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  • Priya Thoren, Opinions Editor

Opinion: ‘The other woman’: Why Lana Del Rey deserves a Grammy but doesn’t need one

Portraits of Lana Del and Taylor Swift. Art by Isis Coyle

Feb. 4, 2024, marked the 66th year of the Annual Grammy Awards. The music industry’s most recognizable faces were in attendance, including Taylor Swift, with six nominations stacked up for 2024. Swift went home with two Grammys this year but at what cost to her musical counterparts such as fellow popstar Lana Del Rey?

The Grammys are no measure of talent, but with a room full of iconic artists, there are bound to be questionable allocations that can be attributed to several factors that don’t exclusively include talent. It is debatable whom certain awards should have gone to; Swift’s 2022 album “Midnights” won the highest-acclaimed award of the evening, Album Of The Year, running against artists who have been nominated for Grammys multiple times, many of them — but not all — having past wins under their belts. One of the artists who has yet to achieve a win is Del Rey. Does Swift have that much of a differentiating power in comparison to artists who are arguably equally as talented, or does the industry favor her at their expense? 

Producer Jack Antonoff worked closely with both Del Rey and Swift on their latest albums, “Midnights” and “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.” In fact, he took home a Grammy this year for his work on Del Rey’s album: Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical. Antonoff’s involvement in both singers’ projects may have caused a potential divide within the Grammy voting process. Individuals who were more inclined to vote due to his name were faced with multiple options. 

Swift’s frequent nominations are due in part to her constant genre shifting; she’s managed to check off country, pop and alternative categories of music. Furthermore, at the 2024 Grammys, she announced her newest project, what will be her 13th studio album: “The Tortured Poets Department.” Swift’s marketing strategy around making her album’s announcement at the 2024 Grammys was strong; millions of people, not exclusively her own fans, tuned in to the award show. However, reactions from fellow Grammy attendees that evening appeared to fall short, possibly due to the impending knowledge that their chances of winning an award were drastically slimmed, once again. 

Swift isn’t the only one with a recent album announcement; Del Rey publicized the name of her soon-to-be 10th studio album, “Lasso.” This genre shift to country may be just what Del Rey needs to break out of her undeserved losing streak. This is the strategy that has appeared to work for Swift, at least. But why are all of these strategies necessary to begin with? Awards should be given to whomever’s music had the greatest impact on the public and Del Rey is no stranger to impacting the music industry.

Fans on TikTok and Twitter are campaigning the idea that the Grammys are much more simply calculated than one would presume. A rumored quote by a Grammy voter has gone viral online: "I haven’t taken Lana Del Rey seriously as an artist since her infamous SNL performance and never will.” The quote was allegedly submitted to the website GoldDerby — a site used to predict award winners — by an anonymous Grammy voter. It’s important to note that Del Rey’s SNL performance took place in 2012. Since then, she has had an extreme impact on the music industry.

Del Rey has inspired huge names, including nine-time Grammy winner Billie Eilish. It could even be argued that the tone of Swift’s newest release is a potential nod toward Del Rey’s poetic nature. It seems that the Grammys and other award shows think that Del Rey has something to prove to them but in reality, they’ve been ignoring what’s been under their noses for the past decade, since the release of  Del Rey’s iconic song “Video Games” in 2012. 

Del Rey’s public presence has been on an upward trajectory for the past year. Her Instagram account, @honeymoon, has garnered almost 14 million followers, a stark contrast from its under 5 million followers when it was a private account. She also appeared in an interview with Harper's Bazaar in November of 2023. She is lined up to perform at Coachella this April, along with names like Doja Cat and Tyler, the Creator. Del Rey was previously notorious for shying away from events like these, but if she continues to pursue them, she might increase her odds of finally taking a Grammy home. Will “Lasso” and other future projects open the doors for Del Rey, or will she perpetually be “the other woman?” 

Del Rey’s similarities to artists like Swift, with their shared producer and even collaborative song “Snow On The Beach” (which did not count as a 20% collaboration on “Midnights,” excluding Del Rey from a nomination), will forever fall second to her deep-rooted uniqueness. Her lyricism and sound are unable to be replicated. Despite her lack of recognition from the major awards shows, Del Rey’s fanbase will not let her legacy be overlooked. 

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