Singer Bruno Mars performs for guests attending the Warner Music Group Grammy Celebration hosted by InStyle at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, CA. (Photo: Vince Bucci/PictureGroup)
Warner Music threw an exclusive party after the Grammys at the legendary Chateau Marmont in Hollywood that had a staggering guest list. Along with Warner execs Len Blavatnik, Lyor Cohen, Julie Greenwald, Craig Kallman and others, the 300-or-so invitees included, according to a list slipped to Billboard.biz: A-Trak, Blake Shelton, Bruno Mars, Chelsea Handler, Coldplay, Common, Dwight Yoakam, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Estelle, Fergie, Flo Rida, Gabrielle Union, Jared Leto, Jill Scott, John Legend, Kara Dioguardo, Kelly Clarkson, Kelly Rowland, Lana Del Rey, new Atlantic artist Lauriana Maye, Lykke Li, Malin Akerman, Mastadon, Matthew Morrison, Metallica, Minnie Driver, Miranda Lambert, Muse, My Chemical Romance, Neil Young, Nia Long, Nicole Richie + Joel Madden, Omar Epps + Mike Epps, Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell, Rashida Jones, Reba McIntyre, Sanaa Lathan, Santigold, Serena Williams, Skrillex, Vanessa Williams, Victor Cruz, Wynter Gordon and Ellie Goulding . Whew! Apparently all or nearly all of them showed up, as well.
(L-R) Sunny Moore AKA Skrillex poses with Atlantic Records Group Chairman and COO Julie Greenwald, singer Santigold and Lyor Cohen, Chairman and CEO Warner Music Group at the Warner Music Group. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)
Bruno Mars – fresh from his rousing James Brown-inspired set early during the Grammys — played a 40-minute covers set. Highlights included Jay-Z and Kanye‘s “N—as in Paris,” the Police‘s “Roxanne,” Sly‘s “Higher,” Bell Biv Devoe‘s “Poison,” MC Hammer‘s “Can’t Touch This,” Rick James’ “Super Freak” and a few others – until police told them to shut it down due to noise levels. The party, sponsored by InStyle, went on into the night – and Paul McCartney was reportedly “truly getting down on the dancefloor” until it was over (sadly, no photos of that were allowed…).
Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records Craig Kallman (left) with Neil Young (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)
From left: David Joseph, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK; Lana Del Rey; Lucian Grainge, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Universal Music Group. (Photos: Courtesy Universal Music)
Far from the proverbial madding crowds on Grammy night, Universal an intimate party for executives and artists at CEO Lucian Grainge’s residence. The gathering had a Moroccan theme and took place during the show’s live telecast. Artists/celebrities who attended included Lana Del Rey, Robbie Williams, Jessie J, Chazz Palminteri, Michelle Trachtenberg, Far East Movement, Jared Leto, Diane Warren, Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed, Ludacris, Ida Maria, Sergio Mendes and Glenn Frey.
From Left: Daniel Ek, Founder & Chief Executive, Spotify; Grainge; Scooter Braun, manager, Justin Bieber. (Photos: Courtesy Universal Music)
Execs included Universal’s Grainge (no. 3 on Billboard’s recent “Power 100” list), Jimmy Iovine (no. 10), Barry Weiss (no. 18), Monte Lipman (no. 36), Evan Lamberg (no. 49), Gee Roberson (who shares no. 59), Avery Lipman, Zach Horowitz, Max Hole, David Joseph and David Foster; Berry Gordy; Live Nation/Front Line’s Irving Azoff (no. 1) and Live Nation’s Michael Rapino (no. 6); Apple’s Eddy Cue (who shares no. 11); Cash Money’s Slim Williams (who shares no. 25); Spotify’s Daniel Ek (no. 29); managers Paul Rosenberg (no. 62), Guy Oseary, Scooter Braun and Ian Montone; Lava’s Jason Flom; Tom Whalley; Mo Ostin, Michael Ostin and many others.
Robbie Williams (left) and Grainge. (Photo: Courtesy Universal Music)
From Left: Steve Barnett, Chairman/COO, Columbia Records; Adele; Rob Stringer, Chairman/CEO Columbia Records; Doug Morris, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment. (Photos: Sony)
After winning six Grammys at the ceremony, Adele celebrated with her Sony Music family at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood. Attendees included artists Kelly Clarkson, Pitbull, Alicia Keys, Marsha Ambrosius and Kirk Franklin; executives included Sir Howard Stringer, Doug Morris (no. 5 on Billboard’s recent “Power 100” list), Peter Edge and Tom Corson (who share no. 39) and Joe Riccitelli.
From L to R: Peter Edge (CEO, RCA Records), Tom Corson (COO & President, RCA Records), Kelly Clarkson, Doug Morris (CEO, Sony Music Entertainment) (Photos: Sony)
From L to R: Tom Corson (COO & President, RCA Records), Peter Edge (CEO, RCA Records), Alicia Keys, Doug Morris (CEO, Sony Music Entertainment), Sir Howard Stringer (Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation of America) (Photos: Sony)
Singer Rihanna performs at the Three Six Zero Group’s & Roc Nation Grammy afterparty charity concert benefitting Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles at House of Blues Sunset Strip on Feb. 12, 2012. (Photo: Arnold Turner)
Rihanna kept it blonde and Deadmau5 took off his head at a packed Hollywood party benefitting the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Revelers danced hard at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip after the Grammys concluded Sunday night and well into the early Monday hours. Organized by Jay-Z’s imprint Roc Nation and Three Six Zero Group, the event proved to be one of the hottest after-parties in town.
Island Def Jam’s Senior Vice President, Media and Artist Relations
The evening featured opening sets from Scottish House DJ Chris Lake, Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia and Calvin Harris. Live Nation VP of Theater and Club Programming Kelly Kapp (one of Billboard’s “30 Under 30” in 2007), Actress Ellen Pompeo, her husband (and music producer) Chris Ivery, football star Reggie Bush, and Roc Nation Partner John Meneilly, Roc Nation President and Partner Jay Brown and Roc Nation’s Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith were among those who packed the House Of Blues to catch Rihanna, Deadmau5 and the rest.
VIP sections downstairs and in the balcony featured an open bar and waitresses clad in black corsets, thigh stockings and boots serving bottles of Grey Goose and Ace of Spades with lit sparklers which complimented the fancy light show happening all night on the stage. Rihanna didn’t go on until 12:30 and only performed two songs, “Where Have You Been” and “We Found Love,” but both of them (backed by Harris) brought the house down with some literally jumping up on couches to get a better look.
Also spotted in the room: Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO, Universal Republic & Island Def Jam Motown, S hawn “Pecas” Costner of Def Jam Recordings, Island Def Jam’s EVP of Media & Artist Relations Laura Swanson, Executive VP of A&R Karen Kwak and Roc Nation management signee, singer/songwriter Ester Dean.
Foggers, massive LED displays and confetti cannons added atmosphere to all of the performances and Deadmau5 seemed to make the best use of the vibe when he went on about ten minutes before 1am. The mouse helmet was off early on, sitting beside him on the table.
Proceeds from the event were aimed to benefit the Children’s Orthopedic Center and the Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. All of the artists who performed reportedly donated their time. Tickets started at $250.
