Monday, February 09, 2009

My 51st Annual Grammy Awards Experience

It's the day after. The 51 st Annual Grammy show is officially over. I sat backstage in the media room enjoying the show with fellow press people. And from my seat I got a great view of not only the show but some of the stars too! Overall, the show went well considering the last minute changes that had to be made due to the unfolding drama between scheduled performers, Rihanna and Chris Brown.

Ironically, while I sat in the busy room filled with entertainment journalists from CNN, AP, and the like, there was no public mention of what was going on between the young couple, both of which were Grammy nominated. There was only a whisper between a few journalists behind me. But with a breaking story like that it's understandable why competing news agency would keep the news to themselves as more details came in. I, myself, had received the news via BlackBerry just as Sir Paul McCartney took stage to answer our questions.

With so much going on with two of the industry's biggest stars, the award show went on without any obvious hiccups due to their absence. The show must go on, and it did! Quick thinking Grammy producers added a performance by Rev. Al Green and rearranged some other elements of the production to give audiences a solid 3 hour star-studded 51st Grammy Awards presentation. So here are my highlights from the media room:

Jennifer Hudson. The moment she hit stage, our attention went straight to the monitors. No clickety-clack of keyboards, no voice-over recordings, no talking on Iphone and Blackberry phones. We were literally glued to the screen. And when her emotional performance was over, damn near every woman--myself included--and a couple of dudes too were wiping tears. I hadn't really "felt" a performance like that in years. Unfortunately, she did not come to talk to press--no surprise there--but if she had, undoubtedly she would have received another standing ovation.

"I demand you put it back!" Sir Paul McCartney said passionately about music in schools. A huge supporter of music programs in schools, McCartney stated music programs were "a life safer for me. To be able to retreat in music is a great thing." And after 40 years, many folk still retreat to the Beatles famous white album--deemed by some the greatest rock album of all time. When asked how he felt about it now, Sir Paul said "in truth looking back on it, I truly can't believe it. I'm kind of amazed we did it cause we were kids." Interestingly, how many of today's young artist do you think will be able to look back 40 years from now and say the same thing about their music and it's relevance.

Multiple Grammy winning gospel singer, Yolanda Adams, announced she and Whitney Houston are not only praying together but singing together as well on Houston's upcoming album. She also made mention of stepping again into the acting arena as opera great, Leontyne Price. And now that her contract with Columbia Records is over she said she's considering some other genres of music including an album of love songs and possibly working with a couple of Hip Hop artists including Common and Kanye West.

And speaking of Ms. Houston, word on the street is she's back! From Clive Davis' party to backstage of the Staples Center, people were talking about Whitney and her come back. She looked fabulous during the broadcast and gave a great performance at Clive's event. We're rooting for you, Whitney!

And glory, glory, glory! Grammy winning gospel sisters, Mary Mary, told us they are branching out too and creating not only a line of bath and beauty products but also jeans. Look for those in stores next month. This was Grammy number 2 for them and earned in the Best Gospel Performance Category.

Moving on to more "wordly" topics, renown jazz musician Herbie Hancock said he is working on a global project, the Imagine Project, that will explore the anthropology of music, you could say, starting in Africa. It will feature collaborations from artists around the world and be done in different languages. And when asked what young artists he would like to collab with he said jokingly, "He [Stevie Wonder] stole my idea". In other words, the maestro wants to jam with the Jonas Brothers.

Last living member of the legendary group, The Four Tops, Duke Fakir, said a Four Tops movie is in the works. No actors were announced but Fakir let us know the film is definitely in development. And if you saw the show, then you couldn't help but notice somebody missed a few rehearsals as one reporter mentioned. With everyone having different schedules Fakir explained stand ins were used for rehearsals, and all the performers hit stage together for the first time last night. But really, who cares! It was a fun performance and for me, personally, they didn't have to dance just deliver the songs I grew up to.

That's a wrap for me folks. After battling rain, heavy traffic, crowds, and the usual Hollywood fanfare for 2 days, I eagerly went home to watch the west coast broadcast. So fade to black on my 51st Grammy Awards experience and fade up on the "The Young and Arrested" drama of Chris and Rihanna.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inside scoop!