Clive Davis draws 2,000 on Zoom for virtual edition of annual pre-Grammy gala

The first in a two-part event features chats with Alicia Keys, John Legend and Chance the Rapper and performances by Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx

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The annual pre-Grammy gala hosted by music executive Clive Davis has become nearly as legendary as the award show itself.

Since the 1970s, the music impresario has hosted these exclusive parties, often showcasing the talent of the brightest stars of the music industry from Lionel Richie to Whitney Houston.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging in the country, Davis couldn’t hold the pre-Grammy event at the usual location of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Instead, according to Variety, he chose a new, more socially distant location: a Zoom Call.

Davis was able to pack in 2,000 guests to this still-very exclusive, albeit virtual, shindig in a Zoom session on Saturday night. He then commenced to conduct one-on-one interviews with several A-list guests, including Grammy-winning artists Alicia Keys, John Legend, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Chance The Rapper. It was the first of a two-part event, Variety reports.

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He also got to interview pop and rock legends like Rod Stewart, Barry Gibb and Bruce Springsteen.

Grammy-winner Alicia Keys and music executive Clive Davis chat as part of the latter’s virtual annual pre-Grammy gala Saturday.

In between the interviews, the five hour-plus Zoom call also featured numerous pre-recorded highlight videos of music’s most amazing performances, including Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean” at Motown 25 in 1983 and a performance of Marvin Gaye singing “What’s Going On,” which also featured a clip of John Legend speaking about the song’s legacy with Davis.

Legend then performed a piano version of Gaye’s hit single “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).” It was one of only a few performances planned for the gala. Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson both gave pre-recorded performances, with the former singing Ray Charles‘ “Georgia on My Mind” at piano and the latter delivering an Aretha Franklin medley mixed of both gospel and secular songs.

Foxx won his 2005 Academy Award for his portrayal of Charles in the film Ray. Hudson is set to portray Franklin in the forthcoming film Respect.

According to Showbiz 411, among the 2,000 exclusive attendees watching on Zoom were luminaries like Quincy Jones, Nile Rodgers, Jimmy Jam, Tyra Banks and Bryant Gumbel, just to name a few. Variety reports that Stacey Abrams was also in attendance. All proceeds of the gala went to the Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences and its MusiCares foundation, which focuses on the health and welfare of the music community.

Singer Jennifer Hudson performs a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin as part of music executive Clive Davis’ virtual pre-Grammy gala Saturday.

This year’s Grammy telecast is scheduled for March 14 on CBS. It was postponed from its usual January slot due to COVID-19, as previously reported by TheGrio.

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