Gaga was actually booked for the awards show before Mr. Bowie had died. As soon the news came out however Ken Ehrlich the longtime producer of the Grammys was contacting Gaga and her management about a possible tribute.
Meanwhile speculation swirled over who would pay tribute to the iconic pop star, some suggesting that fellow legends of his era might be handling the honours while others pointed toward a showcase of his impact on a younger generation of songwriters.
At the same time, Ehrlich was contacted by numerous artists hoping to participate. “Some of whom might have made sense; the vast majority didn’t,” he told the The New York Times. Nevertheless he had already made up his mind on Gaga performing the tribute solo.
The performance is said to last six or seven minutes, covering “at least three or four” songs according to Ehrlich. The segment will be overseen by musical director Nile Rodgers, who of course produced one of Bowie’s most successful albums Let’s Dance.
Talking of Bowie’s influence in her own life before his passing on Jan 10th this year, Gaga told The Hollywood Reporter:
“When I fell in love with David Bowie, when I was living on the Lower East Side, I always felt that his glamour was something he was using to express a message to people that was very healing for their souls.”
He is a true, true artist and I don’t know if I ever went, ‘Oh, I’m going to be that way like this,’ or if I arrived upon it slowly, realizing it was my calling and that’s what drew me to him.”
It was also announced today that Gaga will sing the US national anthem at this week’s Super Bowl.
Speaking of Gaga’s tribute, Ehrlich has said it will be “a true homage to who David was, particularly musically, but not ignoring his influence on fashion and pop culture.”
Having worked on the awards show since 1980, Ehrlich has a lot of experience with organising tributes to recently passed artist on short notice. Still, he said that while it was always difficult, booking the performances for this year’s award show has been particularly hard as so many great musicians have passed in the last few weeks.
Along with Bowie, we’ve lost Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey of The Eagles and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane all so far this year, as well as B.B. King last May. Frey and King are said to be receiving tributes as well although there is no word yet on who has been contacted or might be involved.
We do know that the show is happening on Feb. 15, and will feature previously announced performers Adele, Kendrick Lamar, the Weeknd, Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt. And on top of the Bowie, Glen Frey and B.B. King tributes, there will also be a tribute to Lionel Richie, the Recording Academy’s 2016 MusiCares person of the year.
Talk about tribute city. Let’s just hope we don’t lose any more legends before the awards, for Ehrlich’s personal sanity at least.
Gallery: 25 Iconic Pictures of David Bowie
Lady Gaga To Perform David Bowie Tribute At The Grammys - Music Feeds