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By Rebecca Silverstein
When it comes to the Grammys, the hottest shindig isn't after the event -- it's what happens before. Clive Davis' annual Pre-Grammy Gala & Salute to Industry Icons is the hottest soiree in the music world, and the only thing more prestigious than getting an invite is getting asked to perform for it. This year, Brandy and Monica -- who have reteamed 14 years after their smash hit, "The Boy Is Mine" -- have that honor. We caught up with Clive, Brandy and Monica to chat about this epic party, how to get invited, and more.
Wonderwall: This is the party of the year. How do I score an invite?
Clive: Well, we just got to meet, so you'll have to know me for a while!
Brandy: Spend the night in here. Sleep behind the curtains!
WW: Brandy and Monica, how did you feel when you got the call that Clive wanted you to perform at his pre-Grammy party?
Brandy: I was like, "Oh my God! Is this happening? Is this real?" We were here last year together. For us to be here performing this year, it's a blessing. I'm honored, and I'm really grateful to [Clive] for having us here. Just to celebrate this reunion with everyone that's gonna be here is really exciting. And I'm blessed to be working with [Monica] again.
Monica: Of course, she and I are really finding our way as people, and as you evolve as a person, it changes your musical aspirations. Us doing a song that meant a lot to us was something that we were really, really trying to make sure we did in an organic way, and it just all happened at the perfect time. I've always been someone who looked to Clive for answers about a lot of different things. I think of many records from "Should've Known Better" to "For You, I Will" to "The Boy Is Mine" to "Angel of Mine" -- every song, he's played a part in me figuring out what I wanted to portray musically. So to perform and reunite here at his party is almost like a huge thank you to him from an artist and as a person, because he believed in me from 12 years old until now. He never gave up on me.
Brandy: Well, I just thank [Clive] for letting [Monica] do "The Boy Is Mine," because that was hot!
WW: What was it like recording "It All Belongs to Me" together? How did it differ from recording "The Boy Is Mine"?
Brandy: The energy was magical! I was just so excited to see her again, just to work with her again. The session was great. It was like it was meant to be. It was like we never missed a beat.
Monica: It wasn't forced. We were big on things happening the way they should and not the way you think they should, so it was just more natural this time.
Brandy: We were taking pictures and talking about old times. The only reason why it felt like a session was because we had to sing. But other than that, it just felt like we were catching up and reminiscing on everything.
WW: Clive, what makes Monica and Brandy such a great duo?
Clive: Each is special in her own right, and each clearly has had much success. I began with Monica when she was 12, and we've had a great succession of great hit records. Brandy's and my lives intertwined on several different occasions. She was Cinderella in the film that Whitney Houston produced. And then [with] "Waiting to Exhale," Brandy had a No. 1 record with "Sittin' Up in My Room." Culminating, of course, with "The Boy Is Mine." That was a song that Brandy did have and invited us to consider Monica [for].
Brandy: Yeah, I was like, "We gotta get Monica! We gotta get Monica!" And she was like, "I'm not going to the studio without Clive's permission." And I was like, "Well, can I call Clive so I can ask him myself?" And it finally worked out.
Clive: It was a huge all-time hit., a No. 1 hit week after week after week. So it was 14 years ago. The fact that they have gotten back together to reunite with a duet recording, we're gonna celebrate and we're gonna have a great time Saturday night.
WW: You've all won Grammy Awards. Where do you keep yours?
Monica: I gave mine to my mother. I had a case made on Mother's Day.
Brandy: Me too! My Grammy's at my mom's house.
Clive: I kept mine. I have an office in a weekend home, and they're all in that office.
Brandy: You have enough to share. Can you give us a couple?
WW: How do you create the guest list?
Clive: We started this party many, years ago. The first year was the first year of Arista Records, and we decided to have the party the night before the Grammys, and that year, [it was] John Denver and Stevie Wonder and Elton John, others. We knew we were on to a great thing, and so we repeated that. The guest list is really people in music who love it. The Grammy nominees list starts the basis, and then we have the heads of all the music companies, and the top executives and the heads of the TV networks and motion picture studios. And then, from the years, very personal to me, if I knew that Martha Stewart loves music, she comes. But then whether it's Tom Hanks, whether it's Jane Fonda, who's an old friend of mine, whether it's Serena Williams. I'm waiting to hear from Alex Rodriguez, whom I know loves music.
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