Inside Republic Records' Post-Grammy Party: Stevie Wonder, Joe Jonas & More Say Goodbye to Grammy Week
Spring Place in Beverly Hills finds itself situated smack in the middle of Grammy weekend action. The West Coast branch of a private membership club that’s only been open in the glamorous neighborhood since late last year (one of its early events was a private birthday party for Leonardo DiCaprio, which attracted a group of people so famous even Madam Tussaud would be jealous), it’s located just down the street from the Beverly Hilton, where Clive Davis threw his famed Pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday night, and a short jaunt from Island Records’ own Grammy event nestled in the Hollywood Hills the day before.
On Sunday night, it’s Republic Records’ turn to make a mark on a weekend when the music industry at large descends on Los Angeles (at least the ones who didn’t move here already) to take over Spring Place, and a small line is already forming at the entrance in advance of its 9:30 p.m. kick-off, occurring about an hour after the end of the actual Grammy show a 20-minute drive downtown. Wearing a sequin jacket and pink pants, Jonathan Nicholas-Pate, who works for Live Nation and helps concoct the tours for artists ranging from Travis Scott to Ariana Grande, is one of the waiting revelers braving the brisk 49-degree weather outside and who just came from watching the broadcast at home. “I loved Alicia Keys. I thought she stood on her own and did her thing,” he explains in between receiving a compliment for his shiny jacket. “I thought the collaborations were good this year,” he says pointing to Scott’s in particular. Does he think it brought Scott to superstar level? “No, because I think he was already a superstar. He’s on the second leg of his tour and it’s all sold out. When you’re selling out everywhere, you’ve already reached that level.”
Finally, the door wranglers allow guests to start checking in, and with the music starting to seep through the venue’s walls and the line making its way to the entrance, it’s surely time to party. Psych! Like an artist who is set to break through but collapses under his or her own hype, the check-in people alert the door people that, well, they’re just not ready yet and everyone gets back in line. “They said it’s going to be another half-hour,” says a college-age guy in a maroon velvet suit. Aside from the chill in the air, it’s perhaps just as entertaining outside, with the paparazzi snapping their cameras every time a car pulls up only to put their lenses down in retreat when they realize that whoever isn’t walking out of a car isn’t a “somebody.” No, that isn’t Demi Lovato -- though, it sure looked like her.
Once inside, the room reveals itself to be a square space with a courtyard in the middle and one finds themself circling around brand activations. Not only is the bash sponsored by Fiji Water (no doubt basking in the glow of their viral Golden Globes moment), but there’s an entire room dedicated to... Crocs? Aside from a Croc-themed photo booth, there’s bins of them for the taking. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the height of music-industry triumph: free Crocs. With a massive #RepublicGrammys sign adorning the wall, you can’t have a room full of industry insiders without a photo booth complete with a background filled with enough balloons to rival a children’s birthday party. “I went to the watch party at the SoHo House in West Hollywood and then came here,” says Ralphie Aversa. Clad in a John Varvatos suit, Aversa was formerly an entertainment journalist who now works for start-up and is waiting his turn at the photo booth. “I thought the show was all right,” he explains, pointing to the Dolly Parton tribute as a highlight. “But the producers should have condensed it down to three hours. That window is very key, especially in this day and age with the way people consume media.”
As the room fills up, it’s becoming hard to tell who is who and it’s difficult not to try to guess which of the following categories relevers fit into: charting artist, non-charting artist, formerly charting artist, new signee, prospective signee, veteran act, wannabe, DJ, socialite, agent, lawyer, manager, publicist, Jonas Brother, rapper, SoundCloud rapper, executive, an executive’s assistant, someone related to an executive, someone who knows someone related to an executive, producer, hanger-on, bodyguard, caterer, Fifth Harmony alum, photographer, television actor, plus-one or Scottie Pippen. Yes, the legendary basketball player was indeed there, as were names ranging from 20-year-old singer Conan Grey to 68-year-old legend Stevie Wonder. Unsurprisingly, Republic artists were out in full force, including Hailee Steinfeld, James Bay and Julia Michaels. Also there: Paris Jackson and actress Nina Dobrev.
As if dancing were outlawed Footloose-style, barely anyone hit the floor and some just stuck to the couches (like the producer Alex Da Kid), but they did bob their heads to the DJ who, contrary to what you might assume, didn’t just stick to the Republic catalog and strayed far from pop. Starting with '90s hip-hop (“Gettin’ Jiggy Wit it,” anyone?) and later blasting modern rap hits, it was especially fitting to hear a room chock-full of the music industry sing along in unison to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.,” especially when he proclaims “My last song just went viral,” because for some of the attendees, their last song did just that. (Shout-out to guests and “The Middle” masterminds Zedd and Grey!) Meanwhile, it had to be awkward for Taylor Swift’s former manager, guest Scott Borchetta, to hear Kanye West’s “Famous” when he famously spits “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.” Perhaps, though, it was even more awkward when the music would cut out for 30 seconds at a time. Was someone about to make an announcement? Nope. The DJ had to switch out records, we guess.
By 12:30 a.m., the crowd inside is so intense you’d be more successful getting around by surfing above everyone than pushing past them. But a mere half-hour later, the night starts to wind down. Word is Miley Cyrus was going to come, but Mark Ronson is having a party too, which Lady Gaga supposedly went to as well. (Because there can be 100 parties, and all you need is just one to attend.) And while some were wondering if Ariana Grande would attend fresh from famously skipping the actual Grammys, she skipped this too. Back inside, Reyn Hartley, a New York City-based artist armed with a Ciroc cocktail who was dressed in a lavender blazer and black leather shoes, arrived at Spring Place straight from the Grammys themselves. “It was a very long show,” he notes in between sips as Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner hold court nearby. “When you watch on television, it cuts to commercial breaks and you can do whatever. When you’re actually there, you’re just sitting and waiting.” So, since he was in the room where it happened, who got the biggest reaction from the crowd? Hartley's answer was a no-brainer: “Cardi B, no doubt.”
As the revelevers continue to thin out and guests like Macy Grey and Ashley Tisdale head home, caterers hand out paper cups of Van Leeuwen ice cream (because what else pairs best with champagne and vodka?), and a parade of Lyfts and Ubers begin to descend on Spring Place once again. The night is over and, driving through Beverly Hills, it’s obvious that, at least for tonight, this is a city overtaken by the music industry. “Were the Grammys today?” my Lyft driver asks. “Those are for movies, right?”