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Monday, 27 January 2014

Mummy I went to the Grammyyyyyyy!!!

If you have read my previous post about my unbelievable trip to Los Angeles, United States of America to attend the 2007 American Music Awards and thought that would be it, well guess what…USA or should I say I was not done with USA yet! 
Whoop there it is!!! 
As mentioned in the post, I was given visa approval for 10 years [expiring in 2017] (*raise eyebrow) that got me thinking…yeah right as if I’m gonna go again before I withdraw my EPF when I’m 55 and then only travel all across Land of Sam.  

Little did I know that Music God had another plan for my music loving life! Two (2) years later (2009), Hitz.FM had a contest I’ve always dream of joining and winning! This time it was an all expensed paid trip to Los Angeles (Although I wish it was New York instead) to attend the 51st Grammy Awards! Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Muruga. I can’t remember when exactly I started watching The Grammy but every year I would glue my arse to the TV and anticipate the results. Some made me happy, some annoyed me but important thing is I got ‘see’ music’s biggest name all under one roof. Now, who in their right mind would not enter this contest ey? I waited for the first two (2) days to ‘study’ and conduct my ‘research’ on the method of the contest. [If you think it’s easy to participate and win then you are wrong yo!) It was a guessing game. The DJ’s will play five (5) songs mashed-up into a 5-8 seconds sound clip and you gotta guess the song titles and artist who sang it. Hmm…well, I was born with headphone stuck into my ears so I thought I had a shot. The trick is to be calm enough to recognise and write down the right answers or else gone.

On day three (3), Wednesday, I go thru and managed to guess four (4) out of five (5) songs (not bad ey?) but there lies the ‘heart attack’ part because if in the next two (2) days. Anybody was to get five (5) songs correct then I would be out of the running. Thank God Thursday and Friday callers didn’t manage to beat my score except for the caller on Tuesday who also got four (4) songs right. Cilakak! On the final day of the contest (Friday) we had to go against each other to see who gets the most right guesses to make our way to La La Land! Good mother of Lord, my hands are still shaking thinking about ‘that moment’! I was just getting off the lrt at Masjid Jamek station when I received the call from Ray, Hitz Morning Crew Producer telling me that I gotta stay on the line and guess the songs in another 5 minutes time (new clip)! FARKKKKKKK!!!! I’m in the middle of the escalator lar dey. I quickly got off and went inside the toilet for staff at the station. Ray came back on the line and played the clip. DAFUG??? I can’t hear anything properly because it was noisy outside even though I was inside the toilet. I got him to play it one more time. Again…adoi…my hearing sabo me! I could only make out Lily Allen's Smile and the rest of the four (4) songs was a blur to me. Told him my ‘answer’ and tears start to fill up.

I wanted to throw myself in front of the oncoming bus. One in two chance to attend my life-long dream event and I could only manage one right answer? What an embarrassment! *sob sob sob. I somehow made my way to the office and pretty much zone out till it was almost 10 am before the change of shift from Morning Crew to the next announcer. All the while listening to JJ and Ean going on and on about the result soon. Adoi hampir meletup otak aku tau! Finally they called me up and put both of the finalists on air. They have already pre-recorded our answers meaning they already know who is the winner…they played the clip and my competitor went ‘on’ first. She guessed like so many song titles (It was the same clip as mine) and I kept track and noticed she didn’t get any titles right. Eh….hang on a second…did I make a mistake? Did I salah dengar? SHE DIDN’T GET ANY SONG TITLES RIGHT!!! Soon after my clip was played and I know I got at least one song right and GUESS WHAT??? THAT WAS ALL THAT I NEEDED!!! LILY ALLEN GOT ME TO GO TO THE STAPLES CENTRE TO WITNESS THE 51ST GRAMMY AWARDS! MAK DATUK NENEK MOYANG AKU!!! YEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAA!!! The boys were congratulating me on air while I was sobbing and thanking them. Who would have thought? GRAMMY WEY! GRAMMYYYYYYYY MUMMYYYYYYYYYY!!!
My dream came true!!! 
My next action was to call my girlfriend (Ray) to share the good news with her. Ray was having a bad day because her apartment was broken into few days earlier and she was on emergency leave. I calmed myself and let the cat out of the bag. She congratulated me and said I deserved it after putting all that effort. Next up, update kat Facebook lor! Apa lagi!!! I’m going to the Grammy’s!!! Tonnes of comments flooded the status. Some even offering money to take them with me but it was for one person lor…how to bring orang lain? Soon after only I realized that my company (rather the legal firm I worked for) had already planned a trip to Hong Kong and trip days were just few days after the Grammy! ERK! How liddet? *Garu kepala. There’s no way am gonna miss either one of the trip.

