Backbeat: Grammy Glam Kicks Off Celebrations, Neil Portnow Discusses Protests
Backbeat: Grammy Glam Kicks Off Celebrations, Neil Portnow Discusses Protests

Grammy-winning artists Erykah Badu and DJ Spinderella took turns as DJs at the Grammy Glam party Tuesday (Feb. 7) in celebration of the Grammy Awards taking place on Sunday. Grammy Glam was presented by CoverGirl, Olay, and Venus.

Spinderella said that the week's worth of parties takes her back to the time she received a Grammy for her work with Salt-N-Pepa.

"The Grammy is like the classic top-notch accolade for musicians," Spinderella said. "For us it was one exciting moment in our careers."

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Grammy winner Spinderella doing what she does best at the Grammy Glam kick-off party on Feb. 7 at My House in Hollywood to start a week's worth of Grammy celebrations. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)

Spinderella had advice for those who end up winning an actual trophy this week.

"Please put it away safely," she said with a chuckle. "But just have a great time whether you're nominated or whether you win. It's a moment you'll remember forever. The Grammy is still meaningful for me."

Spinderella later played crowd-pleasing music from "People Everyday" by Arrested Development to "Pump Pump" by Snoop Dogg and Lil Malik.

While the Grammy Glam party symbolized a night of music achievements, it was also a night to celebrate women in the industry.

"The Grammys is a perfect event to bring it all out," Spinderella. "It's a glamorus evening, darling."

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Four-time Grammy winner DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown a.k.a. Erykah Badu enticed the music fans at My House in Hollywood during the Grammy Glam party. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)

Producer/artist Jukebox, who produced Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair," also spoke to Billboard.biz about his upcoming projects.

"I recently did a song with Swizz Beatz and Chris Brown called 'Dance Like A White Girl' that I'm very excited about, featuring myself. Also worked on a record with Mindless Behavior that's doing very well," he said, before mentioning the night's DJs. "Two very strong personalities. Erykah Badu is one of my favorites. She's the definition of 'do what you believe,' and Spinderella, too. She's always been comfortable in her skin."

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Recording Academy President Neil Portnow walks the red carpet at the Grammy Glam event, where he talked to Billboard.biz about the planned protests that are to take place Thursday and Sunday. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow also attended the Grammy kick-off party and said the Grammy Glam event was created around the theme of health, beauty, fashion and music. Other execs in the house included A&R/management vet Anthony Demby, musician/arranger Michael Bearden and LiquidThread VP Elyssa Starkman.

Billboard Power 100: Neil Portnow

While Portnow emphasized the spirit of the Grammy celebrations, he said to Billboard.biz that he was also aware of the protests that are being organized by musicians who last year filed a lawsuit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) over the elimination of 31 categories. Those protests, mostly by Latin jazz musicians and their supporters, are scheduled to take place Sunday outside of the Staples Center during the awards show and Thursday at the Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica at 10:30 a.m. (PST).

"We're fine with people who want to disagree with us," Portnow said. "We're fine with people that have their opinions. We're an open organization where anybody can be a member and join and have a voice and be part of the process. We prefer those that work with us."

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Musician/arranger Michael Bearden on the red carpet at the Grammy Glam kick-off party. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)

Portnow said that the Grammys make changes every year when it comes to categories and hopes that this week most of the focus stays on the achievements of artists being recognized for their work.

"For those who take a hard line with lawsuits and protests, that's their choice," Portnow said. "It wouldn't be my preference as a way to work together. We're all musicians and we're all in the same community. So long as they do it in a respectful fashion because that day is really about the artists and the musicians who created the great work of the year who are being honored."

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