The Time backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 12, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

THE TIME

Here is what this Grammy performer said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

The Time lead singer Morris Day at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
The Time lead singer Morris Day at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How did it feel to do the Grammy tribute to Prince?

Morris Day: It was double-edged for me. I kind of hate the reason why we’re here, but I think it’s fitting that we are here. And I’m glad to be here. It was fitting.

How important was Prince’s legacy is to music?

Day: He was one of the best ever. His legacy will go on forever. He was just one of the best musicians who ever lived.

What was your relationship with Prince toward the end of his life?

Day: It wasn’t like when we were kids and saw each other all the time. When we saw each other, it was all love. We had the opportunity to go to Minneapolis and do a show for him about two months before he passed away, so it was cool.

What did you think of Bruno Mars’ tribute to Prince?

Day: He ripped it up. He did it perfectly. I don’t think there’s another artist who could have pulled it off as perfectly with us as Bruno did.

Jimmy Jam: But we still kicked his ass!

Would The Time consider being the opening act on Bruno Mars’ tour this year?

Day: Well, if he calls us and presents the right dollar amount, we’ll consider it.

Adele backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 13, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

ADELE

Grammy wins:

  • Album of the Year (“25”)
  • Record of the Year (“Hello”)
  • Song of the Year (“Hello”)
  • Best Pop Vocal Album (“25”)
  • Best Pop Solo Performance (“Hello”)

Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

Adele at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Adele at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/CBS)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

You’ve become the first artist in history to sweep the top three Grammy awards—Record, Song and Album of the Year—in two separate years. An amazing achievement. Can you talk about what it means to you to accomplish something historic and just what it means to you to win these awards tonight from your peers?

The Grammys mean a lot to me. Obviously, it’s the award show. I’m very, very humbled by this accomplishment I feel very lucky to have achieved. And like I said in my speech, for me, my album of the year is “Lemonade,” and so a piece of me died inside as a Beyoncé stan, I’m not going to lie, because I was completely rooting for her. And I voted for her. But I’m incredibly humbled, especially being from the U.K.

It’s an amazing feat to have achieved. I am incredibly humbled by it. And America have always been very kind to me, and I don’t even know why you’re honest I don’t get it but I’m but I feel amazing about it, of course. It’s an amazing thing to show my son, I’m raising him to respect women, and he knows I’m a powerful force. He feels it at home, let alone when he comes to work with me. And he comes everywhere.

What does it means to have such large public acceptance of your song “Hello”? It’s become like a worldwide anthem.

It was hard work writing this album. You know, it was daunting following “21” up … I felt the pressure writing “25” very much. And for very long time during that process I didn’t really find my voice. And I don’t know if I did find it, even towards the end. But the reception to “Hello … “Hello” actually started when I was writing it with the lyric “hello, misery,” so I’m sure you can imagine the mood that I was in when I was writing that: fucking miserable! But Greg Kurstin, who I wrote it with, was like, “I’m not sure about that line, about ‘hello misery.’” He turned it into “hello it’s me.”

I was gone for so long. I had my baby, and I raised him through the toddler years and then I sort of slowly edged my way back into work. And I didn’t think anyone would care. I thought the commercial that we had in England, and also shortly followed after, I thought no one would know it was me. But thank God they did or that would have been a really expensive disaster. Of course, I am always, always an appreciative and of all of the love that I’m shown.

What did it mean to you pay tribute to George Michael tonight? And what were some of your early memories of him?

Well, we could be here while. First of all, I was devastated by that [George Michael’s death] and my rehearsal great. I had a bit of a shaky rehearsal today but I mean I’ve been working really hard on this tribute for months usually every day. I did it with Hans Zimmer, and I was in his studio even when he couldn’t see me just sitting there waiting for him to give me some time, which he did, very graciously.

And my earliest memory of me being a lone fan out of my family was “Fastlove.” It was when the video came out for that, and I was blown away with how fucking hot he was. It’s actually quite exceptional how good-looking he was. I was young, like I was about 10. And I heard the vulnerability in that zone and especially in the middle eight, where it goes from being about one-night stands and being a little bit sleazy to saying in the absence of security I made my way into the night, and I lost my way basically, and I recognize that. I didn’t relate to it when I was 10. That would be weird.

