A year has come and gone. Somehow, unfortunately. I know many of you have been eagerly waiting for the big recap all about my behind the scenes GRAMMYs experience last January and now I can do that! I attended the 56th GRAMMY Awards. The slogan was “music unleashed” – in some ways I thought that was very fitting. With no further waiting, let’s get this started.
Look! That’s me getting papped by a real professional photographer on the red carpet of the GRAMMYs! You can’t tell from this picture but I was way into it. Channeling my inner Tyra Banks and taking all that prior America’s Next Top Model advice to heart. It’s all about the smize.
Attending The GRAMMYs had always been the number one thing on my bucket list. Since I was a tiny girl I’ve been too obsessed with music and The GRAMMYs were all I could dream about. The award show seemed just a bit outside the realms of my dreams and reach because The GRAMMYs are the only music award show you can’t buy tickets to. You have to be a member of the music recording academy or have luck on your side. Until one day I woke up and couldn’t believe it was happening. I called my mom and had her verify this was really truly not a dream when I first found out. The 56th GRAMMY Awards were actually in my future.
I will apologize for the lack of high-quality photos in this post. I tried my hardest, but you aren’t allowed a camera. They had multiple security checks where they would confiscate it. Technically I wasn’t supposed to take pictures on my phone but sorry not sorry I wasn’t going to leave The GRAMMYs without any pictures. Unfortunately all I had at the time was my iPhone 4s, but I made it work. There’s also a sunglasses emoji over any pictures where I couldn’t crop the person I went with out and that’s because they wanted as little of an online presence as possible. My guest from this point forward is known as sunglasses emoji.
The day of these big events start incredibly early. Way earlier than I ever would’ve expected. Now I will never make fun of the stars saying they get up at the crack of dawn to get ready. We were up by 7am to eat, shower, and get all dolled up to be out the door at our expected noon start time. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the celebrities.
We had limousine service to and from everywhere which was the first sign the day was going to be incredibly insane. Everything started at a fancy hotel for the pre-party gala. I can’t tell you the name of the hotel for the life of me because on the way there we were surprised with the news we’d get to walk the REAL red carpet! Like, with the stars. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I was over the moon. I had so much excitement about everything else, but learning that put me over the top.
From the start of the pre-party forward all day long there was non-stop food and alcohol. Top quality stuff. I’m not talking rail drinks, but the premium names. Oh man was the food absolutely mouthwatering. At the pre-party they had the BEST prime rib I’ve ever had in my life. Everywhere you looked there was a waiter with a new appetizer to try. As soon as you finished your glass of champagne somebody was right at your shoulder handing you a fresh glass. That was dangerous. Let me tell you though, the desserts. Now we’re talking. They had all the desserts set up on a tower of white roses with a massive golden GRAMMYs statue. There were so many different types and varieties. Yes, just like everything else they were absolutely delicious – adorable too! I’m not willing to admit how many times I went up to the dessert bar. Hey, don’t judge me, I was living large.
The Red Carpet
The red carpet was not what I expected. We got dropped off at one location a few blocks from the official entrance to the red carpet because we weren’t the big name celebrities pulling up in their limos. From the drop off location we were driven on go-karts to the start point. The red carpet itself if set up on an average street and blocked off. It’s all tunneled off, covered by tents, and lasts the length of a few blocks.
Here’s something you NEVER see on tv. How the red carpet actually looks and works. I was fascinated. The red carpet is divided by a black velvet rope. The interviewers, celebrities, and their handlers are on the larger side. Anybody else not as important (producers, writers, and others in the music business) are on the other side where it’s darker and you’re rushed by security to keep going to avoid congestion. There must be some broadcast magic in interviews to make it look so professional and appealing on our television screens. Seeing it all work in person has made it all a little less appealing to me because of the cattle pen factor. I commented that the red carpet interviews were a giant dog show where the artist had to go from one stall to the next and show off for the judges. I don’t know how they disguise this on tv, but it was the oddest thing to witness in person.
We walked the red carpet towards the beginning of the arrivals so I didn’t get to witness very many celebs, but that’s okay. I was happy with who we did see. When we walked in the very first person I saw was Ed Sheeran getting interviewed by Ryan Seacrest. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what else would be. Other celebrities I saw were Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Hunter Hayes, Bonnie McKee, and Kelly Osbourne. I was within a foot of Kelly, she smiled and said hello. Her lilac hair was even more gorgeous in person and that may have been the final push I needed to finally dye mine lilac last spring.
The red carpet walk was over before I could even process it all. At the very end of the carpet was where the paparazzi were located and were I got photographed. This was one thing I wasn’t expecting exactly what I witnessed either. All those celebrity pictures from various events are taken in the matter of a minute at most while the celebrity stands in front of a short wall and a MASSIVE group (probably around 100) paps yell their name and take picture after picture. It’s a sea of paps. The lights and flashing are blinding.
