meta-script5 Lessons Olivia Rodrigo Learned On 'GUTS' | GRAMMY.com
Olivia Rodrigo performing in 2022
Olivia Rodrigo performs at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2022.

Photo: Amy Sussman/WireImage

list

5 Lessons Olivia Rodrigo Learned On 'GUTS'

With her second album, Olivia Rodrigo follows the teenage angst of 'SOUR' with a matured version of the razor-sharp storytelling that made her a star — and proof that she's spinning gutsy courage into gold.

GRAMMYs/Sep 12, 2023 - 09:13 pm

The pressures on Olivia Rodrigo going into her sophomore album were unlike anything she'd experienced before. After all, it's not every day that a 17-year-old high school senior stuck at home during the pandemic delivers a debut album that promptly takes over the entire world.

And yet, that's precisely what happened when the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star unleashed SOUR in the spring of 2021, just months after her debut single, "drivers license," rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and broke countless records around the world. The album earned Rodrigo her first trio of GRAMMYs at the 2022 ceremony, including the coveted trophy for Best New Artist.

Two years later, she makes an equally punchy statement with the title of her sophomore album: GUTS. The 12-track collection delivers on all fronts by leveling up on the maturity, songcraft and vulnerability Rodrigo showcased so expertly on SOUR. GUTS sharpens the alt-inspired rock of its teenaged predecessor into a barbed and poignant exploration of what it means to be a young woman in the 21st century — albeit one who also happens to be one of the most famous singer/songwriters of her time. 

Below, GRAMMY.com assesses how Olivia Rodrigo challenged herself and pushed her music to new heights on GUTS — and the lessons she learned along the way.

The Importance Of Looking Pretty When She Cries

Rodrigo started off SOUR by delving into the paralyzing anxiety and insecurities of being a modern teenager on "brutal"; she further tapped into those feelings with a blistering condemnation of social media's toxicity on album cut "jealousy, jealousy." GUTS delivers the same kind of unabashed honesty, but with a more mature perspective, starting with the raging feminist opener "all american b—h."

On the erratic track, Rodrigo perfectly extrapolates the anger and absurdity that comes with being a woman with sarcasm, sentimentality and a poison-laced dose of doe-eyed sweetness. The song goes even further by laying bare the parasocial pressures of female pop stardom as she sings, "I am built like a mother and a total machine/ I feel for your every little issue, I know just what you mean/ And I make light of the darkness, I've got sun in my motherf—in' pocket, best believe/ Yeah, you know me."

With the elevated platform and giant megaphone afforded by her newfound superstardom, Rodrigo has no qualms about giving acerbic voice to the historically impossible expectations placed on women. The daring statement culminates in an army of Olivias breaking out in a cacophony of high-pitched screams, a cathartic release before she reverts back to sweetly promising, "All the time/ I'm grateful all the time/ I'm sexy and I'm kind/ I'm pretty when I cry." 

The song is a reminder that Rodrigo knows her place and how to declare it — whether she's pouring her heart out or ripping someone (or society at large) apart. 

What The Perfectly Unexpected Second Single Sounds Like

After the meteoric explosion of "drivers license" in 2021, Rodrigo followed the global smash with "deja vu," a biting fantasia pulling from psychedelia and pop-rock that remained rooted in the same sonic universe as its emotional, piano-driven predecessor.

Cut to earlier this summer and the now-20-year-old kicked off her GUTS era with "vampire," another scorching piano ballad aimed at a parasitic ex-love she relishes in labeling a "bloodsucker, famef—er" among other delicious digs. But when it came time to select a second single, Rodrigo made a surprising pivot with "bad idea, right?," a hilarious and willfully delusional justification for hooking up with an ex that sounds unlike anything she's written before.

With its coy, stream-of-consciousness verses ("And I told my friends I was asleep/ But I never said where or in whose sheets"), angsty, top-of-the-lungs chorus and the gleefully perpetual question at its core, the superstar delivers both a chaotic older sister to SOUR standout "good 4 u" and a flawless left turn of a single as she talks herself into making a very good bad decision. The '90s-inspired banger might just be one of the best ideas she's ever had…right?

