Billie Eilish poses in the press room with the awards for best album and best pop vocal album for "We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?", best song and record for "Bad Guy" and best new artist at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Grammy Awards 2020: Backstage with Billie Eilish, Gary Clark Jr. and more

Perhaps they didn’t want to answer questions regarding the Recording Academy’s current troubles or comment on the heartbreaking death of Kobe Bryant.

Or maybe they just wanted to get to their respective after-parties.

But the night’s biggest winner, Billie Eilish, and her producer brother Finneas O’Connell, happily chatted for a few minutes before publicists nudged them off the press room stage.

Wearing the emerald green and black outfit she donned to accept her four major awards (a fifth came earlier during the Grammy Premiere Ceremony), Eilish and O’Connell talked about when they realized their music was making an impact outside of the Internet.

“I think when we saw James Corden running around and singing ‘Bad Guy,’ we were like, ‘Oh my God, people know this song!’” O’Connell said.

Added Eilish, “It was in a lot of memes and we were like, ‘Oh, ****!”

Also visiting backstage:

Gary Clark Jr. backstage at the 62nd Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Photo: Myung J. Chun/TNS

- Gary Clark Jr., winner of three Grammys, said he was “hot and sweaty” (though he looked perfectly cool).

Clark was part of a tribute to longtime Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich, who steered his final show on Sunday, and performed the “Fame” song “Sing the Body Electric” alongside an eclectic mix of artists including Cyndi Lauper and Camila Cabello.

“(That song) is not in my zone at all. But I used to be one of those kids. I was a tenor in the choir, so it kinda took me back home in this weird way. I watched ‘Fame’ as a little kid, but I was too young to really understand it. I appreciate it more as an adult.”

Clark also intimated that he and Yola, with whom he tore up the stage at Friday’s MusiCares concert for Aerosmith (they performed “Cryin’”), have forged a friendship.

“Me and Yola got plans,” he said with a smile. “Y’all just stay ready.”

- Elvis Costello, looking natty as always in a dark blue suit and black fedora, expounded on his comments during his acceptance of a best traditional pop vocal album (“Look Now”) Grammy at the Premiere Ceremony when he said “Burnt Sugar is So Bitter,” written with Carole King, was 20 years in the making.

“I didn’t want to have to answer to Carole King if I didn’t get it right in the studio,” he said, with his band The Imposters behind him. “And this arrangement and the time we took to prepare…for us it’s about preparing very well before you go in. When the red light is on, the emotion is there and you try to get the best performance. We need to prepare to make sure we have the clearest idea of what we’re trying to do.”

Sheila E. performs during a Prince tribute at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Photo: Matt Sayles/Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

- Sheila E., looking luminous in a fitted green shimmery jumpsuit, talked a bit about the Grammy Salute to Prince that will take place on Jan. 28 and air on CBS this spring. 

“We have a lot of artists, a lot of music. I’m the musical director and my band is backing up most artists,” she said. “All the songs we’re playing in this tribute I’ve not played with anyone else except Prince.”

- Tyler, the Creator, expressed concern for the room of journalists when he popped in wearing a striped polo shirt and baggy brown pants.

“Y’all look bored as **** in this room,” he joked. “They givin’ you water?” The California native, who won for best rap album (“Igor”), said he was grateful for the award, but nonetheless conflicted.

“It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that's genre-bending or that's anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don't like that 'urban' word — it's just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me," he said. 

He also acknowledged feeling the loss of Bryant. “That news was heavy, especially being here in the Staples Center (where Bryant built his career with the Los Angeles Lakers). Within a short period of time between him and Nipsey (Hussle), that **** is really heavy. We took an ‘L’ tonight, but also we took a win being from Los Angeles and taking (a Grammy home.”

- DJ Khaled, who won a Grammy for best rap/sung performance for "Higher,” with John Legend and Hussle, talked about honoring his late friend.

“We came here to honor our brother Nipsey and his beautiful family. This song ‘Higher’ represented our brothers. This is my first Grammy and I won it for my brother Nipsey. We talked about winning and we talked it into existence. This is my most special award. It’s not mine, it’s ours.”

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.