That song, I was very, very adamant. I was devastated on Christmas Day [2016, the day Michael died]. I had to go for a walk on my own and breathe for a while and on Boxing Day, which is [December] 26th for us. I said to Simon [Konecki], my partner, “I have to do that tribute!”

And they didn’t want a tribute at first, his family and camp and stuff like that. And they came back and were very specific that it would be me. And I was like, “Great! I’ve got something in the pipeline. If you want me to do it I’ll do it.” I found him to be one of the truest icons, because a lot of time with people that are that globally known and famous, there tends to be—not fakeness in a bad way—but they put on a massive bravado and alter ego to protect themselves—and rightly so, and I completely understand and appreciate that—but for him, it didn’t always seem to be solely based on a look or about an assumption.

And also, he was very British no matter where his career or his love life took, he always remained true to Britain and they gave him a hard fucking time a lot of the time. It can be. The British press, I love you. I don’t know if I mean that but they really gave my whole time and he still stayed loyal to the very, very end. And that no matter our how much I trying to escape Britain sometimes, my roots are there, so I relate to that. And I also took great comfort in him and the bigger my career got in trying to remain myself so. It was an honor to do it tonight.

Your songs don’t sound overproduced. They’re almost like demos that sound like you’re in someone’s living room ….

They’re all demos.

How involved do you get in the way those records sound?

Yeah, I am anal. I’m a control freak, and I get really anal about things. Actually, there’s a whole other version of “21,” which I have spoken about before. Nothing beats a demo for any artist, in my opinion. Whenever I’ve heard the originals of their songs, there’s a passion and an urgency in demos which can never seem to be reenacted, especially in my case. I sit there like a backseat driver.

I don’t know how to work a computer. I can’t even work anything you’re on. Some of them are Dells and some of them are Apples. I do have an Apple. It hasn’t been on for about year. And I sit behind and say, “What’s that bit? What’s that bit? Let’s do this bit.”

And I reference other records and sounds I’ve heard from the past or current hits. I like to think of myself as very involved. I definitely wrote a lot less in this record than I did in “21,” and that was because I had a bad drinking habit on “21,” so I couldn’t quite get inspiration this time around.

“Hello” became a standard almost immediately, which is so unusual in our culture. Can you talk more about how it all emerged? Greg said he playing moody chords. Did the words all come out at once? And can you talk about “The Other Side”?

Sure. He was playing moody chords. That’s all everyone ever plays for me whenever we get in the studio and because that’s the kind of mood I’m in. It started out, like I said, the original line, we were just fucking around, and then the line “Hello misery” came out, so he pulled me up on that immediately. He was like, “Maybe you should go meditate” or something like that. So I tried to be like zen. And then I came back. We wrote the first two verses really quickly, actually, which tends to be the case with my biggest songs.

But the chorus, we had three different courses for “Hello,” actually. And there was one that was a very country vibe. I’m hugely inspired by country music. And I was a bit concerned about the chorus that you all know because it obviously goes quite high. I didn’t know if I could replicate it. I was going on the tour as well that she booked before I got pregnant, and then I got pregnant, and I was like, “Peace out!”

So I knew I’d have to hit that note every night. Obviously, it would be an opener once the verse was written because its hello. So we changed it a few times, and we settled on that chorus. “The other side” is the other side of being a grown-up, is the other side of my relationship with my all friends and my ex-boyfriends and death.

My grandfather, he’s a huge part of my life, even though you’ve been gone for 18 years. So it’s kind of the other side of the other side of not knowing. I don’t know if I lost touch with a lot of my friends because of how famous I got all or because you grow up. A lot of my friends tell me they lost touch with other people as well, with the way that life changes whether it’s my circumstance or different one.

You praised Beyoncé a lot in your acceptance speeches. Did you get a chance to speak to her tonight?

We did speak. I spoke to her before, just to let her know how honored and privileged I feel to be nominated alongside her. And then we spoke afterward as well. She was very gracious and humble as always, as you can expect from her. And the reason I felt the need to say something was my album of the year is “Lemonade.” She is my icon of my whole life.