The Award Ceremony
Upon finishing the red carpet walk we stood outside of Staples Center for ages to be let in. At least the weather was beautiful and sunny. While standing outside of the venue I realized standing next to me was Roshon Fegan from Disney Channel’s Shake It Up. I had a mini “I watched you a television.” but with all my prior celeb experience that was contained in a few sideway glances. Nobody else around me seemed to notice. Maybe it’s because not many 20-somethings and older still watch Disney Channel from time to time.
While waiting we got our credentials dispersed and went through the first round of super intense security. Everybody had to be searched and entered into the building by 4:45 LA time or you were locked out.
Again, there was so much standing and waiting. I let it slide though because during this batch of idleness we found out even more cool news. We would be watching The GRAMMYs from a luxury suite! I had never been in a suite to watch an event of any kind before this. The booze and food was flowing still. Everywhere you looked there was more. This was one of the perks of being in a suite. If you were on the main floor no food or drink (unless again you were a celebrity) was allowed, you had to eat it in the hallway amongst all the lines.
The actual event in person is strange to say the least. It also makes it weird seeing award shows on television now because I know what’s occurring during the commercial breaks. All the lights go up during these breaks where you can watch the celebs mingle and chat. To amuse the rest of the audience old clips and performances from prior GRAMMY Awards are played on the screens. There’s a count down every time asking guests to resume their places and a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 before the lights went back down. At the beginning of the show they introduced host LL Cool J and taught us how to make noise and clap for him and others when they came on stage. I don’t know if it was only me, but I didn’t realize that only half the stage was used for award shows with music at a time. Maybe it’s just not something I ever really paid thought to, but they flip back and forth to get the performance props set up.
My favorite moment of the night was seeing the two remaining Beatles perform together. They are one of the few bands who have had major impact in my life and I never thought I’d see them in any form live. It was unbelievable. I may have even teared up a bit, but nobody noticed luckily.
I got to witness the infamous Taylor Swift dancing in person. I laughed so damn hard. I tried to get it on video, but it was too blurry. I can’t give her a hard time because she’s just having fun and enjoying herself and I found myself doing the same thing. Although, Yoko Ono was there grooving in the audience, she almost gave Taylor Swift a run for her money in over-enthusiastic dancing.
The best performances were the ones that incorporated multiple stage elements to engage the audience. Think Imagine Dragons and the white strobes and red paint. One performance was amazing in person, but I don’t know if I would’ve appreciated it as much through a screen was Metallica with their intense light show.
The After Party
The GRAMMYs were over by 8pm and we were ready to get our party on. The official after party was just across the street at the Los Angeles convention center. Upon entering the door they handed females a pair of roll up ballet flats in case our feet got sore before the party was over at 4am. The party was Gatsby themed with 1920s era and jazz club decor. There were two rooms, one larger and livelier, and the smaller more mellow room. In the bigger room are where the mini-concerts occurred. There were also water fountains shaped like GRAMMY statues, iridescent lights in purples and pinks, balloons, acrobat performers, and actors in period costumes. The smaller room was full of games and contests to win fun prizes with a jazz band producing background noise.
Bars and chef tables were set up about every ten feet at most. The food was all themed by various cities around the world and the types of cuisines you’d expect to find. This is where I kept ending up in line next to the previously mentioned Disney kid. The other notable person I stood in line next to was comedian Tig Notaro.
There were performances by Ciara, Boys II Men, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. We didn’t watch any fully due to us floating in and out of the various areas gorging on food, drink, and taking in all the ongoings. While it was the official after party, it unfortunately wasn’t the after party with all the big names. I’m making it my next goal to get an invite to the exclusive Clive Davis party in my lifetime.
One of the most talked about things surrounding award shows are the swag bags. While ours may not have held a thousand dollar price tag, they were still awesome. Two bags (one a leather duffel bag which has quickly become my favorite overnighter), a Hollywood star with our name on it, GRAMMYs nominated artists album, 56th GRAMMYs collectible book full of neat information, a collectible poster, a bunch of energy bars, random food, and around fifty packs of 5ive gum.
Soon I was packing up our suite on Rodeo Drive and heading back to Minnesota with a massive hundred degree temperature difference – which was cruel and unusual punishment. The entire trip from start to finish felt surreal. Still to this day it doesn’t seem like my experience was anything but avery detailed dream. The one thing I know for sure was attending The GRAMMYs lit a fire under my butt to get back again and to have it happen because of my career.
Have you had any neat and unique experiences?
P.S – For more GRAMMYs fun learn how Rent the Runway helped me get ready for The GRAMMYs and Check out how I got ready and my 2015 GRAMMYS drinking game.
Until next time,