Rihanna onstage at the Roc Nation-Three Six Zero Grammy afterparty benefit for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (Arnold Turner)
Noel Lee, Chairman/CEO Monster Cable, wants you (Arnold Turner)
The Vevo Presents I’m With The Band post-Grammy party, sponsored by Nike and Fuelband, was held in Los Angeles Sunday night featuring guest DJs ?uestlove and DJ Cassidy spinning on the ones and twos for stars such as Skylar Grey, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer from The Lonely Island, and Vevo General Manager Fred Santarpia.
(L-R): ?uestlove of The Roots poses with Vevo General Manager Fred Santarpia and DJ Cassidy at the I’m With The Band Grammy after party. (Photo: Getty Images)
?uestlove showcases his spinning skills. (Photo: Getty Images)
Skylar Grey struts her stuff at the Vevo party. (Photo: Getty Images)
(L-R): Jennifer Drake, Nicole George, new Motown SVP of A&R Ne-Yo and Ledisi pose for a picture at the 3rd annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Grammy brunch. (Photo: PictureGroup)
The mimosas were flowing as guests enjoyed the ambience at ASCAP Rhythm & Soul‘s third annual Grammy Brunch today (Feb. 11) at West Hollywood’s Sunset Tower Hotel. Staged in honor of ASCAP’s Grammy-nominated songwriters and artists in urban music, the Pepsi-sponsored event brought out such Grammy nominees as songwriter/producer Paul Epworth (Adele), Ledisi and Kelly Price.
Conversations veered from off-the-record chats about upcoming projects and the state of the industry to Grammy Week events. People were still ranting about Ledisi and Trombone Shorty‘s performances at the Grammy Foundation’s annual Music Preservation concert/reception (Feb. 9) at the Saban Theatre. And Price, who hosted her own salute to R&B on the same night at Tru Hollywood, says she plans to start finding a larger venue now. The soiree, which featured impromptu performances by Anthony Hamilton and Whitney Houston-which turned out to be her last-had to turn away a line that stretched down the sidewalk: fire marshals had shut the doors to prevent overcrowding.
Also in attendance at the ASCAP brunch: EMI Music Publishing, senior director/creative Leotis Clyburn, Disturbing Tha Peace label principals Chaka Zulu and Jeff Dixon; newly minted Motown artist/senior VP of A&R Ne-Yo; rising Mercury/IDJ singer/songwriter John West (debut album is due in June) and manager Ben Riccardi, CEO/founder of Times 10 Entertainment; Leeds Levy, president of Leeds Music and ASCAP board member; and ASCAP executives Paul Williams, John LoFrumento, Randy Grimmett and Karen Sherry.
Ledisi arrives at the Grammy brunch, where much discussions revolved around her electrifying set with Trombone Shorty on Feb. 9. (Photo: PictureGroup)
Ever-dapper Shaggy strolled into the Grammy brunch with consummate style and customary shades. (Photo: PictureGroup)
Best New Artist Grammy winner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver biting the hand that…rather his trophy (Getty Images)
On a big night for Adele, she had a lot to say backstage — as did the rest of the Grammy victors. Hear what you didn’t see on the Grammy broadcast below.
Adele’s Big Night: While her millions of fans may have worried about her recovery from surgery, Adele called the procedure “a blessing in disguise.”
“Everything is so noisy in my world. I’m so mouthy, it was quite nice to be forced to be quiet,” the radiant singer, who took home a ceremony-leading six Grammys, said backstage. “I found great happiness while I was ill.”
However, don’t look for a sequel to the new Album of the Year just yet.
“Now I’m too busy being happy,” she said.
Rolling in the Phonebook: Adele may have won both Song and Record of the Year, but her producer said she could “sing the phonebook.”
“She’s got a total gift, which makes my job very easy,” Paul Epworth, who took home Producer of the Year, said backstage.
Epworth said Adele’s initial reticence to work with him was overstated.
“I know full well she liked a bunch of records that i did 10 years ago, so our tastes are more similar than maybe she realized,” he said. “We sat in a room and talked about Dr. John and Tom Waits and found this middle ground between us. She has a gift for bringing out things in producers they don’t usually do.”
The Rock Trinity: From left Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters (with Slayer T-Shirt), Sir Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen at the Grammys (Getty Images)
Ryan Tedder wants Azealia Banks and Lana Del Rey to “collide”: “I’ve been canceling a lot of more expected writing sessions to do stuff that just freaks me out that i think’s cool,” he said backstage in the wake of his success with Adele. “Azealia Banks scares me. Lana Del Rey scares me a little bit. Not in a bad way. ”
He promised a track that would include both two new artists, though he kept mum about the details.
Bon Iver’s Grammy decision: After turning down a Grammy performance, Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album winner Bon Iver wouldn’t have changed the choice.
“I don’t regret [not performing],” frontman Justin Vernon said backstage. “There were so many great people doing plenty of great music. Bonnie [Raitt] and Alicia [Keys] stole the show for me, it was like everything i needed to hear. Doing an Etta song, that was great.”
However, the indie musician said he was “thankful” for those who’d voted for him at the ceremony.
“It means a lot and makes me want to dig deeper and try harder,” he said.
The Boys are back: The Beach Boys, who showcased their 50th anniversary reunion during the show, have started recording new material at a studio in Los Angeles. Brian Wilson is writing songs with Joe Thomas; they collaborated 14 years ago on “Imagination.” Mike Love and Al Jardine hyped the new music, with Love singling out the new track “That’s Why God Made the Radio” for its great harmonies and Jardine noting backstage, “I came in late to the sessions but the recordings are on par with ‘Pet Sounds.'” Wilson simply said, “It’s a thrill to get together,” and said fans could look forward to seeing a lot of him on the road.
McCartney listens up: Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run” may be one of his best-loved solo releases, but the former Beatle had never listened back to the album until it came time for last year’s remaster.
“He did have final approval,” mastering engineer Sam Okell told reporters backstage after the new edition won Best Historical Album. “We sat down in the studio with him and listened to the whole album. He turned to me afterward and said, ‘That’s pretty good, yeah?’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty good.’ He said, ‘I’ve never listened to the album,’ so that was kind of special.”
Wonder What They Talked About: Taylor Swift (left) with Nicki Minaj who had one of Grammy night’s mosy…interesting…performances (Getty Images)
Getting the party started: Concerned that audience would not greet the opening segment with high energy, executive producer Ken Ehrlich had the audience rehearse five minutes before the show began.
“Stand up now and show me you can stand,” he implored the crowd. “Tonight you’re going to kick some serious ass.”
He earned a joking earful from Paul McCartney on the former Beatle’s way to his seat: “Who let you in?”
Getting “Layla” tips: The Best Surround Sound Album award went to Elliot Scheiner and Bob Ludwig for putting the legendary “Layla” into 5.1. Celebrated for the stellar guitar work of Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, Scheiner and Ludwig said the real hero on the project was the original producer, the late Tom Dowd. Dowd’s notes, on track sheets, were with the original masters.
“He had exactly what EQ he used and what compression, if any,” Scheiner said backstage. “I had the benefit of knowing what he did. You don’t see that anymore. Everybody thinks you’re going to steal something, so it’s refreshing.”
Bonnie Raitt goes indie: Raitt’s new album will be the first on her own label.
“It’s coming out in April, it’s called ‘Slipstream,'” she said backstage. “The answer to that question is I love the math, and I’ve been around long enough that I don’t have to start from scratch.”
