Grammy-nominated a capella group Pentatonix Fotografia de: Avi Kaplan, Kirstie Maldonado, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi and Kevin Olusola
LOS ANGELES — Times change. In its 39th year, music mogul Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy Awards gala once again was Grammy week’s hottest ticket in town, but this year more than ever the party showcased digital’s monumental impact on the music industry.
Davis not only handpicks every guest and performer at the star-studded event, he also name-drops his selections with grandiose introductions. Two of his first three reveals on Saturday night were surprisingly Apple‘s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue.
He described Cook, Apple’s CEO, as a “special human” who leads the world’s “most-valuable company,” and he went on to describe Cue as “the man who played a vital and integral role in setting up the revolutionary iTunes [in 2003] and App Store [in 2008].”
The shout-outs were a very telling statement about the music industry’s appreciation of technology in an progressive year for The Recording Academy, which is making Sunday’s Grammys telecast available online for the first time ever and ramping up its social media game across such platforms as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.
The crowd of past and present A-list artists also witnessed YouTube‘s footprint on the industry when the Grammy-nominated a cappella group Pentatonix, who owes much of its success to its YouTube audience of 7.5 million subscribers, performed a tribute medley of Bee Gees songs before Barry Gibb took the stage.
Pentatonix — nominated for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for a “Daft Punk” medley — also performed at Thursday’s Grammy Connect, where musical Vine couple Us the Duo, another group that earned a record deal after becoming viral online, opened.
Not everyone was on the digital bandwagon, though. Martin Bandier, who earned the President’s Merit Award, discussed the dangers of streaming music during his speech.
“Songwriters are not being fairly compensated in today’s digital world,” Bandier said, inciting applause from Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus, John Legend and more.
Swift, of course, has recently been vocal about royalties in the streaming age, saying in November that she’s “not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music.”
Davis, 82, having lived through many music evolutions, still believes in the music industry despite the hurdles involving streaming, dwindling album sales and questionable royalties.
“[The] industry will be more vital than ever in the future,” he proclaimed.
Fresh off claiming the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show ever earlier this month, Katy Perry will slow things down with her emotional “By the Grace of God” track. Perry is nominated twice this year for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Dark Horse” with Juicy J.
Image: Associated Press
Beck and Coldplay’s Chris Martin (confirmed Feb. 4)
Beck, who is up for Album of the Year, will perform a song from Morning Phase with three-time nominee Chris Martin of Coldplay.
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Mary J. Blige and Sam Smith (confirmed Feb. 4)
“Stay With Me” crooner Sam Smith looks to cap a storybook past 10 months with Grammy hardware. He’s nominated in the most categories (tied with Beyoncé and Pharrell): Record of The Year, Song of The Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version),” Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for In The Lonely Hour; and Best New Artist. He’ll likely sing “Stay With Me” with Mary J. Blige, a nine-time Grammy winner.
Image: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Questlove, Herbie Hancock and Jeff Lynne of ELO (confirmed Feb. 4)
Grammy winners Herbie Hancock, John Mayer and Questlove will join Album of the Year nominee Ed Sheeran in a special performance. Sheeran will also perform with ELO’s Jeff Lynne.
Image: Mark Allan/Brad Barket/Matt Rourke/Lionel Cironneau/Invision/AP/
Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam (confirmed Feb. 4)
Best New Artist contender Brandy Clark will duet with two-time Grammy winner Dwight Yoakam, adding more country flavor to the ceremony.
Image: Robb D. Cohen/Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP
Rihanna, Kanye, Paul McCartney (confirmed Feb. 3)
This trio will perform “FourFiveSeconds” live for the first time. Rihanna announced they would take the Grammy stage when she released her their subdued music video. for their powerhouse “FourFiveSeconds” collaboration. Rihanna, a seven-time Grammy winner, is nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “The Monster” with Eminem. Kanye, who has 21 Grammys to his name, is up for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song for “Bound 2” with Charlie Wilson.
Sia (confirmed Jan. 30)
Sia’s “Chandelier” will vie for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Its music video, which features the young Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms, is up for Best Music Video. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see Maddie prance around with Shia LaBeouf like they did in “Elastic Heart.”
