» How the Tribute to Kobe Bryant Came About

How quickly did the idea to incorporate Boyz II Men into Alicia’s intro come together? They were there to perform with Tyler, the Creator. At that late point you have to work with what you’ve got, you can’t bring someone else in, right?

No. That we couldn’t have done. Alicia was on her way to the stage. It was probably noon, maybe 12:30 p.m. I took her aside and said I have some terrible news, but I have to tell you that you need to keep your focus on what we’re doing here and let us come to you with some thoughts. She was obviously visibly shaken by [the news]. Then we went on with the dress [rehearsal]. We started coming up with a plan and it was basically [Grammy show executives] David Wild, Ben Winston, Garry Hood, who’s my lead stage manager, and myself, and we went into her dressing room. Alicia and I primarily were thinking about songs and we went a little gospel. I never said it, but I was thinking about Boyz II Men. I left and about five minutes later I got a call from one of her people saying, “Hey, can we find Boyz II Men to do “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” We found them and they went into her dressing room. It was about 15 minutes before showtime. They spent probably 10 minutes working it out and then it was there.

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