Direct from the red carpet: Big Boi, Zac Brown Band, Kelly Price, Janelle Monae dish on their Grammy nominations

At Thursday night’s private reception for Georgia Grammy nominees at the downtown W hotel, space was tight on the red carpet as elbow-to-elbow media outlets trained their cameras and microphones on the stars. Luckily, Intel Central was the very first stop on the carpet.
Despite multiple nominations for his critically acclaimed solo disc “Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty,” Big Boi told us he was most excited that protege Janelle Monae scored a nod for her “The ArchAndroid” album. Many hip hop fans considered Big Boi’s star-studded album one of the best rap releases of 2010 and were disappointed that it didn’t score a Best Album nomination from Grammy voters. But if you’re Big Boi, you roll up in some fur-accented outerwear, a green Braves cap and take it all in stride.
“Oh, man, well, you win some and you lose some, you know,” he told us. “It’s good. I still got three nominations, including one for ‘Tightrope’ with my girl Janelle who I discovered. It’s all good.”
The petite Monae herself, wearing a fedora almost as big as she is, was close behind her mentor. Monae told us word reached her of her “Best Contemporary R&B Album” nomination on her birthday while in Ireland.
“God really surprises me pretty often,” she said of her multiple Grammy nominations. “I just knew that I wanted to create an album that would inspire people. An album that people could share with their families and their children. Something that people could use as a drug whenever they wanted to dance, cry or evoke emotion. But for all this to happen is the absolute best reality I could ever envision for myself. Big Boi played and continues to play an integral part in my career. It’s a honor to be nominated with him for ‘Tightrope.’ It’s a song about achieving balance. It means so much to me.”
And our nominee for sweetest red carpet walker? Atlanta R&B phenom Kelly Price, whose emotional anthem “Tired” is up for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. When we asked her about creating the ballad that has inspired women to pound the steering wheels in their cars while singing along (“I’m tired of the baby mamas, tired of the ghetto dramas. . .”), Price gripped our right hand and held tight.
“”I recorded ‘Tired’ the same day I wrote it,” Price told us. “I feel like ‘Tired’ wrote itself. I was in the car driving on the way to the studio to work on something else entirely and I started hearing the song. So there I was driving and trying to grab my BlackBerry. I just went in and recorded it top to bottom. It wasn’t until I actually stopped and listened back to it, that I realized what I had written. And it scared me. It was so brutally honest. I almost went back and changed it. But because of the way it came to me, I decided this is the way it’s supposed to be so I left it alone.”
For her female fans who turn up “Tired” in the car, Price said: “It’s OK to be tired, it really is and let that be the thing that drives you to change. If you can use that moment to push yourself to a better place then it really is OK.”
Zac Brown Band members are up for four Grammys, including “Best Country Collaboration with Vocals” for “She’s Walking Away,” a duet cut with Newnan country legend Alan Jackson.
“He’s got such a classic radio voice and the work he’s done over the past 20 years is amazing,” ZBB bassist John Driskell Hopkins told us. “To hear him speak and to be around him was a blast. As soon as Alan Jackson says hello to you, you know exactly who you’re talking to plus he’s such a cool guy.”
The 53rd annual Grammy Awards will air live on CBS on Feb.13 starting at 8 p.m.