Grammy Awards: An insider's view

OPINION

  • Nikki Lynette at the Grammys
Nikki Lynette at the Grammys (Keisha Howard photo )
February 12, 2013|By Nikki Lynette, @nikkilynette | For RedEye

As most people who watched the Grammys already know, Sunday's ceremony in L.A. was awesome. Moments such as Justin Timberlake's return to the stage, the star-studded Bob Marley tribute and Fun.'s indoor rainstorm made the night unforgettable.

This is my first year as a member of the Chicago chapter of The Recording Academy (that's the fancy name for the organization that votes on the Grammys), and now that I've been involved with the process I appreciate it so much more as a musician and as a music lover.

First of all, a lot of people don't understand how Grammys are awarded. It is a peer award, which means that only music-making folks who are working in the industry are allowed to vote. It's a two-part system, and all of the music that is up for nomination is made available to voting members so we can make informed decisions. So if your favorite artist didn't win a Grammy this year, it doesn't mean your fave is being given the cold shoulder by horrible meanies who have bad taste in music or whatever. It just means they didn't win the majority vote this year. There's always next year.

Another thing most people don't know is there is a whole ceremony that takes place before the Grammy Awards airs on TV. This ceremony is held for "pre-telecast categories," which I think means "less mainstream" categories. I was shocked to see that the major hip-hop and electronic music awards did not make it to the live telecast of the Grammys--they were announced at the pre-tel event. I'm really glad I went to this ceremony, mainly because Skrillex's reaction to winning two Grammys back to back was priceless.

Another interesting tidbit: The Grammys stage was the coolest thing ever in life. (Yes, this is an undeniable fact.) The huge stage was made of a giant catwalk that connects two separate platforms. Between sets and during commercial breaks, a backstage crew moved practically at the speed of light on these platforms to get props set up and equipment plugged in and all that other good stuff to transform these platforms into two separate stages. They were setting up Bruno Mars' colorful, throwback-style stage and Jack White's monochrome, rocked-out stage at the same time! It all looks seamless on TV, but that's because there are people busting their asses behind the scenes to make it look simple. Kudos to them!

Of course there were details from the live telecast that nobody at home could have seen. Like the moment at the beginning of the show when Justin Timberlake grabbed the mic and asked everyone to take their seats. Or when hardly anybody clapped when Chris Brown's name was announced as a nominee for best urban contemporary album. Or the fact that confetti from Taylor Swift's opening performance floated around the Stapes Center through the entire ceremony.

As a person who is chronically unimpressed by most things in life, I have to admit: Sitting in the audience and witnessing this was pretty badass.

Attending the Grammys for the first time was a great experience, made even more awesome by the fact that Chicago was so well represented. From classical group Eighth Blackbird to hip-hop producers Da Internz, Chicago's presence definitely was felt. I was honored to be a part of it. And of course, I'm now inspired to bring home a Grammy of my own some day.

A girl can dream, right?

RedEye special contributor Nikki Lynette, a Chicago native, is an indie recording artist whose music appears on MTV, VH1, Showtime and more.

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