Leon Bridges, Strumbellas, Preservation Hall Jazz Band Impress at Nielsen's Pre-Grammy Party
Nielsen's pre-Grammy party, over the past three years, has become something of a must-attend even on the same night as the vaunted Clive Davis Party and CAA's power confab. While many in the well-attired crowd at Hyde Sunset Kitchen on Sunday night were there for the top flight talent -- which this year included Leon Bridges, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and one of the week's buzz bands, Glassnote Records' Strumbellas -- most were there because some of the most powerful executives in brands and music marketing turn out in droves to press the flesh.
Beneath Bob Odenkirk's massive head, which graced a large Sunset Strip billboard towering over the venue, gathered execs from some the globe's biggest and best brands which included: Coca-Cola's Joe Belliotti, American Express' Walter Frye, Target's William White, Cartier's Christine Goppel, Mondelez International's Bonin Bough and Farah Bezner and Southwest Airlines' Michelle Miller. Here, they drank cocktails, nabbed glorious passed hors d'oeuvres like goat cheese tarts and lined up before a breathtaking buffet complete with hamachi ceviche, raw bivalves and a running fountain of chocolate alongside music reps, who included: WBR's Lori Feldman, Sony Legacy's Adam Block, head of Warner Nashville head John Esposito, Sony/ATV's Brian Monaco, Apple Music's Sean Glass, Disney Music Group's Karen Lieberman, UMGD's Candace Berry, YouTube Music's Heather Moosnick, BMI's Alison Smith, UTA's Natalia Nastaskin, WME's Brodie Becker and 300 Entertainment's Matt Signore
"What this event is about is trying to bring together brands, media companies, entertainment business and the music business because we want them all to talk to each other," said Nielsen President Howard Appelbaum from the venue's outdoor deck. "The fact is that big brands believe in music, they like being associated with music and they like being associated with the Grammys." The exec noted that over the past year Nielsen has produced several touchstone consumer studies on millennials, the Chinese market and E-Sports among others "We're gigantic fans of the industries we serve, we want these industries to be really really successful, we don't pick a favorites, but we want them all to do well."
And well everyone seemed to be inside the warmly lit Hyde Sunset Kitchen with its walls made of reclaimed wood and incredible music to be had. Leon Bridges headlined, performing songs off his best R&B album Grammy-nominated album Coming Home. His beautiful soul croon recalls R&B singers of yesteryear such as Sam Cooke far more than contemporary R&B vocalists and their acrobatic vocal stunts. Bridges sweet voice was matched only by his down-to-earth persona. "It's so crazy, the songs I wrote in my mom's house are nominated for a Grammy," he said. He then proceeded to play a something based on his grandfather meeting his grandmother. "The first thing he noticed was her long legs," the singer revealed.
The treasure that is the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band played a dance-inducing funky horn set that saw several suit and gowns shake and shimmy on the space's large dance floor. Before the set, their group's trombone player recalled leading the jazz funeral last month for the late David Bowie through New Orleans' French Quarter. "It was crazy ," he said as he recounted marching alongside Arcade Fire. Another member said to look out for the brass band on Monday night's Grammys where they there joined by Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Trombone Shorty.
The Strumbellas, a six-piece Canadian band who got quite a buzz during Grammy week with their performance at the Universal Music Group party, played a rousing opening set mixing down-home foot-stomping folk with glowing anthemic pop. Glassnote's head of marketing McKee Floyd recalled when Marcie Allen of Mac Presents, who planned and produced the night's event, came to her office a few months earlier. After hearing only "ten seconds" of the band's single "Spirits," Allen knew she wanted them for the Nielsen pre-Grammy party -- presenting a knack for music that may run in her DNA. One of the set's many highlights included Allen's kids Holine and Ryan plus their friend Draper joining the band on stage for a sweet sing-along.