This week is GRAMMY week, and if it feels like it’s arriving a bit later than usual, that’s because it is. Music’s Biggest Night typically takes place at the end of January or beginning of February, but like just about everything on planet Earth, the 63rd GRAMMYs were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Back in January, a joint statement was issued by Harvey Mason, Jr. (Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy), Jack Sussman (Executive Vice President, Specials, Music, Live Events and Alternative Programming, CBS), and Ben Winston (GRAMMY Awards Executive Producer, Fulwell 73 Productions, explaining that the show would be postponed until March 14, 2021. It was the right call. We don’t need anyone taking unnecessary risks.
The show is scheduled to air this Sunday on CBS at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time from the Los Angeles Convention Center, and will be hosted by GRAMMY-nominated comedian Trevor Noah. Performers scheduled to appear include Taylor Swift, Post Malone, Black Pumas, Cardi B, BTS, Mickey Guyton, John Mayer, Megan Thee Stallion, Brandi Carlile, Miranda Lambert, and others.
Unlike past GRAMMY ceremonies, there will be no audience in attendance. Five stages will be utilized: four for the performers and one for the presenters. The stages will be arranged in a circle facing each other, and the stage crew will work from the center—providing new meaning to the term “live, in the round.”
Artists will access the stages from different directions to minimize contact, and each artist will have his or her own designated backstage area. A portion of the performances will be pre-recorded due to the fact that a completely live show simply would require too many crew people and would compromise COVID safety protocol.
As a tribute to independent venues—which have been crushed by the pandemic—the show will also highlight appearances by owners and workers of iconic venues across the United States, such as the Troubadour (Los Angeles), the Apollo (New York), and the Station Inn (Nashville). Employees from some of the venues will appear on camera to reveal a bit about their space, and in some cases will present awards.
Leading up to the broadcast and streaming, beginning live on March 14 at 12 Noon PST (via GRAMMY.com) will be the 63rd GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony. Hosted by Jhené Aiko, the Premiere Ceremony will feature performances by current GRAMMY nominees such as Terri Lynne Carrington + Social Science, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Rufus Wainwright, Igor Levit and Lido Pimienta.
If that’s not enough GRAMMY activity for you, there’s also the GRAMMY Channel, which was launched last week by the Recording Academy and SiriusXM. Airing on SiriusXM channel 104, the limited-edition channel will spotlight music from some of this year’s nominees.
Listeners will also hear music from 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, including Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Talking Heads, Selena and Salt-N-Pepa.
Definitely not GRAMMY-as-usual, but as we say: the show must go on