The 18-year-old won five Grammys, including record of the year and best new artist, at a ceremony in which Kobe Bryant, who died on Sunday, was mourned.
A big night for an 18-year-old auteur.
LOS ANGELES — The 62nd annual Grammy Awards anointed a new star in Billie Eilish, even as the mood Sunday night was darkened by the death earlier that day of the basketball great Kobe Bryant, who spent much of his N.B.A. career playing at the Staples Center, the arena where the show was held.
Eilish, an 18-year-old auteur with a moody and idiosyncratic aesthetic, won five awards, including the four most prestigious and competitive prizes — album, record and song of the year, and best new artist. She was the first artist to sweep the top awards since Christopher Cross in 1981, besting competition from Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Ariana Grande and others.
“Bad Guy,” a No. 1 hit, took record and song of the year — the latter prize recognizes songwriting — while “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” won album of the year as well as best pop vocal album. She is the youngest artist to win album of the year.
When accepting the award for best new artist, Eilish recognized the fans — even other artists’ fans, who, she said, would surely be dogging her for years.
“I love all fandoms,” she said. “You guys make this worth it.”
Finneas O’Connell, her brother, accepting with her for song of the year, noted that they record together in a bedroom in their family home. “This is to all the kids that are making music in their bedroom today,” he said, holding the trophy. “You’re going to get one of these.”
Finneas, as he is known, also won producer of the year and an engineering award.
Lizzo declares, ‘Tonight is for Kobe.’
Lizzo and Alicia Keys set a mournful and celebratory tone right from the start of the show, with both addressing Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash.
“Tonight is for Kobe,” Lizzo announced as the show began, and went straight into a bold, full-throated medley of her songs “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts,” backed up by a mini orchestra and surrounded by ballerinas with otherworldly lights in their tutus.
Keys, the host for the night, then walked solemnly to the stage and said softy, “Here we are together, on music’s biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best, but to be honest with you we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now.”
“We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” Keys went on to say. Keys then invited members of the group Boyz II Men to the stage and sang part of their elegiac song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” with them.
Lizzo, a charismatic and outspoken performer who had worked in obscurity for almost a decade before her breakout last year, won three awards, but all in lesser categories. “Truth Hurts,” her breakthrough track, won best pop solo performance, while “Jerome” won traditional R&B performance and the deluxe version of her album “Cuz I Love You” took urban contemporary album.
Lil Nas X, a gleeful master of internet memes, won two for his “country-trap” hybrid “Old Town Road”: best pop duo/group performance and best music video.
Well before Bryant’s death, a degree of anxiety had hung over the Grammys, following the removal just days ago of the head of the Recording Academy, the organization behind the awards — a clash that brought out accusations of vote-rigging and sexual harassment, and criticisms that the academy had been moving too slowly to reach its stated goals of becoming more diverse and inclusive.
Keys seemed to obliquely allude to those issues — and more — in a speech and piano medley near the start of the show. “It’s been a hell of a week, damn,” she said, as she twinkled chords at the keyboard. “This is a serious one. Real talk — there’s a lot going on.”