Women in Music 2016

Grammys 2015: A Party-Hopping Primer to the Industry's Top Velvet-Rope Events

Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Jennifer Hudson and Pharrell Williams perform onstage during the Clive Davis and The Recording Academy present The Annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 25, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. 

Getting on the guest list is only half the battle -- squeezing the many must-hit soirees into your schedule can be just as challenging.


Where: The Beverly Hilton

Who: Sting, Lorde, Miley Cyrus, Natasha Bedingfield, Patti Smith, Jennifer Hudson

What: Davis' party is by far the hottest ticket in town. (It's rumored that last year, Chris Brown didn't make the cut, while his ex Rihanna partied with Jimmy Iovine, Smokey Robinson and Brian Grazer.) The seventh annual evening will honor Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman/CEO Martin Bandier with the President's Merit Award

When: Saturday, Feb. 7 (annually the night before the Grammy Awards)

Tip: Expect the unexpected. In 2014, Jane Fonda twerking to Robin Thicke's performance of "Blurred Lines" wowed Taylor Swift, while R. Kelly headed up an impromptu conga line around the ballroom.

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Where: Sunset Tower

Who: Jared Leto, Leona Lewis, Gene Simmons, Kelly Rowland, Nick Jonas, Katy Perry, John Mayer

What: Creative Artists Agency throws legendary parties (its Sundance Film Festival shindig is the hardest door in Park City). But many view CAA's fete, now in its fifth year, in West Hollywood's Tower Bar as a hipper alternative to Clive Davis' party. "It's younger," says an insider who has attended both. "A lot of their clients weren't invited to Clive's party, so they go there instead."

When: Saturday, Feb. 7 (annually the night before the Grammy Awards)

Tip: Get in your disco nap before you go. "It goes later than Clive's party, and some of the people there will invite people back to their hotels for late-night parties," says a frequent past guest.

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Where: The Los Angeles Convention Center

Who: Lady Gaga, Carole King, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney

What: The star-studded gala benefits the MusiCares Foundation and its health and human services institution. Bob Dylan will be honored as the 2015 person of the year as the organization marks its 25th anniversary, with performances from Beck, Norah Jones, Jack White and others.

When: Friday, Feb. 6 (annually the Friday before the Grammy Awards)

Tip: Prepare to get down. During Miranda Lambert, Jennifer Nettles and Martina McBride's performance of Carole King's hits last year, guests started dancing and were reprimanded for standing.

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Where: Private Residence

Who: Jay Z, Beyoncé, Will Smith, Rihanna

What: Officially hosted by the Roc Nation family (and unofficially hosted by Jay Z and Beyoncé), this exclusive brunch was held in 2014 at a $135 million Beverly Hills mansion where parts of The Godfather and The Bodyguard were filmed (guests were escorted to the property by golf cart). Now in its fifth year, this isn't just any brunch: "Industry professionals start lobbying for invites in November," says a regular attendee.

When: Saturday, Feb. 7

Tip: Do not show up late. "They are strict," says a top executive. "I've seen CEOs of record labels turned away."

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Who: Rob Light, Scott Borchetta, Neil Portnow, Lia Vollack, Steve Bartels, Jay Brown, Zach Horowitz, Barry Weiss

What: A private cocktail party honoring the top 100 executives in the music industry? Consider the third annual event the perfect kick-off for Grammy weekend. Every year is something different: In 2013, Clive Davis was honored with the Visionary Award, and in 2014, women from the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom performed.

When: Thursday, Feb. 5 (annually the Thursday before the Grammy Awards)

Tip: Be ready to shake hands. "Show up early, leave with a deal," says a past guest.