How To Stop Handing Out Royalties

One of the most notable controversies surrounding SOUR was who did — or didn't — receive credit in the liner notes when the album was released. Rodrigo got permission to sample Taylor Swift's "New Year's Day" on album cut "1 step forward, 3 steps back" after writing the song over the Reputation closer's melody. However, that wasn't the only song the then-18-year-old wrote that owed a debt to some of her musical idols.

After it was released as the record's second single, "deja vu" got an ex post facto update by giving songwriting credit (and royalties) to Swift, Jack Antonoff and St. Vincent for its striking similarities to "Cruel Summer." Similarly, "good 4 u" took direct inspiration from Paramore's "Misery Business," and Hayley Williams and Josh Farro were eventually added to the list of writers on the pop-punk anthem. 

This time around, though, there's not a single sample, interpolation or royalty handout anywhere. In fact, every song on GUTS lists only Rodrigo and her trusted producer Dan Nigro as its writers — with the exception of Julia Michaels helping out on "logical" and Amy Allen co-writing "pretty isn't pretty."

"I was so green as to how the music industry worked, the litigious side," the superstar told The Guardian recently about writing SOUR, adding, "I feel like now I know so much more about the industry and I just feel…better equipped in that regard. It wasn't something I thought about too much [while writing GUTS]."

That Heartbreak Continues To Be Best Served With A Side of Alt-Rock

Much of GUTS' latter half delves into the trials and tribulations of Rodrigo's romantic life, whether she's being gaslit on "logical" or shaking her head at "some weird second-string loser who's not worth mentioning" over the irrepressible surf-rock riff of "love is embarrassing." It's a natural evolution of some of her most heartstring-tugging tracks on SOUR like "enough for you" and "happier."

One of the album's strongest statements, though, is "get him back!," a crunchy tale of revenge (or possibly renewed love?) with a chanting chorus that will inevitably be screamed back at Rodrigo on her next tour. If you happen to be conflicted about your feelings for an ex, just try shouting, "I want sweet revenge and/ I want him again/ I want/ To get him back!" at the top of your lungs as you listen along.

That Teenage Dreams Come With Grown-up Insecurities

In a release-week interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, Rodrigo spilled that the first song she and Dan Nigro wrote for GUTS was pensive closer "teenage dream." 

Though they share a title, the quiet piano ballad couldn't be more different from Katy Perry's famous 2010 single of the same name. Instead of the label applying to a crush like Perry did in hers, "teenage dream" finds Rodrigo's questioning her own status as a teen wunderkind — one which, in quite the Swiftian move, she sardonically questioned on SOUR's "brutal" ("I'm so sick of 17/ Where's my f—ing teenage dream?"). 

"Got your whole life ahead of you/ You're only 19/ But I fear that they already got all the best parts of me/ And I'm sorry that I couldn't always be your teenage dream," she intones quietly before the song builds to a haunting refrain of "They all say that it gets better/ It gets better/ What if I don't?" 

However, after listening to everything GUTS has to offer, it's safe to say that, as she comes into her twenties, Rodrigo has no reason to doubt herself. She'll undoubtedly remain one of music's most promising stars and a singular voice of her generation as long as she continues trusting — and spilling — her guts.

For The Record: How Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now' Changed Her Career — And Proved She'll Always Get The Last Word

Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo performs onstage for the kick off of GUTS World Tour on Feb. 23, 2024 in Palm Springs, California.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Acrisure Arena

news

Olivia Rodrigo Releases 'Guts (Spilled)' Deluxe Edition: Listen To New Song "So American" & Watch The "Obsessed" Music Video

In the midst of her headlining arena tour, Olivia Rodrigo delivered an extended version of her second album, 'GUTS.' Hear new song "so american" from 'GUTS (spilled)' below, along with four previously vinyl-only tracks.

GRAMMYs/Mar 22, 2024 - 01:15 pm

Seven months after Olivia Rodrigo unleashed her highly anticipated second studio album, she spilled her GUTS even further on March 22: GUTS (spilled) deluxe edition is here.

Rodrigo diehards may know four of the five deluxe tracks, which were previously only available on vinyl editions of GUTS: "obsessed," "stranger," "scared of my guitar," and "girl i've always been." But the deluxe version doesn't come without an unreleased track — the fifth, "so american," is brand new, and closes out GUTS (spilled).

