Bebe Rexha calls out audience for jaded response to her song
By MESFIN FEKADU, AP Music Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — R&B singer H.E.R. gave a next-level performance, sister duo Chloe x Halle matched the greatness of their recent Super Bowl performance and pop singer Bebe Rexha went off on the crowd when they didn’t sing along to her monster hit song.
The female acts, nominated for best new artist at the Grammys, performed Thursday night at Spotify’s pre-Grammy event honoring rising newcomers.
Rexha was fiery during her performance of “Meant to Be,” her record-breaking hit song featuring country duo Florida Georgia Line. When the crowd of music industry players didn’t sing it back to her at Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, she went ballistic, f-bombs included.
“This song was No. 1 for 50 (expletive) weeks,” she said after telling her band to stop the performance. “I work too (expletive) hard for this (expletive), OK?”
Rexha then looked over to her mom and said, “My mom is like ‘please calm down.’ I love you mom. I’m calming down.”
“Meant to Be” set a record last year when it spent a historic 50 consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot country songs chart. It peaked at No. 2 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart and is nominated for best country duo/group performance at Sunday’s Grammys, giving Florida Georgia Line their first-ever Grammy nomination.
“I worked too hard for this moment. I’m from Staten Island, New York, and I’m standing on this stage right here,” yelled 29-year-old Rexha, who co-wrote Eminem and Rihanna’s Grammy-winning 2013 hit, “The Monster.”
“You’re going to sing the (expletive) words if you know the (expletive) song.”
Rexha’s second try at the song included more crowd participation. Other singers had an easier time Thursday night.
British singer Dua Lipa kicked off the multi-hour event with upbeat hits such as “New Rules” and “IDGAF,” getting some of the audience members to dance; Margo Price, who is six months pregnant, strummed her guitar and sang passionately; and fans rushed to the stage for English singer Jorja Smith, who had a lounge-y feel.
Chloe x Halle, who sang “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl 53, was top-notch alongside a 10-piece band as they ran through songs from their major-label debut album, “The Kids Are Alright.” It’s nominated for best urban contemporary album, for which they will compete with their mentor Beyonce.
H.E.R. closed the night with a rousing set that confirmed why she’s nominated for five Grammys, including album of the year.
“I am so excited to be here. This is a major week for me,” she said.
She sang in place when she performed the fan favorite “Focus,” nominated for best R&B song, and strummed her acoustic guitar as she sang “Best Part,” competing for best R&B performance. When she sang “Make It Rain,” she played the electric guitar and sang like a seasoned pro, earning a standing ovation from the audience.
Spotify’s event mainly highlighted the six female acts nominated for best new artist. Country singer Luke Combs and rock band Greta Van Fleet are also nominated for the award.
The Grammys will air live on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.