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Jimmy Iovine was the guest of honor at the Recording Academy’s fifth annual producers and engineers wing fete on Wednesday night.
The legendary producer-turned-record executive, who worked on seminal albums by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks, was joined by friends and artists Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige and Will.I.Am at The Village recording studio, along with hundreds of guests who raised their glass to the entrepreneur and audiophile. Among them: Universal chief Lucian Grainge, American Idol creator Simon Fuller, Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg, director Brian Grazer and Paris Hilton.
After a video segment featuring several vintage clips of Iovine working in the studio, the Interscope Geffen A&M chairman took some time to reflect on his tenure in the industry, thanking many in the room personally. He then introduced his latest signing, Lana Del Rey, who performed her breakout song, “Video Games” — competently and confidently, we might add.
The sexy newcomer has been the subject of much controversy in recent weeks after a shaky TV debut on Saturday Night Live. But the 25-year-old beauty clearly has Iovine in her corner. He called her “an incredible girl” and told the crowd that Interscope has “a real commitment to her “ just moments after complimenting Nicks, standing nearby, for her one-of-a-kind voice. “I dare anybody to tell me that’s shit’s not amazing,” said Iovine of Del Rey’s debut album, Born to Die. “It’s left-of-center, it doesn’t sound like anything on the radio, it’s not trying to be anything to anyone…”
After the performance, The Hollywood Reporter asked Iovine if was in fact comparison Del Rey to the iconic Nicks. His answer? “Lana haunts me the way that Stevie’s voice haunted me and I just love her album so much,” he said. “But I can’t compare anybody to Stevie Nicks because Stevie has the greatest tone of any female rock singer that I’ve ever heard.”
Reiterating his comments to THR last week — that the backlash is “a drag” — Iovine added, “Lana made a record that is incredible at a time when people aren’t making albums. People should support her like crazy because she’s done what people like Adele are doing — incredible music.”
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