Diane Warren, Ledisi, Justin Hurwitz (La La Land) and The Stereotypes production team (Bruno Mars) were just a few of the 60th Grammy Award nominees spotted at the Recording Academy’s brunch honoring nominated talent from Los Angeles (Jan. 20).
Hosted by the Academy’s L.A. Chapter, which noted 250 nominees came from the chapter this year, the annual celebration was held at the Fig & Olive Restaurant in West Hollywood.
The brunch — as well as a Jan. 11 nominees luncheon hosted by the Academy’s New York Chapter — signaled the start of the countdown to the 60th awards ceremony taking place in the Big Apple on Jan. 28 at Madison Square Garden. As nominees and their guests noshed on French toast, scrambled eggs with asparagus and additional Fig & Olive fare, many conversations centered around dressing tips to withstand the cold that has been gripping the East Coast.
Several nominees also shared what it’s like to be inside the Grammy whirlwind:
Diane Warren: The songwriter, who’s won once, received her 14th nomination for best song written for visual media (“Stand Up for Something” co-written with Common from Marshall). “Don’t think about winning or losing. There are only five songs that get nominated from the thousands of songs that get released every year. So, the fact that your song is one of them, enjoy that. It’s always better to win. I never do, so it’s ok.”
The Stereotypes’ Ray Romulus: He and fellow members of the production team (Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves and Jonathan Yip) are up for producer of the year (including song of the year nominee, Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like”). “I woke up at 5 a.m. and heard the announcement [about Mars’] nominations. Those didn’t shock me. But producer of the year?! I called mom immediately.”
Ledisi: The singer/songwriter earned her 12th nomination this time for best traditional R&B performance (“All the Way”). “It’s about staying authentic because it works — and also being open to new ideas. Right now, though, I’m stressful about getting ready for the week ahead and how I’m going to dress. My goal this time is to meet more new people and just have fun. But I would like to win [laughs].”
Justin Hurwitz: The film composer’s work for La La Land yielded a nomination for best score soundtrack for visual media. A previous Grammy nominee for scoring the 2014 film Whiplash, Hurwitz also won two Oscars for La La Land in 2017. “My favorite part of it [the Grammys] two years ago was meeting people from the jazz world and Afro-Cuban musical world — not the types of people I bump into on a daily basis working on film music in L.A. That’s what’s great about the pre-telecast. It has a very eclectic mix of so many different kinds of musicians, composers, arrangers and people who do packaging for records, which is so interesting in and of itself.”
Lisa Loeb: Her nomination for best children’s album (Feel What U Feel) is the singer/songwriter’s second. Her first was for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals in 1995 (“Stay, I Missed You”). “It’s polar opposite from my first time. Back then, it was all done in a flash. My award was one of the pre-presentation awards, as it now, but it all just went by so quickly. I think I’m much more prepared on one hand not to take it as seriously and on the other hand to take it very seriously. To really enjoy it and meet a lot of musicians, business people and creative people. I understand and appreciate how much more it means now.”
LADdesign’s Lawrence Azerrad: The creative director received his first nomination for best boxed or special limited edition package (The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition). “My wife woke me up to tell me that I’d been nominated. It had been posted online. You sort of feel like your life has changed. I’ve been working in the music industry for 25 years and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to have happen because as a designer, the most important thing is creating work that has an impact on people’s lives. To have the recognition of this honor is kind of verification that other people are recognizing it and hopefully you’re having an impact.”