Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images
Sean "Diddy" Combs accepts award at 2020 Pre-GRAMMY Gala
2020 GRAMMYs: Clive Davis And The Recording Academy Celebrate Sean "Diddy" Combs With Industry Icon Honor At Star-Studded Pre-GRAMMY Gala
The biggest party of GRAMMY Week 2020 recognized the industry luminary's 30-year career in a room full of fellow biz icons, world-class artists and Diddy's collaborators, family and friends
Last week, the entire music industry and artist community gathered ahead of the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, Music's Biggest Night, for what was music's biggest pre-party. Held at the glamorous Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 25, the annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala this year celebrated the 2020 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons honoree: the one and only Sean "Diddy" Combs.
The Pre-GRAMMY Gala, hosted by The Recording Academy and legendary executive Clive Davis, is one of music's most celebrated and coveted industry events of the entire year. It's no wonder, then, that the star-studded night welcomed some of the biggest artists, producers, creatives and luminaries across music, film, politics and art, as well as past GRAMMY winners and nominees. Across the glitzy ballroom where the event took place, stars packed out the audience and stage, with everyone from power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé to pop megastars Dua Lipa, Luis Fonsi and Lana Del Rey in the crowd. Even Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi took a night off from her busy schedule on the Hill to attend, seated next to a bedazzled Billy Porter.
After a rousing opening set from seven-time GRAMMY winner Beck, who immediately jolted the audience with a three-song run, which included his all-time '90s classics "Loser" and "Where It's At," Harvey Mason, Jr., Chair Of The Board and Interim President/CEO of The Recording Academy, took to the stage to officially open the night.
"GRAMMY Week is the time of year when our music communities all come together to celebrate and embrace one another," he said, "to reflect our accomplishments and acknowledge necessary areas of improvement as we forge ahead on a path to a more inclusive and inviting industry."
"If you've attended this event before, then you're already aware that tonight is one of those nights," he continued, "one where history is created right here in this room. Looking around, I'm reminded at just how much of a unifier music really is. This room is the perfect example, with actors, writers, dancers, other creatives who've been inspired by the sounds, moments and memories created by some of the musicians here tonight, including our Industry Icon Award recipient, Sean Diddy Combs."
The theme throughout the night focused on honoring those who have shaped and shifted the biz on an industry-wide scale, the visionaries behind the music who have cultivated an inclusive, diverse landscape where both art and artists could flourish beyond the limits. Perhaps no other record executive best represents this spirit than Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, who next took the stage to a well-deserved standing ovation.
In his short yet impactful speech, he introduced "someone who needs no introduction," the host of the night: Clive Davis.
"He's a living legend, an icon and a consummate music man," Gordy said of Davis. "He has discovered and nurtured countless superstars, picked their hits time after time. And no, I'm not talking about myself."
For his part as host, Davis paid tribute to the icons and rising legends-in-the-making who attended the night, shouting out giants like Joni Mitchell, Cardi B and Migos' Offset, Kygo, Earth, Wind & Fire and others for their lasting contributions to music. In a bit of foreshadowing, he toasted the artists and the various genres that would fill the room for the big night ahead.
"Tonight," he said, "we have come together as we have for decades to celebrate music, from rock to hip-hop to R&B to pop to country and Latin. I do believe that before this night is over, you will have heard incredible music, and you will have witnessed spectacular performances to remind us all why our lives have been so deeply enriched by our lifelong careers in music. I know that you will walk away with this night of unforgettable music and it will affect you for many years to come."
Much like the careers of the event's host and honoree, the night's musical offerings spanned diverse genres and decades. Guitar god Carlos Santana kicked off the night with an electrifying performance of his chart-topping, GRAMMY-winning "Smooth," alongside OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, and "Maria Maria," with help from Wyclef Jean and Miguel. Chance The Rapper followed up with a cool, confident rendition of his track, "Sun Come Down."