Among her collaborators: NRBQ’s Al Anderson and Bill Frisell.
“We went in for two or three songs [with Frisell] and did almost a full album’s worth and some of that will come out later — [there are] four songs on the record. A lot of long guitar jams.”
Lady Gaga (left) with Tony Bennett (Getty Images)
“For me, the only thing that feels right begins with a prayer — for a woman who we loved. For our fallen sister, Whitney Houston,” LL Cool J said of the late legend. The host opened the 54th Annual Grammy Awards with a prayer for Houston.
Moments after news broke of Houston’s death Saturday (Feb. 11), the Recording Academy put together a classic tribute to the legend, last minute.
Jennifer Hudson, who looked at Whitney Houston as a mentor, belted the late singer’s hit, “I Will Always Love You,” with such passion. Hudson emphasized Houston’s vocal depth by staying true to her own, owning the classic from the start.
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Recording Academy president Neil Portnow promised tonight’s show would be “something respectful” and warned viewers that it the tribute wouldn’t be a “full-blown tribute, that’s too early and it’s too fresh at this moment.”
Early in the show, Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt joined forces to pay tribute to another legend, Etta James.
Lifetime Achievement Award winners (from left) George Jones, Gregg Allman, Diana Ross and Glen Campbell at The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards – Special Merit Awards Ceremony at L.A.’s Wilshire Ebell Theatre. (Photo: WireImage)
LOS ANGELES — Glen Campbell, Diana Ross, George Jones and the Allman Brothers Band were among those honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Special Merit Awards ceremony hosted by the Recording Academy late Saturday afternoon. NARAS president Neil Portnow, who hosted, pointed out that there is rarely a dry eye in the house at the sentimentality soaked event. This year was no exception, with standing ovations for recipients like Jones, 80, and Memphis Horns member Wayne Jackson, 70.
News of Whitney Houston’s passing lit social media ablaze just as the awards portion drew to a close at Los Angeles’ historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre. There was no mention from the stage (‘though screenwriter Steven Gaydos described an “ashen-faced” Portnow rushing out “with no comment” on Twitter) but news of the singer’s passing reverberated throughout the reception that followed.
The Allman Brothers Band who picked up ten individual trophies between them. (WireImage)
“I just heard when [partner] Mayne and I were riding over here,” said Grammy nominee Dru Bet of The Runners, who produced Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That),” . “We totally grew up on her like everybody else. It blew us away. I mean, we almost didn’t come for a minute because we were so just appalled. It was just crazy. It’s a shame, you know? She was so talented. One of the best voices of our generation.”
“It’s a tough time right now,” said nominee Mars of 1500 or Nothin’ / Smash Factory, who has worked with Chris Brown, T.I. and others. “I can’t even really wrap my head around the situation, ’cause I just seen her the other night. Faith Evans is a real good friend of mine. We’ve been working together. I actually went to an event, to Kelly Price’s event, the other night, with Faith to support Kelly Price, Whitney Houston and people that have paved the way for R&B. I seen her there, I seen Ray J, I seen Brandy, I seen everybody that was there. It was just so tragic. All I can say is, man, my prayers go up to her and her family and God bless her spirit and her soul.”
Members of Gil Scott Heron’s family accept Honoree Gil Scott-Heron’s Lifetime Achievement award (WireImage)
The Roots curating their annual Grammy Jam at the House of Blues Los Angeles. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
Despite a high-energy jam session that featured surprise guest performers like India Arie, Trombone Shorty, Childish Gambino, Warren Haynes and Shaggy, Roots drummer Questlove had other thoughts weighing heavy on his mind during Saturday night’s 8th annual Roots Jam Session at the House of Blues in Los Angeles — namely the tragic sudden passing of pop icon Whitney Houston.
“man. 4:40am & this whitney shit is still f**king w/ me. dunno why….i mean MJ was my idol & i cried but i wasn’t depressed. THIS however…,” Questlove Tweeted in the early morning hours following the hip-hop group’s performance, which packed the House of Blues on Sunset Strip.
?uestlove manning the drums, and probably tweeting at the same time. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
Taking place just hours after the news broke of Houston’s mysterious death, it was assumed that this year’s pre-Grammy Roots Jam Session — which in the past has attracted such surprise guest performers as Jay-Z, John Mayer, Prince, Chaka Khan, Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Cee Lo and Slash — would’ve heavily paid tribute to the late singer. Surprisingly, there was only one onstage rest-in-peace shout-out given to Houston by beatboxer Rahzel during the entire show. Singer Elle Varner also remembered Houston by performing a noteworthy version of the pop icon’s “Saving All My Love for You.”
Elle Varner making a cameo at the Roots Grammy Jam, where she paid tribute to Whitney Houston with a version of “Saving All My Love For You.” (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
In the minutes after the concert ended around 2 a.m., Billboard.biz commented on Twitter about the lack of a Houston tribute during the Jam Session. Not long after, Questlove responded to the Tweet saying that more artists were scheduled to appear at the show to honor Houston, but were no-shows.
“@billboardbiz we had a lot of #whitenyhouston on the fly tribute planned but all of our cameos were no shows,” the Roots drummer Tweeted.
– Questo of The Roots (@questlove) February 12, 2012
Taking a glance at the set list (see below), it appears that Melanie Fiona and Marsha Ambrosius were scheduled to appear alongside the Roots at last night’s Jam Session . According to the set list, Ambrosius had planned to sing Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All.”
The intended set list for the Roots’ session, which included the planned appearances by Melanie Fiona and Marsha Ambrosius. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
John Branca (left) with Benjy Grinberg who were honored at the second annual Primary Violator’s Manager Brunch (Phil McCarten/PictureGroup)
It wasn’t just eggs, French toast, fruit and potent cocktails being served at the second annual Primary Violator Managers Brunch.
“This is where things get done,” said Michael (Blue) Williams, a longtime music manager, who’s client list include top names like Cee-lo Green. “I’ve been managing 20 years. There’s a handful of us that know each other. But there are these other managers that … we don’t know each other, we don’t speak. In the management circle, we don’t communicate as much as we should. We don’t network. We’re so busy trying to take care of our artists, that we’re not growing ourselves. Here, we can sit down and break bread, smoke cigars and mingle. Maybe that can lead to a tour or something really happening. In fact, if you see a tour in the fall that don’t seem like they make sense? It likely started here.”
Michael “Blue” Williams of Primary Violator and Atlantic Records Group Chairman/COO Julie Greenwald. (Phil McCarten/PictureGroup)
The Saturday morning event honored music industry icons Benjy Grinberg and John Branca.
“It’s always great to receive an honor. But we’re all passionate about what we do so it really comes from the work we do,” Branca said. “I think there’s a lot of heart in it.”
From left: Michael “Blue” Williams, President of Primary Violator; Justin Shukat, Founding Partner & GM of Primary Wave Music; Peter Shukat, Primary Violator; Chauncey Bell, Primary Violator. (Photo: Phil McCarten/PictureGroup)
Sheila E. shows off her plaque after receiving the Vanguard Award from Bob Ferguson, Manager of Creative Alliances & Music Outreach for Oxfam America, left, and KCRW’s Garth Trinidad, right. She was honored for her work with the Elevate Hope Foundation, which provides music therapy to abused and abandoned children. (Photo: Melinda Newman)
Sheila E. was honored for her humanitarian work at the 4th annual Moja Moja Awards Brunch & Benefit Concert Saturday, Feb. 11, at Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills. The event, sponsored by Santa Monica, Calif.’s influential KCRW, was hosted by the radio station’s Garth Trinidad, whose nightly show features a blend of world music.
