Despite having been one of the top DJs in the world for nearly 20 years, trance king Armin van Buuren had never been nominated for a Grammy Award. That changed this year, when his longhaired dance-ballad “This Is What It Feels Like” featuring vocalist Trevor Guthrie snagged one of the coveted five nominations for Best Dance Recording.
The gracious van Buuren agreed to keep a diary on his first Grammy experience exclusively for Billboard. His day started 8,000 miles away from the Staples Center, in Bangalore, India and ended as it should: With a sold-out dance party in Los Angeles.
Saturday, 11:30PM (India time)/10:30AM (L.A.): Exit the stage from my show in Bangalore, India, another stop on my “Armin Only” world tour. After a two-hour drive to the airport in Delhi, we board the plane and here we go! But first, time to catch some sleep on the way.
Sunday, 9:40AM: Touch down on tarmac at LAX. I grab a car from the airport with my team and arrive at Hotel Wilshire about a half-hour later. I’m exhausted but excited. Have to “wash the plane off” with a quick shower, then it’s time for hair and make-up. Luckily, I keep it pretty light. How I’m feeling right now: “Happy I made it!”
11AM: Hair and make-up girl meets us in room. My team orders some food and helps me get prepped for the day. Someone quips, “Are you gonna try to hang with Beyonce?” I replied, “I’m pretty sure Jay Z would make sure I could never make it back in the country!”
11:15AM: I’m in my tux (it’s blue!), groomed, and starving! The room service arrives, and we all scarf down some cheeseburgers and coffee.
11:30AM: I congregate with my team outside to get in the waiting cars. My close-knit group from my record label, Armada Music, in the Netherlands and U.S, has been such an integral part of the success of “This Is What It Feels Like.” We all pose for a group shot and take a minute to be grateful for this very special moment.
12:30PM: Arrive at the Red Carpet a bit late. Traffic in L.A. is insane! Do a few interviews and am quickly ushered inside. The show is about to start, and I have to be in my seat. The dance music category is presented in the earlier, non-televised part of the Grammys, so it begins quite early.
3:20PM: The time comes and my category is announced. Zedd wins for “Clarity.” I’m disappointed, of course, but happy for Zedd. It was a strong category with amazing artists.
4PM: After the pre-televised show, there is a break before the big show in the Staples Center. We all walk over to Katsuya for a bite to eat. We eat lots of sushi and have a few Heinekens. We chat about the plan for my new single, “Alone,” and talk about my upcoming US tour. It’s been a long day since getting off the plane, and it feels good to sit down and relax.
5PM: Head to the Staples Center for the show. Excited to be here!
9PM: Head to the official after-party, but I’m feeling a bit worn out from the day. I spend a great deal of time on the road touring, and I know how important it is to take care of myself properly. I decide to head to the hotel for a quick nap before my gig this evening at Sound nightclub.
11:30PM: After a quick nap, I arrive at Sound nightclub to play in support of Heineken’s “Dance More, Drink Slow” campaign. I kick off my set with “Save My Night,” the song I made specifically for it. The gig is great, the energy in the room is amazing. It’s a great end to an exciting day. I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!