Grammys: boygenius nabs big awards as they revolutionize rock

Los Angeles, California - Cream, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Audioslave, The Highwaymen – the music industry is full of storied supergroups comprised, mostly, of men. But it's 2024, and boygenius has entered the chat.

Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker of boygenius accept the Best Rock Performance award for Not Strong Enough onstage during the 66th Grammy Awards on February 4, 2024, in Los Angeles, California.
Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker of boygenius accept the Best Rock Performance award for Not Strong Enough onstage during the 66th Grammy Awards on February 4, 2024, in Los Angeles, California.  © Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The indie rockers scored three Grammys at Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles, dominating the rock field. Member Phoebe Bridgers added a fourth prize for her collaboration with top nominee SZA.

Like many a supergroup before them, boygenius recently announced they're going on hiatus and returning to solo work, but that's after an exceptional year on the road together.

And first they got to celebrate at the Grammys – icing on the cake.

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"This is so incredible, we're just screaming backstage – it's just been a constant scream," Bridgers said as they accepted one of the awards.

Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus met as up-and-comers in the indie music scene and, tired of constant comparisons to each other as "women in rock," decided to join forces while continuing to produce solo work.

The creative venture turned into a winning bet: the trio amassed a loyal fan base with their 2018 eponymous EP, a debut – hits included the arresting Salt In The Wound and the wrenching slow burn Me & My Dog – that fused their distinct songwriting and styles to create, in a word, magic.

Calling the work "astonishing," music outlet NME gave the extended play a perfect critical score, writing it "serves as a reminder of each musician's particular powers – Bridgers' ability to spin haunting, poetic folk-pop out of beautiful simplicity; Dacus' sage and, often, wry indie-rock; and Baker's dramatic, emo-tinged exorcisms of emotion."

Fans clamor for boygenius reunion

Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker of boygenius won the Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song awards for Not Strong Enough and the Best Alternative Music Album award for The Record at the 66th Grammy Awards.
Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker of boygenius won the Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song awards for Not Strong Enough and the Best Alternative Music Album award for The Record at the 66th Grammy Awards.  © Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The artists played a handful of tour dates before peeling off to focus on solo albums.

They each experienced individual success, in particular the 29-year-old Bridgers, who found growing mainstream fame with the 2020 album Punisher and a smash tour.

But fans and music journalists asked constantly for a reunion and a full studio album.

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The band eventually got back together, announcing "the record" would be released in March 2023.

It was an instant hit and propelled boygenius on an in-demand tour that featured multiple festival appearances including at Coachella, which marked their first performances since the album's release.

The group also appeared on the Eras Tour of none other than Taylor Swift, who called boygenius' album "genuinely a masterpiece."

boygenius shines spotlight on women in rock

boygenius is shifting the spotlight on female and LGBTQ+ artists in rock, while unafraid to call out the men who have exploited women in the industry.
boygenius is shifting the spotlight on female and LGBTQ+ artists in rock, while unafraid to call out the men who have exploited women in the industry.  © Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The group's work captures the ravages of heartache with eerie, melancholic tones that ascend into anthemic choruses with cathartic peaks.

But their personas both onstage and off are winky and playful – three artists who write songs, crack jokes, and simply get along.

"Music saved my life, everyone can be in a band. This band is my family, I love them," Baker said on the Grammys stage.

They opened each set on their rollicking tour with The Boys Are Back in Town – the mid-1970s Thin Lizzy track – and a nod to their name, which is a commentary on their negative experiences in an industry, and a world, that has historically prioritized the work of men.

Speaking to journalists backstage at Sunday's Grammys, Bridgers reflected on how the industry, and rock specifically, have started shifting to better spotlight women.

In doing so, she skewered the former head of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, who infamously said women should "step up" if they want recognition. He has since been sued for alleged rape.

"To him, I'd like to say, I know you're not dead yet, but when you are, rot in piss," Bridgers said.

boygenius wants to "exist like any other band"

The members of boygenius have not shied away from making bold political statements in their careers.
The members of boygenius have not shied away from making bold political statements in their careers.  © Getty Images for The Recording Academy

One of the group's great annoyances is the suggestion that they are remarkable by virtue of being women, or because they all identify as queer.

"Something that's been really important to us is to be able to exist like any other band: to make a sick song and have that not be weighted because of all these extraneous identifiers that we work within," the 28-year-old Baker told Rolling Stone last year.

Unlike many stars who put their careers and fan bases over rocking the boat, the members of boygenius wear their politics on their sleeves, routinely speaking out on transgender and abortion rights.

In 2023, when Barack Obama added their song Not Strong Enough to his annual music recommendations, Dacus' response was less than thrilled: "war criminal," she tweeted, likely referring to criticism the former president faced for authorizing deadly drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, as well as devastating airstrikes in Libya.

When the trio won their first award Sunday, Dacus told the crowd: "I feel kinda like a kid, because that was the last time that something like this felt possible."

Cover photo: Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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