Trinidad, who is starting his 16th year as a DJ on KCRW, told Billboard.biz that he had a specific goal for this year’s Moja Moja: ” The first three years we [focused] on urban alternative. This year, I wanted to open it up…I want more in the mix, to say, ‘here’s a couple more flavors’,” he said. By adding Latin acts Mariachi El Bronx and Los Amigos Invisibles, Trinidad hoped to “get the attention of the Latino market, which is huge in L.A.”
Eusonia Records chiefs James McKinney, second from left, and Scott Jacoby, right, discuss their Grammy predictions with the brunch’s co-host Ramona Wright, left, and McKinney’s wife, Evelyn. Eusonia focuses on “left-of-center” artists, according to Jacoby, including 2008 Grammy nominee Maiysha. (Photo: Melinda Newman)
The annual event also benefits charity: this year’s recipients were Oxfam America and The Darfur Stoves Project. “Garth and I got the inspiration to do this brunch five years ago after attending a Vanity Fair brunch,” the brunch’s co-host Ramona Wright, principal at Mozaic Media and Communications. “We wanted to raise awareness for international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) when we have all these artists in town for the Grammys, most of whom are not seen on the televised ceremony. The goal is to raise awareness for good music and good causes.” Past performers have included Janelle Monae, Heavy D, Little Dragon and The Roots’ ?uestlove.
Of course, this being the eve of the Grammy Awards, the talk was on who would be the big winner. While everyone Billboard.biz surveyed felt strongly that Adele would sweep, they had other favorites, including Skrillex, Ledisi and Kelly Price.
The members of Blah, Blah, Blah are surrounded by their management and publicist. From left are publicist Jill Mango, co-manager Nelson Colon, the band’s Phil Ferguson, Solomon David, Byron Harden, co-manager Josh Kaplan, and the band’s Dario Arcos. (Photo: Melinda Newman)
Ne-Yo, with girlfriend Monyetta, at his fourth annual Midnight Brunch
at Hollywood’s Supper Club. (Photo: Arnold Turner)
News of Whitney Houston’s death broke just hours before Ne-Yo’s fourth annual Midnight Brunch at the Supper Club in Hollywood, Calif. on Saturday night, so needless to say a somber mood was cast over the event.
The singer/songwriter commemorated the life of the six-time Grammy winner, saying that the death of the iconic chanteuse was not a time for mourning but for celebrating life.
Brandy, who was celebrating her 33rd birthday, at the party with brother Ray J (right, in the hoodie). Ray J was close with the late Whitney Houston. (Photo: Arnold Turner)
“The wonderful thing about Whitney Houston was she was the kind of person that you could not keep down,” Ne-Yo told Billboard. “She went through bumps and bruises in her career, in her life, whatever the case may be. That’s human, everybody goes through it, but it’s not about the fall — it’s about the get back up. That’s what Whitney Houston was about, the get-back-up. So even in this situation she wouldn’t want us to be sad right now, she would want us to celebrate the great thing that her life was as well, as opposed to mourning her death.”
Houston’s life and subsequent death elicited emotional reactions from celebrity party-goers including Amerie, Will.I.Am, Carmen Electra, and the night’s performers Marsha Ambrosius, and Miguel, who praised the 48-year-old while taking the stage to perform a small set of his hits. “We are celebrating the life and legacy of Whitney Houston,” he told the crowd. “Even though it’s tragic, while we’re here in this room, we’re going to celebrate.”
From left: Ne-Yo (center) with Will.I.Am and Apl de ap of the Black Eyed Peas (Photo: Arnold Turner)
Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Clive Davis at the Clive Davis and the Recording Academy’s 2012 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Richard Branson at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. He said the late-Whtiney Houston “would have wanted the music to go on.” (Photo: WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — You could hear a pin drop as Clive Davis took the stage at his and the Recording Academy’s annual pre-Grammy gala Saturday night with a moment of silence in honor of Whitney Houston.
“Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on.”
After the moment of silence Davis declared, “Let the music begin!” Then Tony Bennett took the stage and delivered a powerful reading of “How Do You Keep the Music Playing” and dedicated it to Houston. “I told Clive you finally got the greatest voice I ever heard,” Bennett reflected. Next up was Diana Krall accompanying herself on the piano on “If I Had You.”
Tony Bennett performing at the Clive Davis and the Recording Academy’s 2012 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and who in the wake of Whitney Houston and other musicians’ recent passings spoke about the need for legalizing drugs (WireImage)
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said there was never the option of canceling the gala. “You could hear Whitney on your shoulder saying the show must go on.”
He went on to say that tomorrow’s show will feature Jennifer Hudson singing in tribute to Houston.
Sean “Diddy” Combs spoke about Whitney Houston’s “beautiful smile” and “grandma hugs that shook your whole body.” (Photo: WireImage)
Sir Paul McCartney performing onstage during the 22nd Annual MusiCares Benefit Gala Honoring Paul McCartney at the Los Angeles Convention Center. (Photo: WireImage)
Few events bring out more music industry executives than the annual MusiCares Person of the Year gala during Grammy Week, and Friday night’s event went beyond expectations as 2,800 people packed into the Los Angeles Convention Center to witness a tribute to Paul McCartney.
As a show it was exceptional. “Probably the best ever — and I have been to a couple dozen of these,” Nederlander Concerts CEO Alex Hodges told Billboard.biz. He should know, having a concert career that dates back to co-managing Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers Band in their early days.
From left: Chairman of Sony Corp. Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman of Universal Music Group Doug Morris, CBS President/CEO Leslie Moonves, Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow. (Photo: WireImages)
The attraction of McCartney certainly shot up attendance — as well as money raised for MusiCares, which pulled in $6.5 million from the event — but throughout the pre-show silent auction and in the main room, the industry schmooze was in full force, with a huge percentage of Billboard’s “Power 100” players in the house.
Sony Music CEO Doug Morris (no. 5) and Sony/ATV’s Marty Bandier (no. 4), who was hunting for some last-minute auction items to bid on, were making each other smile; CAA’s Rob Light (no. 7) chatted with manager Andy Gould; AEG’s Randy Phillips (no. 15) was in deep conversation with veteran producer/A&R exec Lorne Saifer; and RCA’s Tom Corson and Peter Edge (who share no. 41) were huddling with Sony Pictures’ Lia Vollack (no. 51).
Legendary singer Tony Bennett performing onstage during the 22nd Annual MusiCares Benefit Gala honoring Sir Paul McCartney held at Los Angeles Convention Center. (Photo: WireImage)
As the assembled crowd made its way from the auction room to the main ballroom, 20th Century Fox’s Robert Kraft was walking in with songwriter/producer Dr. Luke (no. 30) while Michael Jackson estate masters Jeff Jampol and John Branca (no. 72) followed. Producer Don Was, still getting adjusted to his role as the new president of Blue Note was on hand, having just finished the mix of a track for a new John Mayer album.
(L-R)Ziffren Brittenham Partner John Branca, Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek outside the Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon and Scholarship Presentation Friday. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.–Backstage, before Spotify CEO Daniel Ek did a keynote interview for the entertainment legal community at the Beverly Hills Hotel today, he predicted that income from his streaming service would equal that of Apples iTunes in two years.
