You saw Sam Smith accept four awards and dozens of performers hit the stage on Sunday’s Grammy Awards telecast, but that was only part of the story. To see when Taylor Swift had to get up and dance — and read about her surprise lovefest with Kanye West — Billboard is here to help.
We were all over Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, so here are the moments you didn’t catch on TV — from the pre-tel Premiere Ceremony all the way to the post-show backstage scene:
1:04 p.m. PT: Pentatonix‘s “Daft Punk” medley takes home best arrangement, instrumental or a cappella — the group’s first win. “We recorded this in a bedroom closet, we filmed it in a kitchen, and now we’re Grammy winners,” Scott Hoying says on the Premiere Ceremony stage at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live. As the a cappella quintet walked away with their trophy, they were heard saying: “Can we have this?”
1:05: Nearly two hours before they’d win the Grammy for song written for visual media and compilation soundtrack, Frozen songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez enjoyed sliders and sushi at Katsuya with Walt Disney music president Chris Montan, Frozen composer Christophe Beck and Frozen producer Tom MacDougall. The Lopezes were attending the annual pre-Grammy bash thrown by music supervisor PJ Bloom, music publisher Ron Broitman and Atlantic Records executive Kevin Weaver.
1:25: Beyonce wins her first Grammy of the night, for Best Surround Sound Album.
1:40: Angelique Kidjo will next record the song cycle composer Philip Glass wrote for her. She’ll head to Vienna to record the piece, Ife, Three Yoruba Songs, whichthe Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg premiered in concert in January 2014. “It’s very different form where I come from,” the Benin native said after winning the world music album Grammy. “I have to sing a lot of notes that don’t come from Africa.”
1:56: Tiesto wins his first Grammy — best remixed recording — for his version of John Legend‘s “All of Me.” So what does his first win mean for the ever-growing EDM genre? “I think it’s great for our scene,” he says. “It gets more people to get to know our music.” But he doesn’t think the popularity has reached its peak: “It’s still kind of a cool underground thing.”
2:05: The source recording for the winner in the historical album category, the Hank Williams collection titled The Garden Spot Programs, 1950, was a single disc, the only known copy of Williams’ radio broadcasts for KSIB in Creston, Iowa. “It was beat up, in poor shape,” said compilation producer Colin Escott who shared the award with Cheryl Pawelski of Omnivore Recordings. “My job is clean it and use the right needle — I have about 20 – so that software does the least amount of work. I always compare it to an archaeologist brushing away the dirt without damaging the artifact.” Pawelski, one of Omnivore’s owners, said this stands out from the label’s many reissue projects. “Finding things people didn’t know about previously -that’s special,” she said. “Anytime we can add another chapter to a person’s story, I love that.”
2:25: John Waters not only threatens to do a rap record, he wants to collaborate with Justin Bieber. “When Justin raps he uses the name Bizzle,” Waters said before introducing the winners in jazz and film categories. “Why can’t I be Wizzle? We’ll be Bizzle and Wizzle and we’ll claw our way to the award next year.”
2:34: Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band wins best large jazz ensemble album, after two straight wins from jazz legend Chick Corea. “We want to thank Chick Corea for not making a large ensemble record,” one member quips.
2:35: The short pieces of music on violinist Hilary Hahn‘s Grammy-winning In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores come from composers who work in various fields, most of them still living. “I learned no one approaches composing the same way,” she said backstage with her pianist Cory Smythe. “Going back and finding things that are not so well known and playing contemporary music is vital. We cover all these areas of classical music as we forward.”
2:50: The children of late Twenty Feet From Stardom producer Gil Friesen accept the Grammy for music film on behalf of their dad. “While most often in the background, now is their moment to shine,” Friesen’s son says of the backup singers featured in the Oscar-winning documentary. “And I know my dad is shining down on them too.”
2:59: After winning their first Grammy — best dance recording for “Rather Be” with Jess Glynne — Clean Bandit joke about how to classify their classical-meets-EDM genre: “We were hoping for best tropical Latin album.”
3:07: Tony Bennett‘s son and manager Danny Bennett accepts the traditional pop vocal album for Cheek to Cheek, the album of Bennett and Lady Gaga duets. “They’d want to thank the composers,” Danny says of his father and Gaga. “This record was about jazz to them.”
3:18: The late Joan Rivers wins best spoken word album — her first-ever Grammy — for her Diary of a Mad Diva. “If my mother was here tonight, she would not only be honored and thrilled to win, she would most likely have [the trophy] copied and on the air on QVC by 11,” daughter Melissa Rivers says on her behalf.
3:21: “Please, please, sit down!” “Weird Al” Yankovic jokes to the (totally seated) crowd when he hits the stage to accept his best comedy album Grammy.
3:28: Theo Huxtable wins a Grammy! Malcolm Jamal Warner is featured on Robert Glasper Experiment‘s “Jesus Children,” which took home best traditional R&B performance. “This is my first Grammy nomination!” Warner marvels from the stage. Later, backstage, he tells reporters, “I’m just happy to be on such a classic record with an important subject matter.”
3:30: The London cast and orchestra for the Carole King musical Beautiful met for the first time last week prior to the Feb. 24 opening at the Aldwych Theater. “Everyone’s nervous,” orchestrator and cast album producer Steve Sidwell says of the first meeting, backstage after his win. “We have a star, Katie Brayben, who’s just as good as [Broadway star] Jessie Mueller, but in a different way. Hopefully we’ll keep the standard up.”
3:31: Beyonce wins Grammy No. 2, sharing best R&B song with husband Jay Z and six other songwriters for “Drunk in Love.”
3:40: Rosanne Cash takes home best American roots performance for “The River & The Thread.” “The last time I won a Grammy, Reagan was president,” she says to loud laughs. “That’s not a joke!” She just as quickly took home a second and third award: best American Roots song for the same track and best Americana album for The River & the Thread.
3:44: Lecrae already has two Grammys under his belt before the show even starts. “I exist to break the boundaries of what genre is,” he tells the press room about being nominated in Christian, Gospel and rap categories.
4 p.m.: The idea of a Twenty Feet From Stardom tour still seems to be a pipe dream. The film about background singers, which won an Oscar a year ago and music film Grammy on Sunday, elevated the profiles of Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill, but beyond promotional appearances they have not done concerts together. “That would be lovely,” Fischer said of the idea. “When you get a second chance [at a career], you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing, the right project. People” – meaning the singers – “focus on their own desires.”
4:12: Chick Corea based his Grammy-winning track “Fingerprints” on Wayne Shorter‘s “Footprints” and he explained the historic precedence backstage. “Beboppers in the ’50s and ’60s would improvise on popular songs to retain the publishing,” the pianist and winner of 22 Grammys said. “‘Footprints’ was one of my favorite Wayne Shorter tunes from his days with Miles Davis [it’s on the 1966 album Miles Smiles] and wrote another tune based on it. I wrote enough that I think it was worthy to be my own composition.”
4:26: New Grammy winners Pentatonix talk about performing a Bee Gees medley in front of Barry Gibb himself at Saturday night’s Clive Davis party. “It was so incredible to see him there watching it,” Scott Hoying says backstage.
4:37: Going into the Grammy telecast, Roseanne Cash is the award leader, winning three straight trophies at the Premiere Ceremony. “Doesn’t that feel good?” she beams to the press room. “I’m standing here talking to you and trying to be very adult and articulate, but inside I’m going, ‘Oh my God!'”
4:52: Over the last 18 months, mandolinist Chris Thile has bounced between Nickel Creek, the Punch Brothers, a Bach Project and working with bassist Edgar Meyer with whom he won the contemporary instrumental album. “Right when you run out of energy for one project, when your utterly exhausted, that’s when its time for the next project,” Thile said. “That fills you with energy.”