Image: Todd Williamson/Invision/AP
Hozier and Annie Lennox (confirmed Jan. 28)
Hozier, whose megahit “Take Me To Church” is nominated for Song of the Year, will team up with four-time Grammy winner Annie Lennox. Lennox is vying for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Nostalgia. Maybe the duo will mash up “Walking On Broken Glass” and “Take Me To Church.”
Image: Antonio Calanni/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Jessie J and Tom Jones (confirmed Jan. 28)
Fellow coaches on The Voice UK Jessie J and Tom Jones will blend their voices for the stateside audience. Jessie J is competing in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category for “Bang Bang” (with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj). Jones won Best New Artist in 1966.
Image: Jon Furniss/Invision/AP
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett (confirmed Jan. 27)
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, who scored a No. 1 album with their jazzy duets project in 2014, will perform a song or two from that Cheek to Cheek album. Gaga, who is the only female artist this decade with three No. 1 albums, has been performing jazz numbers since age 13. Meanwhile, Bennett became the oldest living artist to top the Billboard 200 with Cheek to Cheek.
Image: Getty Images
Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani (confirmed Jan. 27)
Fellow coaches on The Voice Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani will likely perform their emotional “My Heart Is Open” ballad, which was co-written by “Chandelier” singer Sia, Wrapped in slow-pounding piano sounds, the song crescendos with Levine’s piercing falsetto.
Sam Smith (confirmed Jan. 21)
“Stay With Me” crooner Sam Smith looks to cap a storybook past 10 months with Grammy hardware. He’s nominated in the most categories (tied with Beyoncé and Pharrell): Record of The Year, Song of The Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version),” Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for In The Lonely Hour; and Best New Artist.
Image: John Shearer/AP
Pharrell (confirmed Jan. 21)
Battling for Grammy supremacy is seven-time winner Pharrell Williams, who is up for Album Of The Year for Girl as producer on Beyoncé’s Beyoncé and Ed Sherran’s X, Best Pop Solo Performance for “Happy (Live),” Best Music Video for “Happy,” and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Girl.
Image: John Davisson/AP
Miranda Lambert (confirmed Jan. 21)
Miranda Lambert will bring powerful female country flair to the stage. She’s nominated four times for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for “Automatic,” Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Somethin’ Bad” with Carrie Underwood and Best Country Album for Platinum.
Image: Wade Payne/AP
Usher (confirmed Jan. 21)
Already an eight-time Grammy winner, Usher will light up the stage with his signature dance moves. He’s nominated four times for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for “New Flame” (with Chris Brown and Rick Ross, as well as Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for “Good Kisser.”
Image: Dan Harr/AP
John Legend (confirmed Jan. 21)
Fresh off winning a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “Glory,” John Legend and Common will perform the song from Selma at the Grammys. Legend has nine Grammy awards to his name and is up for two more this year for Best Pop Solo Performance for “All Of Me” (Live) as well as Best Rap Song for “Bound 2.”
Image: Robb D. Cohen/AP
Common (confirmed Jan. 21)
Two-time winner Common will perform “Glory” with John Legend. He’s also nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Blak Majik” featuring Jhené Aiko as well as Best Rap Album for Nobody’s Smiling.
Image: Katie Darby/AP
Madonna (confirmed Jan. 13)
Madonna is back for her fifth-ever Grammy performance after putting on a tear-jerking mass wedding performance with Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert at last year’s show. Anticipate her performing a song or two from her upcoming 13th studio album Rebel Heart.
Image: FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA
Ed Sheeran (confirmed Jan. 13)
Ed Sheeran, fresh off performing at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, is nominated three times for Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for X as well as Best Song Written For Visual Media for “I See Fire.”
Image: FERDY DAMMAN/EPA
Ariana Grande (confirmed Jan. 13)
Ariana Grande, who will make her Grammy stage debut, is nominated twice for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Bang Bang” (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj) as well as Best Pop Vocal Album for My Everything.
Image: Taylor Hill/Getty Images
Eric Church (confirmed Jan. 13)
Eric Church is nominated four times for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for “Give Me Back My Hometown,” Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Raise ‘Em Up” (with Keith Urban); and Best Country Album for The Outsiders.