Jhené Aiko will have a lot on her mind on March 14. Starting at noon PT, she’ll host the Grammy Awards’ Premiere Ceremony, where the vast majority of the Grammys are awarded. At 5 p.m., she’ll shift her attention to the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, where her Chilombo is nominated for album of the year.
This is the first time the host of the Premiere Ceremony has been an album of the year nominee. Chilombo is also nominated for best progressive R&B album. Aiko has a third nomination this year, best R&B performance for “Lightning & Thunder.”
The Academy had approached actress (and current Grammy nominee for best comedy album) Tiffany Haddish about hosting this year’s Premiere Ceremony. Haddish was informed by an Academy staffer that she would not be compensated for her efforts, nor would her hair or make-up expenses be covered. (When Harvey Mason Jr., the Academy’s chair and interim President/CEO learned how poorly Haddish had been treated, he called the star to apologize.)
Aiko will be compensated for her efforts, as will all seven performers at the Premiere Ceremony. All seven are current Grammy nominees. The performers (and the categories in which they are nominated) are Burna Boy (best global music album for Twice As Tall), Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science (best jazz instrumental album for The Waiting Game), Jimmy “Duck” Holmes (best traditional blues album for Cypress Grove), pianist Igor Levit (best classical instrumental solo for Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas), Lido Pimienta (best Latin rock or alternative album for Miss Colombia), Poppy (best metal performance for “Bloodmoney”) and Rufus Wainwright (best traditional pop vocal album for Unfollow the Rules).
Kicking off the event will be a performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Marvin Gaye classic “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).” Here too, all of the artists who will perform the song are Grammy nominees — Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, Thana Alexa, John Beasley, Camilo, Regina Carter, Alexandre Desplat, Bebel Gilberto, Lupita Infante, Sarah Jarosz, Mykal Kilgore, Ledisi, Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, PJ Morton, Gregory Porter, Grace Potter, säje, Gustavo Santaolalla (Bajofondo), Anoushka Shankar, and Kamasi Washington.
“Mercy Mercy Me” was one of the standout tracks on Gaye’s landmark album, What’s Going On. The album was severely under-recognized at the Grammys for 1971. Gaye’s only nomination that year was for another track on the album, “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),” which was nominated for best R&B vocal performance, male.
Bill Burr, Chika, Infante and Jimmy Jam, former Recording Academy chair, will present the first Grammy Awards of the day.
Imogen Heap hosted last year’s Premiere Ceremony. Shaggy hosted the event two years ago.
Branden Chapman, the Academy’s chief operating officer, and Bill Freimuth, chief awards officer, are the producers of the Premiere Ceremony on behalf of the Academy, Greg Fera is executive producer. Cheche Alara will serve as music producer and musical director.
The Premiere Ceremony will stream live internationally on Grammy.com. The Grammy telecast will be broadcast live on CBS and Paramount+ from 8:00–11:30 p.m. ET and 5:00–8:30 p.m. PT.