OutKast, winner of three awards, including album of year, brought former Arista Records head Antonio “L.A.” Reid up onstage. Big Boi called him “our big brother from day one. He’s responsible for our career.” Andre 3000 added, “We were 17 years old, straight out of high school, and he took a chance on us.”
Beyoncé — the evening’s big winner, with five awards for her first solo album — said her previous honors with Destiny’s Child are still special. “I really can’t compare the two. I’m happy to accomplish this myself, but we worked just as hard together on those as I did on my own.” She added that she plans to return to the studio with Destiny’s Child after she finishes her tour with Missy Elliott and Alicia Keys. She hopes the album will come out by the end of summer or fall.
In addition to linking with Tommy Hilfiger to launch a new fragrance, Beyonce is promoting her mother’s new clothing line, My Touch of Couture, which will bow around Christmas.
Richard Marx, who won the award for best song for “Dance With My Father,” which he co-wrote with Luther Vandross, had a special thanks to make. “Most of all, [I thank] my father, who I know in my heart, is up in heaven with Luther’s father opening a bottle of champagne.”
Marx added that writing the song “was particularly emotional for Luther because it was subject matter he hadn’t written about before. This was so special and personal to him, yet it became so universal. He told me, ‘This song is my “Piano Man,” my signature song.’ “
Vandross, who is recovering from a stroke, sent a statement, saying, “I’d like to thank my fans, family, and friends [and] my mother, who shared experiences in this song, who tirelessly promoted this project when I could not.”
Amy Lee, lead singer of best new-artist winner Evanescence, said she expected 50 Cent to win. “We’ve been nominated for a few different things, and I’m kind of used to seeing us up there and never getting anything. When they actually said our name, I was truly stunned.” Referring to 50 Cent’s hop onstage after Evanescence was announced, Lee said, “I expected him to win, as I guess he did. I guess he felt he should have won.”
She added that the band’s two wins (it also grabbed the award for best hard rock performance) meant she’d have to change her plans for the evening. “I wasn’t planning on going to any of these parties. I don’t feel that I fit in. I was going to go see ‘Big Fish,’ but I guess I better go to one or two and see what’s going on.”
Ben Moody, former member of Evanescence, came back to the press room separately and confirmed that his departure from the group was official. He added that Grammy night marked the first time he’d seen co-founder Amy Lee since he left the group last November. “Amy and I spent eight years together. By the time we were 22 or 23, we were completely different people.”
Tony Bennett, who won for best traditional pop album with k.d. lang, announced that he would give his award to the late Rosemary Clooney, who was also nominated in the category. “And I want to tell you why,” he says. “She’s my sister. Like ‘American Idol,’ we were on an amateur show on television years ago, Robert Q. Lewis. She won and I came in second. Six months later we both had a CBS show … I’ve been very fortunate to receive 11 of these wonderful Grammys, but if I may, I’d like to give this one to Rosemary Clooney.”
Ry Cooder, winner for best pop instrumental album with Manuel Galban, addressed the U.S. government’s invoking of Executive Order 212 to deny visas to 45 Cuban musicians, including Galban, who were invited to the Grammys. “It’s significant because it’s the first time [the government] has used this in this blanket way, including on those who have been coming here. Ibrahim Ferrer has come here five times. It’s not like he’s unknown to the government.”
He felt the denial will have a chilling effect on future music endeavors. “I have new projects, but I have to say it doesn’t include any Cubans.”
Missy Elliott, winner for best female rap solo performance, is entering the reality-show derby. “I can’t say more about that, but I’ll have some people come out with me on the road when I do this tour [with Alicia Keys and Beyonce]. I ain’t gonna blow [the premise of the show]. I want you to see it.” But she promised that the show will have its share of sex appeal. “Once you spend a long time on the road, everyone starts looking good to each other.” The series will air on UPN.
Justin Timberlake, who won for best pop vocal album and best male pop vocal performance, apologized during his acceptance speech for the Super Bowl incident in which he pulled off part of Janet Jackson’s top and exposed her breast. “I know it’s been a rough week on everybody. What occurred was unintentional, completely regrettable, and I apologize if you guys were offended.”
CBS reportedly required Jackson and Timberlake to apologize if they wanted to appear on the show. Jackson, who was to introduce the tribute to Vandross, apparently declined. Patti Labelle appeared in her place.
Timberlake’s ‘N Sync bandmate, J.C. Chasez — who was pulled from performing at the Pro Bowl after Jackson and Timberlake’s antics — told Billboard.biz he’s trying to put a positive spin on the experience. “It’s a bummer I [didn’t] get to play the show, but I get to plug the album every chance I get. Everybody was surprised, the two have nothing to do with each other. I was sitting at home watching it on TV. I wasn’t even there.
“I actually got a call from Justin, and he calls me up and he’s already bummed out about the situation and embarrassed about it and he goes, ‘I’m sorry. I said, ‘You don’t have to apologize to me, you know what you do is you,’ and he says, ‘but I’m sorry, I never thought in my wildest dreams that anything I did onstage would ever affect you.’ And I said, you know what, don’t worry about it, keep your chin up.’ You know, my whole thing is I wanted the world to hear one of my songs, and I’ll just have to get another platform.”
Dave Matthews, winner for best male rock vocal performance, said he felt the Jackson incident was overblown. “There have been tits since before there was entertainment. Such a big stink made over such a little tit. As shocking as it may be, it doesn’t seem like it deserves so much attention.”
And perhaps to sum up many people’s feelings, Christina Aguilera said, “I’m bored to be still talking about a boob.”