Golden Globes pianist Chloe Flower wants to make one thing super clear: She was not playing music over the winners’ speeches at the 2023 Golden Globes. She also tells The News84Media that she cleared the air with Michelle Yeoh, who had joked “I can beat you up” when music played during her acceptance speech.
“I’m feeling great,” says Flower the following day. “I saw Michelle, and she embraced me. She reached out and grabbed my hand, and I was like, ‘I would never play during your speech.’ We talked for a minute, so it was really nice.”
Yeoh, 60, won best performance by an actress in a musical or comedy for her performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once. As the piano started to play to usher Yeoh off the stage, the actress joked: “Shut up, please. I can beat you up.”
“It’s really important for Asian women — especially Asian women today, especially in Hollywood – [to unite]. I’m up and coming. She’s hugely established. I’m a huge fan of Michelle Yeoh,” adds Flower, who says she shares the same makeup artist with the actress. “I didn’t know [Michelle] was coming and when I saw that she was there, I was at the piano in real time. I was like, ‘Oh my God, she’s here.’ When that happened, I was so rattled because I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love her. I don’t want her to think that I’m performing during her speech.’ I would never do that.”
Social media erupted Tuesday night as piano music cued for a majority of the winners’ speeches. That’s typical at awards shows, but there usually isn’t a pianist next to the stage to point the blame.
“It was definitely a stressful moment, but I wasn’t playing, so there’s nothing else I can really do or say. I was there to represent iconic movie and TV film scores. I prepared for so long. I canceled my holiday so that I could prepare,” Flower says. “That’s someone else doing that. I have no control. That’s not anything that they discussed with me or was discussed with me at all because that’s beyond my role.”
Flower said that winners had to walk past her to take portraits following their speeches, and she stopped each one to explain that she was not playing music over their words. The classically trained musician, 37, said she spoke to Austin Butler, who won best actor in a drama for Elvisand who had joked during his speech as music played: “You could at least play ‘Suspicious Minds’ or something.”
“I don’t know if [Austin] Remember me, but [singer-songwriter] Babyface is my mentor. I’d actually met [Austin] When he was I think he was 16 and in Babyface’s studio, working with Babyface or another writer, and we sat together. I was like, ‘You’re so talented.’ I’ve never forgotten him after that,” Flower said.
“I definitely reached out to him and I said, ‘I was not playing during your playoff,'” she continued. “He was like, ‘Really?’ He’s like, ‘Sorry. Thank you.’ Everybody was nice. They’re all artists and I think they just want their moments to say thank you, and they don’t want to be cut off. I think at the moment, they’re not really thinking about me. They’re not thinking about the producers, they’re just thinking about, ‘Why is someone cutting me off?’ I didn’t feel like it was necessarily directed at me, if that makes sense, even though it was at me.”
The Korean-American artist said producers did apologize to her during the telecast, and she appreciated host Jerrod Carmichael clearing the air during the live show.
“[The producers] were so apologetic and so nice, and they were coming up to me at the piano. They’re like, ‘We’re going to fix this,’” she said. “I passed Jerrod in the hallway during my third outfit change, and he grabbed me and he hugged me and he talked to me for at least five minutes. He was like, ‘I’m going to fix this. I’m going to say something.’ I didn’t know he was going to say something live on television.”
Flower recently released the song “Golden Hour,” which was inspired by her Golden Globes appearance. She has performed live alongside rap heavyweights Cardi B and Meek Mill and has produced and composed for acts including Celine Dion, Nas, Johnny Mathis, 2 Chainz, Swae Lee and more. She scored the Misty Copeland documentary A Ballerina’s Tale and Kevin Hart’s Hart to Hart.
She said her next goal is to perform piano while pop star Lizzo plays the flute. Flower says she spoke to Lizzo’s team about the potential collaboration.
“I think that would be cool. Piano and flute with a little beat underneath,” she said. “I love Lizzo and I love her flute and I love how she’s also bringing instrumental music into popular culture. That helps music education, which is my ultimate goal.”
(The HFPA, which presents the Golden Globes, is owned by Eldridge Industries. The News84Media is owned by PME Holdings, LLC, a joint venture between Penske Media Corporation and Eldridge.)
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