Clive Davis' pre-Grammy gala is so white-hot you can't purchase tickets, and he said it has been hard letting some longtime attendees know they won't be invited back.
Davis' Saturday night event, held a day before the 2018 Grammy Awards, launched the careers of Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys, and have featured all-stars like Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Smokey Robinson and Carly Simon. He first held the gala 42 years ago.
Davis said "there's no such thing as a ticket ... You can't buy a ticket for $50,000."
"You're invited to attend, so it's painful because people used to be going 25, 30 years ago. I have to make room for Tim Cook of Apple and Daniel Ek of Spotify," he said in an interview at the Sheraton Times Square, where this year's gala will take place. "You want the new people as well, new (song)writers, new producers. It's very painful because it comes a point where you say this is not a lifetime pass."
Past attendees at the event include Johnny Depp, Quincy Jones, Sting, Joni Mitchell, Diddy, Sylvester Stallone, Jane Fonda, Herbie Hancock, Carly Simon, Michael Keaton, Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, Barry Manilow and more.
The music executive was tight-lipped, per usual, about who would perform this year. Jay-Z, who is the top contender at the Grammys with eight nominations, will receive the Grammy Salute To Industry Icons Award at the gala.
Davis said the event will also pay tribute to New York City, where the Grammys have returned for its 60th anniversary after 15 years in Los Angeles.
"You're going to see Broadway given special attention too because the last few years have been so incredible for Broadway (with) 'Hamilton' and 'Dear Evan Hansen,'" he said.
Rapper Logic, who had a huge hit last year with the suicide prevention attention getter "1-800-273-8255," will perform at Davis' gala for the first time. He's also a first-time Grammy nominee, competing for song of the year and best music video.
"It's very surreal to see what's happened with the song," said Logic, sitting with Davis.
Along with the song's co-stars Alessia Cara and Khalid, Logic will perform the track a day later at the Grammys with a group of people who attempted suicide or lost loved ones selected by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
"Just think about that for a minute, like this is the biggest night of my entire life. As an artist I only get to do this for the first time once, so I've been just really trying to do my best to really live in the moment and tell myself, 'Enjoy it, enjoy it. Don't focus too much on wanting to win or wanting to this, just really enjoy that that you're here and this song has done its job," Logic said.
The Grammys air live on CBS from Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.