Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala

Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala

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Grammy weekend returned to New York City for the first time in 15 years, and the music industry power players gathered at the concrete jungle for a celebration to remember. The all week-long parties surrounding the Grammys were just as extravagant and star-studded as the actual show. There is however, one legendary party that has been notoriously hard to get an invite.  

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Saturday night’s Clive Davis and Recording Academy's annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala have constantly been one of the most exclusive events in the music business for years. This year's edition on Jan. 27 at the Sheraton Times Square included nearly 1,000 of the industry’s titans and news personalities like Katie Couric, and celebrities like Tina Fey and the First Lady Ivanka Trump joined the evening’s honoree JAY-Z.

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In a room that consisted of most of music biggest stars, you know the music performances was not disappoint. The guests were in for an eclectic night of music: Barry Manilow kicked off the evening with a sultry rendition of “This is My Town,” “New York, New York.” Other performances included Luis Fonsi (“Echame La Culpa,” “Despacito”), Migos (“Bad and Boujee”), Best New Artist nominee Khalid (“Young Dumb & Broke), and Logic and Khalid (“1-800-273-8255"). 

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Since it has been so long that music’s biggest night returned to the big apple, it was only fitting that Brooklyn native, and rap legend Jay Z was receiving the 2018 Industry Icons Award.  

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Each year the party acknowledges a different industry icon, and this time it was the legendary rapper headed into Sunday's ceremony with eight nominations for awards including album, record and song of the year.

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In paying homage to JAY-Z, his friend and collaborator Alicia Keys performed the evening’s highlight, an inventive piano medley serenading him with several songs spanning his career, starting with ”Feeling It” from his 1996 studio album debut, Reasonable Doubt, and winding through  “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” “Hard Knock Life,” “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me), “Izzo (H.O.V.A.), “Encore,” “Holy Grail,” “Run This Town” and, of course, the pair’s 2009 Billboard Hot 100 chart topper, “Empire State of Mind.” 

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In his short, but humble remarks, the 21-time Grammy winner Jay-Z reflected on his early boycott of the Grammys starting in 1999 after DMX was failed to be nominated in 1998. “I realized art is super subjective and everyone’s doing their best. And the Academy… they’re human,” he said, noting that he only returned to the Grammys when Beyoncé was nominated “a beautiful lady whom I love dearly.”

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JAY-Z closed his remarks by stating that awards does not make an artist, he added “That is the idea for all of us to get involved and to push this thing further no matter what happens at the Grammys, it’s going to be what it is. Bob Marley is going to be Bob Marley, whether he’s nominated for a Grammy or not. Tupac is going to be Tupac, Biggie is going to be Biggie.”

Special thanks to Alyssa for the invite! 

Photos by Gettys and Associated Press

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