.what.a.week.

Through some incredible opportunities to work with the GRAMMY Foundation at GRAMMY Camp (a camp for incredibly talented high schoolers who are interested in finding their place in the music industry), I was able to give myself one of the best birthday presents. ever.  All I had to do was buy my plane ticket, and I had my way into the  GRAMMY Awards.  What? Was this happening? yes, yes it was.  I decided to go out to LA a week early so I could work many of the events leading up to “music’s biggest night.”

The entire week was a beautiful whirlwind that resulted in sore feet, sleep depravation, sickness, laughter, and too many amazing moments to count.  I could ramble on and on about the weeks’ events, but I will try to highlight some of my favorites 🙂

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Being in the same room as Paul McCartney was pretty incredible.  I worked at the MusicCares Person of the Year Gala that honored Sir Paul this year. The star-studded audience was entertained by the likes of Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, and The Foo Fighters. Great performances they were as the artists covered some of the Beatle’s greatest hits, but I have to say that my favorite of them all was Alison Krauss & Union Station’s rendition of “No More Lonely Nights.”  Her beautiful voice paired with perfect harmonies and gorgeous strings sent chills and goosebumps throughout the candle lit room.  It was a breathtaking moment as her and the band spun around the room on the revolving center stage and serenaded the 3,000 of us who’s attention she had captivated completely.

Not to mention, I got to brush shoulders with John Stamos, not once, not twice, but at least three times, if not more throughout the night.  I even creeped and snagged this picture of Uncle Jessie himself.

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I was beyond giddy. And yes, he is just as beautiful in person.

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There is nothing like being backstage during a show.  I love standing in the shadows of the dark wings as performers step onto the stage, and witness the audience’s reactions. It’s a rush, participating in those moments, even if you aren’t performing.  And is this exactly where I was during the GRAMMY Foundation’s Music Preservation Event.  The performers ranged from Johnny Lang to Trombone Shorty to Beverly McClellan…and every artist in between was just as talented.

There is one thing I know I won’t forget: Watching Bret Michaels perform “Every Rose has it’s Thorn” from my front row seat, backstage right.  This moment will forever be ingrained in my memory.

It was a crazy night full of hunting down hot water for tea, frantically printing out lyric sheets, and sprinting to the opposite side of the stage (in heels) to grab an artist’s ear pack a minute before she stepped onto the stage…I loved every second of it.

Oh! And check out A Fine Frenzy if you haven’t already. Beautiful person inside and out. Not to mention she is incredibly talented.

And I loved that the show was called “One Night Only.” so appropriate…

Now let’s move on to the big day…

wow. I could write about Sunday, alone for hours.  We arrived at the venue for the pre-telecast at 11:30. Ladies, talk about a long time to try to look nice.  The actual show didn’t start until 5! Not to mention the after party!  My feet hurt just thinking about it.  I mean, I just HAD to wear my new pink heels…it’s the GRAMMY’s!!!

Anyways, I LOVED the pre-tel.  This is where over 60 of the awards are given out.  It is a much more relaxed atmosphere without the confines of commercial breaks and production timing. Plus, it is general seating.   I found myself surrounded by the likes of Alison Krauss, Skrillex, & Paul Epworth (Adele’s GRAMMY winning producer) as they collected their awards throughout the evening.

I loved when Tony Bennett brought Amy Winehouse’s parents to the stage where they gave a touching speech about their daughter and the music she left behind.  Of course with the passing of Whitney the night before, they had words to say about the pain of addiction.  It was a very emotional moment that carried much of the theme of the night.

Once we made it over to the Staples Center, the air was thick and heavy burdened over the passing of a “family member”. I loved that LL Cool J, opened the show with a prayer. It was perfect. Tears streamed when they showed Whitney Houston’s GRAMMY performance of “I will Always Love You.”  I then cried again during Jennifer Hudson’s tribute. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the arena. What a talent Whitney was…

Emotions continued to run high as Adele gave a come back performance that had the audience out of their chairs for a long, much-deserved standing ovation.  That girl has got some unbelievable chops.

But if we just want to talk about awesome, how about Coldplay’s performance? When we entered the arena, we were handed two plastic bracelets…Image

I certainly had no idea what they were for or what they would do. I just knew they were for Coldplay. Come to find out, these bracelets lit up during the chorus of “Paradise”  It was a moment of extreme excitement, followed by utter disappointment when they all turned off.  But magically, as the chorus returned and we belted out “Para, para, paradise…” our bracelets lit up again. Amazing. I love technology.

You can see a snippet of their performance here: Coldplay at the GRAMMY’s

Throughout the night, I danced with Bruno, loathed Taylor’s surprise face, rejoiced with Adele as she wiped her snot from her nose, and celebrated the power of the human spirit with Dave Grohl.  Incredible night.

And it wasn’t over yet.

We hopped right back over to where the pre-tel was held to discover a complete room transformation. It was dressed for a party of parties complete with entertaining dancers, fascinating trapeze artists, and sparkling, vibrant lights…

As if it couldn’t get any better,  OneRepublic was on the bill.  This was just getting ridiculous.

And they sounded exceptional. Ryan Tedder. Yes. Please.

What a finale to an unbelievably surreal day. We danced the night away and celebrated an exceptional evening of music.

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While these moments throughout the week, were amazing, they wouldn’t mean half as much if I didn’t get to experience them along side my GRAMMY Family.

It is amazing that the love and passion for music can bring together people from across the country and unite them into a family so quickly.  Yet, after just two weeks with these people (two years ago), I find myself in some of the best friendships a person could ask for.

As one of my favorites once said “There’s no family like a GRAMMY Family.” And it is so true. I am so thankful for these friendships, the laughter, and the experiences that we get to share together.  It makes every moment that is listed above, just that much more special.

I already find myself missing everyone.  Heck, I was missing everyone when I stepped on the plane to come back to Nashville.  But I am desperately looking forward to this Summer, where I will hopefully be seeing these wonderful faces at GRAMMY Camp again.  If you are a high schooler interested in music, or know one that is, please click on that link to find out what it’s all about.  You won’t regret it. I promise.

There is a family waiting with open arms….

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All in all, I would have to say that this was my best birthday to date…yet.  While, this doesn’t begin cover or give justice to the many amazing moments and experiences, I hope that you have enjoyed a small glimpse of some of the memories that I will take with me from my first trip to the GRAMMY’s. They are embedded in my mind and my heart as pure joy.

I will close by welcoming another year, and another movement for the creative spirit to bring music to our ears that will move us to our very core, mind, body, and soul.

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This was written while listening the The Fray‘s new album – “Scars and Stories” – check, check, check it out!

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