Ken Ehrlich is the man behind the biggest night in music. Ken has been the producer for the GRAMMYs for the past 33 years, and today he joined The K-EARTH 101 Morning Show to tell us a few secrets of what goes on behind the production.
One recent story just broke this week about an email CBS sent to its GRAMMY guests detailing not to wear any clothing that reveals too much skin.
Fashion in GRAMMYs past has been known to be a little eccentric and controversial, especially with female artists. Because of the recent revealing trends with outfits on the red carpet, the network isn’t taking any chances with “wardrobe malfunctions” and issued an email to guests requesting to make sure all private body parts are adequately covered up.
We asked Ken about the email, who told us the request to cover up won’t affect the show.
“It doesn’t really affect us,” said Ken. “I actually saw it online, I was not sent a copy of it, but I know that the network ever since Janet Jackson has taken great care with what goes on its air, not just our show.”
“We have less of a problem with it than you might imagine,” he added. “We were the ones that started it all with Jennifer Lopez and that dress ten years ago, and I didn’t get a memo then.”
Part one: Ken talks about the GRAMMYs dress code email and putting together the show under chaotic last minute changes.
Part 2: Ken talks about the tragic death of Whitney Houston just before last year’s show.
No one could have predicted the sudden death of Whitney Houston the night before last year’s GRAMMYs, and Ken gave us some insight into that chaotic night, which weighed heavy on their hearts and minds.
“We just have such a history with her,” said Ken. “The GRAMMYs was kind of her home, it was where she had some of her greatest triumphs and a lot of us had worked with her, so we were pretty devastated.”
Ken explains that within minutes of hearing the news of Whitney’s death, he and fellow show organizers started re-working the show’s script, called up Jennifer Hudson to sing a touching tribute and put together last minute details to honor her on the show.
For fans who want an exclusive look into what went on over those 25 hours leading up to the show, CBS is airing a GRAMMY special Saturday night that documents that fateful night and how organizers were able to switch gears so quickly.
“It kind of traces what happened last February and it’s really compelling and gives people a look behind the scenes that they really never get,” said Ken.
The special also tells the stories of that night including Paul McCartney’s last-minute change to the show’s ending with a performance with Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, and Joe Walsh.
For this year’s GRAMMYs, Ken explains the decision of selecting LL Cool J as the show’s host, saying that the network proposed LL as host, but it wasn’t an immediate decision for them in the beginning.
“In the beginning we weren’t really that sure,” explained Ken. “But we couldn’t have made a better decision, especially in light of what happened last year and the way he rose to the occasion. It was his idea to do the prayer we did at the top of the show last year, which was so emotional.”
Part 3: Ken spills a few secrets of this year’s show including surprising performances, collaborations, tributes and more.
Many of this year’s GRAMMY performers and presenters have already been announced, which features a range of music and artists. Just some of the performs Ken scheduled for the show includes Taylor Swift opening the show, a tribute to Levon Helm featuring Elton John, a collaboration with Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Sting, and many many more.
With over 30 years of putting together this show, Ken is grateful he gets to work with such esteemed performers each year.
“I’ve loved it for a long time, it’s a joy to do the show,” gushed Ken. “I’m particularity excited about this year because I think the range of music is really broad.”
But one thing that piqued our interest was Prince being announced as a presenter this year. Having just released new music and played a series of shows, we’re wondering if there’s a chance he’ll also perform on the show.
“[Prince] doesn’t warble on command,” he laughed. “He gave us one of the greatest moments we ever had when I had him with Beyonce, that was an amazing opening.”
Listen below to hear more surprises for this year’s show, plus some of Ken’s personal favorite GRAMMY moments over the years.