I was 11 years old. And I was at school … and I was with some girlfriends, and we were practicing a song for an assembly with our friends with all our family and stuff. And I think, obviously, for my recommendation, it was a Spice Girls song. And they were like, “Have you heard [the Destiny’s Child song] “No, No, No”? I was like, no, no, no, I haven’t heard ‘No, No, No.’” And they played it to me.

And I remember it so clearly how I felt hearing her voice, hearing all their voices, but hers specifically. And then I got home you know we kind of just started getting the Internet. Luckily, my mom’s boyfriend at the time built websites. He managed to find me some photographs of her. And I fell in love immediately with her. And that was when I was 11. And I’m 28 now.

And the way that I felt when I first heard “No, No, No” was exactly the same as how I felt when I heard “Lemonade” last year. The other people who make me feel like that are all dead. So I’m living off of music that they made when they were alive. Whereas for her to be making such relevant music for that long of a period and still affect all of us—it’s not just me—there are friendships I have that are completely defined by us being complete Beyoncé stans.

I don’t take any fucking shit when it comes to anyone not liking Beyoncé. You can’t be my life you know. You simply can’t. So I felt the need to do it. I also simply felt like it was her time to win. My view is kind of like, “What the fuck does she have to do to win Album of the Year?” That’s also how I feel.

And I felt this album, like I said earlier, was another side to her that we haven’t seen and I felt blessed to be brought into that situation. Obviously, the visual is very new, and the Grammys are very traditional, but I just thought this year would be the year that they would kind of go with the tides. And I am, of course, very, very grateful having won it, and but I felt the need because I love her because I felt like she was more than worthy, and that’s pretty much it, really. Hang your blessings. You’ll never hear from me again!

Solange backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 13, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

SOLANGE

Grammy win:

Best R&B Performance (“Cranes in the Sky”)

Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

Solange Knowles at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 12, 2017.
Solange at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/CBS)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What does winning this award mean to you?

I think I’m most excited about the fact that I wrote “Cranes in the Sky” in a period of kind of desperation and weariness. And the fact that is resonated in the way that it has now eight years later, a song that kind of got pushed to the side a lot. I knew that this was the right time. And this is such a beautiful honor and I’m so humbled by it, but I honestly felt like I won far before this because of all of the connectivity that the record has had, especially with black women, and the stories that I hear on the street, so it’s a wonderful, wonderful night. And yeah, I just feel gratitude.

Your mother always gives you the same amount of credit that she does your sister Beyoncé. How important is that for you?

Well, she’s my mother. I think that just our love and support for both of us has been completely a beautiful love story. And we continue to honor her and all that she has shown us by example of womanhood and womanism. And it just feels like such a joy to have had her be a part of the album to kind of pay that forward.

You’ve become such a fashion icon as well, and it really has enhanced the music. How important is the fashion part of your music?

I think that visual art and all aspects are super-important to me, whether it be through the creation of my videos on my album artwork creating strong visual representation of not only myself but again black women and getting to see us as avant-garde beings in a world that sometimes puts us in a box is really important to me, so thank you for recognizing that.

What artists influence you, especially at a time when artists are speaking out about political issues?

I look to Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye and the artists of our times that have really pushed political messages through their music and their artistry. I think that all that we can do as artists and especially of songwriters is write about what’s true to us. And I think that the music that is out right now that is really connecting and thriving reflects that. And I’m really grateful to those artists for paying it through, because it’s not easy. It’s scary putting yourself on the line when you’re making political and social statements with your work.

So I just honor the greats. I look to Nina Simone, who did that during a time where it’s interesting to protect the trajectory of her career now. She’s being so celebrated and revered, but she was really shut up during that time; she was really told to just sing. And so those are the artists who paved the way for us to do what we’re doing now. We’re not doing nothing new.

Hillary Scott backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 13, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

HILLARY SCOTT & THE SCOTT FAMILY

Grammy wins:

  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song (“Thy Will”)
  • Best Contemporary Christian Album (“Love Remains”)

Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

Hillary Scott at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on February 12, 2017.
Hillary Scott at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Can you talk about how emotional you got in your acceptance speech?

