×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala Has It All, From Travis Scott to Barbra Streisand to Nancy Pelosi

Now in its 43rd year, The Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala is famously a party like no other, one that brings together a unique and at times bizarre combination of luminaries under one roof for one night. It’s quite possibly the only place on Earth where one will find Nancy Pelosi, Alice Cooper, Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand, Caitlin Jenner and Tim Cook watching Travis Scott perform — which happened Saturday night when the Gala returned to its longtime home, the Beverly Hilton, after a visit to New York with the Grammys last year.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Brandi Carlile onstage during the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Clarence Avant at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 9, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
CREDIT: (Credit too long, see caption)

While the party is renowned for its unique performances — Beck and the surviving members of Nirvana covering David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” in 2017 is a particular standout — for many the real fun of the evening is the people, and the odd combinations of people, one sees there, and Saturday night’s edition did not disappoint. We saw Beck and Kenny G and then Beck and Weird Al Yankovic posing for photos. We saw Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi seated at a table with Barbra Streisand and Ariana Grande/Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun (Pelosi got a standing ovation when Davis introduced her from the stage). Nearby was apparently the heavy metal table: Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar and Kirk Hammett and Roberto Trujillo from Metallica; at the next table were Dua Lipa, Diplo and hitmaker Max Martin.

A few feet away, Ciara snuggled with her husband, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (pictured below with Apple Music’s Larry Jackson; curiously, Future, with whom Ciara shares a son, was slated to perform but didn’t end up taking the stage). We saw Maren Morris and Bebe Rexha taking a selfie on Bebe’s phone; Robin Thicke and a seriously dressed-down Pharrell Williams (whose 2013 smash “Blurred Lines” ended up costing them more than $5 million after they were sued for copyright infringement) give each other a bro-hug and pose for photos. We spotted A$AP Rocky in a stunning pink suit and St. Vincent in an equally classy black one. Rita Ora and Evan Ross, both clients of Sarah Stennett’s First Access Entertainment, took a smoke break together. Lisa Loeb and Kathy Griffin caught up. Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels embraced. Elder statesmen Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones and Lou Adler held court. “Howard Stern Show” producer Gary Dell’Abate and Linda Perry recalled an appearance by the Grammy nominee in the ’90s during which the radio host grilled her on being a lesbian on the dating scene (Perry was accompanied to the event by wife Sara Gibert). And that’s just what we wrote down.

The show itself, as it usually does, was a mixture of Clive-anointed classic and new artists, and featured a couple of tributes. A suit-clad Travis Scott opened up the show with a rousing performance of “Goosebumps” and “Sicko Mode” (pictured top); Kylie Jenner arrived just before he hit the stage. Keala Settle raised the roof with her take on “This Is Me.” H.E.R. and Variety cover star Brandi Carlile (pictured above) both gave deeply inspired performances of “Make It Rain” and “The Joke,” respectively. The Time — featuring original members Morris Day, Jerome Benton, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, pictured above — played a killer medley of “The Bird” and “Jungle Love” in homage to veteran R&B executive Clarence Avant (Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, also in attendance with wife Nicole, is Avant’s son-in-law). Introduced by Quincy Jones, who called him a mentor, Avant then gave a hilarious acceptance speech where he jokingly (we hope) asked audience members for a donation approximately eight times in three minutes.

The evening closed in a bittersweet fashion with a roof-raising tribute to Aretha Franklin — who Davis worked with for many years — that saw Jazmine Sullivan singing “Call Me” before being joined by Rob Thomas for “I Knew You Were Waiting.” Grammy Best New Artist nominees Chloe X Halle capped off the night with an innovative take on Aretha’s 1985 duet with Eurythmics, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” for which they were joined by Carlile, Settle and Motown veteran Valerie Simpson. And with that, Davis thanked the crowd effusively and everyone gradually filtered out into an unseasonably chilly Beverly Hills night.

More Music

  • Paradigm Names Marty Diamond Head of

    Paradigm Names Marty Diamond Head of Global Music

    Paradigm Talent Agency has named Marty Diamond the Head of Global Music, leading the agency’s representation artists worldwide, the company announced today. His personal client roster includes Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Janelle Monáe, Sigur Rós, Sara Bareilles, Liam Gallagher, Sia, Lorde, Alessia Cara, Bastille, Snow Patrol, Jess Glynne and Vance Joy. Diamond will head Paradigm’s music [...]

  • Madonna Madame X

    Madonna Reveals Collaborators, Tracklist, Release Date for 'Madame X' Album

    Madonna has posted a lot of material on social media positioning the concept of her new album, “Madame X,” but until “Medellin,” the first single from the album, dropped today, there was precious little information about the album itself. We knew she’d worked with “Medellin” collaborator Maluma, longtime producers Mirwais and Mike Dean… and that’s [...]

  • Anne del Castillo Named NYC's Commissioner

    Anne del Castillo Named New York City's Commissioner of Media and Entertainment

    The film and TV industries in New York City have a new boss: Anne del Castillo, who has been tapped by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Del Castillo had served as general counsel and chief operating officer of MOME since 2015. She succeeds Julie [...]

  • Warner/Chappell Music Names Ryan Press President

    Warner/Chappell Music Names Ryan Press President of A&R for the U.S.

    Warner/Chappell Music has announced the promotion of Ryan Press to president of A&R, U.S. Press, who joined the publisher in 2009, has worked closely with an array of acclaimed songwriters and producers, including Rihanna, Rae Sremmurd, DJ Khaled, Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill, T-Minus, Tayla Parx, Gucci Mane, Mike Elizondo, Aloe Blacc, The-Dream, Priscilla Renea, Lil [...]

  • Madonna

    Single Review: Madonna’s ‘Medellin’

    While a song that begins with a cha-cha count-in and the lyric “I took a pill” sounds like it should be a dancefloor rager, it’s actually the unexpectedly low-key return of Madonna, who today dropped “Medellin,” the first single from her forthcoming album “Madame X.” A collaboration with Colombian singer Maluma — himself a native [...]

  • Beyonce Lemonade HBO

    Beyonce to Release Audio of 'Lemonade' Film Across All Music Streaming Platforms (EXCLUSIVE)

    Beyoncé is offering up some more “Lemonade.” Variety can exclusively reveal that the audio of Beyoncé’s 65-minute “Lemonade” film will drop across all music streaming services on Tuesday, April 23. The drop marks the third anniversary of the film’s debut on HBO. It’s also the first time all of Bey’s catalog is available for streaming. [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Beanie Feldstein Writes Touching Tribute to Her Brother, Maroon 5 Manager Jordan

    Actress Beanie Feldstein has written a moving tribute to her late brother Jordan, longtime manager of Maroon 5, who passed away of a heart attack in December of 2017. “It is impossible. Grief is just impossible. It cannot be contained or summarized or enclosed,” the tribute, published in InStyle, begins. “To describe the wound grief [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content