"Obsessed" even got the video treatment, with the official music video dropping at the same time as the deluxe album. Therein, she’s the black sheep among a litany of pageant queens, representing exes: Rodrigo’s sash reads "Miss Right Now." The chorus — "I’m so obsessed with your ex!" detonates with a full rock band.

Rodrigo will even be able to celebrate the arrival of GUTS (spilled) with fans, too. The GUTS World Tour stops Columbus, Ohio, on March 22 — almost exactly a month after it launched in Thousand Palms, California, on Feb. 23. As of press time, the tour (which marks Rodrigo's first headlining arena trek) will feature 77 shows across North America and Europe; it wraps with four nights at Los Angeles' Kia Forum on Aug. 13, 14, 16, and 17.

Before the tour began, GUTS helped Rodrigo earn six more GRAMMY nominations. In addition to a nod for Album Of The Year, the pop-punk princess received nominations for Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Vampire," Best Rock Song for "Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl," and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Prior to the 2024 GRAMMYs, Rodrigo was already a three-time winner, taking home Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album (SOUR) and Best Pop Solo Performance ("drivers license") in 2022.

Listen to GUTS (spilled) below, watch the "Obsessed" video above, and keep checking back for news about Olivia Rodrigo!

Olivia Rodrigo performs at the 2024 GUTS World Tour
Olivia Rodrigo performs during her GUTS World Tour opening in Palm Springs on Feb. 23, 2024.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Acrisure Arena

list

4 Ways Olivia Rodrigo's GUTS World Tour Shows A New Side Of The Pop Princess

Olivia Rodrigo not only boasts a luminous performance on her first-ever arena tour, but also showcases an undiluted moment of self-expression.

GRAMMYs/Feb 26, 2024 - 11:02 pm

Since releasing her debut single three years ago, Olivia Rodrigo has not shown any signs of slowing down. And with a sold-out arena tour underway, the three-time GRAMMY winner is keeping that momentum going in awe-inspiring fashion.

As the GUTS World Tour — Rodrigo's first headlining arena trek — kicked off at Palm Springs' Acrisure Arena on Feb. 23, the pop star immersed fans with a dedicated space to examine the moments when you feel unpretty, never have the perfect perfume, or can't help being unapologetically feral. Blooming under a full, Pisces moon, Olivia Rodrigo's luminous performance marked an undiluted moment of self-expression. 

Toeing the line between fragile girlhood and brutal adulthood, Rodrigo was unafraid to embrace the Olivia who once was and who is becoming. And as a result, she unleashed a fresh, freer side of herself — one she's ready to share with the world.

Below, read through four ways Olivia Rodrigo's Guts World Tour unveiled a liberated version of the chart-topping superstar.

She's Unafraid To Celebrate Herself

What makes Rodrigo's GUTS Tour magnificent is it's less about the finer details — like massive sets or onstage collaborations — and more so about her journey since her rise to fame. Rodrigo's honest examination of herself was refreshingly lethal in the zeitgeist of pop music's increasingly formulaic state. In 90 minutes, the show's comparably straightforward set list made sure the album's focus on autonomy was central, woven with her simultaneously intimate and acute insights. 

At the start of the show, the backdrop displayed perfectly arranged lit candles spelling out her album's title. Before singing "teenage dream," she proclaimed, "I just turned 21!" (her birthday was Feb. 20). "I'm really f—cking excited about it. I went to the gas station the other day and bought a pack of cigarettes!" As she fervently played the piano, she reminisced about writing the song, noting that she penned it ahead of her last birthday as a teenager, "when I was really afraid of growing up," she admitted to the crowd. 

All throughout her melodic existential crisis, a video of her younger self was projected onto the screen. She ended the song with an audio of herself as a child, someone off camera asking her to introduce herself; it was so emblematic of the blitheness youth often brings. And though she recently celebrated a young adult milestone, it was still rather jarring to hear her youthful voice deliver the track's heavy lyrics. 

The next two songs served up a mix of painful vulnerability and complete release. Some of the most painful sentiments of GUTS' "pretty isn't pretty" — "I started to skip lunch, stopped eating cake on birthdays," for one — were the lines the audience most enthusiastically sang along to. After hefty musings, it made perfect sense for her to transition to "love is embarrassing," where she allowed herself to let loose. Prancing around on stage, she held up a big "L" to her forehead before laughing and stomping out flailing choreography. The track ended with all of her backup dancers bent over, shimmying their derrieres as Rodrigo sent a shimmering wink to showgoers.

Rodrigo allowed seriousness and silliness to exist simultaneously, and it was clear that every single person in the crowd felt heard. It made the night all the more special, knowing even a star whose impact is nearly immeasurable can also "feel like s—" on their birthday — and it was entirely ok

Olivia Rodrigo at the 2024 GUTS World Tour

*Olivia Rodrigo at the opening night of the GUTS World Tour on Feb. 23 | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Acrisure Arena*

She's Signaling Her Evolution While Honoring Her Past

Fans who have known Rodrigo since her starring role in the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark have met many iterations of Olivia Rodrigo: The one who made palatable Disney Channel music, the one breaking ground with her sound, the one unafraid to embrace her pop-punk propensity. The show underscored her evolution as an artist, while being unafraid to make references to her past. 

She unabashedly looked back to past Olivia in a quietly powerful performance of "All I Want," a track she wrote when starring on Disney+'s "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series." Despite the glamour of her propelling fame, Rodrigo absolutely refused to be anybody but herself throughout her time on the show. "I was literally peeing my pants on the set" while demonstrating her lyrics to the showrunners, she professes, laughing and shaking her head as she sat on the ground, with nothing but a guitar player backing her silken vocals.  

It was a decidedly striking move to reference her squeakier past in a more simplistic form — especially because, as the concert progressed, her performance only became more and more complex and risqué. In a daring act, the dazzling purple backdrop ignited as fallen candles virtually burned everything in sight and, through the ashes, emerged something a bit darker. Now clad in a bold, red jumpsuit, Rodrigo delivered the GUTS hidden track "obsessed" while balanced on top of a glass floor, thrusting her hips into the air and screaming into the backdrop. 

Though her vocal delivery was nearly identical to the studio versions of her songs, what made the show all the more mesmerizing was how deeply she felt each and every one of her lines. Even more so than her vulnerability, the fury Rodrigo fully embraced throughout the show was perhaps one of the most freeing aspects of it. 

Snatching her purple guitar with unhindered passion, she whipped her hair and fell to the floor while thrumming along to "brutal," to match her guitarist beat-for-beat in intensity. In another audacious move, Rodrigo even grabbed a drumstick out of her drummer's hand and began whacking the drums as well, throwing the stick into the air after the final beat. 

During an almost-required lyric change on "all american b—," she sang she's grabbing her "all-American tits" rather than just her "all-American hips," — which, of course, necessitated an aggressive chest clench. In one of the most memorable moments of the night, Rodrigo asked the crowd to think of someone who "really pisses them off" and commanded everyone to scream as loud as they could. Shutting off the lights, the arena was filled with nothing but raw yodels and screams into the void — and it was glorious. 

As the stakes have gradually become higher and higher, Rodrigo's performances came down to something easily decipherable: shameless joy with a side of defiance. 

Chappell Roan at the 2024 GUTS World Tour

*Chappell Roan at the opening night of the GUTS World Tour on Feb. 23 | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Acrisure Arena*

She's Highlighting Diverse Talent Front & Center

Rodrigo's choice of supporting acts further display her understanding of dynamic artistry, as buzzing pop and indie acts Chappell Roan, The Breeders, PinkPantheress and Remi Wolf will rotate through the opening slot. Roan is support for the first stretch, and her set underscored the meaning of a true pop princess in the making. 

Delivering flawless vocals and addicting charisma, Roan proved she knows how to serve a memorable performance. As she skipped through the stage and clutched her guitarist while hitting an immaculate high note during "My Kink Is Karma," it was clear that Roan is ready for her arrival as pop royalty. 

Nothing about her performance screamed rookie; if anything, it was a masterclass in how to take up space. When she belted, "Oh mama, I'm just having fun on the stage in my heels. It's where I belong!" from the outstanding single "Pink Pony Club," she jumped into the air, pure bliss emanating all the way from head to her sparkly, silver boot-clad toes.

Olivia Rodrigo at the 2024 GUTS World Tour

*Olivia Rodrigo at the opening night of the GUTS World Tour on Feb. 23 | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Acrisure Arena*

Her Community Of Fans Is Unmatched — And She's Here For It

Despite what was going on onstage, Rodrigo's show made it clear that her authenticity has helped her build quite the loyal following. Along with scream-singing the majority of the set list, fans were dressed to the nines, some adorning elaborate recreations of her music video and performance outfits. 

Her fellow Pisces were celebrating their birthdays, wearing Olivia Rodrigo-themed sashes — some turning 13, some 30. All around the arena, fans ran up to one another wishing each other happy birthdays, asking how the other made a certain outfit. Bows, à la Sandy Liang, were sprinkled throughout the crowd, and even became an integral part of Rodrigo's choreography during "lacy." 

At the surface, it's easy to dismiss Rodrigo's fandom — especially given her more sanitized, mainstream roots in the industry. Navigating through the crowd, you would hear disgruntled murmurs from security staff, dismissing everyone as just "an annoying group of 14 year old girls" — despite the diversity the audience actually boasted. 

Despite it all, Rodrigo became a beacon of acceptance. Suspended above the audience on a crescent moon during GUTS' "logical" and SOUR's "enough for you" — one of the more poignant moments of the show — she took the time to shout out and get closer to those in the nosebleed sections. "I see you!" she belted out, later taking the time to shine the camera on cute couples and exquisite ensembles during her set. Those three words are precisely why Rodrigo's music has such wide appeal — she speaks to those who have felt easily discarded, like they were too much, too loud, too brash. 

The night ended with star-shaped confetti floating down to the crowd after a buoyant performance of "get him back!" As the clean-up crew unleashed industrial sized vacuums on the streamers, young fans scrambled about, giggling as they tried to grab as many as possible to bring home, some sticking them in their hair as they leapt about the emptying arena. 

Olivia Rodrigo's superpower is her acute ability to make these painful feelings of girlhood feel so uniting. In between the heartbreak and growing pains is this ephemeral moment of unguarded joy, and she brought it all to the GUTS World Tour. 

2024 GRAMMYs: Watch Olivia Rodrigo Bleed Her Soul Dry With Dramatic "Vampire" Performance

Annie Lennox performs during the 66th GRAMMY Awards
Annie Lennox performs during the 66th GRAMMY Awards

Photos: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

news

Watch All The Performances From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo & More

The 66th GRAMMY Awards were full of memorable moments and incredible performances. Relive Music's Biggest Night with performance videos from Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox, Gaby Moreno & David Aguilar, and more.

GRAMMYs/Feb 7, 2024 - 12:57 am

The 2024 GRAMMYs were marked by record-breaking wins, moving speeches and viral moments both on- and offstage. But what truly tied together Music's Biggest Night — beyond artistic excellence — was its slate of stunning and emotional performances.

From Dua Lipa's opening act and new song, to Joni Mitchell's first-ever performance on the GRAMMY stage and the tearjerking-yet-thrilling tribute to lost icons, the 66th GRAMMY Awards were a showcase of the best of the business. 

Press play on the videos below and relive the most exciting performances from the 66th GRAMMY Awards

Dua Lipa opened the 66th GRAMMY Awards with a medley of the first two singles from her upcoming album. Tracks "Houdini" and "Training Season" are the first two singles off Dua Lipa’s forthcoming third studio record, which follows her GRAMMY-winning 2020 LP Future Nostalgia. The 2024 GRAMMYs were a sneak peek of "Training Season," as the track officially arrives Feb. 15.

In a full-circle moment, Luke Combs perform his GRAMMY-nominated cover of "Fast Car" — with a suprise appearance from Tracy Chapman. "Fast Car" earned Chapman a GRAMMY for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1989, when she took home the trophy. On the GRAMMY stage, the otherwise reclusive Chapman beamed as she strummed an acoustic guitar and duetted with Combs.

"Tracy is such an icon and, I mean, one of the best songwriters that I think any of us will ever be around to see," Combs said in the video introducing his performance.

Miley Cyrus had only performed "Flowers" twice before taking the GRAMMY-winning song to stage on Music’s Biggest Night. And while the hit track off Endless Summer Vacation was sure to be a showstopper, Cyrus’ performance was made even more special by winning her first GRAMMY moments before. After  eight nominations and many years in the industry, the singer’s exclamations of excitment were felt by everyone watching.

