LOS ANGELES — Victoria Monét and Coco Jones brought smooth R&B and studied choreography, Noah Kahan and Gracie Abrams — friends up for the same Grammy — dueted their introspective folk, and Jelly Roll brought out Lainey Wilson. Ice Spice performed her new single from her forthcoming debut LP “Y2K.”
Those artists — save for Wilson — make up the bulk of the 2024 Grammys ‘ best new artist nominees and were the headliners of Spotify’s annual pre-Grammy party, held Thursday at Paramount Studios.
The event spotlighted up-and-coming talent across genres, generations, and backgrounds. Each act ran through two-to-four songs, introducing themselves to an audience made up of new listeners and dedicated fans in seemingly equal measure. To hasten the transitions, the stage would rotate, revealing another backline and leaving the audience to guess who would emerge next.
While the lineup leaned heavy on those competing for the coveted best new artist Grammy Award, nominee Fred Again… did not perform.
In the crowd, famous faces like Diplo and Ross Lynch danced in crowded VIP sections.
“Can we take you to church tonight, y’all?” Michael Trotter Jr. of The War and Treaty kicked off the night before launching into “Blank Page.” The duo’s soulful country set the bar for a night of all-star performances.
They were followed by Coco Jones — who is up for five Grammys, having just released her debut EP — who ripped through her song “Crazy For Me,” turning it into a spirited singalong of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love.”
Then came Gracie Abrams’ big-hearted acoustic songs and Jelly Roll’s undeniable charisma — the latter backed by a full-band including a banjo and lap steel player. The breakthrough country musician joked to the crowd, “I appreciate y’all rocking with my fat ass. I didn’t expect that,” he laughed. When it came to his closer, the ubiquitous country radio hit “Save Me,” he brought out the two-time Grammy nominated Lainey Wilson, who sings on the track.
Victoria Monét — who is nominated for seven Grammys this year — kept it short and cute with two tracks, burning the barn down with “On My Mama,” one of AP’s picks for best songs of last year.
Noah Kahan emerged shortly after, like the most charismatic guy at your local open mic. “I’m Noah Kahan and we are Mumford and Sons,” he introduced his folky band — with the second banjo of the night. For “Everywhere Everything,” he brought out the other voice on the track — Abrams. They may be competing for the same award, but it is clear these two are friends.
And hitting as quickly as she left: Ice Spice headlined, kicking off with her latest single, “Think U The S—- (Fart)” and then bringing it back with “Deli,” like the newly minted patron saint of New York City that she is.