Monday, February 15, 2016

Where to be Merry: GRAMMY Weekend 2016

I may not be at the 58th GRAMMYs taking place at the Staples Center tonight, but that didn't stop me from indulging in all of the GRAMMY-related festivities that rolled into Los Angeles once again, this past weekend.

Aside from celebrating the biggest highlights and most influential figures in the music industry for one night, GRAMMY season is also a time to attend some of the most exclusive, over-the-top events that exist in the world.

From sweaty, funk-infused parties to flowing open bars, gifting suites, beauty bars and industry panels, I checked out some pretty amazing, noteworthy functions.

Here's a look at what they were:


OK! Magazine Pre-Grammy Event

OK! magazine returned to Lure Nightclub in Hollywood, to host its annual pre-GRAMMY soiree. Like last year, there was an extravagant multi-tiered candy station, a live musical performance and multiple sponsor stations, like Perfurmia, who gave out samples of designer perfumes. DJ Yo-C kept guests swaying and dancing by playing Top 40 songs spanning multiple decades and GRAMMY nominee Elle King graced the stage towards the end of the night. Svedka vodka cocktails, wine and beer float freely through the night. Other event sponsors included Splat, Le Vian, Icelandic Glacial, Slimfast and charitable partner, Music Unites. 

DJ Cassidy and 9th Wonder at Kiss-n-Grind

I headed to Kiss-N-Grind, over at the Globe Theater in downtown. This soul-infused dance party typically always has a big draw, and for this special GRAMMY edition, it was even more packed than usual, with attendees quickly filling up the theater’s three levels. Originally Earth, Wind & Fire were slated to perform, but the untimely death of the band’s founder Maurice White understandably caused them to bow out. Instead, DJ Cassidy and DJ 9th Wonder made their Kiss-N-Grind debuts, playing a wide variety of ‘90s hip-hop, rap, R&B and even a little bit of reggae. Kiss-N-Grind founder DJ Vikter Duplaix also performed a set, and the crowd didn’t stop moving until the party officially shut down in the wee hours of the morning.


BMI's “How I Wrote That Song®” panel event

BMI hosted its annual “How I Wrote That Song” panel, featuring some of today's most successful songwriters and producers, at the Roxbury Theater in West Hollywood.

This year, BMI VP Catherine Brewton moderated, as Liz Rose, Stevie J, Jerry ‘Wonda’ Duplessis, and Bilal ‘The Chef’ Hajji candidly talked about making hits for legends like Mariah Carey, J.Lo, Taylor Swift and more.

They also shared incredulous stories (Bilal once had to create and deliver a hit song for Sean Kingston in six hours), gave solid advice about having a long-lasting career in the industry and revealed little-known details about the projects they’ve worked on (Jerry disclosed that The Fugees’ The Score had been recorded in his father’s basement in New Jersey). There were even a few surprise performances during the event, with The Product G&B joining Jerry onstage to play “Maria, Maria” and Mali Music spontaneously coming up from the crowd to sing “Beautiful.” Check out clips of the performances, below.

58th Annual GRAMMY Awards OFFICIAL Talent Gift Lounge, Presented by TOOLS BY GINA!

For the second year in a row, I visited the official GRAMMY Talent Gift Lounge, adjacent to the Staples Center, in downtown L.A. Sponsored by Tools by Gina! and produced by Distinctive Assets, the lounge is open to all presenters and performers participating in the awards ceremony. Guests could get touch ups by hair expert Gina’s team of stylists, experience virtual reality simulation with NOON, test out SCUF Gaming’s professional gaming controllers, sample decadent chocolates from Phillip Ashley Chocolates, sip on gluten-free cocktails created by The Natural Mixologist (so delicious!) and learn more about truth’s latest campaign on the adverse affects of second-hand smoking on cats and dogs. They also left with a GRAMMY Gift Bag, filled with $11,000+ worth of swag(!). 


Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar 

I wrapped up my GRAMMY weekend festivities in a surprisingly relaxing way — getting primped and pampered at the Colgate @OpticWhite Beauty Bar at the Hudson Loft in downtown. A team of hairstylists, make-up artists, manicurists and massage therapists treated guests to complimentary hair, make-up, massage and nail services. An open bar whipped out delicious cocktails, such as the Pomegranate Moscow Mule, and tasty breakfast and lunch items were available throughout the day. I came out looking like a million bucks and feeling like I was walking on air.

I'll look forward to watching the GRAMMYs, this evening!

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