Brandi Carlile, who performed at last year's Pre-GRAMMY Gala, returned to the stage to wow audiences once again with a performance of "A Case Of You," followed by a surprise duet of '80s anthem "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" alongside Cyndi Lauper, the latter of which proved to be the breakout performance of the night. GRAMMY king John Legend shut it down with a soulful rendition of his "A Change Is Gonna Come," followed by the live debut of his most recent single, "Conversations In The Dark," another you-had-to-be-there moment in Pre-GRAMMY Gala history. Additional performers included Khalid and Adrienne Warren, an actress, singer and dancer who portrayed Tina Turner in the "TINA: The Tina Turner Musical" Broadway show, who both brought down the house.
Prior to the night's main presentation, some of Combs' friends and associates praised the honoree in a touching video, which included tributes from industry leaders like Antonio "L.A." Reid, Lyor Cohen and Clive Davis himself. One of the night's major highlights, a cast of Diddy's closest collaborators performed a medley of hits that pulled from the producer's decades-long career as well as the deep discography of his renowned Bad Boy Records. Featured performers included Carl Thomas; Lil' Kim, who performed "It's All About The Benjamins"; and Ma$e, who performed rap classics "Feel So Good" and "Mo Money Mo Problems." The career-spanning set came to a heartwarming close with a performance from King Combs, Diddy's son, who delivered an endearing rendition of "I'll Be Missing You," the eternal tribute to The Notorious B.I.G., featuring Bad Boy artist and the track's original singer, Faith Evans.
As Combs took to the stage, the crowd erupting in cheers and giving him a long standing ovation, he stood in disbelief of the moment. "You know, when people ask me, 'Did you ever know you'd get to a certain point?' I always tell them, 'Yes,'" he remarked. "But I never thought that I would get to this point right here, where my peers would honor me and show me this amount of love."
Throughout his extensive speech, Combs spoke wistfully of his early life and long career, remembering all the way back to his childhood days when he received his first record player and James Brown 45s to his days as an intern at Uptown Records. He recognized the many figures and industry pioneers who solidified black music and art as an integral part of American culture, including Quincy Jones, Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons, Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell and Motown's Berry Gordy.
"…[Gordy] showed me that there was other things besides music," he noted, "that music could infiltrate and have an impact. And it wasn't just about the music. It was about the lifestyle. It was about black culture. And it was about the value and importance of black culture and the importance it was going to have on the world. Berry Gordy was and still is a unicorn. And it just empowered me at another level."
After giving kudos to the friends, family and associates who helped shape and sharpen his career, he looked ahead at his next mission in the industry.
"My goal used to be about making hit records," he said. "Now it's about ensuring that the culture moves forward: my culture, our culture, the black culture. And for me to be worthy of receiving an Icon Award, I have to use my experience to help make a change."
The night closed by tributing another icon in music: five-time GRAMMY winner Janet Jackson and her chart-topping 1989 album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, which celebrated its 30-year anniversary last September.
"When I was getting dressed this evening I thought about it and I said to myself, 'I've been in this industry for 47 years,'" Jackson said. "That's a long time, and I still enjoy going to work. And I feel very blessed to still have my journey ahead of me."
Cynthia Erivo, a GRAMMY-, Emmy-, and Tony-winning actress and singer-songwriter, brought the event to a thunderous end with a performance of Jackson's iconic singles "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" and "Together Again," putting a cap on another magical Pre-GRAMMY Gala night.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo: Derek Blanks
Living Legends: Smokey Robinson On New Album 'Gasms,' Meeting The Beatles & Staying Competitive
Fresh off the MusiCares 2023 Persons Of The Year gala that honored him and Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson is out with his first album of new material in 14 years. 'Gasms' is about everything that lights up your brain.
Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music still going strong today. This week, GRAMMY.com presents an interview with GRAMMY winner and lead Miracle Smokey Robinson, whose contributions to the American musical canon — chiefly via Motown — cannot be overstated. In 2023, he was honored alongside Motown founder Berry Gordy at the MusiCares Persons Of The Year Event. Robinson's new album, Gasms, is available now.
Smokey Robinson listens to everyone. If you're on the radio, he claims, he's heard you. It doesn't matter your age, or your genre — as the 83-year-old is still in the ring, he intends to keep his gloves up. "I'm not a prejudiced musical listener," he tells GRAMMY.com. "I've got to compete with them. I've got to know what they're doing."
