton.

It took place both indoors and outdoors in Downtown Los Angeles but mostly without the elaborate sets and special effects that traditionally mark the highest honors in the music business.

"We're hoping that this is all about what 2021 can be, full of joy, new beginnings and coming together. Never forgetting what happened in 2020, but full of hope for what is to come," Noah said.

Live music, touring and festivals were crushed in 2020 by the pandemic but some of Sunday's awards were announced at small venues in cities like Nashville.

"Thank you to the Grammys for putting this together and letting us, at least, kind of be together," said Miranda Lambert winner of best country album for "Wildcard."

K-Pop band BTS lost in the best pop duo or group performance against Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande for their single "Rain on Me" but performed their hit English-language single "Dynamite" from South Korea at the close of the show. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies