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They Said It

A roundup of quotes from Music's Biggest Week

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

From the Social Media Rock Stars Summit and MusiCares Person of the Year to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards itself, music's biggest week got even bigger in 2011. In case you missed any of the action, here is a sampling of some notable quotes from GRAMMY Week:

"I don't want to make music for people who don't care about music." — T Bone Burnett at the Producers & Engineers Wing's Shaken Rattled & Rolled event on Feb. 9.

"I'm pretty much a hypocrite because I've been throwing abuse and other various objects at the screens of various functions like the GRAMMYs and the Golden Globes and the Oscars." — Jeff Beck, who won three GRAMMYs Sunday night, in a Reuters interview before the show.

"It's weird because I feel like we're not necessarily a singing group. We just do it for television, so to be recognized as a group...it's just really weird. I guess we weren't really expecting it being on a TV show." — Amber Riley, who stars as divalike glee club member Mercedes Jones in "Glee."

"Yes! But it's a privilege. I have to give it all the feeling I have. I grew up with these songs, and I love singing with other singers, especially such accomplished women." — Florence Welch on whether it's daunting to take part in the GRAMMY tribute to Aretha Franklin.

"Don't tweet drunk." — Adam Lambert at The Recording Academy's Social Media Rock Stars Summit on Feb. 11.

"Bronchitis and laryngitis boo! I'm still goin' to rehearsals tho! Sunday is everything." — Rihanna, tweeting about her illness before the GRAMMYs.

"I don't like to get political, but I have always loved her politics." — Comedian Bill Maher on honoree Barbra Streisand at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala on Feb. 11.

"I wanted to be surprised. I didn't know who would be there." — Barbra Streisand, who didn't supply a wish list of performers for Friday's gala honoring her as MusiCares Person of the Year.

"My niece recently watched a DVD of Funny Girl for the first time and asked why I was singing songs from 'Glee.'" — Barbra Streisand at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala.

"I was told Clive [Davis] thinks I'm the best new artist this year, and that means a lot to me. I'm going to bring the future to my performance." — Janelle Monáe at the Pre-GRAMMY Gala on Feb. 12.

"I ate a lot of…fried chicken over the holidays. So, I'm cutting back on that a little bit, but man, it's going to be hard to curb the drinking. There's too much celebrating. So, I won't be backing down on that at all." — Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley.

"B.B. King once said 'You can't serve two masters,' and to me, that means you have to decide if music is something that expresses that inner voice and the divine connection that is music, or [is] something created to meet other people's expectations. I've chosen the path of serving that muse. But as long as people keep inviting me to events like [the GRAMMYs], I'll keep coming." — Esperanza Spalding.

"This is my first GRAMMY for music, and it's appreciated greatly." — Neil Young at the GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony.

"It's one of Aretha's most popular songs, and I feel extra special to be able to do it for her. It fits me all around, vocally and the attitude and sass." — Jennifer Hudson on singing Aretha Franklin's "Respect" on the GRAMMYs in tribute to the Queen of Soul.

"This past Monday I had the pleasure of having sex with her, on TV no less. It left me exhausted, aroused and more than a little confused." — Neil Patrick Harris introducing Katy Perry on the GRAMMYs.

"I especially want to thank all of you who took the time to send me 'Get well' cards and flowers. And most importantly, your prayers during my time of hospitalization. I wish I could be with you tonight, but since I couldn't...next year, okay?" — Aretha Franklin in a taped message on the GRAMMYs.

"We're going to go play another song because we like music. Thank you to the GRAMMYs. Thank you everyone. We're so happy." — Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler after the group's Album Of The Year win.

"Gaga is in incubation." — The singer's stylist Nicola Formichetti tweeting about Lady Gaga's arrival at the GRAMMYs in an egg.

"That is the hottest cane I've ever seen in my entire life." — Ryan Seacrest to Katy Perry's grandmother, whose cane was blinged out by Armani.

"Justin Bieber? Hairpiece." — David Letterman revealing the No. 1 item on his Top 10 GRAMMY surprises list.

"I should have thanked my wife instead of Howard Stern because I'm probably in a lot of trouble." — Train frontman Patrick Monahan backstage after accepting the award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.

"We never expected we'd even get invited after we were nominated." — Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, who won for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.

"Right before it went to No. 1, he asked if he could have it back but it was a little too late." — Miranda Lambert after winning Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "The House That Built Me," which was originally pitched to Lambert's fiancé, Blake Shelton.

"I need to say thank you tonight to Whitney Houston. I wanted to thank Whitney because when I wrote 'Born This Way,' I imagined she was singing it because I wasn't secure enough in myself to imagine I was a superstar." — Lady Gaga after accepting Best Pop Vocal Album for The Fame Monster.

"Oh my gosh, we were so stunned we started walking the wrong direction." — Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum as she accepted the group's third GRAMMY Sunday.
 

Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

Beyoncé Releases International Day Of The Girl 'Freedom' Video

GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations: Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations: Jennifer Hudson

From timeless classics to infectious pop gems, GRAMMY winner Jennifer Hudson goes deep on six influential GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(To commemorate the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame's 40th Anniversary in 2013, GRAMMY.com has launched GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations. The ongoing series will feature conversations with various individuals who will identify GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings that have influenced them and helped shape their careers.)

Vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson grew up in Chicago in the '80s and '90s, but it was a piece of classic '70s disco that first made her want to put her talents to use as a professional performer.

"When I heard 'Got To Be Real' [by Cheryl Lynn] it just grabbed me," says Hudson. "That was the song that made me think, 'Oh God — that's what I want to do.' I'd mark off a little stage on the floor and hold my hairbrush microphone and jump up and down. I'd lose it."

A solid disco beat can still move her, but Hudson also cites gospel music as a major influence, having sung often in the church in her childhood with an extended family of talented vocalists.

Hudson got the chance to make her own music career real in 2004 when she delivered several knockout performances as a contestant on "American Idol." Her breakout role in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls followed in 2006, and two years later she took home Best R&B Album honors for her self-titled debut at the 51st GRAMMY Awards [link to show page].

With plans underway for her third studio album, Hudson reigns as one of the most gifted and affecting performers of her generation. Here are six recordings from the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame that continue to make her want to reach for the microphone — hairbrush or otherwise.

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
Arista (1985)
Album
Inducted 2013

"I have a hard time remembering what I was doing the first time I heard a lot of the Whitney songs because I went crazy for everything she did. That first album really had an effect on me. 'Saving All My Love For You,' 'How Will I Know,' 'Greatest Love Of All' — just saying the names of the songs makes me want to cry all over again. I do remember that 'Greatest Love Of All' was a total game changer for me. It was a song that had a very different kind of power. It didn't make you want to dance like my other favorites had done — this one captivated you. It put you into a trance. You started listening to that song and the world around you went silent.

"Whitney had that effect right from the start. There's a time to dance, and there's a time to listen, and Whitney had a voice that you had to listen to. The thing that has always amazed me is that her music is so powerful, and yet it's so soothing. In some ways it's perfect ear candy, but it can also move you to tears."

"Lady Marmalade"
LaBelle
Epic (1975)
Single
Inducted 2003

"When it is time to dance, this is the [song]. I think everybody has the experience with music that certain songs are powerful enough to take you right back to a certain time and place. There are songs you appreciate for the music, but there are songs you just feel are like old friends — you've got some history with them. For me, hearing Patti LaBelle and the group singing 'Lady Marmalade' takes me right back to the times when I was first getting so excited about music. This is the kind of song that just made me jump up and want to be a part of what was going on.

"I also remember being impressed by the look and the image of LaBelle too, which I didn't really know about until I'd already been familiar with the song. [They were] so much fun, and so expressive. I wish things were a little more like that now. Sometimes it feels like everything's been done. You think somebody has a new look and it turns out LaBelle [were] already there.

"Oh Happy Day"
Edwin Hawkins Singers
Buddah (1969)
Single
Inducted 1999

"I started out singing in church choruses, and even before I was singing I was sitting [on] my grandmother's lap while she was singing the chorus on Sunday or at choir rehearsal. My whole family sang — my grandmother was the youngest of 11 siblings and they all sang together as a group. I remember they'd do these warm-ups where they'd go around and everybody in the family had to sing their name: 'My name is Jennifer Hudson, how do you do?'

"I always loved that feeling of being surrounded by music and family, and that's a feeling I get from 'Oh Happy Day,' which is kind of funny because for all the singing we did in church, I don't think we sang that song. Once I heard it though, I couldn't get enough of it. It's one of those great pieces of music that's a real church song, but it gets you there just like any great up-tempo pop song. It gives you that great feeling of energy and makes you smile. It does what the title tells you it does — makes your day a happier one."

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Simon & Garfunkel
Columbia (1970)
Single
Inducted 1998

"I just absolutely love this song, and have from the first time I heard it. But for a long time what I was familiar with was the Aretha Franklin version. A friend finally introduced me to the Simon & Garfunkel original. Their recording is so perfect and so heavenly — every time I hear it I either want to sing along with the whole thing, or just say, 'Hallelujah.' The sound is so pure and the arrangement is so beautiful, it just sends you away. Then, when you really listen to the words, it's beautiful on a whole different level. What does everyone want in life but a bridge over troubled water?

"This is the kind of song that makes me wonder: When it was being written and recorded, did they have a sense of how amazing and timeless this was? Did they know from the start it was a masterpiece? I think we musicians know when we've done the best we can do, and that's a great feeling. But I wonder if there's an extra awareness when you create something that's just going to last forever. This song is definitely in that category."

"People"
Barbra Streisand
Columbia (1964)
Single
Inducted 1998

"The Way We Were"
Barbra Streisand
Columbia (1974)
Single
Inducted 2008

"I don't remember my first time hearing Barbra Streisand. I just think I was always aware that she was the top — that she's as good as you can get as a singer and a performer.

"The first time I really became aware of just how special a talent she had was when I actually had to get it together to sing a couple of her songs at one of Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY [Galas]. It was a tribute for her, and two days before the show Clive asked me to sing 'People' and 'The Way We Were.' I had to take on these two gigantic signature songs — songs that aren't easy to deliver — and sing them with her sitting right in front of me. Are you kidding me? I almost lost my mind.

"She makes the first few lines of 'People' sound so easy, but melodically it's very difficult to get it just right. To this day I want to sing that over again and get it right — a little more right. I think I must have spoken to her after I sang, but I was so terrified I don't remember a thing. I think she was smiling, but I don't know. I love her. I'd sing for her again if I could — but maybe not one of her songs."

(Jennifer Hudson won her first career GRAMMY in 2008 for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson. As an actress, her role in the 2006 film Dreamgirls earned her numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. A day after the death of Whitney Houston on Feb. 11, 2012, Hudson performed "I Will Always Love You" as a special tribute on the 54th GRAMMY Awards telecast.)

(Chuck Crisafulli is an L.A.-based journalist and author whose most recent works include Go To Hell: A Heated History Of The Underworld, Me And A Guy Named Elvis and Elvis: My Best Man.)

 

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GRAMMY Winners Blog: Lady Antebellum

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

The Recording Academy asked a number of 52nd GRAMMY Award winners to share their thoughts on winning, performing, and simply experiencing the excitement of the telecast.

Last year we were so excited just to sit in the crowd. We never thought we would be on the stage performing just a year later. And winning our first GRAMMY Award was unbelievable. We were on the red carpet doing an interview when we found out. It caught us off guard, but certainly made our whole night wonderful.
— Hillary Scott

Talk about starstruck. It felt incredibly surreal seeing everyone backstage. We are as big fans of these other artists as everyone watching at home. We were happy to see so many artists from the Nashville music community go home with awards.
— Dave Haywood

I've watched the GRAMMYs since I was a kid. So many legends have performed on that stage. We sort of felt out of place, but we'll take it! "I Run To You" is a really special song to us, so to be recognized by the industry is very humbling.
— Charles Kelley
 

And The GRAMMY Went To ... Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding

Photo: Michael Caulfield/WireImage.com

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And The GRAMMY Went To ... Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding, Best New Artist

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(In the coming weeks GRAMMY.com will feature information and video highlights on winners from the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, held Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Each installment will offer the winning or related video and some pertinent, and not so pertinent, information about the track and the artists.)

Track: "Little Fly" (iTunes>)

Artist: Esperanza Spalding

Won for: Best New Artist

Previous wins: None

Did you know?: Spalding was hired as an instructor at the prestigious Berklee College of Music at just 20 years old. She is the first pure jazz artist to win the coveted Best New Artist award. On her 2008 album Esperanza, Spalding sings in English, Portuguese and Spanish. At the invitation of President Barack Obama, she performed at both the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, and also at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2009. Along with Bobby McFerrin, she co-hosted this year's 53rd GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony.

"Little Fly" is the opening track on Spalding's 2010 release Chamber Music Society, and is an illustration of William Blake's poem "Little Fly." The album peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart.

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