In the middle of a question about who, specifically, he's enjoying from the new guard, his rep's drive through a tunnel abruptly ends the call. But the Miracles and Motown star's assertion checks out — partly on the strength of his new album, Gasms, his first album of new original material since 2009.
On hot-and-bothered highlights like "I Wanna Know Your Body," "Roll Around" and "Beside You," God's gift to green eyes — to borrow a phrase — proves his writing, vocal and performance abilities remain undimmed.
There's a lot of chatter about Gasms. Of course, that's by design, and Robinson's OK with the album title subsuming the conversation. (When asked about the central thesis of the record during its conception, he responds with one word: "Controversy.")
But by Robinson's assertion, Gasms refers to anything that makes you feel good, and the high-thread-count music signifies far more than horny man is horny. It's a treat to hear that the GRAMMY winner responsible for innumerable culture-shifting classics — who has been around long enough to have met the Beatles when they were playing basements — is still a force.
With the 2023 MusiCares Person Of The Year gala, which jointly honored Robinson and Motown founder Berry Gordy, in the rearview, GRAMMY.com sat down with the man himself about his past, present and future. The results might give you a… well, you know.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
How did it feel to be honored along with your best friend, Berry Gordy, at the MusiCares Persons Of The Year 2023 gala?
That was a wonderful experience. They had never honored two people at the same time, and for me to get honored with my best friend like that — it was an extraordinary night.
When you met all those years ago, was there any inkling your relationship would stretch so far into the future — and impact the planet on this scale?
You can't tell about people and relationships, man. We just struck up a relationship. And we were good in the very beginning, and it just lasted. I couldn't be with him then — or he with me — and say, "Oh, well, this is gonna last forever," like it has, because you just never know. Fortunately, for us, it has, and we're still best friends.
How do you keep a relationship like that going on such a grand scale for decades and decades?
You know, people have asked me that many times. Sometimes, it's six months and I don't even talk to Berry. But when I do, he's my best friend, and I'm his best friend. It's never "Let me get to know you again, or feel you out," or any of that. There's none of that happening.
As you've stated, the title of Gasms isn't expressly sexual. Rather, it refers to any number of mindblowing experiences. What was the last big experience in your life or career that gave you a "gasm," as it were?
I've had so many of those. You know, gasms are what makes you happy, and makes you feel good. Recently, I had one when I did "American Idol," because I hadn't been in a long time. I was on the second panel for judges when Simon Cowell was there. I got a chance to see [judges] Lionel [Richie] and Katy [Perry] and Luke [Bryan], and it was a wonderful night.
I've been a mentor; I've been a judge. "American Idol" is one of the main state talent programs in the world, so it's a great thing for the kids. Because before they even made a record or anything like that, from the very first auditions, being seen by millions of people is a great thing for them.
Let's get to the ground floor of Gasms, when you first picked up a pen and made some calls and put together these songs. What was the central idea you wanted to put forth, musically and creatively?
That was it, huh?
To raise curiosity, and have people wondering what it was before they even heard it.
It seems you succeeded.
It worked. So I'm very happy about that, man.
How did you curate the accompanists and producers on Gasms?
Most of the guys are guys I've worked with all the time in the studio. I've been working with them for years, so I didn't have to get to know them. The main guy — my arranger, David Garfield — is a well-known jazz pianist who makes his own albums and stuff like that. We just got together and did the arrangements at the studio.
I'm sure you were raring to get back to original material, as wonderful as the old Miracles songs and your Christmas stuff is, and flex your songwriting muscles.
I write all the time, Morgan. It's something that I just do. It's not a conscious effort where I set aside some time to write or anything like that. It doesn't happen like that. For me, it just happens.
What are you working on lately?
Well, at the same time we were working on the Gasms album, we were working on one in Spanish. I've got two more songs I've gotta re-record for that. That's what I'm up to musically.
Is it a learning curve to record in another language, or are your Spanish chops sharp?
I've been learning Spanish for probably about a year. My housekeeper is a Spanish lady. She's from Guatemala, and she speaks four different languages, so she's been really helping me with it.
