The former One Direction star, 29, caused an upset at this year’s ceremony in February when his second album, Harry’s House, beat out competition from Bad Bunny (real name Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio), Beyoncé, Adele and Kendrick Lamar.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Martínez, 29, said he didn’t think he was robbed of the award until he saw the reaction from fans online.
“Maybe they weren’t ready for a Spanish-language album to win the big prize,” he said of the Recording Academy voters.
“I didn’t even feel like [Album of the Year] had been stolen from me until the media started saying [it] and I saw that everybody thought I deserved the prize and everybody thought it was a robbery… That’s when they kind of convinced me and I said, ‘Well, yes, it was a robbery then.’”
However, the “Me Porto Bonito” singer doesn’t hold it against Styles, whom he saw in concert in Los Angeles this year. Asked what he thought of the gig, Martínez replied, “Brutal”, meaning “killer” in Spanish.
The Puerto Rican artist added that Styles saved his ego by beating him to the award. “It wasn’t because I didn’t feel I was deserving or because I thought I couldn’t win. It was because I don’t really want to hear myself,” he said. “I know I was going to get emotional. It would have been powerful and hard, dealing with that pride.”
Martínez did, however, pick up the Grammy for Best Música Urbana Album for his fourth solo album, Un Verano Sin Ti, beating out competition from Daddy Yankee and Maluma.
Accepting the Album of the Year award, Styles said that “there was no such thing as best” and that he had been inspired by all the other artists in the category.
“S***, well s***,” he began.
“I’ve been so, so inspired by every artist in this category with me, and a lot of different times in my life I’ve listened to everyone in this category when I’m alone.
“On nights like tonight, it’s so important to remember there’s no such thing as best.
“This is so kind, this doesn’t happen to people like me very often and it’s so nice.”
Martínez is currently reportedly dating reality star and supermodel Kendall Jenner, 27, with whom Styles was romantically linked on and off between 2013 and 2019.
He told Vanity Fair of his rumoured relationship: “I’m not really interested in clarifying anything because I have no commitment to clarify anything to anyone.”