I got few follow up calls from Hitz Fm to confirm my details and that’s when I told the Producer that I already have visa to the States because of my earlier winning. Then came the slightly bad news. He said he had to get back to me. I went numb. Waddeheck??? Ray informed me that I was in breach of their terms and conditions as I had already won a Grand Prize and I can’t win again. Lerrrrrrr… kidding me right? I won this fair and square maaaaa! Mana pulak datang ruling bengek ni? GRRRRRRR…after more telephone conversation, I talked to the Morning Crew boys, JJ & Ean. They asked if I was disqualified (FUCK!), who should take over my place. With an ache in my heart…I told them the runner up should take it because she came so close. They asked if I was ok to ‘let go’ of the prize. You kidding me? Memang ler pedih ulu hati if kena ‘batal’ my winnings but what to do, it was beyond my control. I was soothing myself praying I will get another chance when those two ‘clowns’ said they were actually ‘pulling a GOTCHA’ on me! Hantuuuuuuuuuuuu!!! No guess what happened next! I was cussing like mad and they had to censor most of my words but they were nevertheless impressed that I was being honest about my previous win.

The triumph started to sink in after few days till I received another awesome surprise. Naomi, the Star world chick (she was with me during the AMA’s) was still in charge on ‘this matter’ called to ask for the details of my partner whom I will be taking along for the trip. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt???? You mean I get to experience this with somebody else? Gilerrrrrrrrrrrr coooooooooooooooooool! It was a no brainer, I told Ray to pack her bags as we are heading to Hollywood baby! Let me say it again…WE ARE GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!

Not before informing our X-Boss (yes we worked at the same firm) that we had to leave early and will catch up with rest of the staff in Hong Kong. It came as a shock for my X-Boss because Ray was the Chief Clerk while I was in charge (don’t laugh) of accounts and admin, but doesn’t matter as the days grew closer, both Ray and I had to stay back to clear our work. Hampeh betul! I advised her to remain calm during her visa interview as I remembered how nerve wrecking was mine. She managed to secure her visa but it was only valid for one (1) month. Tak kisah lar, janji approved kan? Together we made plans on where to go and luckily I managed to convince the organiser (a very kind hearted girl Angelica Diaz – she was damn hot so of coz I remember her name!) to push the date of our arrival to one day later so that we could leave a day later than originally planned. I was also grateful as the flight was changed from MAS to Cathay Pacific which means the transit will be in Hong Kong instead of Taiwan or Japan. We will arrive in Hong Kong from LA and stay over in HK for three (3) days to enjoy our company trip and then return back to Malaysia still on Cathay Pacific while my colleagues had to fly using Air Asia. Hehehe.   
Mani the monkey act at Hong Kong International Airport during transit!
The countdown begun and I was excited! Finally!!! THE GRAMMY! Can’t be any better than that! I think I was better prepared this time but unfortunately could not extend my stay. Dang it! Perhaps 3rd time the charm ey? (*fingers crossed). We made our way to KLIA, the usual scary ‘boarding plane experience almost put Ray of her excitement and we bumped into my favourite Editor, Mei Ann from Hot Magazine . She was covering the event and the best part, she was staying in same hotel as we were but that was about it because once we reached LA, all our plan went out of the window! After that seemed another lifetime, we touchdown in LAX. Waiting for us was a limo and we were driven to our ‘home’, Renaissance Hotel, Hollywood. 
My home in Hollywood indeed! 
We met with Miss Diaz (I dono where I put her picture dang it!) and she briefed us with the latest news and we got another surprise. Each of us was given a gift card worth USD100! Meaning we can use it to buy food or anything that we want as long as the place accepts the said card!!!!!!!! Yeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

Once we checked in, we went to get our first meal in Hollywood! I took her strait to Mel’s Diner and apa lagi? Walap kao kao! I can still remember the ‘taste’ on my tongue siot! 
Not wanting to fall into jetlag trap, we went walking around ‘Walk of Fame’ area while people watching. 
The sign!!! 
Despite wearing jackets and all it was still kinda cold for us so after getting some hot drinks we went back to our room. I had already bought a local sim card so I could call home and updated my Amma and also informed The Producer my number in case he wanted to call me. I’m not sure what time we fell asleep and woke up the next day feeling high because we were gonna watch The 51st Grammy Awards live in Staples Centre. After ‘fooling around’ in bed for a bit, I went downstairs to meet Miss Diaz and get our passes for the show. I had a mini heart attack when she told me that somebody had already collected my passes. Huh? Ko main-main ke apa ni? I must admit her trick worked as I was then really ‘awake’! Took the pass and went back to the room.
Money-pun intended can't buy passes to the Grammy! 
After fresh up we went to Mel’s Diner again to tapau our brunch. Back to bilik and get ready for the show.
Drooling yet? 
Since Hollywood was high in the success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ being nominated for tonnes of Oscars, Ray & I decided to ‘turun’ Bollywood style dressing. Heck, both of us bought a new ‘lenga suit’ just for the Grammy! Must say it was a good idea since we made quite an impression on the bus that took us to Staples Centre. Once we arrived, Mei Ann helped to snap our picture and I called up Hitz Morning Crew to update them. 
....that's us!!! 
If you remember, I managed to ‘seludup’ my camera inside the venue during the AMA’s, this time however, I kena cekup while Ray made it inside! Dang it! I tried another door and this time managed to slip in. Hehehe. Since we were quite early, we went to buy some souvenirs – t shirts for each of us and some key chains. 
This one Mani could buy! Hehehe 
After which we went inside to find out seat. I was a bit bumped because this time the seat was far away from the stage unlike during the AMA’s. Takpe lar…dapat masuk pun dah kira untung kan? We kept looking at each other while giggling, hugging…just two happy monkeys over the Moon for finally making it live!