I'm not fluent in it where I understand everything. I watch the soap operas and news shows on Telemundo and stuff like that, trying to get better, but they're talking so fast. I try to get a word in every now and then and then try to pick out what they meant by the rest of the stuff.
But it's a great language, and I enjoy it very much, so I've been trying to write some songs in Spanish also.
Your voice is so pristine on Gasms. At times, it's like you haven't aged a day. How do you keep your instrument — your voice — sharp as the years and decades go by?
Well, first of all, I appreciate you saying that, man. Thank you very much.
Your voice is like your instrument, and if you take care of yourself, you have a better chance of it lasting and doing well for a long time. I don't think there's any secret formula — Lipton's tea with lemon and all that stuff like that. I've never done anything like that.
I just try to take care of myself. Occasionally, of course, your body will wear down and get hoarse, because you don't know how to play your instrument. I don't do any special stuff.
What are your habits, or what's your regimen, to keep your physical vessel in shape?
I think that the main one is yoga. I've been doing yoga for about 40 years, and I do it almost every day of my life. Then, I have workout programs I do. I have a half-hour workout program and then an hour one. At home, I do the full monte, because I can do everything; I have weights in the basement and so on and so forth.
When I'm on the road, I have a 45-minute regiment that I do most mornings, and it starts with stretching.
I really enjoy how you didn't feel the need to reinvent the wheel with Gasms. The songs could have been written 60 years ago or yesterday. What is it about the timelessness of songs about love, romance and sensuality?
Well, yeah, they all have a connotation; you can use your own ideas of what they mean. For instance, "gasms." That can mean whatever you want it to mean. I try to put that connotation in all of them, so whatever the person means, or who is the listener, it can be that for them.
Smokey Robinson performing in 1964. Photo: PoPsie Randolph/Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Speaking of timeless love songs, you play a huge role in the Beatles' rise. They worshiped you, and beamed you into millions of kids' heads via "You Really Got a Hold On Me" on With the Beatles. And you've covered them, too. Does it feel surreal to look back to your youth, and to these recordings, and say I wrote that?
You know, I don't think about that nowadays, man, unless somebody brings it up. It's not something I concentrate on, or anything like that, but it's a wonderful thing.
It was especially wonderful — back then, they were the number one group in the world — to pick one of my songs. They were great songwriters themselves. So, to pick one of my songs to record was especially flattering.
What are your memories of those guys?
Oh, they were cool dudes, man. I had met them before they became [Adds air of thunderous significance] the Beatles. We met them in Liverpool; they were singing in a little club down in the basement. They were good guys, and I especially got close to George while he was alive, you know? He was my closest friend in that group.
He sure loved you. He wouldn't have written "Pure Smokey" if he didn't. Can you offer more memories of George?
George was just a great guy, man. He was a nice man. He was one of those people that if you meet him, you like him.
With Gasms out in the world, what do you hope people take away from it?
Oh, take away some enjoyment. I hope they enjoy it with themselves, alone, and with others also. That's what I want them to take away from it. If I can accomplish that, then I feel that I've done what I set out to do.
What has been giving you "gasms" lately? What are you watching, reading or listening to that has been inspiring you?
I listen to everyone, man.
I'm a music lover, so I listen to all kinds of music. Especially when I'm in my car, and there's no telling what musical mood you're going to catch me in. Weeks happen where I don't listen to anything but classical — Chopin and Rachmaninoff and all that. Sometimes, I listen to hip-hop or jazz or alternative. I just love music, man.
What newer artists have you been checking out?
All of them, that are making music that I can hear on the radio. I listen to all of them, because I'm still making records, too. So, I've got to compete with them. I've got to know what they're doing. I'm not a prejudiced musical listener, whereas I think, OK, these are young people, so I'm not gonna listen to their music.
No, they're in the forefront of music right now. So I listen to everybody.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Met Gala 2023: All The Artists & Celebrities Who Served Fierce Looks & Hot Fashion On The Red Carpet, From Rihanna To Dua Lipa To Billie Eilish To Bad Bunny To Cardi B To Doja Cat & More
Fashion and music have always been inextricably linked, and the strong longs were on fully on display at the 2023 Met Gala — one of the most anticipated style events of the year. See the red carpet outfits from Rihanna, Lil Nas X, Anitta & more.
