René Dif recalls the moment, saying, “All of a sudden it pops up and goes: ‘Congratulations, guys! You are nominated for two Grammys!’ And I went, ‘What the f***?’” The news was met with a mix of emotions, as the band never anticipated such recognition when they first started their career 26 years ago.
The nominations are in two categories: “Song Written for Visual Media” and “Best Rap Song” for Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice’s hit “Barbie World.” This track heavily samples Aqua’s signature song “Barbie Girl” from 1997, with Aqua credited as co-writers.
Aqua’s recent resurgence goes beyond the Barbie soundtrack. The group experienced a surprising revival earlier this year, even before the release of the Barbie movie, when they performed in New York’s Irving Plaza and Los Angeles’s Belasco Theatre. At those shows, they were amazed to see younger audiences singing along to all their songs and showing tremendous support.
While “Barbie Girl” remains their most well-known hit in the U.S., Aqua achieved multiple chart-toppers worldwide and sold 33 million records, solidifying their status as Denmark’s most successful band.
The Grammy nominations come as a vindication for Aqua, especially considering their history with Mattel. In the past, Mattel filed a lawsuit against MCA Records, Aqua’s American label, alleging that “Barbie Girl” violated Barbie doll copyrights and trademarks. The lawsuit resulted in a First Amendment ruling, with both parties advised to “chill.”
Aqua’s unexpected Grammy recognition and their involvement in the Barbie soundtrack have brought them back into the spotlight, and they are currently on tour in the United States. Their colorful and playful approach to pop music, which stood out in the ’90s, continues to resonate with fans, including a new generation that appreciates their unique style and catchy tunes.