Grammys producer: Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars among show's 'keepers of the flame'

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It’s not a surprise that appeals to you – that’s the signature of your Grammy shows, connecting generational dots like that, like [the 2006 pairing of] Stevie Wonder with Alicia Keys or [on last year’s show] with the Beach Boys and Foster the People, and Maroon 5 representing a Southern California harmony and pop falsetto and pop youth, too, I’d guess.
Well, that’s it. That’s why those three acts – Bruno, Justin, and fun. – they are a story in and of themselves to me, because in a way they kind of do what I try to with the show. They’re the keepers of the flame. In the face of radical shifts in a musical landscape – hip-hop in particular – they harken back to a retro feel and they respect it. I love the things off of Justin’s album that I’ve heard so and I love this Bruno album, Unorthodox Jukebox. Those three acts are going to be a real force over the next several years.

When you mentioned that all three of those acts “borrow,” I guess the difference between derivative and being part of a continuity is how you finish, not how you start. Simon & Garfunkel were just an Everly Brothers knockoff…until they weren’t, which didn’t take long.
And then there are things like Billy Joel. What is “Uptown Girl”? What is “Miami 2017″? What is “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”? All he did was just say I want to add my own flavor. I’m going to stick with what works and express myself within that. And I respect that. And then on the other hand, to name two on this show, you also have Jack White and you have the Black Keys, and those songs are also derivative and generational. I’ve got the Black Keys with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dr. John. Can you get more historic than that? And their song that they’re going to perform on the show came from something they heard that came from 1959, and Jack White is doing a medley, and the first part of it, “Freedom 21,” could have heard of the Louisiana Hayride in 1948. And those are great songs. I love it.

NEXT: Country history echoes

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