It's that time again! The 2023 Met Gala — one of the fashion bonanzas of the year — is in full force. And given that fashion has always been the yin to music's yang, GRAMMY winners and nominees were among the stars studding this glamorous, fashion-forward event.
Presented by gala co-chair Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue and global editorial director of Condé Nast, the Met Gala this year is co-chaired by Penélope Cruz, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer and three-time GRAMMY winner Dua Lipa.
GRAMMY winners and nominees as well as today’s leading artists in music are already setting the Met Gala red carpet on fire, with everyone from Dua Lipa, Phoebe Bridgers, Rita Ora, David Byrne, rising rap sensation Ice Spice, and more showing off their fierce fashion looks. Plus, Rihanna and her partner ASAP Rocky made a last-minute surprise arrival on the 2023 Met Gala red carpet, setting the fashion and music worlds ablaze.
Below, check out some of the most eye-catching red carpet fashion looks from music’s biggest stars at the 2023 Met Gala.
Rihanna attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Dua Lipa arrives for the 2023 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2023, in New York | Photo: ANGELA WEISS / AFP
(L-R) Finneas O'Connell and Billie Eilish attend The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Bad Bunny attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Jennifer Lopez attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Cardi B attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Doja Cat attends the 2023 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Lil Nas X attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Usher attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Sean "Diddy" Combs attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Phoebe Bridgers attends the 2023 Met Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Anitta attends the 2023 Met Gala the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Halle Bailey attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Janelle Monáe attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Inside The 2023 Clive Davis Pre-GRAMMY Gala: A Star-Studded Celebration Of Friendship, Excellence & The Songs That Connect Us All
Returning to the swank Beverly Hilton after a two year break, the invitation-only event featured an A-list roster of guests, performances from GRAMMY-nominated artists, and heartfelt tributes.
A cultural icon and a crown jewel of the music industry’s most important weekend, Clive Davis and the Recording Academy’s Pre-GRAMMY Gala is known for a guest list full of household names and stellar performances remembered. It's also a night when the most successful people in the music industry come together not as competitors, but in celebration. Or as Davis put it, "We come here to break bread."
Returning to the swank Beverly Hilton after a two year break, the fête was sponsored by Hilton, IBM, JBL and Mastercard. An eclectic mix of personalities — a hallmark of the Gala — graced the red carpet as onlookers gathered outside the hotel, hoping for a glimpse of industry excellence.
"It’s crazy," Måneskin bassist Victoria De Angelis tells GRAMMY.com; the Italian rock band was nominated for Best New Artist. "It has just been super fun. We’re meeting so many artists we love," De Angelis noted, pointing out fellow party guest, Metallica rocker Lars Ulrich.
Meanwhile Frankie Valli, who was nominated for Best New Artist in 1962 as part of his legendary vocal group the Four Seasons, had a similar sentiment. "It’s a lot of fun getting to see Clive and all of the people I’ve known over the years," Valli told GRAMMY.com, noting he’s known Davis for at least a half century. "It’s just a great evening out."
The performance portion of the night began with Maneksin taking the stage first, ripping out their singles "I Wanna Be Your Slave" and "Beggin’" — the latter the band’s star-making cover of the 1967 original by the Four Seasons.
"We’re old school guys," Alice Cooper tells GRAMMY.com. "We’re coming here to see what the new artists are doing."
Providing a link between the songs of yesteryear and today’s hottest talents, Davis then surprised the audience when Valli took the stage to perform his own, "Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You." It was a moment the audience relished, with the night’s guests, from Joni Mitchell to Janelle Monáe, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Sharon Stone and Machine Gun Kelly singing along to its earworm chorus of "I love you baby!"
