The 2011 Grammy Red Carpet: For some Grammy goers, the rouge rug presents the award ceremony's biggest challege. (Photo: Sonya Kolowrat)
As a result of Vampire Weekend's album "Contra" (XL Recordings/Beggars) receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album, Sonya Kolowrat, Senior Director of Publicity for the independent Beggars Group Labels, went to her very first Grammy Awards. Read her .biz Grammy diary as she overcomes her fear of the red carpet, chastises Ryan Seacrest, and parties with -- or maybe just near -- Jay-Z, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Heidi Klum and Kings of Leon.
On December 1st of 2010, I learned that Vampire Weekend was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Alternative Album category, and that as their publicist here at The Beggars Group of Labels, which XL Recordings is part of, I would attend and walk them down the red carpet. This was a pretty big deal for us -- and for our many fellow indie label friends who also had nominations. It finally felt like the Grammys were understanding a bit more that it's not always about the majors and that anything they can do we can do too.
Having everyone's hard work on "Contra" result in a Grammy nomination was like the icing on the cake of a great campaign. My own excitement in the weeks leading up to the big night turned me into a ball of nerves. Much of it was a fear of the unknown with regards to the red carpet. I soaked up as much knowledge and advice as I could from my fellow PR folks who have been to the Grammys numerous times, and the day before, myself and a few others had a little tour of the carpet and figured out the lay of the land. This really helped me know exactly what to expect the next day.
Since their the Best Alternative Music Album category would be included in the pre-telecast (ATTN: K. ERLICH + N. PORTNOW - PLEASE CHANGE THAT IN THE FUTURE!!), we did the carpet on the earlier side -- around 1pm. Vampire Weekend did interviews with a ton of folks, including CNN, Ellen, AOL, Grammy.com, Billboard, MTV, Fuse and more, however we ran out of time and sadly had to skip a bunch of quality outlets.
We then did the step and repeat photos, and that was it! Done! Phew. Only bummer was that some folks weren't quite set up yet, or not filming until later (I'm talking to you Seacrest!). Then we went in to the pre-telecast, in which they give away over 100 awards in a very short period of time. Sadly, the band didn't win, but we washed away the pain with some quick Mexican food and margaritas across the street and proceeded to get ready to enjoy the rest of the night at the Staples Center for the big show. My feet were ready for a break and it was an enjoyable "show." I was ready for the after-parties though. I needed to let loose a bit and hob-knob.
After music's biggest night, we all reconvened and headed for after-party #1 -- the Warner Music Group's party at the Soho House. It was a little tame for me, but it got a little more fun once some other artists started showing up. Jay-Z, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Heidi Klum and Seal just to mention a few. The Vampire Weekend boys had a nice time talking to their rivals friends in the Black Keys, and there may or may not have been some interaction with a Baldwin.
From there, we went to Arcade Fire's intimate hotel party. That was lovely because a) they are nice b) I am Canadian and c) they won the big one! I was also excited to see Josh Homme and his cute badass wife Brody Dalle there. I love every note of music that guy makes. At this point, our original posse of 12 had dwindled to just 5.
We rallied to check out one more party, which was being held by Kings Of Leon at a location somewhere on Sunset that I don't recall. THIS was the crazy party I think I had expected to see at some point. We arrived close to the end, but there was dancing and good times were being had. We quickly realized we weren't drunk enough for it, and it was late, so we headed back to the hotel for a quick nightcap and a little toast to the evening.
I was crushed the band didn't win, but I was very happy to be there and to have experienced the craziness and excitement of it all. I look forward to many more nominations and WINS for independent artists in future years!