Last night, I attended VH1’s first-ever Save The Music Foundation Gala celebration at which were feted those indivduals and organizations instrumental in… saving the music. (In schools, that is.) It was held in an enormous tent at Lincoln Center, and honorees included former presidentBill Clinton (pictured) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mariah Carey, foundation founder John Sykes, and NAMM: The International Music Products Association.
Some of the highlights:
• TV personality and sometime actress Maria Menounos, who arrived in a posh Rolls-Royce Phantom pimped out by Grey Goose (it was bright blue, just like the caps on Grey Goose bottles), hosted the festivities. Apparently, she’s been a budding film producer since she was 18 years old: “I just got back from a festival yesterday, for a film that I produced,” she told me. “And I just finished producing another short film that my dad actually starred in, which was funny. It’s about how to cure terrorism.” I’m hoping by funny she meant that her dad was in it.
• Singer Mya stopped by and mentioned she’s going to be spending some time in liquor stores pretty soon: “I have a movie that I’m going to be shooting called Bottle World in October.” She declined to elaborate, only allowing that it is a comedy. Let’s hope so, Mya; liquor stores aren’t usually dramatic.
• The legendary Quincy Jones (wearing an outrageous suit) told me he’s heading to China next Thursday for the Special Olympics. “We wrote the opening,” he explained. “It will blow your mind!”
• When asked if he’d ever want to work with Britney Spears, music mogul and Mariah Carey mentor L.A. Reid didn’thesitate. “I want to talk to her, for sure,” he said on the red carpet.”I would tell her to soul-search and ask herself how badly she reallywants it. Because if she really wants it — meaning chapter two of hercareer — if she wants to turn the page, then she has to really go deepand make sure that’s what she wants. I don’t know her but, I’m not sureshe wants to turn the page. If she does, she needs to call a doctor.” Icouldn’t have put it better myself.
• Mariah Carey, who, unfortunately, didn’t perform (somethingabout “saving her vocals”), continued to keep mum about her upcomingalbum (which, Reid told me, is expected to be out in December).”The title, I can’t tell you, because we’re in between a lot ofdifferent titles,” she explained to a crowd of anxious reporters. “Ifeel like I put so much into it. I took the summer to travel todifferent places and worked on it. It’s probably the most fun recordthat I’ve ever had, and that’s tough to say after the Emancipation of Mimi, but it really is. It’s just one of those things, I can’t express it verbally, you just have to hear it.”
• Oh, and a 12-year-old girl presented an award to Mariah,who then clutched on to the youngster for dear life as she slowlystepped down the stage stairs. Not sure if this was because she wasabout to fall out of her dress, or if she might’ve had a little toomuch drinky-drinky beforehand.
• My favorite funnyman Conan O’Brien opened up the eveningwith a hilarious monologue stressing the importance of music education,which inevitably led to jokes about honoree Bill Clinton and his sax.”Of course, we all know President Clinton spent many years learning toplay the saxophone, and from what I understand, President Bush spentmany years learning to play the radio,” Conan joked. “He’s getting goodat it, too. He figured out the volume knob yesterday.”
• The ultimate highlight of my night: Being in the same room as Bill Clinton! The former prez, who just published his second book, called Giving, spoke about his passion for the Save The Music Foundation. I was bummed Hillarywasn’t there to accept the award along with him (she was at a debate inIowa), but Bill said he was okay doing what he’ll be doing for monthsto come — speaking on her behalf.
• The penultimate highlight of my night: Watching as John Mayer and Jon Bon Joviperformed an a-maze-ing acoustic duet of “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” Andjust as I thought the performances couldn’t get any better, PinkFloyd’s Roger Waters took the stage and busted out “AnotherBrick in the WallPt. II,” along with with a 60-piece student orchestra comprised ofFoundation students from across the country. (Love that Conan hadpointed out of Waters, “Who better to savethe music than the guy who wrote the lyric, ‘We don’t need noeducation’?”)
Definitely an evening to remember.