Actor/musician Johnny Depp attends the GRAMMY Gift Lounge during The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/WireImage)
Just back from the array of pre Grammy happenings around Hollywood. At Distinctive Assets' backstage Grammy gift lounge, superstar guests George Clinton, Justin Bieber, LL COOL J, Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder wowed vendors.
Johnny Depp was there with his Hollywood Vampires band, a new rock collaboration with the uniquely talented Alice Cooper, which performed at the awards show. From what I was told, Depp was very sweet and lovely, chatting with each and every vendor. He particularly loved the items for his wife Amber and the kids. He picked up an extra Flos Floris Italian snap back cap in red for Jack, selected multiple Belldini fashion items for Amber (their leggings he actually liked for himself too but thought Amber might be annoyed if he wore them too!), and of course stocked up on lots of Scuf Gaming controllers and accessories for gaming at home with the family. He had lots of work out and supplement questions for fitness expert Eric Viskovicz, who was gifting a $6,200 fitness package as well.
Bieber picked out a new infrared hair dryer from Tools by Gina, a Goose down jacket from Trespass Performance Apparel, bracelets created by Grammy host LL Cool J's wife, Simone I. Smith and a bag of fun from Scuf Gaming. LL, who is a huge Call of Duty fan, also picked up a new professional customized scuf Gaming controller ... they even personalized it with his name on the back.
Other amazing guests included GRAMMY winner Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, performer Andra Day, Zendaya, Cam and American Idol winner Nick Fradiani.
Musician Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes attends the GRAMMY Gift Lounge during The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2016 (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/WireImage)
Music is truly everywhere in Hollywood; there are so many interesting venues to see live bands perform. I was excited to see Aurora Vice, a fantastic duo that kept everyone's attention throughout their performance in Hollywood. Arpineh Minasyan, a captivating singer and Henri Martel, a multi-talented musician (give him any instrument, he will play it!) talked to me about their music and playing in Hollywood.
Aurora Vice (below) has enjoyed singing in the footsteps of musical legends that have performed in Hollywood. "I love playing in this neighborhood!" Minasyan enthused. "There's so much history at each venue, new or old. It's really dope to be able to play at legendary venues like the Whiskey A Go Go, Pig n Whistle, and even the House of Blues in West Hollywood, before it closed down. We get to cross these places off our bucket list so I think it's pretty cool!"
Martel is a witty wordsmith; when asked to describe the band's sound he said: "As we progress in our writing our sound may fluctuate in its 'attire,' yet the meat and bones has remained consistent and solid. The best way to put it would be a melodic and atmospheric top line composed of subtle and menacing lyrics, juxtaposed to hard grit riffs and rhythms all finally laid upon funk and hip hop grooves. Basically, pop music's black sheep little brother who likes to set things on fire and doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up!"
The duo love the collaborative process and are working on new music. Said Minasyan: "I can express my feelings with a lot of passion, Henri paints the picture and then I sing it! But we are always very blunt with each other, so it's easy to collaborate and switch things up if one of us isn't feeling it."
photo credit: Mike Khdrlaryan
While it could be difficult to work with someone else while writing music, Martel enjoys bouncing ideas off of Misasyan. "I find that it helps weed out the weak ideas. I like that the process functions as a refining tool in all aspects of our artistry; from writing, to performance, to even our creativity. We push each other to be better. We're each others reality check."
Martel acknowledged the challenges in trying to capture everyone's minds while they perform. "The Hollywood audience is not easily amused; you have to work for their attention. I think that just forces you to push your limits artistically; forces you to rise above the noise, which for an artist is an essential drive."
Check them out at their upcoming gigs:
March 2nd at Howl at the Moon at 9:30 pm
March 11th at Hollywood's Pig N Whistle at 8:30pm
March 14th at Jimmy's Place
on Twitter and Instagram @Auroravice and Soundcloud!
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