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Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: A proud-as-Punch Kiwi dad off to the Grammys

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Paul's son Joel Little, with Lorde. They are nominated for two and four awards, respectively.
Paul's son Joel Little, with Lorde. They are nominated for two and four awards, respectively.

Pretty much everyone in Los Angeles is in the entertainment business, trying to get into the entertainment business, or bitter because they can't get into the entertainment business. Or they have a kid with a Grammy nomination, which is why tomorrow I'll be sitting in the gold section of the Staples Center in Downtown LA.

That's better than the silver and bronze sections, but not as good as the platinum section, or the diamond section where Lorde (four nominations) and my son Joel Little (two nominations) will be sitting, a few rows behind the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce, who we know from leaked seating plans will be in the front row after opening the show.

Music, TV and film are the reason Los Angeles exists and there is no better place to see the all-powerful Hollywood machine at work than during one of its celebratory holy days.

Drop the G Bomb, as it's called here, and that's all anyone wants to talk about.

Our driver from the airport wanted to know if we could get him a ticket. And he was from Zimbabwe. He lives near the Staples Center and can't get in or out of his home on Grammy day anyway.

The presenters on Coast FM were debating whether Paul and Ringo would perform together or separately. As well as all the pre- and post- official Grammy parties and performances - more than 50 - every second club on Hollywood Boulevard seems to be offering a Grammy Tribute show.

For the locals it's about celebrity, glamour, wealth and power - their favourite things. For me and the other family members here it will be like enduring the longest, most nerve-racking prizegiving ever.

How did we get here? For me, it began more than a year ago when Joel, with 10 years' experience under his belt, first as a musician and performer with Goodnight Nurse, then as a writer and producer with his own studio, said, "I've been working with this girl who's only 15 but she writes amazing lyrics."

New Zealand radio and iTunes loved Royals.

"Royals is number one on iTunes this week," said Joel.

Then it went to America.

"The Americans are saying Royals could go Billboard top 10," said Joel.

"Holy shit!" we said.

Instead, it went to #1 for nine weeks. If you've ever wondered how many weeks your kid needs to be at #1 before you stop texting congratulations, the answer is five.

"Ella and I have been nominated for best song in Silver Scrolls this Year," said Joel.

"Holy shit," we said.

"There's a chance Ella will get a Grammy nomination for best new artist," said Joel.

"Holy shit!" we said.

When the four Grammy nominations for Lorde and two for Joel were announced, we swore.

"If I could get you guys tickets, would you be able to come to the Grammys?" said Joel.

"Holy shit. We'd certainly think about it."

Getting Grammys tickets, it turns out, is a nightmare. Nominees get one comp and have to fight, beg, pray and pay for any extras. We didn't hear any more for weeks, then suddenly Joel had tickets and offered to shout us.

That left two weeks to prepare for the Grammys. And that meant - believe it or not, these things really do happen this way - who we would be wearing.

My wife took herself off to Tanya Carlson and I'm glad she did. And out of nowhere, I was asked if I'd like a Crane Brothers suit. A week after a fitting the suit, a triumph of engineering over location, was finished and passed the wife-test with flying colours.

Every day another megastar was added to the line-up: Lorde, Katy Perry, Pharrell, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Nile Rodgers were among the early confirmed names.

Later came Carole King, Beyonce, Paul and Ringo. It was getting hysterical. It still is. We're wondering if there will be any time left to hand out awards.

New Zealand has enjoyed this success story. It's allowed us to be proud of someone who's young, female and creative, rather than mature, male and good at pushing people over while running.

The next chapter comes tomorrow. As you watch the awards, I suggest that keeping your expectations modest will make for the most enjoyable experience. That's not really an option for me. Fingers crossed.

- Herald on Sunday

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