4:55: Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich stops his instructions to the audience inside Staples Center to shake the hand of Paul McCartney. He resumes talking to instruct the crowd when to wear their devil horns during AC/DC‘s appearance.
5:11: While “Weird Al” Yankovic won the best comedy album Grammy and hit the top of the Billboard charts with Mandatory Fun, there’s still one career achievement he’s yet to reach: doing a parody song of Prince. “He’s, like, the one guy that’s always said no to parodies,” Al told reporters backstage. “If he wants to go bowling or something or play parcheesi, I’m certainly up for that.”
5:14: After his best new artist win, Sam Smith runs offstage wiping tears off his face and is later spotted broing down with McCartney.
5:48: Response to Kanye West’s Grammy comeback performance of “Only One” is tepid in Staples Center.
6:19: A Great Big World on meeting “Say Something” collaborator — and now co-Grammy winner — Christina Aguilera for the first time: “We were really scared to meet her and to work with her, because we were like, ‘Who are we?'”
6:24: Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge — No. 1 on the Billboard Power 100 — catches up with Jay Z during a commercial break.
6:27: Taylor Swift air-drums along to Hozier and Annie Lennox‘s “Take Me to Church” performance, while Questlove just shakes his head in disbelief once the duo wraps up with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins‘ “I Put a Spell on You.”
6:52: Swift isn’t in her seat for “Bad Blood” target Katy Perry’s performance of “By the Grace of God.”
7:10: Jenny Lewis tells Billboard she’s sitting two seats from Paul McCartney and freaking out a little.
7:44: Kanye has his hand on wife Kim Kardashian’s famous booty as the couple poses for a photo with Jay Z and Taylor Swift.
7:47: The Haim girls huddle with Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis during a commercial break.
7:55: Beck‘s album of the year win might have been a surprise to some music fans, but performer Dwight Yoakam — who worked with Beck on his last album, 3 Pears — wasn’t shocked at all. “Really thrilled for Beck,” he told reporters backstage. “I wanted to cheer. He really embodies the spirit of awe about music and exploration about music. He has a reverence about music. In that reverence, he’s able to be irreverent at times.”
7:59: Paul McCartney turns around in his seat to chat with Nile Rodgers.
8:51: The night’s big winner, Sam Smith, shouted out the ex-boyfriend that inspired his debut album onstage, and he had some more words for him backstage. I’ll be seeing him soon, so I can let him touch the Grammys — once.Was Smith surprised that Beyonce didn’t take home album of the year? “Yeah, very shocked,” he admitted to reporters. “But I also think that Beck really, really deserved it, and his performance was a real moment tonight.”
8:59: Smith’s “Stay With Me” producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins agrees that the album of the year win belonged to Beck. “I’m a fan of Beck,” he says backstage. “I’ve always been a fan of Beck and his music. These artists put a lot of time into their craft. When I came here today, I knew, ‘Man, it would be special if we won,’ but you’re up against hard competition. Everyone who won tonight deserved to win.”
9:07: Domestic abuse survivor Brooke Axtell thought Katy Perry’s performance perfectly illustrated her story. “I was deeply moved by her performance,” Axtell says. “I know just from watching some of the other artists backstage that they were tearing up — LL Cool J was tearing up.” She was also asked about one member of the audience — Chris Brown, who assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna back in 2009 — and how their story affects this issue. While she doesn’t think it helps to “stigmatize” anyone, “We have to have a platform to speak the truth” — meaning the more public examples of abuse there are, the more action will be taken.
–With reporting by Katie Atkinson, Phil Gallo, Shirley Halperin and Erin Strecker
— billboard (@billboard) February 8, 2015
— billboard (@billboard) February 9, 2015
— billboard (@billboard) February 9, 2015
— billboard (@billboard) February 9, 2015
— Matthew Belloni (@THRMattBelloni) February 9, 2015
— Janice Min (@janicebmin) February 9, 2015
During a commercial break, Kanye and @taylorswift share a nice moment. Smiles and highfives.
— Tony Gervino (@microtony) February 9, 2015