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Notes from backstage at the Grammys

January 31, 2010 |  4:55 pm

 9:20 p.m.
A glittery Taylor Swift was all smiles backstage. On what her four wins (as well as Kings of Leon's record of the year) means for Nashville: "Nashville is my favorite place in the world; to see it be recognized in such a beautiful way tonight at the Grammys just makes me so, so happy."

On her music's crossover sensibility: "For me, genres have really become something that I don't think people focus on anymore. Country music is my love. Country music is always going to be my home. I grew up in Pennsylvania ... my friends didn't listen to country music. I did because I could identify with these stories so much. I'm so grateful [to be welcome in country music] ...and for it to cross over so organically, [it] makes me thankful."

On whether country music is still the underdog: "I think that when you're making music, I think the healthiest thing to do is remove titles or stereotypes from what you're trying to do. It's not country versus rap ... it's not anything you don't make it. It's about trying to make an album you hope is good enough to win album of the year ... I did not expect this."

Maxwell300 9:13 p.m.: Maxwell, on performing with Roberta Flack: "She's a dream for me. Her voice is a national treasure, in my opinion. When I got the news that she was interested in doing it, it was like 'Wow.'... She's the cherry on top [to his Grammy experience this year]."

On "Pretty Wings" from his Grammy-winning comeback album, "Blacksummers'Night": I wrote 'Pretty Wings' because I'm always trying to be respectful of relationships that I have had, because I don't want to blow people up. I wrote it about a relationship that ended because I didn't want it to end ... wrong place at the wrong time."

7:31 p.m.: Alice Cooper has a larger-than-life persona but he knows how to divorce himself from the character: "You leave them onstage. If you can't take that animated character that you produced and leave them... If you leave them, then you can coexist with him. As soon as I'm offstage, Alice stays there."

Speaking of stage concoctions, Cooper had a few thoughts about Lady Gaga: "I think anybody that is as vaudevillian as she has taken it, that's OK with me. I think she proved her point tonight [by performing with Elton John]. She's not just a costume freak. She'll be around for quite a long time. She'll be around for as long as she wants."

7:24 p.m.: After having difficulty getting up the platform backstage in her mermaid-style dress, Pink tried to liven up the press: "Are you bored? Get some beer in here."

She wore Bob Mackie (who has clothed Cher, Tina Turner and other luminaries) during her "Glitter in the Air" performance: "I'm the youngest person who can say that."

On her acrobatic performance: "I did it 160 times on tour. I was a gymnast... I did trapeze at the MTV awards... I wanted to do something a little more sophisticated."

How she managed to sing while hanging in the air: "Actually -- and I'm not kidding -- I do sound better when I'm doing that, for whatever reason. I will say no one has an excuse for lip synching."

On whether she has plans to renew vows with her on-again, off-again sweetheart, Carey Hart: "We kind of... no. We never really got divorced. We really hate paperwork. Everything is really wonderful."

7:07 p.m.: Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong on why this Grammy for best rock album is even more special than winning for 2005's "American Idiot": "It is more special. The pressure of coming off the last album... it was undeniable. The fact that we got recognized was really huge for us."

On beating out AC/DC: "I love AC/DC. If it wasn't for Angus [Young], I wouldn't be playing the guitar."

On how they continue to write music that connects with the audience after all these years: "I don't know. We just keep pushing ourselves as songwriters... just to keep pushing forward no matter what. Pretty much just driving yourself crazy to keep an edge as songwriters."

6:59: Nashville favorite Keith Urban on Kings of Leon's win for record of the year: "Nashville"s always made great quality records. It's got a plethora of studios; people from all genres have been going there for years."

6:50: Stephen Colbert had a busy night not only hosting the Grammys but also nabbing an award for best comedy album. On not being a performer for the telecast: "I would have loved to have sung when I was out there... Just going out there and telling a ton of jokes was fun."

On a possible follow-up to "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!": "I did this with Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, Feist... John Legend... I can't imagine another group would do it. But I'd do it again in a minute."

Guilty pleasure: "Randy Travis. Yep. 'Forever and Ever, Amen' --  my wife won't be around me when I listen to it because I start crying."

Colbert's also a big fan of Neutral Milk Hotel, the indie cult favorites from Athens, Ga. He's played "Holland 1845" during every commercial break for the last four years.

Regarding the flashy new iPad or the "iTampon," as Colbert called it: After he saw the announcement Wednesday, he called the Apple folks about using it for his Grammy bit so he could "be cooler than Jay-Z." He had a special giant pocket sewn inside his tuxedo jacket to fit the gizmo, which he said was "incredibly responsive."

Colbie600 5:42: For Colbie Caillat, nominated twice in the best pop collaboration with vocals category, winning for her duet with Jason Mraz was a little bittersweet. "I love 'Breathe' with Taylor [Swift].  But I've been performing 'Lucky' with Jason [Mraz] all around the world... I'm very happy the song won."

She says she grew up seeing her father Ken Caillat's Grammy for co-producing Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" over the fireplace, so "to now have my own... it's so exciting."
The Malibu singer already has designs on Common for her next collaboration. Saturday at the "How I Wrote That Song" panel discussion, presented by BMI and The Los Angeles Times, Caillat got a taste of how a collaboration might go: Common, Zac Brown and Caillat busted out an impromptu jam on Common's song "The Light," with Common rapping, Caillat singing the hook and Brown on guitar.

5:14 p.m.:  Imogen Heap, on what started her love for engineering: "When I was 12, I discovered a little Atari computer in the back of a cupboard at my boarding school. I used to rummage in there and get cozy with the software."

On the challenges of engineering her own music: “I just hit 'record' and then I sing. I put on my 'producer' hat and say, 'That wasn't a very good vocal.'... I just talk to myself, really. Sometimes I don't get it right."

--Yvonne Villarreal

Photo, top: Swift carrying her bounty. Credit: Andrew Gombert / EPA. Photo, right: Maxwell kisses his two Grammys. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / AP. Photo, left: Caillat holds her award for best pop collaboration. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times