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Stars celebrate year in music at pre-Grammy event

Jan 29,2018
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Kacey Musgraves performs at Sir Lucian Grainge’s 2018 Artist Showcase presented by American Airlines and Citi on Saturday in New York. [AP/YONHAP]
NEW YORK - While Universal Music Group’s annual pre-Grammy showcase highlighted current Grammy nominees such as Luis Fonsi, Logic, Migos and Julia Michaels, it was country singer Kacey Musgraves and rising star Jessie Reyez who shined brightest on Saturday.

Musgraves sang two new songs from her upcoming third album, “Golden Hour,” strumming her guitar onstage with a six-member band and earning a standing ovation from the audience of record executives, music industry players and press.

Reyez also played her guitar - singing onstage alone - winning over the crowd as her scratchy vocals and deep lyrics took center stage.

Fonsi kicked off the two-hour event at Spring Studios in New York City with the ubiquitous hit, “Despacito,” nominated for song and record of the year at Sunday’s Grammy Awards.

He called the No. 1 track co-starring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber “an important song for us. I think it’s broken the language barrier in the world.”

Other song of the year nominees performed. Michaels, a respected songwriter behind hits for Bieber and Selena Gomez, sang her smash hit “Issues,” while rapper Logic closed the showcase with the suicide prevention anthem “1-800-273-8255,” joined by Alessia Cara.

Both Michaels and Cara are nominated for best new artist.

Other performers included rapper-singer 6LACK, a nominee for best urban contemporary album and best rap/sung performance, and rap trio Migos, who celebrated the release of their new album, “Culture II,” as well as nominations for best rap album and best rap performance.

Attendees included Sam Smith, Lang Lang, James Bay, Andrew Lloyd Webber and BJ the Chicago Kid. Rapper Nas, who was born in Brooklyn but raised in Queens, earned the Spotlight Award from the New York City mayor office.

“This is dope. This is love. I’m happy to see everybody in this room still doing their thing. I’m happy to see the record business, the music business back in the state that it’s in [where] artists are getting paid,” Nas said.

Universal Music Group is the parent company of Def Jam, Interscope, Republic, Capitol and Island Records.

Its artists include Kanye West, Lorde, Sam Hunt and Imagine Dragons.

The event, hosted by UMG CEO and chairman Lucian Grainge, also debuted trailers for documentaries about the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem; the iconic rock band Velvet Underground; and the late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards will air live on CBS from Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

AP