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HomeEntertainmentMusicBillie Eilish Honored, Shania Twain, Doechii, Stephen Sanchez & More Perform at...

Billie Eilish Honored, Shania Twain, Doechii, Stephen Sanchez & More Perform at UMG’s Grammy Week Artist Showcase

“We’re back!” Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge stated to a spherical of applause, opening the primary UMG Grammy week artist showcase in three years as a result of pandemic. “A lot has happened in these last three years, but today is about the music.”

UMG’s pre-Grammy artist showcase at Milk Studios has at all times been concerning the rising artists which can be coming via the ranks at Universal Music Group in a given 12 months, and the performances are a highly-anticipated occasion annually. But the pandemic meant that this 12 months’s was the primary since 2020, and this version additionally included highlights from a sequence of forthcoming docu-films that the corporate is ready to launch.

Grainge spent just a few moments in his opening remarks shouting out the artists who have been set to carry out, in addition to these in attendance, which included Elton John, Jon Batiste, Sabrina Carpenter, Yo Gotti, Niall Horan, Fletcher, Ice Spice, Queen Naija and Natalie Jane. “We all know the extraordinary power of music; it touches each of us,” he stated. “Music’s power increases in a socially conscious way whenever artists use their talents to promote positive change in our community. When we at UMG employ the vast reach and resources of our company to support our artists in their efforts to promote change, the power of music blossoms even more.”

He then launched a video that targeted on Billie Eilish and her mom’s efforts to handle local weather change and promote sustainability together with her excursions and the best way she lives her life, in addition to UMG’s personal efforts to advertise sustainability and restrict their carbon footprint and waste. Then Grainge launched Eilish herself, who got here out and accepted UMG’s Amplifier Award for her efforts.

“I do as much as I can — I feel like I can always do more — but I feel very impressed and excited that you guys are actually making this a priority and thinking about it and doing your part to support me,” Eilish stated whereas accepting the award. “I would just say I’m really thankful — I feel really seen right now. I spend a lot of my time feeling really anxious because I don’t feel like a lot of people, and especially people in the business, care very much, and it’s really nice to see that this is happening and that you guys do. And I just wanted to say, everyone in this room, we can all do our part. I know a lot of you got some money in your f—in’ pocket, so you can use it for good things and not stupid things,” she added, laughing. She then thanked her mom, and continued, “I’m always trying to think of how to do things in the least wasteful ways possible, and it’s shocking how little I feel that gets reciprocated, and it makes me feel like nobody’s doing anything. So it’s nice to see that you are, and I’m really thankful.”

Then the performances bought underway, starting with Kim Petras, who sang her track “brrr” earlier than bringing out Sam Smith for his or her chart-topping collaboration “Unholy.” Verve Records artist — and finest new artist nominee at this 12 months’s Grammys — Samara Joy then got here out to carry out a fantastically jazzy “Sweet Pumpkin,” together with her vocals taking issues to the subsequent stage together with her trio on stage, and GloRilla hit the stage with extremely energetic performances of her songs “Tomorrow” and “FNF.”

Elton John then emerged from the gang to introduce Stephen Sanchez, a younger singer and guitarist signed to Republic Records. John thanked the Universal employees — the label group that he’s been along with his complete profession — earlier than noting how when he was a younger artist he benefited from and valued the help he bought from established artists who reached out to him and inspired him. He then turned his consideration to Sanchez, who he in comparison with Roy Orbison and Ricky Nelson. “I am so thrilled to see this boy, at 20 years of age, taking the reins and writing this great song — he’s gonna be a big, big star,” John stated. “I really think he’s the bee’s knees.”

Sanchez then performed “Evangeline” and “Until I Found You,” two songs along with his retro really feel, including that he wasn’t positive if he was allowed to speak on stage as a substitute of simply performing — “It feels like I broke into a party I’m not supposed to be at,” he joked — and thanking Elton earlier than strolling off to a giant ovation. Singer-songwriter Lauren Spencer-Smith bought an enormous ovation as effectively, with the gang audibly gasping at her vocal performances of brand-new, unreleased observe “Best Friend Breakup” and her breakout hit “Fingers Crossed.” And Universal Music Latino signee Feid introduced a Latin presence to the afternoon, with guitar-rocking performances of “Tengo Fe” — “the song that changed my life while we were in lockdown,” he famous — and “Porfa.”

Def Jam signee Muni Long showcased her highly effective vocals and spectacular vary with the brand new, unreleased track “Made for Me,” a stunning ballad that can be included on her upcoming debut album, which she added she’s nonetheless engaged on, earlier than shimmering on her personal breakout hit from final 12 months, the sultry “Hrs and Hrs.” And TDE/Capitol artist Doechii wowed these in attendance with a breathlessly insistence dance set of “Persuasive” and “Crazy” that packed uncooked vitality into each second of her efficiency.

The present didn’t simply include performances, however was additionally a chance for Universal to preview three new documentaries that it is going to be releasing within the coming months, together with Love to Love You, a Donna Summer doc directed by her daughter, Brooklyn Sudano, in addition to Roger Ross Williams, that can arrive on HBO in May, and a Paul McCartney documentary directed by Morgan Neville specializing in his post-Beatles profession within the Seventies, when he needed to reinvent himself along with his solo work and his band Wings, that is named Man on the Run and can be launched in 2024.

Batiste was additionally readily available to talk about an upcoming documentary that follows his life for the previous 12 months, known as American Symphony, that explores the emotional highs of his massive Grammy wins final 12 months, when he took residence album of the 12 months, and the devastating lows of his spouse’s most cancers battle, a movie that he says grew to become about much more than he initially envisioned whereas he labored on his subsequent musical challenge.

“Making things is difficult. Being an artist is vulnerable process, it’s a vulnerable existence. It takes so much to express the truth of how you feel, where you’re from, to connect to the universal humanism, humanity, that everyone has from the beginning of time until now,” Batiste stated, additionally praising director Matthew Heineman. “It’s like you’re connected to a source that exists on a plane that you can’t see but we can all feel. It’s just as real as this table, just as real as anything. And I really believe the process of that is a messy process. You gotta scrap with it a little bit. You gotta roll around. You gotta get a handle on it. I wanted to make a film that captured the process of it all — a lot of unprecedented moments in my life over this year, highs and lows, intense highs and very intense, near tragic, lows.”

The showcase ended with a shock set from Shania Twain, whose new album Queen of Me got here out this previous week. The Canadian icon carried out a stripped down “You’re Still the One” and an abbreviated honky tonk “That Don’t Impress Me Much” — full with a tweak of a lyric to “OK, so you’re Lucian Grainge” — earlier than grabbing an acoustic guitar for “Honey I’m Home.” Twain’s look capped a day of star-studded performances, showcasing that UMG has one other new crop of younger stars with brilliant futures forward.



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