Sharp on time, the show started with a bang.  Guess who opened? U2 sialllllllllllllllllllll!!! Walauweyyyyyyy!!! I can’t believe I got to see Bono perform. Did mention Bono is from the legendary Irish band U2?????? *pengsan. 
U2 have won more Grammys than any other rock band (22). Their biggest Grammys performance was in 2001 when Bono sang 'Beautiful Day' as he strolled through the audience.
If you think that was awesome…check out the list of performers below…
Song(s) Performed
"You Pulled Me Through"
Four Tops Medley
Lil Wayne
Robin Thicke
Looking at the list now, I can’t thank God enough for granting my wish. I mean, some of names give me goose-bumps man! After U2 had performed, Whitney Houston came out to present the first award of the night to Jennifer Hudson for Best R&B Album. 
My view!!! Can you spot Whitney? 
Since Ray was a big huge fan of Justin Timberlake, I went camera crazy snapping away his picture till my camera kena rampas. Cilakak! Well, they didn’t actually rampas it lar…I just had to surrender and take it back once the show was over.  Booohoooo!!! That should explain the lack of picture I got to snap. *Sedih when I think about it now but I remember during the show I was happy because I got to enjoy the show instead of busy taking pictures. Ray and I had our own karaoke session thru-out the show. I was over the Universe and you would too if you look at the list of presenters….
·        Duffy
·        Whitney Houston
·        T-Pain
·        Al Green
·        Natalie Cole
·        Kanye West
·        Herbie Hancock
·        Green Day
·        Blink-182
·        Sean Combs
·        Charlie Haden
·        LL Cool J
·        Estelle
·        Jack Black
·        Zooey Deschanel

I recall shouting like a monkey when some of the results were announced. Among the winners was as listed below…
Record of the Year won by "Please Read the Letter" - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (I was sad when Adele (Chasing Pavements) or Coldplay (Viva la Vida) didn’t win and it turns out the night belonged to these veterans as they swept 5 Grammies)

Album of the Year won by Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (so wanted Coldplay or Ne-Yo to win)

Song of the Year  won by "Viva la Vida" - Coldplay (finally but that’s when I took note of Sara Bareilles!)

Best New Artist won by Adele (no surprise there!)

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance won by "Chasing Pavements" – Adele (once again Sara lost and so did Pink! Our favourite singer L )

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance won by "Say" – John Mayer (I like him so no complain there as he beat Sir Paul!)

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal won by "Sex on Fire" – Kings of Leon (Yeeeehaaaaaa!!! Praying for the day they drop by here!)

Overall it was an awesome show to witness and one last minute change made was when Rihanna was scheduled to perform, but her performance was cancelled, because of an earlier altercation with her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown. Bongok punya jantan went and belasah her like that! Rihanna was also scheduled to travel to KL for her show which was eventually cancelled. Too bad Riri fans but trust me after watching her ‘sing’ live…you are better off watching her on screen.
Chris Brown was due to perform at the 2009 Grammys and Rihanna was nominated for three awards, but just hours after this photo was taken at a pre-show party, the R&B singer violently assaulted his girlfriend. *taken from MSN Malaysia site 
Once Album of the Year winner was announced and the final performance ended we made our way to the after party event but I collected my camera dulu. Bluek. 
Look Maaaa!!! We made it! 
Once we were at the after party, punya lah gempak giler with the deco, food, drinks and what not. 
Kan wa dah cakap gempak siotttttttttt!!! 
Rasa macam celebrity rusa masuk kampung pulak! 
Ehem....sippy sip sip. Yummy
Another one for the memory!!! 
Kekekeke….nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves and made our way out to the bus and head back to the hotel, all the while smiling, laughing and hugging each other. It was truly a memorable night for both of us which I know I will cherish for the rest of my life. I shall stop here for now and will continue our adventure around Hollywood in my next post.
Jeng jeng get special gift some more!

Below are some of the pictures from the said 51st Grammy Awards highlight taken from MSN Malaysia site
Hip-hop giants Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I. and Lil' Wayne teamed up for a performance in 2009 but it was M.I.A. who stole the show as she performed just three days before she gave birth!
Radiohead’s show-stopping 2009 performance included a full marching band. They also picked up an award for In Rainbows.

One of the most emotional Grammy performances came from Jennifer Hudson, who managed to sing 'You Pulled Me Through' in 2009 just four months after the murder of her mother, brother and nephew.

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