Los Angeles, CA (February 7, 2024) — It is the day after the day after the Grammys and I am sitting in my hotel room on Sunset Boulevard watching the relentless rainfall outside my windows, reliving the fantastical event that took place this past Sunday.
As a new member of the Recording Academy, I was invited to register for the music industry’s glitziest night, making the stop in LA en route to my New York visit, postponed for four months due to the war in Israel. For my plus-one, I brought my sister, a writer and publicist from NYC.
I arrived in town exactly 24 hours before the start of the Grammys telecast. From touchdown to my jet-lagged, too-brief slumber to the crack-of-dawn hair and make-up, to the frenzied trip from West Hollywood to downtown LA, the day was exhilarating and exhausting, special and utterly surreal.
Two days later, I am suffering from a sort of emotional whiplash.
The contrast between what I experienced at the Grammys and my life in Israel since 10/7 — exactly four months ago — is proving difficult to process.
The mother of three reservists, I arrived in LA after 120 days of agonizing anxiety, grief, fear and shock. Like everyone I know, after October 7th, I stopped sleeping and eating normally, confronted crashing depression and despair, struggled with a sense of unreality and paralysis.
Car trips were terrifying affairs where I often had to stop my car abruptly on the highway at the sounding of the sirens and run to the side of the road to wedge my body into a ditch or some kind of incline, should missiles start to rain down.
When the sirens sounded at home, my husband and I ran/walked to the enforced stairwell between our main floor and basement and waited for the all-clear.
As scary as these actions were, nothing was as frightening as the knowledge that our sons were fighting a bloodthirsty and barbaric enemy. Every parent of an IDF soldier or reservist knows that you can go days, weeks and longer without hearing from your beloved child. You may only have a general sense of where they are and whether they are safe, comfortable, fed. You do not know where they are sleeping. You have no proof that they are even alive.
So when I found out that I had been invited to attend the Grammys, I could not even imagine tearing myself away from my war-scarred country but after numerous weeks of soul-searching, I concluded that a short trip would serve me well.
I arrived not just as a musical performance artist but also as a professor whose students have served and returned from the war against Hamas and cannot reclaim their pre-10/7 lives. Too many people they know have died or been taken hostage. They are musicians, after all; their pals were at the Nova Festival. Their generation was dealt an indelibly harsh blow, one that will take generations more to heal.
This past Sunday, in an arena in downtown LA, I walked as one with the other women in sparkling gowns, elaborate hairdos and high heels. My red dress projected glamour and elegance.
At the Premiere Ceremony before the telecast, we were given swag bags packed with necessities: an iPhone charger, tissues, nail files. The care kit reminded me of what we gathered for the soldiers in the early days of the war, rushing them items they so desperately needed.
Walking into the Crypto Arena with literally thousands of music industry professionals, I was astonished at the happy heedlessness all around me. Here, human beings walked without a care in the world. No sirens were sounding. No posters of hostages were displayed. I marveled at how blithely the assembled breezed from one place to the next while I walked with every muscle tensed, in a state of hyper-vigilance.
Yes, I was happy to be present at the event I had watched on television my entire life but at the same time I felt displaced. Here is the truth: though starry-eyed, my heart was heavy.
Despite my inner dislocation, I settled into the magic of the Grammys, allowing myself to feel dazzled, moved and inspired. So many performances touched me deeply: Joni Mitchell, Olivia Rodrigo, Billy Joel, Tracy Chapman, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish and more. The high-octane song and dance dedication to Tina Turner was electric. The tribute to the victims of the Nova Festival and Israeli hostages was deeply moving, overshadowing Annie Lennox’s ill-conceived call for a ceasefire. Before we headed out into the hurricane-like outdoors, we were also able to attend the futuristic, fantastic afterparty where we walked around, mouths agape, like tourists on Mars.
It is the day after the day after the Grammys. The unrelenting rain outside mirrors the tsunami inside of me, the trauma of the war that was waged against Israel and the Jewish people and seems to go on, stubborn as the Southern California rain. I flew thousands of miles and across several time zones but the storm followed me, will not leave me alone.
Adina Feldman, a singer/songwriter, chairs the Vocal Performance department at the Ono Academic College School of Music in Israel.
At the #GRAMMYs with my sister, the Israeli/American musical artist @AdinaFeldman, my arm became the canvas for the message: Bring them Home. Not visible here is the message on my other arm: 121. We need to advocate with our voices and our bodies and all our might. https://t.co/K8CvZXKBXx pic.twitter.com/S2Ja900FP2
— shira dicker (@shiraaahh) February 5, 2024