Another day in the heart of the "city of stars", and I'm still in a state of partial awe and unbelief. At ten o'clock following our first Uber experience, Mom and I joined the other winners and their families at the Village Recording Studio. We were directed to like a little break room upstairs to wait for the tour guide. It was kind of weird that no one from MusiCares was there to greet us; the people at the front desk just trusted us when we said we were part of the contest winner group. That's pretty much the vibe around all of L.A. though. Everyone has the friendliest, sincerest demeanor, but they aren't going to hold your hand and walk you through anything. That's purely southern hospitality ;)
Anyway, after waiting for about ten minutes, we finally met our tour guide. His name was Finn, and we discovered later that he was a second year trumpet performance major at UCLA. It was cool to get his perspective from a collegiate standpoint and understand the opportunities available for young people in this town. He literally had like the coolest job. As we were led through this magical building, Finn listed to us just a few of the artists that had recorded tracks there. Fleetwood Mac, Kesha, the Beatles, Sting, and John Legend were mentioned, and Lorde had just been in there recording her new album the previous day. There was actually a session going on in Studio D while we were touring, but they weren't allowed to disclose to us who it was...
We did get to see Studio B and F though, where Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga had frequented recently, and wow, they did not disappoint! Studio B was set up for a session, so we couldn't touch anything--not that we would have, there was a sacred aura about the place. Everything seemed to have a purpose, a precise angle at which it was positioned for maximum efficiency, and I could have sworn the instruments and microphones had divine glows about them. This was a place for musical miracles: definitely the best kind!
And my favorite part? The "stars" on the ceiling of the rec room adjacent to the mixing room! Finn said groups will actually rent those rooms just to hold parties. I would have been content to stay on that couch forever :)
We continued our tour past the various auditoriums available for orchestra sessions or industry parties/galas. One of the spaces had even been used for weddings! Every wall was decorated with records ranging from platinum to bronze from Kendrick Lamar to Barbra Streisand, telling the vibrantly successful history of the studio. It was crazy thinking about all the people who had stood where I was standing and all the people who would stand there in the future. The repeating theme of this trip has been how small and connected this industry really is; it's all in who you know!
After the tour concluded and we said our goodbyes to Finn, we were reluctant to leave the studio. The other winners don't go to the GRAMMY's, so that was the last time I'd see them in L.A. Jarren and Rene were so cool, and they both loved music and the process behind it so much. I bet we'll hear more from them in the future ;)
Then, we Ubered around for a while (I think it's my mom's new favorite) before settling back down at our hotel. I was able to finish some math homework and watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls when suddenly, the door opened to reveal Ayla and my dad. In my dad's hand was a tuxedo; he was there to escort me to the GRAMMY's. The GRAMMY Foundation only provided two tickets, so I'd hoped dad could come because he has been such an influence and support in my artistic development. Unfortunately, he had an appearance which conflicted with yesterday, so we had arranged for Mom to be my chaperone. However, the parentals had, unbeknownst to me, conspired so that my dad, after just returning from his appearance, could brave the four hour flight to escort me to the GRAMMY's. It was the big, fat, sugar-drenched cherry on top of the world's largest once-in-a-lifetime sundae. Ayla added a bunch of chocolate sprinkles too.