After winning the GRAMMY Award for Best Song Written For Visual Media at the Premiere Ceremony, Billie Eilish and brother FINNEAS performed the existential pop ballad from Barbie on the GRAMMY stage. "What Was I Made For?" would go on to win Song Of The Year, showing the world that Eilish certainly knows what she was made for.

Eighty-year-old icon ad 2022 MusiCares Person Of The Year Joni Mitchell performed for the first time at the GRAMMY Awrds — and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Seated in an elegant chair and surrounded by chandeliers, Mitchell offered an emotional performance of her 1969 hit "Both Sides Now." The legened was backed by Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Sistastrings, Lucius, Jacob Collier, and Blake Mills; earlier in the day, "Both Sides" took home the golden gramophone for Best Folk Album.

SZA went into the 2024 GRAMMYs as the most-nominated artist and took home awards for  Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best R&B Song. She then gave back to the audience, performing the GRAMMY-winning "Snooze," clad in a leather duster and wide-brimmed hat.

Olivia Rodrigo may not have taken home a golden gramophone, but she still left her all on the GRAMMYs stage. Donning an appropriately hued dress and just a dash of "blood" on her face, Rodrigo performed "vampire" as red liquid seeped from the walls behind her.

Billy Joel performed twice at the 66th GRAMMY Awards, treating audiences to one familiar tune and one brand-new track. Joel shared his newest offering, "Turn the Lights Back On," just before Album Of The Year was announced. His first release since 2007, "Turn the Lights Back On" marked his first time playing on the GRAMMYs stage in more than 20 years.

Burna Boy brought a piece of his homeland to the GRAMMYs, dancing among throngs of colorfully-dressed performers and equally colorful buildings. The Nigerian Afrobeats star performed "On Form," "City Boys" and "Sitting On Top Of The World," iwth special appearances by Brandy and 21 Savage.

U2 took the GRAMMY audience on a quick trip to Las Vegas, performing "Atomic City" live from the Sphere. The swirling, psychedelic and high-tech performance was the first live broadcast from Sin City venue, which the 22-time GRAMMY winners are currently doing a residency.

During the moving In Memoriam segment of the 2024 GRAMMYs, Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox was joined by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman to pay tribute to Sinead O'Connor. Together, they offered an emotional cover of the late Irish pioneer's "Nothing Compares 2 U."

Further honoring the lives of incredible individuals that the music world lost in 2023, Fantasia Barrino made Tina Turner proud with a high-energy performance of "Proud Mary." The performance and tribute were introduced by Oprah Winfrey, who called Turner "a towering figure. She is our forever goddess of rock and roll who inspired millions, a moving symbol of grace and grit, soul and power…And as those big wheels of time keep on turnin’, Tina’s voice continues to speak to all of us." 

Continuing the In Memoriam tribute, Global Impact Award honoree Lenny Kravitz paid respect to Clarence Avant as the "Godfather of Black Music" with a tribute that included a performance of "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me" by Album Of The Year nominee Jon Batiste.

During the Premiere Ceremony, Gaby Moreno & El David Aguilar performed a harmonious and haunting “Luna de Xelaju.” Their take on the popular Guatemalan waltz composed by Paco Pérez was set against a video of falling rose petals, highlighting the romanticism of the duo’s voices.

The Premiere Ceremony kicked off the 2024 GRAMMYs with an exciting performance from Pentatonix, Jordin Sparks, Larkin Poe, J. Ivy, and Sheila E., who welcomed audiences to a day-long celebration of musical excellence.

10 Acceptance Speeches That Made Us Laugh, Cry, & Smile At The 2024 GRAMMYs

(L-R) Sabrina Carpenter, Ice Spice, Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff attend the 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Gala, presented by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis.
(L-R) Sabrina Carpenter, Ice Spice, Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff attend the 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Gala, presented by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

news

Inside The Recording Academy And Clive Davis' 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Gala: New Artists, Lasting Legends and Iconic Performances

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, stars including Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Megan Thee Stallion, Chloe x Halle, and more flocked to the annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala co-presented by the Recording Academy.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 10:20 pm

Who better than Tom Hanks to say it best?

