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Atlanta Music Scene: Things learned in the Grammy gift room

BONUS VIDEO: Behind the scenes at Grammy Prep LOS ANGELES -- You often hear about the swag given to celebrities for showing up at an award show to flaunt the fact that they’re celebrities. Because who better to give really expensive products for free than the only people who could actually afford to buy them, right?

In all of my years covering the Grammy Awards, I’ve never been invited to check out the “gift lounge” (which is actually a tent erected outside the Staples Center), so when I received an invite to visit this year’s swag arena, I was quick with a “yes, please.”

About two dozen companies inhabited the lounge-tent, some offering (not to me – only Grammy presenters and performers) rich-person-looking gadgets such as the GLALENT Platinum Ion Mist device (yep, it’s a mister the size of a bottle of travel shampoo and is going for $329 as a Japanese import on eBay),  Gibson guitars and the Jager iOsonic toothbrush and whitening system. Others, such as Luden’s – yes, the cough drop people – and Diet Pepsi showcased new products (flavors, in the case of Luden’s and a special edition heart-emblazoned skinny can for Diet Pepsi).

Even New Era, the kingpins of sports caps which has a flagship store in downtown Atlanta, had an area stocked with hats representing every football and baseball team.

But I did learn two interesting things during my trip around the tent.

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1. Who knew that Chaka Khan was a chocolatier? Yep, she has her own line of gourmet dark chocolates – “Chakalates” – in flavors such as Jamaican Dark Rum and Ginger & Praline. Don’t believe me? Check out www.chakalates.com.

And if that isn’t funny enough, she also has a “signature aromatic home candle” called…wait for it… the “Khana Sutra.” Those can be purchased online only at www.khanasutracandles.com.

2. I also had a nice chat with Brian Felsen, the founder of LG/GK (Locally Grown Globally Known), which works with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to educate people about hearing impairments.

Who better to spread the message about the importance of taking hearing precautions than musicians? Felsen said that Sting and the guys from The Wanted had been by earlier in the day and vowed to talk about the organization with their fans. Seriously, kids, take it from people who are surrounded by loud, live music constantly. Jamming in ear buds and turning up the volume so high that people sitting 20 feet away can hear your music isn’t going to turn out well.

Check out the cool apparel LG/GK is selling – and some info on an important organization – at www.shoplggk.com.

Sting would be proud.

GRAMMYS

Make sure to check back here throughout the weekend for updates from Grammy-related things and, of course, before and during the show on Sunday.

In the meantime, check out our Grammys page and take our cool quiz!

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