As the first woman to ever be nominated for best remixed recording, non-classical, Tracy Young had already made history before the Grammys started on Sunday. When she won, Young’s name was offically engraved on both her award and the notoriously male-dominated world of dance music.
Winning in a category first introduced in 2001 and beating out fellow artists including Wuki and Soulwax, Young was awarded for her edit of Madonna’s “I Rise,” with the collaboration marking a high point in the long working relationship between the two women, as Young has been one of the pop icon’s go-to remixers and DJs since they met at a Miami nightclub in the late ’90s. (Young even DJ’d Madonna’s wedding to Guy Ritchie in 2000.)
Taking the stage during the pre-telecast awards this past Sunday, January 26, in a hot pink power suit, Young gave a teary speech honoring her supporters, fellow artists and the dance music community. “We made history, ladies,” she said. “I want to thank Madonna for all the recogniation and opportunities over many, many years. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to you. I want to thank my LGBTQ family friends and music lovers who have supported my career from the beginning, and in closing, I want to thank the Recording Academy for recognzing this work. We’ve shattered the glass ceiling…together in a male dominated industry. I proudly accept this on behalf of all female producers who have been overlooked.”
Here, Young recaps her historic Grammy win.
First of all, congratulations.
I can’t believe it! I just can’t believe it.
Take me through the whole day.
I got up super early. They don’t televise the category, and I had to be at the arena around noon. I quickly ran down the red carpet, went in and sat down and waited for them to announce my category.
Were you nervous?
Oddly I wasn’t, because I felt like I had won already and to win the actual statue would have been a bonus. Being recognized on this level has meant everything to me as a woman in this business.
What happened when your category was called?
I must’ve been two miles from the stage. It felt like the walk was forever, and then I broke down and got emotional. I just feel like this [win] is for women. Moving forward, I think this represents everything changing for women. It’s our time.
I imagine your phone started blowing up.
I didn’t know so many people had my phone number. I have 200 text messages on my phone. The amount of support I’m receiving is just overwhelming.
What were some of the standout texts?
Well of course I texted Madonna, because she’s been somebody that I’ve not only aspired to be like as far as being an artist – she’s always pushing the envelope and growing and learning – but the remix was of her song. She texted back right away like, “Congratulations!” with a bunch of emojis. She’s happy. She’s super proud. She’s been an amazing support and has given me a lot of opportunities.
We’ve spoken before about how this was a full circle moment for you two, as Madonna helped give you your start and now you’ve had this win together.
That’s what made this even more special, and the song being such an LGBTQ driven song and last year being the 50-year anniversary of Stonewall. It just feels perfect to be nominated for this song. Winning is just the bonus.
So you win, you give your speech and then you’re escorted offstage. What happens then?
They take you back, and then you have the opportunity to thank people you may have forgotten, which was great because you don’t have much time up there. And then you get your picture taken with the Grammy, and then you do an interview, and then you move to another section where you answer questions from the press and then you’re free to go! You can go back into the ceremony or leave and wait for the live function.
What did you do?
With all the Kobe stuff happening, we chose to leave and see what was happening outside, because it was so sad outside the arena. My brother was with me and he’s a huge basketball fan and wanted to pay his respects and feel that moment. Then we grabbed something to eat and went to the live ceremony, and then we went to the afterparty. I was in bed by 10:30.
How was the afterparty?
We watched Gloria Gaynor, and she was just fabulous. I was just exhausted at that point. We mingled and danced a little, and I didn’t want it to end. But everything comes to an end, so we went back to the hotel, and I woke up today pinching myself.