Arcade Fire's Album Of The Year Grammy Stuns Publicist

22 February 2011
As the week draws to a close, many still can't believe Arcade Fire managed to trump Eminem and Lady Gaga to win Album of the Year at Sunday's Grammy Awards.

And if you're one of those who are still coming to grips with the upset, well, you're not alone. Turns out, even the band's publicist can't believe it. In fact, on Grammy night, she had made peace with the fact that Arcade Fire seemed destined to go home empty-handed.

In a new Billboard.biz story, Merge Records' publicist Christina Rentz writes that, after watching her band go 0-for-2 during the Grammys' pre-telecast awards (they lost both Best Alternative Album and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals to the Black Keys), she was resigned to the belief that the band would lose Album of the Year, too. In fact, she thought Eminem had it sewn up.

"The production value was amazing, and it was incredibly exciting to be in the room. When Eminem came onstage and blew the roof off the place, I thought we were sunk for sure," Rentz wrote. "But Jamie [Beck, Merge's retail director] had been saying all weekend that we were going to win. She gave me very good reasons why, but I still didn't think it was possible. As the night wore on, she persisted in her certainty, but it wasn't until Eminem won Best Rap Album that I felt the familiar sweaty palms again."

When Album of the Year was announced, her feelings of nervousness quickly changed to jubilation — much to the consternation of those seated around her.

"Barbra [Streisand] announced the Album of the Year: 'And the Grammy goes to ... The S-S-S-S-Suburbs? We began screaming and jumping as our section emptied out with people muttering under their breath, 'Who is Arcade Fire?' " she wrote. "The band accepted the award then immediately set up for their second song, with Win [Butler, the band's lead vocalist and songwriter] putting his Grammy on top of an amp so he could pick up his guitar ... my favorite moment of the evening!

"They could not stop smiling and neither could we. Together, we had accomplished something pretty incredible and hopefully inspired musicians everywhere not to compromise when it is important."

And afterwards, having bested Eminem for the night's biggest award, Rentz and Beck did what any newly minted Grammy winner would do: They partied hard. In their own way, of course.

"We then phoned our label manager Stacy 'Spott' Philpott and said, 'Holy crap, what do we do now?' " she wrote. "I still don't fully know the answer, but at the time, it seemed like the best thing we could do was to get in our red Mustang, throw the top down, drive to the after-party to hug our friends in Arcade Fire, high-five their manager Scott Rodger and then get back to work on Tuesday, the release date for two new albums from Telekinesis and East River Pipe."

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