Offset, Cardi B, Judy GreenWald, LyorCohen and Janelle Monae | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Aside from the industry veterans (including performer Elvis Costello), those from the new class making their grand debuts on stage at this year’s Pre-GRAMMY Gala include Myles Frost, the TONY-winning star of MJ The Musical, as well the hip-hop star Latto. Nominated for Best New Artist and one of 2022’s breakout stars, she had attendees on their feet with her rousing hits "Sunshine" and "Big Energy." Lil Baby, meanwhile, participated in a salute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop curated by Swiss Beatz, performing his songs "Forever" and, appropriately, "California Breeze."
Craig Kallman, Clive Davis, Julie Greenwald, and CEO of The Recording Academy Harvey Mason jr. | Lester Cohen/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
Currently celebrating its 75th anniversary, Daigle’s appearance and song choice was meant to bridge the gap between the Atlantic’s storied history with its newest artist, and coincides with this year’s Icon Award recipients: Atlantic Music Group Chairman and CEO Julie Greenwald and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman.
"The people who inspired me every day are my artists," said Greenwald during her acceptance speech. "I have loved every journey we have gone on together. Being able to play some small part in bringing your music, art and creative vision to the world has been the greatest gift and I’m so appreciative of every marketing plan I was allowed to dream up, every video treatment I pitched, photoshoot we collaborated on and all of the campaigns we launched."
It was a sentiment Atlantic star Cardi B reciprocated. "When I was in the middle of making my first album, I was very scared," she recalled during a heartfelt speech. "I was pregnant and afraid to tell anyone, in case I had to decide between my family or my career because I knew that happens to other artists on other labels. But with Craig and Julie, the exact opposite happened. You told me I could do both, and I will never, ever forget that. For real. Deadass."
Lizzo | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
Meanwhile, Lizzo delivered her own tribute in song with a performance of her song "Break Up Twice" from her GRAMMY-nominated album Special. Another tribute came in the form of Sheryl Crow honoring the late Christine McVie with a heart-wrenching rendition of her signature "Songbird" as well as the Fleetwood Mac classic "Say You Love Me."
Paying homage to the late Whitney Houston also served as a theme for the night, where her family and collaborators remembered the star’s legacy. In tribute, Jennifer Hudson offered an anthemic rendition of the icon’s "The Greatest Love of All," armed with her powerhouse vocals and a passion for the artist herself.
"Honoring Whitney tonight makes me feel very, very blessed," Houston’s close collaborator, friend and songwriter Narada Micheal Walden tells GRAMMY.com. "God is in charge and her spirit is still with us, especially being in this very hotel she passed away years ago."
For Narada, the emotion is still fresh. "She gave so much, Not just as a great singer, her heartpower and love was so pure. The energy we wanted to put in the music, we really wanted it to live forever. We thought about it and prayed about it, and here we are still living it."
Jennifer Hudson | Lester Cohen/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
Houston’s legacy was also the theme of Kevin Costner’s opening speech; the two co-starring in The Bodyguard. "Maybe this isn't the room for it but I don't want to miss the moment and this is from the heart," Costner said as a hush fell over the room. "Neither one of us, in the end, could protect your beloved Whitney. But your fingerprints on her life are clean, my friend," he said, referring to Davis. "You were a miracle in her life."
It was not only Davis’ impact on Houston’s life, but the industry itself that was a topic of conversation all night. Getting ready to celebrate his 91st birthday, the legend was still a master of ceremonies with the night’s starry guestlist and performers showing their respect.
Lil Wayne | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
"I’d like to thank Mr. Davis for having me," Lil Wayne humbly said as he delivered some of his biggest hits, from "A Milli" to "Lollipop."
"Clive Davis’s parties are just always off the chain," the artist Damon Elliott tells GRAMMY.com "He’s like a dad to me."
Paul Schaffer recalled his own memories with Clive to GRAMMY.com. "My very first time meeting him was in the '70s," he says. "I used to play on the Barry Manilow records and Barry was signed to Arista [Records]. I’ll never forget when Ron Dante, his producer, brought me in to play Clive a song." Now, Schaffer adds that he’s been attending the Pre-GRAMMY Gala for 11 years with his daughter, Victoria. "It’s very significant to be here. It’s the hottest party."
Head to live.GRAMMY.com all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2023 GRAMMYs.