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The arrival of five-time Grammy winner Billie Eilish -- who took home the night’s sought-after best album, record, song, and best new artist accolades of the night -- set flash bulbs ablaze in the VIP section of Universal Music Group’s post-event party.
Eillish, along with her brother and main collaborator Finneas O’Connell -- who also won a Grammy for producer of the year -- posed triumphantly with Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG’s chairman and chief executive officer (and Billboard's Executive of the Decade).
The UMG party took up a whole city block of downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, transforming the plant and garden store Rolling Green into an expansive nightclub. It was already fully lit by the time Eilish proudly held court with her supportive label executives.
DJ Reflex was spinning his funky mix of hip hop and pop in the main red neon-lit room as guests dined on vegan flatbreads, Impossible Burger sliders and meatballs, kimchi tacos and lobster rolls.
Music legends such as Beck, who wore a glittery suit and brought his 14-year-old son Cosmo Henri, stopped by the party. Reflecting on the Grammys show, Beck said he was blown away by Tyler, The Creator’s performance. “He’s just perfect,” he said. “And Rosalia, I thought she was amazing.”
His son Cosmo, who admits that he already has begun dabbling in music by making beats in his spare time, said his favorite of the night was Eilish, hands-down. “I think it’s cool that she is doing all that so young,” he said.
For Jeff Harleston, UMG’s general counsel and executive vice president, picking an absolute favorite Grammy moment was hard. “Some of the performances were outrageously good. Obviously, I thought the Billie and Finneas moment was incredible,” he said. “Tyler, The Creator, I really give him a lot of credit.
“But probably the performance that moved me the most was Demi Lovato. Her performance was really courageous, beautiful, and I’m so proud to see her moving forward and she is an example for a lot of people.”
On the other hand, Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama -- who was brought in by the Recording Academy to chair its task force to examine issues of inclusion and diversity within the Academy and the broader music community -- thought host Alicia Keys was the star of the night. Tchen felt Keys did an amazing job of setting the tone for the night, despite the devastating news of Kobe Bryant’s death that foreshadowed the awards.
“I’m not sure anybody but Alicia could have carried it off the way she did by touching that emotion and then by being really uplifting,” she said, “bringing the show from a somber start to this amazing, uplifting part.” Tchen also was pleased that this year’s show also highlighted the work or younger artists, more genres of music and more female artists.
But leave it to Yungblud, who carried his studded leather jacket over his shoulder, to sum up the night.
“Billie Eilish, Billie Eilish, Billie Eilish,” he said. “She is a rock and roll star, man. I love her. She is exactly what a young artist is man and I’m glad she took everyone. I’m glad she cleaned the f--k up.”
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