Lorde, Robin Thicke Lead Pre-GRAMMY Universal Music Showcase
Robin Thicke, Lorde and another 11 acts signed to Universal Music Group acts performed Saturday afternoon at Lure nightclub in Hollywood for an audience of label and publishing executives as well as media.
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An opportunity for executives to see GRAMMY nominees and new acts from sister labels, the showcase ranged from the gospel soul of Tye Tribbett and his 13-member ensemble to the rootsy rock of Jake Bugg and EDM artist Zedd, who opted for an acoustic set with a female singer, keyboards and acoustic guitar.
Kacey Musgraves, up for Best New Artist and in two Country categories, proffered an upbeat new song, "Biscuits," that twisted a series of maxims about life and won over the industry crowd. Lorde delayed her start to solve microphone issues, but immediately tore into "Royals," followed by Juanes and a debut of his next single, "La Luz."
Tessanne Chin sang the Ryan Tedder song given to her for winning season five of "The Voice," "Tumbling Down"; Aloe Blacc followed his rendition of "Wake Me Up" with "The Man," praising Bernie Taupin and Elton John for inspiring the tune; and the brightly-attired Neon Trees performed the band's new single "Sleeping With a Friend" after opening with "Everybody Talks."
"We remind ourselves every single day, it's the music, stupid," Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge said in opening remarks from the middle of the room. He gave shout outs tp Big Machine's Scott Borchetta, Island Def Jam Music Group's Barry Weiss and Steve Bartels, Island Records' David Massey, Capitol Christian Music Group's Bill Hearn, Interscope's Steve Berman, Lava's Jason Flom, Verve's David Foster, Universal Music Nashville's Mike Dungan, Republic's Avery Lipman and UMG Publishing's Zach Horowitz.
Capitol Music Group's Steve Barnett, Virgin's Ron Fair and Universal Pictures president of music Mike Knobloch were also on hand; we'll assume Grainge could not see them from his vantage point.
Thicke closed the evening with "Dreamworld" and -- what else? -- "Blurred Lines," while Banks, Ariana Grande and Jhene Aiko also performed. Colbie Caillat, who has a new album due on Republic in April, stopped by to watch before heading on a promo tour for her new single "Hold On" that will take her to Canada, Dubai, the U.K. and Germany.