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The exclusive ROCNATION pre-Grammy brunch hosted by Jay-Z and Beyonce

   
 
   

The Story Behind That Picture: "The Grammy Effect"

By: Thorsten Overgaard. February 11, 2015. Updated March 5, 2017.

Also see my story, "Scandal is he new black" on Grammys, Kanye West, John Travolta and more.

 

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We flew in to Los Angeles for the Grammy Awards in the beggining of February 2015. It's entirely a music event - the largest in the world. I just stayed on the sideline and snapped a few photos from the Rocnation's pre-grammys event hoted by Jay-Z and Beyonce.


ROCNATION pre-Grammy brunch
Atmosphere from the Rocnation pre-Grammy Brunch. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

Hollywood is a special place with it's own ways, and when it comes to the music industry it consists of the people we all see in the media, but also a lot of rather dull looking office people who deal with contracts and money, huge guys with earpieces, mafioso-looking people with gold-framed sunglasses, producers and musicians who's names are famous but their faces unfamiliar. And then there is the whole scene of PR people, fashion designers and event managers, not to mention the press.

 

ROCNATION pre-Grammy brunch
This person doesn't work in legal or finance, I'm sure. Rocnation pre-Grammy Brunch. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

All those types were present at the first actual event we attended. Jay-Z and Beyonce are the royalty of the music industry, and the ROCNATION -Pre-Grammy Brunch is their event on the day before the actual Grammy Award show.

Suitable for a brunch in the music industry it doesn't start untill just after noon. We were picked up in Beverly Hills by a shuttle car and drove the 6 minutes up the hills to the entrance of the "secret location" which is the Godfather mansion. From there we went on another small shuttle up the driveway.

The whole thing was very casual with everybody hanging out. The first person we met in the garden was Michael Bolton who looks amazingly great. We met three hours later, he greeted me with my name.

He remembered it!

Speakings of manners, we stumbled into the kids of Will Smith just after. I think on purpose, their famous father and mother steps back and let the two kids do their own thing. Jaden Smith is 16 and his sister Willow Smith is now 14.

They move around with the confidence as if they had been in the industry for 30 years. I had the opportunity to hang around for a little bit and saw how they were extremely helpful and interested in people, and I noticed that Jaden gave the hand to a security guard who had directed him to the restroom.

To put things in perspective, when we had some fruit later and talked with the staff serving it, they told us we were the first people who had spoken with them during the whole event.

Politeness is an extremely great thing. In exclusive events with limited access politeness often is forgotten to get first in or look like you belong. I noticed that I waited to let some people pass through a door, and they seemed surprised. I didn't think of it.

 

ROCNATION pre-Grammy brunch
Atmosphere from the Rocnation pre-Grammy Brunch 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

But the Smiths inspired me I must say. When we sat in the garden Diane Warren came over to talk about my shoes. I'm a jerk with faces and names, but I did recognize her face as someone I was familiar with from somewhere.

When she and her friends left, I got the idea I should have gotten up my chair and given her my hand. That would be a very un-Danish thing to do, but a very polite gesture to anyone who approach you so they know they are welcome and are not unimportant.

Everybody is important. That perhaps was the most important lesson of the day for me, I think. I learned that from the Smith kids, 14 and 16 years old. It gives me some hope for the future of the entertainment industry.

 

ROCNATION pre-Grammy brunch
Atmosphere from the Rocnation pre-Grammy Brunch 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

We met Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. I will save the Kanye West, for another time. I also noticed Janelle Monae in the garden and smiled to her to let her know I liked her outfit. As I said, I am bad with faces and names, so even I have her music , I didn't know who she was other than one of the most well-dressed women.

She was quite busy in this event and more or less was at all events before and after the Grammys. It takes energy and a team to be in the spotlight that much. I grabbed a few photos of her.

 

Janelle Monae at the Rocnation pre-Grammy Brunch 2015
Nile Rodgers and Janelle Monae at the Rocnation pre-Grammy Brunch 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

ROCNATION pre-Grammy brunch
The security around the whole mansion and the area outside was scaled for a mafia war. Here the main entrance to the mainson. Rocnation pre-Grammy Brunch 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

My outfit designed by Jean//Phillip in Denmark and shoes from Louboutin got a lot of approval from people who came over to ask what brand, designer and so on. We got several brands who wanted to send us stuff. I managed to stay out of the photographers line throughout the whole Grammy weekend.

 

           
 

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Above: The exclusive ROCNATION pre-Grammy brunch hosted by Jay-Z and Beyonce at the Godfather mansion in Beverly Hills is invitation-only for a handful of music industry people.
Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 


 


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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish born multiple award-winning AP photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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