You never forget your first time, especially when it involves a Grammy.
On Friday night (December 6), a new crop of artists — Lorde and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, more than likely — will hear their names called for the first time at the annual Grammy nominations concert , an experience that will may change their lives forever.
And so, to help them understand what it all means, MTV News spoke to a pair of artists who lost their Grammy virginity last year — Ed Sheeran, who earned his first-ever nomination in the Song of the Year category for “The A Team,” and Fun. frontman Nate Ruess, who picked up six nods (and won two , Song of the Year and Best New Artist) — to get their stories about the day they officially became Grammy nominees.
And while they’ll never forget that first time … well, let’s just say the rest of the night was a bit of a blur.
“When I found out I was nominated, I was doing the run of Christmas shows that the radio stations do, and I was on a tour bus with the Wanted, very drunk,” Sheeran laughed. “I was already celebrating anyway, but I celebrated by drinking more.”
“We were at the Grammy nominations show; they had asked us to play, and one of the guys from the Grammys, we were seated next to him, he turned around and was like ‘I’ve got a good feeling about you guy,'” Ruess added, “Before then, the Grammys seemed like such a strange world, something I had written off when I was 15 and joined punk-rock groups. But I’ll tell you what, when it happens, it feels good. And after that, I proceeded to get hammered.”
Of course, you’re never really celebrating alone. There are always bandmates and record execs to pop champagne with, not to mention the occasional odd celeb, too. Like we said, once you become a Grammy nominee, your life definitely changes.
“It was a very random night; Lindsay Lohan was on the bus, because I think she was dating one of [the Wanted guys],” Sheeran said. “And I think Justin Bieber was in the bus behind us with another member of the Wanted, but he didn’t get nominated for a Grammy, so apparently it was a very different kind of party on that bus. Very dark.”
“I’m a massive Lady Antebellum fan — I think that might be something the world doesn’t know about me — and I’d exchanged text messages with Charles [Kelley] from the band, like ‘Hey, we should meet up,'” Ruess said. “And coincidentally we ended up at the same place. It was like ‘Holy sh–!’ So we celebrated in some small-plates place, with probably a bartender with a mustache, and then I just remember replying to a bunch of text messages. I definitely had a ‘copy, paste’ reply going.”
And then, there are the months leading up to the Grammys themselves (they’re set for January 26 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles), and the waiting to see if your name will actually be called. For some, the dream comes full circle, and a golden gramophone is placed in your sweaty palms … for others, well, the night is basically just another excuse to get hammered. Either way, it’s all part of the experience.
“I’m kind of like a Grammy virgin; it’s kind of like they put it in then pulled it out, because I was there, I just didn’t win,” Sheeran laughed. “I knew I wasn’t going to win, so I went to enjoy the experience, play the song with Elton [John] and hang out with people I admired; I went in to enjoy it.”
“The whole thing was crazy. I just remembered traffic was bad so we left, like,14 hours early … I never slept more soundly than when I finally got home that night,” Ruess said. “Our version of celebrating is very interesting. We would prefer to keep it in the family, but in that situation, when you win, there’s a lot of people involved in the album, so it becomes a massive family and you’re celebrating it with them on that night.
“How has my life changed since I won?” he continued. “Well, now I have a house with a landline. And I have Lakers tickets as well.”