For young performers at the Grammys, exposure could be the award

Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:32pm EST
 
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Winning a Grammy Award may be the goal on Sunday, but getting a chance to perform at the annual awards show in front of tens of millions of TV viewers worldwide could be the biggest career maker of the night for up-and-coming singers and musicians.

The Grammys, rated in a recent industry poll by Billboard magazine as the second-best promotional opportunity for an artist or group behind performing at football's Super Bowl halftime show, will offer that chance to several young singers like country music's Kacey Musgraves, Hunter Hayes and New Zealand teen pop wunderkind Lorde.

"It is a humongous opportunity," said the 22-year-old Hayes, who is nominated for best country solo performance this year after earning three nods as a newcomer in 2013.

"It's a huge introduction and endorsement, not only to get to perform in front of these pioneers and musical masterminds but to get the endorsement from the Academy in that way," added Hayes, referring to Grammy organizer, the Recording Academy, which tapped him to perform last year too.

This year's top performances include pop stars Beyonce, Katy Perry, promising rappers Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, as well as former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Grammys can be notoriously difficult to predict and this year seems to be particularly vexing because there is no predominant genre or theme. The nominees for the top award, album of the year, represent five different sounds, from country pop's Taylor Swift to French DJ duo Daft Punk.

"I'd have to say it is a bit of an odd year in music and not necessarily in a bad way," said producer Jeff Bhasker, nominated for three top awards this year including song of the year for "Just Give Me a Reason," by Pink and Nate Ruess.

He sees a "reshuffling of the deck as far as what listeners are hungry for," noting that popular music is becoming more intimate and slowing down from the up-tempo dance music of years past.   Continued...

 
Country music singer Hunter Hayes poses during a media opportunity in Beverly Hills, California January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni