Now in its 43rd year, the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala is famously the music industry’s hottest ticket, an invite-only affair held the night before the Grammy Awards and loaded with the kind of A-list guest list that only Davis could assemble. Organized by Davis with his son, attorney Doug Davis, it’s legendary as a platform for exclusive superstar performances — over the past few years we’ve seen everyone from Mary J. Blige to Barry Manilow sing — and also a rite of passage for younger artists ranging from Chance the Rapper to Alicia Keys. At last year’s event, Jay-Z was the honoree (and was feted with a solo medley of his hits delivered by Keys) and Davis announced that Jennifer Hudson (pictured above) had signed on to star in a forthcoming biopic on Aretha Franklin. Hudson then delivered a medley of Franklin’s hits before the singer herself, who was in attendance in one of her last public appearances before her death in August.
Traditionally, only a couple of performers’ names are leaked before the big night, but Variety has obtained an initial list of guests confirmed to appear at the gala, which will take place Feb. 9 at its usual site, the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.
While a rep declined to give even a hint of which of these guests might perform, it would not be a leap of logic to assume that at least a couple of them will be taking the stage as performers that night, particularly Shawn Mendes, Maren Morris, Bebe Rexha, Ryan Tedder, Florida Georgia Line and legendary jazz keyboardist Chick Corea.
It also would not be a stretch to assume that there will be a tribute to Franklin, who worked closely with Davis for many years.
The note concludes, “Of course, the list of performers will remain under wraps until they take the stage; but the ‘Man With The Golden Ears’ guarantees the entertainment will once again blow the roof off.”
Along with those artists, other personalities confirmed for the event are: Live Nation chief Michael Rapino, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver, film producer Brian Grazer, entertainment attorneys John Branca and Allen Grubman, iHeartMedia chief Bob Pittman, CNN on-air personality Don Lemon, restauranteur Wolfgang Puck, hit songwriter/producers Max Martin, Timbaland and Diane Warren as well as the heads of each major label.