Hours before the start of the 64th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night (April 3) and a potential win in the best new artist category, Glass Animals announced that they would not be attending the Las Vegas ceremony due to frontman Dave Bayley testing positive for COVID-19 on a rapid PCR test earlier in the day.
“I feel fine, and am showing no symptoms so far, but nonetheless it would be truly irresponsible for me to attend the Grammy ceremony,” Bayley posted on Glass Animals’ Instagram in a note to fans. He added that the rest of the band — Drew MacFarlane, Joe Seaward and Edmund Irwin-Singer — had not tested positive, but “out of an abundance of caution,” would also not be present at the Grammys at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Less than an hour before the start of the Grammys, Bayley hopped on a Zoom call with Billboard, and reiterated that he feels perfectly normal, but that not attending the ceremony was the only decision the group could make.
“I feel just bummed out and a bit shell-shocked,” Bayley says. “We took so many precautions and have been so safe, and lucky. .. but this [positive] result just came through, and I was speechless. I just stared at the result for like five minutes.”
Glass Animals’ best new artist nomination arrived late last year as their single “Heat Waves” became the British group’s breakthrough smash globally; at the time of Sunday’s ceremony, the song is logging its fourth straight week atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Tonight was going to be like — it felt like a culmination,” says Bayley. “It was going to be the cherry on top of this crazy cake that’s been built. But we still have the cake! And it’s amazing.”
Hours before the best new artist trophy is given out to one of 10 nominees — also including artists ranging from Olivia Rodrigo to Jimmie Allen to The Kid LAROI to Arooj Aftab — Bayley says that it’s a “hard category” for him to try to predict a winner, including his own band. “Everyone is good!” he says. “All of these artists in this category have released music and made themselves incredibly vulnerable in a time when everyone is already vulnerable. … I wish we could share [the trophy]! Everyone deserves something.”
As “Heat Waves” logs its fourth week atop the Hot 100 — where it set a record for the longest climb to No. 1 in the history of the chart, taking 59 weeks to reach the summit — Bayley says that he has no inkling of how long Glass Animals’ biggest hit could keep ruling. After all, “Heat Waves” sits at No. 1 almost two years after the band released it in June 2020.
“I am absolutely blown away that this keeps rising to new heights,” says Bayley of “Heat Waves.” “We play it live, and hear the response of the audience, and it’s just this explosive excitement. It’s still absolutely insane.”
Before Bayley and the rest of Glass Animals watch the Grammys telecast from the comfort of their rooms, he had one final message: “Have fun tonight,” he says, “and have an extra drink for us!”