Despite his many statements about his company’s potential, the boyish-looking Swede has a certain nonchalance in his speaking voice that makes one wonder if he realizes how crucial Spotify could be to the music industry. It certainly was not lost on attorney John Branca, who reacted with the passion of man who has a full grasp on what’s at stake - the ability to monetize subscription services.
“I hope he’s so successful at signing up customers that he gets there in one year,” he said, his smile growing larger as he counted down more ways that Spotify could be successful.
Daniel Ek onstage being interviewed about the future of Spotify. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)
Ek was interviewed at the Grammy Foundation’s 14th annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon and Scholarship Presentation at the Beverly Hilton, where he explained his company’s history and anticipation about its growth.
(L-R) Neil Portnow, John Branca and Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert pose with Branca’s Service Award. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)
Among his predictions and observations:
People continue to listen to music via Spotify nine months after release.
Their goal is to create “the most artist-friendly tool there is” and “build tools for the industry.” Soon it may be possible to track how a song grew in popularity and trace it back to the handful of people who were first on board with it.
Spotify pays 60 percent to 70 percent of its income to the music industry.
Users of social media are three times as likely to pay for a music service than non-users, which led them to partner with Facebook.
After Ek’s interview, Howard Weitzman presented Branca, a partner in the law firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP and former board chair of the MusiCares, with the 2012 Service Award.
Branca, speaking to a room that included his firm’s lawyers, past honorees Joel Katz and Jay Cooper, and Kobalt’s Willard Ahdritz, focused on being driven by passion for music. A fan of Elvis Presley, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Berry Gordy and the Beach Boys, he related two stories that greatly affected his career.
Singers Mike Love of The Beach Boys (L) and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 perform onstage during The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards rehearsals at Staples Center on Thursday. (Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage)
The Beach Boys, Maroon 5 and Foster the People rehearsed their three-song performance for Sunday’s Grammy ceremony. Rather than give a play-by-play of what you’ll see on Sunday night, we’ll share these observations:
* Al Jardine, the guitarist who left the Beach Boys to attend dentistry school only to soon rejoin the band, sort of looks like a dentist.
* Come Sunday, do not try to count how many people are on stage. Figure there are eight non-Beach Boys, five once and future Beach Boys, Brian Wilson’s full ensemble and perhaps a few you can’t identify. It’s crowded up there.
* David Wild, who writes the Grammy show, tweeted from one of the best seats in the house during rehearsals. Keep track at @wildaboutmusic.
Larry Vallon, Senior Vice President, National Booking at AEG Live with Quint Davis, president of Festival Productions Inc./New Orleans and the producer and director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage)
* Adam Levine + a Beach Boys classic = teenage longing. Marc Foster + a Beach Boys classic = vulnerability exposed.
Show producer Ken Ehrlich with Beach Boy Mike Love (Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage)
* If it all comes off and resembles the Beach Boys as heard on record, not enough credit will be heaped on two people America does not know, Darian Sahanaja and Scott Bennett, the musicians in Wilson’s band who have guided his comeback.
* A reunion tour is definite, but it is highly unlikely an announcement about dates will emerge in the midst of Grammy coverage.
* “Good Vibrations” is looking more and more like rock ‘n’ roll’s most timeless tune.
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys rehearsing. (Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage)
Continent hopping: Fresh off the plane from MIDEM in France, BMG Rights Management CEO Hartwig Masuch (left) and BMG Rights Management COO of North America Laurent Hubert enjoy the show. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)
The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am took advantage of Grammy Week by throwing the first annual benefit concert for his i.am angel Foundation at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Palladium on Feb. 9.
In addition to guest speakers that included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, the concert featured performances by will.i.am, Stevie Wonder, Ne-Yo, Coco Lee and K’naan.
The theme of last night’s benefit — which included an open bar, hors d’oeuvres aplenty and an unusual amount of 25-year-olds in miniskirts, even for Hollywood — centered on will.i.am’s mission to help young students from his East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Villaraigosa, who also originally hails from the area, joked that he actually went to school with will.i.am’s uncle, and described the BEP member as having “a heart of an angel.” Will.i.am also gave shout-outs to Interscope Records chief Jimmy Iovine and the label for allowing him to fulfill his dreams.
Interscope Records chief Jimmy Iovine, who was honored Feb. 8 at the 5th annual Producers & Engineers Wing Event, walks through the crowd during a performance. Earlier in the evening Iovine got a shout-out from will.i.am, who said that his career wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the record label exec and Interscope. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)
Other guests in attendance at last night’s concert included Iovine, BMG Rights Management CEO Hartwig Masuch, BMG Rights Management COO of North America Laurent Hubert, singer LeAnn Rimes, American Express regional VP/GM Angel G. Maroto, Villaraigosa and the Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo and apl.de.ap.
Loungin’ around at will.i.am’s first i.am agel benefit concert. Left to right: American Express regional VP/GM Angel G. Maroto (gray sweater), Toms Shoes VP of partnerships Andy Salzer (black-framed glasses), and Revolve Clothing COO David Pujadas. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)
Iovine was seen meandering through the crowd directly in front of the stage during the performances, while BMG’s Masuch lounged on the white leather couches set up on floor inside the Hollywood Palladium. And although the evening featured upbeat performances from the likes of Coco Lee, K’naan and Ne-Yo, the hands-down highlight of the show was a medley from Wonder that included such classics as “Superstition,” “Sir Duke” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”
Sponsors of the benefit concert included BMG, American Express, Interscope, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, the Robert Roche Family and others.
Sharing Her World: Mary J. Blige performing at the (Belvedere) RED Pre-Grammys Party at Hollywood’s Avalon. (Photo: Wire/Image)
HOLLYWOOD — On Thursday night, Mary J. Blige sang with even more of a purpose than she usually does.
The Grammy-winner ran through a 10-song set at a private show at the Avalon that was streamed online via Facebook, before an audience that included industry vets like Andre Harrell and Vincent Herbert – but the purpose was to help raise funds for programs to fight HIV/AIDs in Africa (find more information on the program here).
Musician Sheila E. (aka Sheila Escovedo) laying down beats at the (Belvedere) RED Pre-Grammys Party.
The pre-Grammy event was a celebration of (RED) teaming up with Belvedere, and before she changed out of a shimmery gold dress and slipped into an all-black performance outfit, Blige told Billboard.biz that it was her responsibility to support such an effort.
On a less somber note, Blige also made no qualms about who she was tossing her support behind for Sunday’s big night: without question, she said, it’s Adele.
Skrillex (aka Sonny Moore), Best New Artist Grammy nominee, skrillifying the crowd. (Photo: WireImage)
“I keep saying I just love Adele. I hope that she tears the house down,” she said. “I’m an Adele fan. I love what she’s done this year. Her album is amazing. She’s amazing. And I’m just rooting for her. You really want that one person to get what they deserve. Finally.”
“When I said ‘no more drama,’ it seemed like drama started coming from everywhere,” she told the standing-room only crowd.
The concert was the first in a series that RED and Belvedere will be staging. Blige told Billboard.biz that she’s a big fan of intimate shows because she gets to just focus on the music, and less the pomp and circumstance.
