Below is our interview with the former head of Sony Music Film, talking about Beyoncé, Etta James, Grammy parties and predictions!
WIKIA: First of all, thank so much for joining us in our Countdown to Music's Biggest Night, it's a real pleasure to have you. You most recently ran Sony BMG's film production division, which put you in direct contact with a lot of Sony BMG's artists. Who are some of the artists you've worked with?
SS: I WORKED WITH JENNIFER LOPEZ ON A MOVIE THAT WE SHOT IN PUERTO RICO, WITH WYCLEF JEAN ON A FILM ABOUT HAITI AND PRAS FROM THE FUGEES AS WELL AS BEYONCE ON CADILLAC RECORDS, DURAN DURAN (MY FAVORITE) I MET MANY OF THE ARTISTS ON THE SONY ROSTER JOHN MAYOR, SHAKIRA, CELINE DION ETC, TOO MANY TO REMEMBER AS WELL AS OTHER ARTISTS NOT ON THE ROSTER. THE MUSIC WORLD IS A TIGHT COMMUNITY AND EVERYONE KNOWS EACH OTHER AND IS FRIENDLY FOR THE MOST PART WITH EACH OTHER, THERE IS A LOT OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN ARTISTS FROM ALL THE LABELS.
WIKIA: I know you produced the terrific film Cadillac Records, which chronicled the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists; Beyonce Knowles played Etta James (who unfortunately passed away just recently). For such a superstar, Beyonce seems like she's a pretty cool person...?
SS: THANK YOU! IT WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH BEYONCE. NOT ONLY IS SHE INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED, SHE WAS SO DOWN TO EARTH AND SMART. SHE SHOWED UP EVERY DAY READY TO WORK AS ETTA, NOT AS BEYONCE. SHE WAS VERY SWEET GREETING EVERYONE AND ASKING HOW THEY ARE. PEOPLE ON THE SET SAID THAT THEY WOULD HAVE WORKED FOR FREE ON THE DAYS THAT SHE WORKED. I THINK SHE REALLY EMBODIED THE ROLE OF ETTA AND MADE IT HER OWN. SHE BROUGHT US ALL TO TEARS IN HER SCENE WITH ADRIEN.
WIKIA: Did you ever get to meet Etta? I hear she is pretty eccentric...
SS: I SPOKE TO HER ON THE PHONE A COUPLE OF TIMES WHILE WE WERE SHOOTING THE FILM. SHE WAS ALWAYS VERY POLITE AND WOULD HAVE LITTLE SCRIPT QUESTIONS HERE AND THERE. SOMETIMES SHE WOULD FORGET THAT WE SPOKE. THEN WE ASKED HER TO COME TO THE PREMIERE AND SHE AGREED. WE WERE VERY EXCITED FOR HER TO SEE THE FILM AND TO MEET HER IN PERSON.
WIKIA: You've probably been to a lot of post-Grammy parties. What are they like/ Do you have a favorite ?
SS: I HAVE BEEN TO THE SONY MUSIC ONE A BUNCH OF TIMES WHICH IS ALWAYS REALLY CLASSY AND GREAT. ALL THE ARTISTS COME BY AND ITS REALLY FRIENDLY AND EASY GOING. EVERYONE IS IN A GOOD AND CELEBRATORY MOOD AND THEY USUALLY HAVE GOOD MUSIC/FOOD ETC. THE OTHER PARTIES ARE ALSO FUN BUT IF YOU ARE NOT WITH THE ARTIST OR DON'T WORK FOR THAT PARTICULAR LABEL, IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET IN AND ONCE YOU ARE IN ITS USUALLY VERY CROWDED AND HECTIC.
WIKIA: Rapper and NCIS: Los Angeles actor/heartthrob LL Cool J is hosting this year, the first time in seven years somebody has hosted...pretty exciting?
SS: I THINK THAT WILL BE GREAT. IT WILL MAKE THE SHOW MORE LIKE THE OSCARS AND GOLDEN GLOBES. LL IS VERY CHARISMATIC, I AM SURE HE WILL KILL IT.
WIKIA: I'm a big fan of Bruno Mars and hope to see him win something for "Grenade" this year. Are you hoping to see any particular artists win this year?
SS: I AM ROOTING FOR ADELE ALTHOUGH I REALLY LIKE BRUNO MARS. ADELE HAS AN AMAZING VOICE AND SHE IS JUST HERSELF, SHE HASNT TRIED TO BE ANYONE ELSE AND HAS STAYED TRUE TO HER MUSIC. I THINK SHE IS KIND OF TIMELESS.
WIKIA: Have you ever participated in a Grammy Pool? Any tips for voting in any of the harder categories (hint, hint, like Record of the Year)?
SS: I HAVE BUT I NEVER WIN SO I DONT KNOW ANY TRICKS. MY KNOWLEDGEABLE FRIEND SAYS THAT WHATEVER IS ON Z-100 MOST OR TOP 40 OF THE SONGS, WILL WIN. HE ALSO SAYS THAT ADELE WILL PROBABLY WIN MOST OF THE CATEGORIES BECAUSE SHE HAS SOLD SO MANY DAMN RECORDS. THEY TEND TO BE POPULAR VOTES.