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Behind the Scenes at the 2014 GRAMMYS with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Daft Punk, Kacey Musgraves & More

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(Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

(Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

By Brian Ives and Scott T. Sterling

While the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards rocked the world from the Staples Center in Los Angeles last night (Jan. 26), a cavalcade of the night’s big winners faced the press behind the scenes. Here’s a blow-by-blow look at what the stars were saying under the scrutiny of the Fourth Estate.

Darius Still Loves Duck DynastyDarius Rucker won Best Country Solo Performance for his cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.” When Radio.com asked him if he had any regrets about using the Duck Dynasty guys in the song’s video, he said, “No, they’re good people man. The press made that controversy, they’re good people.”

Related: The 2014 GRAMMYs Winners List

Daft Punk: the new KISS? “These are pretty weighty,” smiled Daft Punk collaborator Nile Rodgers when asked how it felt to hold the band’s pile of major awards from the night, including Song of the Year for “Get Lucky” and Album of the Year for Random Access Memories. He was quick to defend the duo when asked how much of Daft Punk’s persona was “schtick.”

“My old band, Chic, we had a concept that was similar, the whole anonymous thing,” Rodgers responded. “The band KISS, if you remember back in the day, KISS wore their make-up and that was their thing. I remember when KISS took the make-up off, it was a really big deal.”

Daft Punk collaborator Nile Rodgers grammys Daft Punk collaborator Nile Rodgers backstage at the GRAMMYs (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Robots Resurrect the Phantom: “I’ve made some movies that no one saw, including my family, when they first came out, like Phantom of the Paradise,” laughed ’70s songwriter/Daft Punk collaborator Paul Williams. He’d been asked about starring in the 1974 Brian de Palma-directed cult classic, which has been cited by Daft Punk as an early inspiration for the band’s robot personas. “The guys in Daft Punk told me they’ve seen it 20 times, and it’s led to me working on two major projects, including Random Access Memories. I’m also working on a remake of Pan’s Labyrinth with director Guillermo del Toro that’s based on Phantom of the Paradise.”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Rap’s new champions stand for equality: “This is just so crazy,” exclaimed Ryan Lewis standing alongside Macklemore in the press room. The two collaborated were clutching the four GRAMMY awards they’d won over the course of the ceremony, after sweeping the rap categories and taking the coveted Best New Artist prize. “The fact that radio got behind it, the fact that television and award shows got behind it, it’s a testament to where we’re headed in this country,” Macklemore said about the success of “Same Love.”

Too Cute, Part One: Were Zedd and Foxes really surprised that their smash collaboration, “Clarity,” won the Best Dance Recording GRAMMY? “I’m speechless,” Zedd said, and Foxes added, “We didn’t have a speech prepared! I went up there with gum in my mouth!” She followed that with the humblebrag of the year: “I can’t believe I have a GRAMMY and I haven’t even put my album out!”

Zedd and Foxes grammys Zedd and Foxes backstage during the GRAMMYs (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Not A Dry Eye In The House: You might imagine the GRAMMYS press room would be filled with jaded reporters who’ve seen it all. And you’d mostly be right: it’s a tough room. Still, when Tasha Cobbs — a singer most of the journalists hadn’t yet heard of — came backstage to speak to the press, everyone there was captivated. The winner of this year’s Best Gospel/Contemporary Music Performance said that a week ago she was at the Stellar Awards (a gospel music award show) where she won New Artist Of The Year. She attended with her father; he passed away the next day. “I know he was excited that his baby was going to the GRAMMYs, I know he’s looking down on me now,” she said. Moments like that make cynicism, frankly, impossible.

Tasha Cobbs grammys Gospel singer Tasha Cobbs (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

All hail the Queen: “I’m so thankful to be a part of that. You just have no idea,” Queen Latifah said of presiding over 33 marriages during Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ performance. “I took it very seriously. I was honored to be part of it. For me, the hip-hop era that I come from was able to speak about everything, whether it was partying or whether you wanted to break down apartheid in South Africa…I hope ['Same Love'] is an inspiration to other hip-hop artists to really step out of the box.”

Related: Macklemore, Madonna and Queen Latifah Marry 33 Couples at the GRAMMYs

Vampire Weekend, featuring the greatest Ezra of all-time The members of Vampire Weekend were in great spirits after the band’s latest full-length, Modern Vampires of the City, took the prize for Best Alternative Music Album. “When I was born in 1984, no one was named Ezra,” mock-ranted singer Ezra Koenig. “Now Ezra is in the Top 200!”

Too Cute, Part Two: Kacey Musgraves, who won Best Country Album and Best Country Song (for “Merry Go ‘Round”), had a bit of a brain fart during the ceremony. “When I heard, ‘Same Trailer, Different Park,’ I was like, ‘Damn! I didn’t get it!'” Until about a moment later, that is. “Then I was like, ‘Damn, that’s me!'”

Kacey Musgraves grammys Kacey Musgraves backstage during the GRAMMYs (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

“Same Love,” Different Opinions: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis made a brief appearance in the press room, coming and going within about two minutes. Happily, NARAS President Neil Portnow spent a bit more time in the room, talking about, well, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Regarding their on-stage wedding ceremony, Portnow is well aware that not everyone will be in favor of the fact that many of those 33 couples who got married during the “Same Love” performance were same-sex couples. “We have a very divided country in terms of opinions on just about everything,” he said. “And I point to our nation’s capitol as the best example of that. That’s where we are as a people. It’s healthy to have a dialogue.”

He went on to explain, though, that a political statement wasn’t his chief intent. “We don’t put on a musical show to do political commentary, we put on a musical show to showcase the music and the art of those creative people. And so there will be those who think this is fantastic, there’ll be those that don’t, we don’t take that into consideration, we want to really present the artistry of these incredible creative people.” Regarding how CBS reacted (disclosure: Radio.com is part of CBS), Portnow said that “obviously when you’re on prime-time television, no matter what you do, you have to have partners and you have to talk about things. We went through our plans, and we had the support of our partners, and that’s why we were able to do what we did.”

Portnow also addressed reports that the GRAMMYS rap committee attempted to bar Macklemore & Ryan Lewis from receiving any hip-hop-related nominations. “The Academy has lots of process, that’s what we do. So it begins with our entries, which are entered by members and record companies, then it goes to a screening process where we have to try to categorize this music, and obviously when you get 22,000 entries it’s a mammoth job. We don’t leave that to our staff, we engage our elected leaders, members of the board of trustees, experts, musicologists, people in the industry. We have these groups that do their best to try to do something that’s pretty difficult, which is to try and take something that is very subjective and be objective about it.”

“In the case of that act,” Portnow continued, referring to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “it was ultimately through the process that that’s where [they] should be, so that why that was there.”

See Radio.com‘s full coverage of the 2014 GRAMMYs.

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