“Intimate shows are better for me because I get to really, really touch my fans. And I get to really connect on so many levels. This is the only time that we get to lay it down. Right here we can just let it all go,” she said.
And let go, she did.
Getting the party started (from left) Rafael Saadiq, Raquel Davis, Estelle and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa meet up at the Getty House for the Delta Air Lines pre-Grammy party. (Photo: Joe Scarnici)
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa set the tone for the pre-Grammy Delta Air Lines party.
“L.A. is a music town,” Villaraigosa said Thursday night as he greeted his guests at the Getty House, the official residence of the mayor. “This is the music capital of the United States.”
With those words, hundreds danced the night away and music industry vets such as Quincy Jones and artists from Patti Austin to Estelle and Christina Milian and “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet took time to enjoy an evening themed around celebrating the Grammys as Delta executives greeted the partygoers.
Cristina Milian checks out the model airplane at the Getty house during the Delta Air Lines party in Los Angeles. (Photo: Joe Scarnici)
One of the evening’s highlights was a performance by Grammy-winning singer Raphael Saadiq who took some time from his tour with Lenny Kravitz to perform a set for the crowd opening with a soulful “Heart Attack.”
Earlier in the evening, Saadiq told Billboard.biz that he was immediately going back on the road after his appearance, but was already starting to think about a new album for release later this year.
“It’s probably not going to be ’60s inspired,” Saadiq said. “I’ve already done that and I think it’s time to try something different.”
Raphael Saadiq’s managers Damian Smith (left) and Ron Beckham (center) with their star client during the Delta Airlines event in Los Angeles. (Photo: Justino Aguila)
Patti Austin took time out to talk about one of several projects she’s currently working on.
“I’m on my way to Germany to start mixing an Ellington project as a live performance,” the singer said. “It was responsible for one nomination and one win of a Grammy and so we went back and did another project.”
Austin said that she was once anti-awards until she realized that awards like the Grammys promote the industry.
“It’s very subjective,” Austin said. “When I was nominated I had my very pragmatic attitude about winning and then they called my name and I became like Kanye. I went completely bananas. It was my 8th nomination.”
Villaraigosa said that he he’s going to be rooting for many artists but he believes that Adele is going to dominate the Grammys on Sunday.
“Adele is going to steal the show,” Villaraigosa predicted. “I think Adele is going to do it. She’s just phenomenal and she’s going to walk away with a lot of Grammys.”
Raphael Saadiq performs at the Delta Air Lines party where he performed a set that got the crowd dancing as they celebrated music at the pre-Grammy event. (Photo: Joe Scarnici)
A Star is Born: L.P., a.k.a. Laura Pergolizzi (left) with Tamzin Brown, an actress and filmmaker. L.P. is best known for the song “Into the Wild” featured in a CitiBank commercial, blew away attendees at the Grammy week event One Night Only: A Celebration of the Live Music Experience at L.A.’s Saban Theatre. (Photo: Phil Gallo)
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The goal of the Grammy Foundation in its ambitious program One Night Only: A Celebration of the Live Music Experience was undoubtedly to commemorate the history of the concert. What no one counted on was the arrival of a budding star to watch.
The ubiquitous President/CEO of The Recording Academy Neil Portnow (left) with TV personality Sharon Osbourne, and musician Bret Michaels attend The GRAMMY Foundation’s 14th Annual Music Preservation Project at the Saban Theatre on February 9, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Michael Kovac/WireImage)
The Foundation divided its Thursday night program into a celebration of nightclubs, landmark festivals and a classic-rock arena act, Poison, and had an array of modern recording artist emulate the past –Trombone Shorty and Dave Koz as a ’40s jazz act, Ledisi tapping Billie Holiday with “Good Morning Heartache,” Jonny Lang as Jimi Hendrix and Beverly McClellan as the Jefferson Airplane and Otis Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival. Robert Cray and Mavis Staples were allowed to portray their own histories, he with “Smoking Gun” and she with a medley of a very funky version of “God Bless the Child” and the Staple Singers “I’ll Take You There.”
Good as all those performances were — and hearing Trombone Shorty hold a note on a trumpet for an eternity is something to behold — it was an unknown female singer, recently signed to Warner Bros and best known for a song on a commercial, who got the audience on its feet inside the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills and then talking in accolades at the after-party. Her name is L.P.
“Awesome – blew it up” was the quick assessment of Kevin Lyman, creator and booker of the Vans Warped Tour.
“She blew me away completely,” said Susan Marshall, president of the Recording Academy’s Memphis chapter. “She was completely immersed and lost in delivering her own song and this song we know so well [Radiohead’s “Creep”]. You have to be completely lost in the music to deliver something that special. It made me cry and I don’t cry easily.”
Marshall was hardly alone in her assessment as the lobby area of the Saban Theater was filling quickly while Bret Michaels was wrapping up the two-hour show with a set of Poison hits. L.P. was stationed at the bar where well-wishers were offering a stream of congratulations, asking for photographs and saluting her with a beverage and a hearty salutation.
L.P. is Laura Pergolizzi, a petite young woman with curly dark hair that falls over her eyes in a manner reminiscent of mid-’60s Bob Dylan. She is best known for the song “Into the Wild” that is featured prominently in a CitiBank commercial. “I was a little bit concerned about having a song in a commercial, but I had never done it,” she said before the show, which was hosted by Sharon Osbourne and Steve Vai.
It has led to people knowing her unique voice if not her name. L.A. Reid signed her to Island Def Jam six years ago and she contributed a fair number of co-writes but left the label before recording. She co-wrote Rihanna’s “Cheers” and worked for awhile in 2010 and 2011 with RedOne before parting ways. She says a live EP is on the way before the full album, which is planned for late this year.
Singers Ledisi and Mavis Staples perform during The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards – Music Preservation Project at Saban Theatre on February 9, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
The music for her proper debut, she tells Billboard.biz, is “pretty much in keeping with ‘Into the Wild.’ We’re really going in that direction.”
The question for Warner Bros. will naturally be whether they can capture on record the spirit that enthralled the crowd at the Saban, which is made up largely of Grammy Foundation members, sponsors such as Seagate storage devices and fans who forked over $25 for tickets.
L.P. provided an ironic twist to the night, which included celebrations of venues such as the Savoy, Troubadour and Apollo, plus the Monterey Pop Festival and Queen’s set at Live Aid. Despite being one of the least-known performers, she was one of the few currently signed to a major label. Cray will begin recording his next album in March for the Dutch label Mascot; Dave Koz is Grammy-nominated for his debut on Concord Records, the label that released Lang’s most recent album. Grammy winner Shelby Lynne, who paid tribute to the Grand Old Opry with George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” has her own label Everso Records.
Running the label, which released Lynne’s “Revelation Road” late last year, falls to the country singer’s manager Elizabeth Jordan. “By hiring the right people to the right things makes it possible,” Jordan said with Lynne adding that having her own label was “the natural thing to do.” “At a label people want to work with the artists but when you’re picking the people for a project, everyone is passionate and works a little bit harder.”
That’s the sort of enthusiasm L.P. is hoping for at Warner.
