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Backstage at the Grammys

Reactions to the music industry's big night

Lady Antebellum frontwoman Hillary Scott on the group’s massive, five-Grammy night: “The only reason I know my feet are on the ground is because they’re really hurting with these shoes I’m wearing now.”

Added bandmate Charles Kelley: “We took more than we deserved.”

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Esperanza Spalding, the jazz bassist-vocalist who was an unexpected winner for new artist, tried to take stock of the impact of her award in her backstage comments. “I had a year full of plans and next moves that I wanted to make with my music, and those won’t change,” she said. “It’s great to be acknowledged in this way for something that’s sort of an underdog craft.”

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For his part, Justin Bieber was gracious about losing the new artist derby. When asked if Spalding should watch her back from his rabid fans, he refused to take the bait. “I had a great night and got to perform with my mentor (Usher). I’m really happy for her and hope she has a good year,” he said.

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Josh Kear, who co-wrote act of the evening Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” collected quite a haul, nabbing song of the year in addition to country song honors, though he was nonetheless left a bit starstruck backstage: “I just got to introduce myself to Jackson Browne,” he said, “and I think my hands were shaking a lot more doing that than they were accepting a Grammy.”

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Jazz maestro Herbie Hancock was queried on his award for pop collaboration (“Imagine”), for which he won out over the likes of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Usher and Eminem, but dismissed the idea that he was the odd man out in the category. “We all have two eyes and a mouth and nose and ears, it’s not apples and oranges, we all create music,” he said. Afterward, when asked to name his dream collaborators, he rattled off: “Eminem, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Usher…”

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La Roux’s Elly Jackson (who collected an award for electronic/dance album) said the duo has been busy plotting the follow-up to its self-titled debut. “The next record has got to be big, so we’ve set a pretty high standard. The same thing, but a bit more mature,” she said. She also noted the group’s delayed breakthrough to the U.S., thanks in part to heavy sampling and remixing of the song “In For the Kill” (by Kanye West, Skream and others). “It’s nice that people have it and want to use it, but we just wish our version had gotten on the radio first,” she said.

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Miranda Lambert revealed that her winning song “The House That Built Me” was initially pitched to her fiancée, Blake Shelton, who passed it over to her. “When it hit No. 1, he asked for it back,” she said.

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Train guitarist Jimmy Stafford said they never expected to top the “Glee” juggernaut in the pop duo or group category with “Hey Soul Sister (Live).” “We weren’t expecting it,” he said. Train frontman Patrick Monahan filled in the backstory of his onstage acknowledgement of Howard Stern. “I sang at his wedding,” Monahan said. “He’s been supportive of us from the time we were little to the time we were selling lots of records to the times we weren’t around.” he said. Perhaps with Valentine’s Day on his mind, he added: “I probably should have thanked my wife, instead of Howard Stern.”

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John Legend expressed appreciative sentiments for his two wins for his collaboration with the Roots, though he did take a bit of a shot at the lack of awards presented on the telecast. “It’s nice when we can do them on TV, but there were no R&B awards on TV this year,” he said. He also revealed he’s working again with Kanye West, with whom he collaborated on the rapper’s last record. “We already did a week’s worth of work, so hopefully we’ll have the bulk of it done by the end of the spring,” he said.

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Angela Hunte and Jane’t “Jnay” Sewell-Ulepic , winners for rap song (“Empire State of Mind”), admitted they’d never actually met the song’s performers, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, before or since. “We’re real songwriters, so we’re pretty introverted,” Hunte said.

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Ray LaMontagne , a surprise nominee for song of the year, seemed surprised when asked how he felt about his songs being performed on “American Idol.” “I’ve never seen the show – I know it’s a big deal and a lot of people like it,” he said. “But if you write a song and someone else wants to sing it, that means it works.”

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The Zac Brown Band came backstage in force, holding a cardboard cutout of drummer Chris Fryar, who was unable to attend. “It’s gonna be ugly,” said bandleader Brown on his plans for celebrating the win for country collaboration with vocals.

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Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum top Grammys | Notes from the pre-telecast ceremony

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