Genre-bending experimental artist Beck scored the prize for Best Alternative Music Album.
Monae's groundbreaking album, "Dirty Computer", is one of five albums by women nominated for the top prize at Sunday's show, airing live at 8 p.m.
Childish Gambino's searing "This is America" became the first hip-hop track to win a song of the year Grammy on Sunday, while Lady Gaga dominated the early awards and former US first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the event. The performance definitely feels like a statement, even though the set (which, in a pre-show interview with Ryan Seacrest, Cabello said was supposed to evoke a family home - her grandmother's, I think) felt a little Broadway.
Grande's Grammy comes after six career nominations and she tweeted on Sunday: "i know i'm not there tonight (trust, i tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and i know i said i try not to put too much weight into these things. but (.) this is wild and lovely. thank you so much".
In addition to presenting at this year's show - a historic first for a Korean pop group - BTS' album, Love Yourself: Tear, was also nominated for Best Recording Package.
Hugh Jackman, an Emmy and Tony victor, won his first Grammy, picking up best compilation soundtrack for visual media for "The Greatest Showman". Black Panther won an early Grammy Award for best score soundtrack for visual media in advance of Sunday night's awards ceremony. "I see you", Monae said.
Keys told CBS news this year´s greater representation from women was "far overdue".
When asked soon after the show about the lack of female winners, academy president Neil Portnow said women needed to "step up" - now-infamous words that instantly drew outrage, and which he said were taken out of context. Regardless, the performers are Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Travis Scott, Dolly Parton, Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monáe, Brandi Carlile, Miley Cyrus, H.E.R., Ricky Martin, Arturo Sandoval, Young Thug, Chloe x Halle, Mark Ronson and Dan + Shay. He later acknowledged that it was a "poor choice of words", and his much-criticized remarks forced the academy to launch a new task force focused on inclusion and diversity.
A performance honoring the legacy of the late "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin is also expected.