It was a little over an hour after the conclusion of the Grammy ceremony at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles when guests started congregating at Republic Records’ afterparty, held at the 1 Hotel in West Hollywood, a brisk 20-minute ride from the venue thanks to the sweet serenity of light Sunday night traffic on otherwise unforgiving highways. As attendees began lining up on the stairs lined with black candles by 10 p.m., the crowds were promptly credentialed and let inside.
With the backdrop of a dutiful party DJ blasting everything from ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” to Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” behind them, an array of invited partygoers munching on fried chicken sliders and fries filled the expansive space. By 11 p.m., the room started to fill up with an extreme array of personalities, including Marshmello, Hailee Steinfeld or even Flavor Flav, clock chain and all.
It was a disparate guest list that’s perhaps no more evident than the presence of both the actor Dennis Quaid and 18-year-old TikTok personality Jaden Hossler. Wearing a fur coat, Gucci brooch and shirt, and leopard pants, Hossler was flanked by his management team as he perused the scene and shouted out to Lava founder Jason Flom as he walked by.
“It’s just great to come to a party like this and see a bunch of great, fantastic people who have proven themselves in the world,” Hossler, who has 3.4 million followers on the platform, explained. “I started as a TikToker, but I plan to be the biggest f—ing rock star in the world by next year.”
Also donning a frilly fur coat was the rapper Machine Gun Kelly, tall and lanky, traversing the party alongside pop star Noah Cyrus as flashbulbs popped. Nearby, Diplo, sporting a classic beige cowboy hat, green boots and a pant and suit combination that displayed cacti and flora, posed alongside Chantal Jeffries, herself providing a counter to the artist’s screaming loud outfit by wearing a stark black bodysuit.
The crowd grew ever larger as midnight neared, presumably thanks to party-hoppers who were previously attending Universal Music Group’s afterparty, which kicked off earlier in the night at the Fashion District garden and event venue Rolling Greens.
“Today has been a little crazy,” said Darius Baptist, a creative director who frequently works with artists signed to Cash Money Records and was one of the guests who arrived at Republic straight from Universal’s bash. “Earlier today I had some fittings because I’m shooting a music video tomorrow and had to pull together some last-minute touches,” he said. “I also had to run some last-minute errands for Cash Money, picking out shirts and shoes and things like that, and now I’m here.”
Some attendees, donning tuxes and dresses, came directly from the Grammy ceremony at Staples Center, including Jennifer Ament. Her husband, Barry, scored a win for best recording package for the self-titled posthumous Chris Cornell release. “It was a great moment, I’m very proud,” Ament said of Barry. Despite the win, she was frank about one of the major stories of the weekend concerning the turmoil at the Recording Academy, thanks to the explosive allegations courtesy of ousted President Deborah Dugan. “There’s a lot of old white men in this sh–,” she noted. “We need fresh blood.”
Of course, the other topic that cast a pall over the evening was the shocking death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant earlier in the day. Despite the jovial atmosphere, many had the news at the top of mind. “I love Alicia Keys and the way she handled it,” said Ament, noting that the mood inside Staples was a somber one. “But everyone was very full of love. It was very heartwarming actually, and super inspiring.”
Michelle Marie, a television host and journalist who’s also a diehard Lakers fan, noted she was perplexed as to how she could put on a happy face after hearing the news that broke just hours earlier. “I saw a woman sobbing in the parking lot, just screaming,” she explained. “There were perfect strangers consoling and hugging each other, it was like out of a movie. I’m thinking that I have to go out and network and do what I’m doing, but how am I going to be able to? I sat in my car for 45 minutes and cried.”
As the night wound down and familiar faces ranging from Channing Tatum to Jessie J made the rounds, generations collided. Conan Gray, the 21-year-old pop star, posed with Republic Founder and CEO Monte Lipman; as did 98 Degrees star Jeff Timmons, whose first album came out a year before Gray was born, still buff and still donning a tattoo of his band’s name.
The Republic party wasn’t the only game in town, after all, and by 1 a.m., attendees were planning their next moves. Spencer Bistricer, an artist manager and A&R for Primary Wave, had a couple of options. “I’m here and then I’m going to the Sony party and then Billie Eilish is having a party. And Disclosure.”
Outside the 1, departees spilled out onto Sunset Boulevard and attempted to figure out which of the backed-up Uber and Lyfts were theirs, eventually hopping inside and onto the next stop on their list.