Absolutely. We’ve said it all along, even when we were making it, before one person heard it, these songs and the heart of this album is our family’s heart poured out. So this album is really in dedication to a lot of people who are really dear to us—a lot of them who have walked through the process with us and are praying for us and loving us. Friends and family and a couple of loved ones—my grandfather being one of them. And we lost him to leukemia five years ago. And this record, we hoped and prayed that anyone who got a chance to hear it would feel hope and feel encouraged in whatever they’re going through. It’s just extremely dear to us and very emotional.

Hillary, you’ve won Grammys before, so why did you get so emotional tonight?

The single “I Will” is just so personal to me. It’s a song that I wrote about a miscarriage I had last September, so it’s extremely personal. Honestly, too, I think about my co-writers Emily Weisband and Bernie Herms. Bernie also co-produced that track with Ricky Skaggs. And it was Emily and Bernie’s first Grammy that they’ve ever had a chance to win, so that was a huge moment to be able to be on stage with them, sharing in that.

Tamela Mann backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 13, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

TAMELA MANN

Grammy win:

Best Gospel Performance/Song (“God Provides”)

Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

Tamela Mann at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Tamela Mann at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What does winning this Grammy mean to you?

Like I’ve been saying all day, it’s a blessing to be nominated, but to win it, it makes you feel like … I’m on Cloud Nine. It’s like the icing on the cake of all the hard work and time I’ve put in. I’ve been singing since I was 8 years old. I’m almost at a loss for words. I’m in awe. I don’t want to cry. I’m just really thankful and really blessed to be here.

What was it like to be on stage tonight with Chance the Rapper and Kirk Franklin?

Being on stage tonight with Chance and Kirk Franklin, it was fantastic. It was like I was hanging out with my brothers, with the boys. It was a lot of fun to see them jumping around and singing with them. Them doing what they do, and I do what I do, and to pull it all together, I thought it was a great collaboration.

You’ve talked about a love project you’re working on with your husband. When is that coming?

I would love to, but it’s just trying to get David to do it is the hard part. As soon as he says yes, we’ll do it. So hopefully, soon. We are doing a marriage book. In April, it’ll be 29 years [we’ve been married].

Maren Morris backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 12, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

MAREN MORRIS

Grammy win:

Best Country Solo Performance (“My Church”)

Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

Maren Morris at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Maren Morris at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/CBS)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

With four nominations, you were the most-nominated country artist at the Grammys this year, so how does it feel to walk away with a Grammy?

I’m still sort of processing it, but it feels amazing. I was nominated with a lot of my friends in those categories. To walk away with it, it’s really validating.

Can you talk about what going to Grammy Camp meant to you?

I was in the first crop of Grammy campers back in 2005. I think everyone who went to that camp hoped they’d get to be on that stage, or in the pre-tel get to walk away with some hardware, but I never really thought that would happen. So it’s crazy 11 years later to have one.

What was more nerve-racking: performing with Alicia Keys or giving your acceptance speech?

Singing with Alicia, we’ve sung together before, so it sort of feels really natural now, but I was more nervous about actually walking up the steps to accept my award and not falling over my dress. Luckily, that did not happen, but the night is young.

Can you talk about your chemistry with Alicia Keys?

Alicia and I did “CMT Crossroads” a few months ago. It aired in December. Ken Erlich [executive producer of the Grammys telecast] saw the special and thought that if I’m going to be performing, this would be an amazing collaboration. It just felt really natural to be paired with Alicia again because we had already sung together, and we sort of joked that country and soul are cousins. It just seemed natural. She’s stood in my shoes before as a Best New Artist nominee. And she won, back in the day, so it was cool to be sort of ushered in by her today.

How are you going to celebrate?

My family is here. My boyfriend is here. I’m going to my label’s party after this. And I’m going to my first drink in a month. I fit into the dress, so now we can throw down.

Does winning a Grammy put more pressure on you for your next album? And have you started working on it yet?

Well, now that you said it, it does. I don’t know. I don’t really look at things in terms of pressure. I think that’s extremely counter-productive to the creative process. I haven’t started writing my next record, so I guess I’ll have to answer that question later down the line, but if anything, this just gives validation to the fact that that album did something for people. I think going into the next one, it’s going to be fun. I don’t think it’ll be pressured at all.

 

 

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