The performance brought together the Prince collaborators, friends and artists he inspired for a series of bite-sized, electric renditions of his hits. As a singing, dancing and instrumental trio their performance mirrored the legend’s bold style and distinctive hybrid sounds, with Usher leading the tribute with a rendition of “Little Red Corvette.”
He then segued into “When Doves Cry” and was joined onstage with FKA Twigs, who made her entrance twirling on a poll in a white-feathered ensemble. The two pivoted into a sultry dance sequence to “Kiss,” and as Prince’s famous circle appeared in purple in the background, Usher was backed by an entire stage of dangers for a brief interlude before FKA returned to his side. All the while Sheila E. led the backing band onstage on the keyboard.
Usher has been involved in several Prince tributes since the music icon passed away in April 2016, including performances at Coachella and the Roots Picnic. Though FKA Twigs didn’t perform, she was dubbed “the new Prince” by Elle magazine in 2016 and performed with the legend at Paisley Park in 2014, among other meetings between them. Meanwhile, “The Glamorous Life” singer and percussionist Sheila E. began working with Prince in the late 1970s and collaborated with him throughout his career. Following his passing, Sheila E. led the 2016 BET Awards tribute to Prince.
In the year of his death, Prince sold more records than any other artist, with over 100 million across his entire 40-year career. The songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist left his mark on the charts each decade with singles like “Little Red Corvette” and “Kiss,” as well as albums 1999 and Sign O’ the Times.
His singular sound, which combined elements of funk, rock, R&B, pop and jazz, resulted in 10 platinum albums and 19 top 10 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 — five of which reached No. 1. But it would be his highest-selling album,1984’s Purple Rain, which doubled as the soundtrack to his moody, rock musical drama of the same name, that garnered Prince an Oscar in the best original score category.
Sunday night’s Grammys tribute marks the first of two special events put on by the Recording Academy this month honoring the artist. The second will take place just two days later with the “Let’s Go Crazy: The GRAMMY® Salute to Prince” on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Grammys host Alicia Keys will join Beck, John Legend, Coldplay frontman Christ Martin, H.E.R. and more for a live celebration of the seven-time Grammy winner and two-time Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipient. Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the tribute to Prince’s music and impact will be broadcast on CBS later in 2020.
The 62nd annual Grammy Awards were hosted by Alicia Keys and aired live on CBS.