"Clive Davis has provided us with the soundtrack of our lives, our emotions and our inspirations," the legendary actor said of the night's premiement host; the legendary music executive, passionate advocate for the power of song and noted discoverer of artists. 

"Music is the food [of the soul], give us excess of it," said Hanks in his passionate opening soliloquy packed with approbation. "And tonight is a night of excess."

It's the stuff of legend, a topic of lore and an evening that regularly rockets itself in the pages of music history. For nearly 50 years, the annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala, presented by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis, has been a star-making opportunity for the music industry to celebrate their past monumental year, highlighting both veteran acts and tomorrow's superstars. For the 2024 Pre-GRAMMY Galasponsored by Hilton, IBM and Mastercard and held on a rainy night at its regular home at the equally iconic Beverly Hilton Hotel the night before the 2024 GRAMMYs, its usual slot on the calendar — the grand master of music's party continued to provide a beacon of light for jaw-dropping performances and starry shoulder-rubbing. 

But before the party is the cocktail hour; a curious affair where music past and present collides. In one corner finds Producer Of The Year nominee Dan Nigro, the pop whisperer behind acclaimed acts ranging from Chappell Roan, Conan Gray and the multiple-Grammy nominated Olivia Rodrigo. A couple people away was Frankie Valli, last year's Pre-GRAMMY Gala opener who is currently in the midst of what he bills as a farewell tour. Looking around the room, the star power is abundant: Dianne Warren, the aforementioned Hanks with wife Rita Wilson, MusiCares' 2024 Person Of The Year Jon Bon Jovi, longtime Gala guest Nancy Pelosi alongside husband Paul. 

Just beyond the cocktail hour lies the red carpet, which boasts a head-snapping array of personalities. Megan Thee Stallion strutted in flaunting a gold-colored dress, while last year's Best New Artist winner Samara Joy sauntered in an equally dazzling gown. The list of guests includes an eclectic array of who's who in music: pop star Ellie Goulding, the dance-pop-country artist and producer Diplo, country-pop icon Shania Twain, recent Black Music Collective honorees Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, the producer David Foster with wife Katherine McPhee, eventual three-time GRAMMY winners Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers (the trio otherwise known as Boygenius), and the following night's GRAMMY opener Dua Lipa, among countless others.

As the esteemed guests (which also included Kenneth "Babyface" EdmundsJanelle Monáe, Troye Sivan, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, the members of Earth, Wind and Fire and Charli XCX) settled into their seats in a ballroom with a stage outfitted with the bash's signature twinkle lights sparkling on the stage, a countdown on the monitors appeared. 3, 2, 1…

"We're going to play a game of word association," said Hanks, who was bestowed the honor of introducing Davis and to mark the occasion, he managed to recite a massive list of artists Davis had a hand or hands in making superstars, from Janis Joplin to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, right up to Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. "The only reason why Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky weren't mentioned is because they all died before Clive Davis had a chance to introduce them," he joked.

"I've gotta tell you, the emotions run high," said Davis. "I look out among you and I see so many familiar faces. The whole thing began as long ago as 1976 and I really have to pinch myself that it's going so, so strong. I'm happy to say that music is alive and well."

Tennis great Serena Williams introduced the night's opening act, Green Day. "In 2022, Clive Davis and I were honored together when we were inducted into the National Portrait Gallery," she recalled. "I said to him, 'You've got to remember to invite me to your gala. I'm so thrilled to be back here to introduce my favorite band. To know me is to know my love for them."

The punk gods are currently making a comeback with their 14th studio album, Saviors, and celebrating the 30th anniversary of their breakout album Dookie and 20th anniversary of their massively successful LP American Idiot. The group honored both anniversaries with a song from each, "American Idiot" and "Basket Case."

In years past, the night's performers ranged a wide gamut; but to prove Davis's point and regenerative effects of the industry, this year a large portion of the roster of surprise performers were plucked from the 2024's crop of Best New Artist nominees. There was the singer-songwriter Noah Kahan, who busted out a rousing rendition of his own breakout "Stick Season," while Ice Spice hit the stage to deliver her 2023 solo hit, "Deli." 

