BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 11, 2017) (REUTERS) – David Foster, Lars Ulrich and Gene Simmons were among some of the music industry heavyweights to attend the annual Clive Davis pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday (February 11) evening.
The party celebrated Grammy nominated artists and honorees but also served to celebrate the career of businesswoman Debra Lee. Lee is currently the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Black Entertainment Television. Lee became the first woman to receive the President’s Merit Award at the Pre-Gala event.
“I’m very excited about receiving this honor. When Neil Portnow of the recording academy called I was very excited and, you know, when I found out I was the first woman I couldn’t believe it but I was very excited. So, I know there will be lots of women after me but it’s nice to be the first,” said Lee.
“Who’s opening? Is Beyonce opening the show? If that’s true that’s going to be really hot because she’s amazing. I was just saying earlier down the line, I really hope Justin wins for album of the year. I mean, I know it’s a bit of a long shot but he deserves to. His album, I think, was the best album of the year. I think Beyonce’s album was incredible but I think Justin just edged her out in terms of being, they were both concept albums but Justin’s album, every track is amazing.”
“You know, the music industry has taken a few hits, obviously in the last 15, 20 years and I think it’s important that we continue to celebrate and shout from the rooftops about music still matters, creativity still matters, especially in a time of some slight division in the country and some uncertain times and music can hopefully come together and heal everybody and make everybody forget about all the nastiness and unpleasantries going on around us, you know,” said Ulrich.
“Well, sports, arts, they transcend politics, they transcend culture, they tran scend borders, certainly nationalities, religions and all that because when people see a beautiful piece of art or they listen to a wonderful song or they see an amazing athelet playing tennis or golf or whatever, they’re not thinking, oh what a great, whatever from wherever they are. Or, isn’t she amazing because she is Jewish or Catholic or, no, it’s just your skill,” said former tennis player Martina Navratiola.
The 59th annual Grammy awards will take place on Sunday, February 12 in downtown Los Angeles.