(L-R) President/CEO of The Recording Academy Neil Portnow, Recording Academy Chair of the Board of Trustees George J. Flanigen IV, and Dawn Hull attend The GRAMMY Foundation’s 14th Annual Music Preservation Project at the Saban Theatre on February 9, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Michael Kovac/WireImage)
Left to right: Senior director of education at the Grammy Foundation David Sears; Ford Motor Company fund director Pamela Alexander; Grammy Foundation senior VP Kristen Madsen; Anthony Hamilton; president/CEO of the Grammy Foundation Neil Portnow; Esperanza Spalding; Terri Lyne Carrington; and Grammy Foundation VP Scott Goldman. (Photo: WireImage)
The third annual Grammy in the Schools Live! concert featured not only a positive message about the importance of music in high schools, but also stellar performances by Anthony Hamilton, Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington, who were backed onstage by a slew of student alumni from Grammy Camp and Grammy Signature Schools.
Producer John Burk (left) and musician Dave Koz (right) join Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow at the event. (Photo: WireImage)
Sponsored by Ford Motor Company and the Starkey Hearing Foundation, and hosted by 94.7 the Wave’s Pat Prescott, the Feb. 8 event — held at the Grand Ballroom on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles — stressed the importance of musical education in schools and the efforts being made on behalf of the Grammy Foundation’s Grammy Camp.
“Music and the arts are still among the first subjects that make their way to the final line for the chopping block,” Grammy Foundation and MusiCares senior VP Kristen Madsen told the crowd of a couple hundred people. “We not only want music in our schools, we need music in our schools.”
Best New Artist Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding jams with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and Grammy Camp student alumni during the Feb. 8 Grammy in the Schools Live! concert at USC’s Grand Ballroom. The musicians played songs from Carrington’s latest album, The Mosaic Project. The drummer noted during her performance that she came to the event prepared to play on whatever drums were on hand. She was provided with Peter Erskine drumsticks. Coincidentally, Erskine was in the audience. (Photo: WireImage)
The camp — a 10-day residential program in Los Angeles (July 14-23) and an eight-day residential program in New York (Aug. 6-13) and Nashville (June 17-24) — is intended to give high school students first-hand training in a number of music industry professions, taught by previous Grammy Award winners and other music business leaders.
During the event, which featured numerous original song performances by students who’ve participated in past Grammy Camps, Prescott noted that many of the program’s alumni have gone on to work alongside such artists as Gavin Degraw, Terence Blanchard and the New York Philharmonic.
Honorees Sylvia Rhone, former Motown chief, and rising icon Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child fame. (Photo: 2012 A Turner Archives)
Grammy Week revved up in earnest last night (Feb. 8) with two key events; the Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing event honoring Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine, and Essence’s third annual Black Women in Music celebration. The latter invitation-only event, staged at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles, recognized the career accomplishments of pioneering industry executive/former Motown chief Sylvia Rhone and current Grammy nominee Kelly Rowland.
Sylvia Rhone with Epic Records chief and “X Factor” judge L.A. Reid. (Photo: 2012 A Turner Archives)
The art deco Belasco provided the perfect backdrop for the Essence soiree with its red floral carpeting, red-tufted bar and intimate seating at banquettes in front of and surrounding the stage. Appetizers from chicken skewers and stuffed mushrooms to red velvet lollipops and other desserts kept hunger at bay while servers combated thirst with trays of Grown & Sexy: a cocktail comprised of Crown Royal, cranberry juice and sour apple pucker.
Universal/Republic CEO Monte Lipman and SRC/Universal CEO Steve Rifkind took in the event. (Photo: 2012 A Turner Archives)
Conversation and activity in the venue centered around the late Don Cornelius, East Coast and southern industry colleagues catching up with their West Coast counterparts and laments about finding the stamina to make it through jam-packed week of events before the Grammy Awards themselves. It was less about work and more about the chance to chill for the well-rounded mix of guests. Spotted in the full house: Universal Republic’s Monte Lipman and SRC’s Steve Rifkin, Epic Records/”X-Factor” judge L.A. Reid, Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), Ne-Yo, Cash Money principal Slim Williams, producer/Epic exec Tricky Stewart, music and sports PR guru Patti Webster, BET’s Stephen Hill, recently appointed Motown VP of A&R Rex Rideout, choreographer Fatima Robinson, actress Holly Robinson Peete, Interscope urban publicity head Yvette Gayle, former Motown executive Suzanne de Passe, ASCAP’s Jay Sloan, BMI’s Catherine Brewton and Essence’s editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White, president Michelle Ebanks and entertainment director Cori Murray.
Kelly Rowland with surprise collaborator Eve at the Essence Black Women in Music gala. (Photo: 2012 A Turner Archives)
Emil Wilbekin, managing editor of Essence.com, presented the awards to Rhone and Rowland. In her remarks, Rhone did not address what her future plans are post-Motown, referencing her time away as a “transition” and chance to “redefine myself and purpose.” She talked about close friend Don Cornelius (“words can’t describe how much I will miss him”) and then thanked her longtime mentor Doug Morris (“one person who couldn’t be here”), Reid (“thank you for being a great friend”) and family. “I accept this award not only for the past but the future. These artists [she has worked with] have shown me the way. I’m now inspired to step into the stream of creativity.”
Rex Rideout, VP of A&R at Motown. (Photo: 2012 A Turner Archives)
Rowland performed a short set of songs-including one with special guest Eve-before accepting her award as a rising icon. “I’ve been a fan for so many years of Essence,” said Rowland. “Black women refer to it as the Bible. It’s a blessing that I’m being given this award; I’m forever grateful.” Capping off the presentation: songwriter/producer Rico Love, a co-collaborator on Rowland’s hit “Motivation,” came onstage to give her a plaque representing 1 million sales of the single.
Upping the dance ante as DJ during the evening-sponsored by Lincoln and My Black Is Beautiful-was MC Lyte. The legendary rapper is also president of the Recording Academy’s L.A. chapter board.
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From left: Producer Jimmy Jam, Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, and Jimmy Iovine attend the 5th annual Producers & Engineers Wing Event honoring Iovine at The Village Recording Studios in L.A. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
The Grammy week celebration that honors producers and engineers, now in its fifth year, has earned a reputation for being a casual and easygoing event with little pretense and considerable camaraderie. It’s hardly a surprise that in the Village Studios largest room, where Interscope chief/Beats by Dre co-founder/former producer and engineer Jimmy Iovine was honored with the Recording Academy Presidents Merit Award on Wednesday night, standing in the front row stage left was Dr. Dre while at stage right was Stevie Nicks. No heavy security needed.
Nicks, Dre and an audience that included Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy, Will.I.Am, Colbie Caillat, Sheila E. Lady Gaga producer/songwriter RedOne and many more (see below) heard Skylar Grey perform on piano a medley of “I’m Coming Home,” “Love the Way You Lie” and “I Need a Doctor” and, after Iovine’s 20-minute speech, Lana Del Rey perform “Video Games.”
Jimmy Jam and Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow also participated in the presentation to Iovine.
Iovine, whose public profile rose last year when he appeared regularly on “American Idol,” gave shout-outs to Larry Jackson, executive VP of A&R, Universal Music Group UK chief executive David Joseph, Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg, Simon Fuller, Nigel Lythgoe and hitmaker Polow da Don. He also pledged support to P. Diddy, noting “we’re bringing back Bad Boy in a big way.”
Singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey performing on stage at the Producers & Engineers Wing Event (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
The focus of his speech, though, was on his experiences as an engineer. The first story he told, complete with lesson learned, concerned Bruce Springsteen and working with him on “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Iovine was responsible for the drum sound on “Darkness” and after six weeks of takes in two studios, Springsteen was still unhappy with the sound; it reached the point that Little Steven van Zandt was suggesting they bring in “a friend from New Jersey.”
