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SIR LUCIAN'S SHOWCASE: AN "AUDIO/VISUAL" FEAST

 

(Intersope's John Janick, Billie Eilish, Lucian Grainge, Finneas, UMPG's Jody Gerson, Darkroom's Justin Lubliner)

Sir Lucian Grainge’s annual Grammy weekend showcase was packed with UMG heavy hitters and influential personages from around the biz, including luminaries from radio, the live space, DSPs and more. The gathering, which went down Saturday at Hollywood’s Milk Studios, showcased an array of artists from across the Universal system and all over the planet—and underscored the company’s growing array of projects in film and TV as well.

Sir Lucian opened the festivities by hailing “the greatest lineup of talent our industry has to offer,” and underscored the music giant’s development into a major “audio/visual company.” He also noted such attendees in the crowd as Lana Del Rey, the legendary Lulu, Lang Lang, Adam Horovitz and Island’s iconic founder, Chris Blackwell, among others.

Capitol’s Lewis Capaldi led off the musical offerings and, in addition to performing his smash “Someone You Loved,” charmed the crowd with his typical self-deprecating patter.

Following a jam from Blue Note’s Gregory Porter, there was a glimpse of the forthcoming Beastie Boys doc, presented by Spike Jonze and the Beasties’ Adam Horovitz. Then Interscope’s DaBaby hit the stage, significantly cranking up the energy level.

Island's Darcus Beese, Jessie Reyez, Grainge; Interscope's DaBaby; Def Jam's Paul Rosenberg & Nasty C

Capitol’s Best New Artist Grammy nominee Maggie Rogers showed real spark in her segment, and her “Light On” was one of the standouts of the afternoon.

The presence of Def Jam’s Nasty C (who hails from South Africa) and Motown's Nigerian star Tiwa Savage indicated that Africa’s presence on the world pop stage is growing substantially.

An impressive chunk of Peter Jackson’s radical reworking of The Beatles doc Let It Be suggested that the dour tone and bland visuals of the 1970 film had been replaced by something altogether different—ebullient, vibrantly colorful and packed with musical treats. Apple CorpsJeff Jones promised it would “bust the myth” that had surrounded the project for decades.

Universal Latin’s Colombian star Karol G then hit the stage, backed by an all-female band; then came Big Machine’s Riley Green, who connected with “There Was This Girl” and “I Wish Grandpas Never Died.”

Republic's Avery Lipman, UMGL's Jesus Lopez, Karol G, Republic's Monte Lipman, Grainge

One of the biggest surprises of the afternoon came from Republic’s Anthony Ramos, the Hamilton star whose soulful vocals and energetic stage presence in some ways recalled the arrival of Bruno Mars. Ramos offered a bit of vulnerability in the confessional “Figure It Out,” and the crowd was feeling it. He'll next star in The Heights.

After a presentation from Universal Film and Television’s David Blackman, who outlined the success of several recent documentaries and previewed the unusual, music-heavy scripted series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (which is going to NBC), it was time for the big closer.

Darkroom/Interscope’s Billie Eilish, joined by her brother/collaborator FINNEAS on acoustic guitar, delivered confident renditions of “all the good girls go to hell” and “bad guy” that reminded the assembled faithful how much she’s evolved as a performer during her meteoric rise. She seemed in high spirits, teasing the crowd for their “terrible response” to her between-songs greeting and calling them “lame” for rising to their feet when she was done. She’ll soon be taking her culture-shifting music to the Grammy stage—and will most likely have a very big night.

As her last note sounded, the crowd flew to their Ubers as the Grammy-weekend marathon continued.

Capitol's Jeff Vaughn, Michelle Jubelirer, Maggie Rogers, Ashley Newton, Grainge

iHeart's Beata, Lisa Worden, John Peake and Republic promo boss Gary Spangler get photobombed by HITS President of His Desk Todd Hensley

 
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