BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
NEW YORK – Backstage at the 60th annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, neither of the night’s two biggest winners – notoriously press averse Bruno Mars or Kendrick Lamar – appeared to talk about the armload of awards they each won.
But the press room was still a busy place.
Here are some snippets from our visitors.
Childish Gambino – aka Donald Glover – said that he would tell his younger self that “nothing is what it seems and you have to control your destiny.” The Stone Mountain native reminded that the new season of “Atlanta” begins March 1 on FX and “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” in which he plays a young Lando Calrissian, arrives in May. Glover also confirmed that his comments last year about saying goodbye to Childish Gambino haven’t changed after winning his first Grammy Award.
“I stand by that. I really appreciated this, but I like endings,” he said. “I think they’re important to progress. I think if a lot of things had death clauses, we wouldn’t have a lot of problems in the world.”
Best new artist winner Alessia Cara fiddled with the microphone stand and joked, “You guys overestimated the height!”
The singer said she’s working on a new album (“I’m proud of it – it’s honest”) and further explained her comment while accepting her award that all artists should be given a chance.
“In the music industry I think there are amazing artists who have started awesome trends who don’t get the same shot because they aren’t mainstream or not on the charts. Everyone should get one of these (a Grammy) and get acknowledged for the amazing work that they do.”
Broadway actress Rachel Bay Jones, who played Ben Platt’s exasperated mother in “Dear Evan Hansen,” had nothing but love for her former co-star.
“Ben’s performance was gorgeous,” she said. She also had a good reason for preferring the Grammys be held in New York.
“We all did a matinee today, and L.A. would have been a little bit far for us to travel!”
“Dear Evan Hansen” won the Grammy for best musical theater album.
A typically humble Chris Stapleton talked about his love of Tom Petty and performing a tribute to the singer during the telecast.
“ ‘Wildflowers’ is my favorite album of all time. I judge all other things by that,” he said. “I got to be on tour with Tom this past year and the last thing he said to me was, ‘I hope we can do more of this again,’ and that was such a big thrill to me. It was really a hard for me to do tonight – I was tearing up a little bit before I walked out (to perform). We lost a lot of great artists last year. It’s been a rough year.”
Although Logic has captured millions of hearts with his “1-800-273-8255” suicide prevention anthem, the rapper was loose, jovial and candid backstage.
“I never in a million years though that song would take me here. I like to make fun songs. I always thought it was something like that kind of vibe that would get me on that stage.”
Logic said the Recording Academy suggested he make some kind of speech during his live performance. “I’m not Tupac. I’m not this prophetic dude. I just want to make music and have fun; however, I have a power that a lot of people in this world don’t and I’ve been given a stage that 1 percent get, and I decided if I have this power, I’m going to use it for positivity and everybody is beautiful and the world isn’t equal – and I thought we should fight for that.
Regarding his bleeped comment, Logic said, “Regarding the president…I’m not a politician, but if that man can call those beautiful places shitholes, then I can say they are not shitholes and they are amazing.”
Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow said, when asked how he felt about Sunday’s ceremony, “If you put this show in a time capsule and you put it away and someone 50 years from now wants to say, ‘What was in like in America in 2017-18? What was the vibe? What were people thinking? I would say you could put this 3 ½ show on and you would know what people are thinking.”
Reba McEntire is thrilled to be the first female Col. Sanders in new ads for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“When they asked, I said heck yeah, who wouldn’t want to be Colonel Sanders? I grew up with KFC my whole life and then I saw the scripts and the concepts and I thought it was hysterical.”
Tony Bennett isn’t letting the fact that he’s 91 even nudge him toward retirement.
“I’m still in top shape and when I get onstage to perform, I can’t wait. I’m going to keep going until I cut out.”
Jason Isbell, who used to live in Georgia, bested the deceased Gregg Allman in both of his winning categories. But Isbell has the highest regard for the Southern rock icon.
“His influence was huge on me. Some of the first music I learned to play were Allman Brothers records…Gregg and my wife (Amanda Shires) became really good friends, and when she got pregnant with our daughter, he still let her tour. He put his hand on her stomach and said, ‘It’s going to be a girl – I’m never wrong about these things.’”