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Homegrown Musician Performs With Daft Punk At Grammys

In addition, Nathan East will be performing a special single-night performance at UC San Diego on February 1st to benefit undergraduate scholarships.

Bass guitarist Nathan East has played with Beyonce, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. He grew up in San Diego.
Bass guitarist Nathan East has played with Beyonce, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. He grew up in San Diego.
Written by Angela Carone/KPBS

During the Grammy Awards ceremony this Sunday, guitarist Nathan East will perform the bass line in a song that was hard to escape in 2013.

Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is nominated for best performance by a pop duo. Their album "Random Access Memories" is nominated for album of the year. East is a veteran session musician and plays on a lot of the songs on Daft Punk’s album, including "Get Lucky."

He says the French duo, pioneers in the electronic music scene, were really fun to work with. They were also very particular about the sound on each song.

"Every groove is meticulously looked at and honed," East said by phone from Los Angeles.

Born in Philadelphia, East moved to San Diego with his family at age 4, went to Crawford High School and then studied music at UC San Diego. He’s played with a long list of music superstars, including Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. He also has his first solo album coming out on March 25. After a 30-year career playing alongside some of the biggest names in the business, the bassist says it was time.

"It's one of the last things I haven't done," East said. "It's now or never because the CD is about to go bye-bye."

"Get Lucky" had a lot of people dancing last year. East said the same was true of everyone in the studio while they were recording it.

"It’s hard not to move when you hear the playback coming through those speakers really loud, you know?" East said.

Sunday’s performance will be the first time "Get Lucky" has been performed live. Joining Daft Punk, who often perform in robot-like helmets, will be the song's co-writer Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers from legendary disco outfit Chic, Stevie Wonder and East.

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards will air Sunday on CBS.

Nathan East will be performing a special single-night performance at UC San Diego on February 1st to benefit undergraduate scholarships.


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