Frustrated, Iovine told Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau, “This is wrong. I quit. I cant take this anymore. He says, ‘Hang on.’ Landau, he speaks like Aristotle, so he said, ‘I’m going to teach you something — I am going to teach you something called the Big Picture. This is not about you. … You go into that studio and say to Bruce Springsteen, ‘I’m here to support you’ and everything will be all right.”
Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge (left) with Portnow (WireImage)
Landau’s advice turned out correct. Everything was great and four weeks later, Springsteen asked Iovine how Patti Smith’s album was coming along and Iovine noted they lacked a song that could be hit. Springsteen said, “How about this?” and played “Because the Night,” which would become Smith’s only top 20 hit.
“I learned the lesson,” Iovine said. “Big picture. You support your friends and do what you’re supposed to do. … My life has been about people giving me opportunities I don’t think I was really ready for.”
After the presentation, each of the five floors of the Village Studios was crawling with folks who work on both sides of the studio glass — Will.i.Am was chatting with Everclear’s Art Alexakis in a stairwell, Concord Records’ John Burke and saxophonist Dave Koz were holding court on third floor landing and Nicks was conversing with producer Peter Asher, who had spent the day in the studio with an Australian country band, the McClymonts.
From left: Skylar Grey, Jimmy Iovine and Mary J. Blige on the red carpet at the Producers & Engineers Wing event. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic)
The focus, though, was Iovine. Mary J. Blige told Billboard.biz she loves that he is a realist.” “He’s not afraid to say what he likes and doesn’t like. He’s just honest — I love that quality. As musician himself, he can see things as an artist.
“With Jimmy’s its like family. He’s down to earth and I respect that about our relationship. I don’t take it for granted.”
Prior to the event inside the studio a cocktail reception was held in a tented area outside that included a small, cramped red carpet. Iovine, Blige, Gray and film producer Brian Grazer all made short appearances on the carpet for photographers and TV crews before heading inside where individual rooms featured displays from sponsors, among them the Musicians Institute, Avid, Ultimate Ears and Shure. West L.A. Music, located less that two blocks away from the studio, had guitars in a hallway with price tags on them.
The Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.Am (left) and “American Idol” Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe (Photo: WireImage)
That sort of fit the image, Producers & Engineers Wing senior executive director Maureen Droney said that some people thought the gathering would be a “big geek fest” before noting that people “didn’t realize that studio people know how to have a good time.”
Among the engineers and producers “having a good time” were Al Schmitt, Elliot Scheiner, Adam Anders, Harvey Mason Jr., Ed Cherney, Mike Clink, Recording Academy chair George Flanigen and representatives from L.A. studios such as Ocean Way, Conway, the Record Plant and EastWest.
Grammy-winning artists Erykah Badu and DJ Spinderella took turns as DJs at the Grammy Glam party Tuesday (Feb. 7) in celebration of the Grammy Awards taking place on Sunday. Grammy Glam was presented by CoverGirl, Olay, and Venus.
Spinderella said that the week’s worth of parties takes her back to the time she received a Grammy for her work with Salt-N-Pepa.
“The Grammy is like the classic top-notch accolade for musicians,” Spinderella said. “For us it was one exciting moment in our careers.”
Grammy winner Spinderella doing what she does best at the Grammy Glam kick-off party on Feb. 7 at My House in Hollywood to start a week’s worth of Grammy celebrations. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)
Spinderella had advice for those who end up winning an actual trophy this week.
“Please put it away safely,” she said with a chuckle. “But just have a great time whether you’re nominated or whether you win. It’s a moment you’ll remember forever. The Grammy is still meaningful for me.”
Spinderella later played crowd-pleasing music from “People Everyday” by Arrested Development to “Pump Pump” by Snoop Dogg and Lil Malik.
While the Grammy Glam party symbolized a night of music achievements, it was also a night to celebrate women in the industry.
“The Grammys is a perfect event to bring it all out,” Spinderella. “It’s a glamorus evening, darling.”
Four-time Grammy winner DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown a.k.a. Erykah Badu enticed the music fans at My House in Hollywood during the Grammy Glam party. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)
Producer/artist Jukebox, who produced Willow Smith‘s “Whip My Hair,” also spoke to Billboard.biz about his upcoming projects.
“I recently did a song with Swizz Beatz and Chris Brown called ‘Dance Like A White Girl’ that I’m very excited about, featuring myself. Also worked on a record with Mindless Behavior that’s doing very well,” he said, before mentioning the night’s DJs. “Two very strong personalities. Erykah Badu is one of my favorites. She’s the definition of ‘do what you believe,’ and Spinderella, too. She’s always been comfortable in her skin.”
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow walks the red carpet at the Grammy Glam event, where he talked to Billboard.biz about the planned protests that are to take place Thursday and Sunday. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow also attended the Grammy kick-off party and said the Grammy Glam event was created around the theme of health, beauty, fashion and music. Other execs in the house included A&R/management vet Anthony Demby, musician/arranger Michael Bearden and LiquidThread VP Elyssa Starkman.
While Portnow emphasized the spirit of the Grammy celebrations, he said to Billboard.biz that he was also aware of the protests that are being organized by musicians who last year filed a lawsuit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) over the elimination of 31 categories. Those protests, mostly by Latin jazz musicians and their supporters, are scheduled to take place Sunday outside of the Staples Center during the awards show and Thursday at the Academy’s headquarters in Santa Monica at 10:30 a.m. (PST).
“We’re fine with people who want to disagree with us,” Portnow said. “We’re fine with people that have their opinions. We’re an open organization where anybody can be a member and join and have a voice and be part of the process. We prefer those that work with us.”
Musician/arranger Michael Bearden on the red carpet at the Grammy Glam kick-off party. (Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Wireimage.com 2012)
Portnow said that the Grammys make changes every year when it comes to categories and hopes that this week most of the focus stays on the achievements of artists being recognized for their work.
“For those who take a hard line with lawsuits and protests, that’s their choice,” Portnow said. “It wouldn’t be my preference as a way to work together. We’re all musicians and we’re all in the same community. So long as they do it in a respectful fashion because that day is really about the artists and the musicians who created the great work of the year who are being honored.”
JaN. 31, 2012 | News & Video
Bon Iver, ‘Holocene’ Featured In Surprising Grammy Ad
Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon previously had some choice words for the Grammy Awards, but it’s seems he’s changing his tune — or at least going along with the Recording Academy’s stunning new commercial for his band.
Ahead of the Grammys on Feb. 12, the folksy introspection of Bon Iver’s “Holocene” (up for Song of the Year and Record of the Year) has been interpretted through outdoorsy animation in which fluttering birds come together to form the silhouette of Vernon’s face. (Gives new meaning to the phrase “put a bird on it.”) Watch below.
Bon Iver, also nominated for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album, is one of four artists included in the awards’ “We Are Music” campaign. Adele, Skrillex and the Foo Fighters have also received commercial treatments before the Grammys telecast on CBS. (Watch Adele’s clip here and Foo Fighters’ clip here.)
As for Vernon’s not-so-kind comments regarding the validity of the Grammys, he told the New York Times: “We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending that this is important.”