Rising country star Jelly Roll was also bequeathed a coveted slot, proclaiming his excitement by saying he had "only read about the party in books and magazines." With that, he delivered rousing versions of his candid single "Need a Favor" backed by a choir, as well as his equally affecting "Save Me," on which he brought out duet partner and eventual GRAMMY winner Lainey Wilson.

In fact, it was Wilson who provided one of the most surprising moments of the night when she appeared to perform a special version of Barbie's "I'm Just Ken" accompanied by songwriter Andrew Watt on piano and Mark Ronson on guitar. Of course, Davis was the architect of the moment, an idea he said came to him last week; Ronson suggested Wilson after the song's original performer, the actor Ryan Gosling, was unavailable. 

"To look astound and to see some of the greatest musicians and record-makers, it's really an honor to be here," Ronson said. "This is a song we wrote for the movie Barbie about the beauty of being the runner-up sometimes, which is a lesson I know very well," he said to laughter. "It's pretty cool to be second sometimes."

2024 GRAMMYs: Explore More & Meet The Nominees

Fresh off his starring role on Broadway's Sweeney Todd, Josh Groban delivered a subtle tribute to the legend behind the Broadway musical by performing "Children Will Listen," before paying tribute to Davis himself with a gospel-tinged performance of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which Davis had a hand in releasing. Joining him was another Best New Artist nominee, The War and Treaty frontman Michael Trotter Jr., and the pair's joint vocal power brought the audience to its feet. 

Musical whiplash ensued with additional performances courtesy Maluma and Isley Brothers, the latter of which performed their instantly-recognizable "Shout" as a tribute to Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Publishing Jon Platt, the evening's Icon honoree. An award which in years past has gone to heavyweights including David Geffen, Mo Ostin, Ahmet Ertgun and Jerry Moss to name a few, Platt was touched by the honor and delivered a 40-minute speech chock full of stories and reflections. Not even a beeping fire alarm, which at one point blared and flashed through his speech, tripped up Platt.

"It's funny because Harvey called me and I thought he needed help with something," said Platt, recalling the moment the Recording Academy's CEO Harvey Mason jr. informed him of the honor. "But he said I was selected as this year's industry icon and I was like, 'Wow, man.'" 

Noting he needed convincing to accept the honor ("I'm [just] seeing so many other people doing great things," he relented), Platt's contributions to music, from his work with everyone from Isley Brothers to Beyonce to Jay-Z, and even Oliva Rodrigo, makes him both a genre and decade-spanning force. 

"You'll see a consistent thing with me is that I'm a music nerd-fanboy," Platt said, noting how a kind word from the composer Gerald Busby made this evening a full circle moment for him. "[One day in 1998] I saw him and we were making small talk and he said, 'Someone was asking me who I see in the industry today that can achieve the things that I can achieve. I told them that Big Jon's gonna run the whole thing one day.' For someone to share the belief they have in you is incredibly powerful. From that day, I changed the course of my focus. Everything had a purpose after that."

Another one of the artists Platt fostered performed in his honor as well: Public Enemy. "We're here for you and here for all of our heroes and hero-ettes," Chuck D declared before the group dove into an energetic medley of "Can't Truss It," "Bring the Noise" and "Fight the Power." 

It wouldn't be a Clive Davis bash without one final surprise. As 1 a.m. neared, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick hit the stage, with the former belting out a passionate version of "(The Way We Were) Memories" and the duo joining together for Warwick's endearing staple, "That's What Friends are For" alongside Andra Day. 

But from the electrified crowd, guest Stevie Wonder just couldn't help himself, getting up on stage to assist on harmonica. "This has been such a wonderful blessing to meet all of these people in my life; to meet Dionne, to meet Gladys," Wonder said, cueing up an unrehearsed and on-the-fly version of "What the World Needs Now Is Love" with the entire group. 

"I know this is what we need in the world," he continued. "There are many people that for so many years have been dividing people, not understanding the purpose that God has given us to come together."

It was a moving way to wrap up the night — and a fitting one at that, bringing together stars young and old to offer an inspiring message, and remind just how powerful music can be.

10 Must-See Moments From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Taylor Swift Makes History, Billy Joel & Tracy Chapman Return, Boygenius Manifest Childhood Dreams