On a night celebrating the music industry's biggest stars, Grand Forks will have one of its own up on the Grammy stage.
Brent Paschke, Pharrell Williams' lead guitarist and a 1990 graduate of Red River High School, will perform during the telecast starting at 7 p.m. tonight on CBS.
"It's very exciting," he said in a phone interview. "The arrangement of the song we're doing is incredible. They really stepped it up for this performance."
Tonight will be Paschke's first time attending and performing at music's biggest event. He said he's not sure what it will be like when he steps out on the stage, but he said the event is really cool and he's hoping to remain focused on what he's doing.
"Everybody is so excited," he said. "We're all flipping out."
The rise to stardom for the Grand Forks native, whose parents still live in town, began in 1993 when he helped found the Twin Cities rock group Spymob.
The band released two albums before unexpectedly being dropped from their label. As luck would have it, the band's lawyer also represented Williams.
Williams enjoyed the band's music, so after he had heard they had been dropped,, he recruited Spymob to play on his rock and hip hop group N.E.R.D.'s debut album "In Search of" in 2002.
"That's really how all of this got started," Paschke said.
Following the album's release, members of Spymob became sought after in the music industry. Paschke has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Katy Perry and Britney Spears.
Working as Williams' lead guitarist has sent Paschke all over the world on tour, including last fall's 20-city European tour supporting William's latest release "Girl" and has allowed him to play at special gigs such as tonight's Grammy Awards and the NFL Kickoff concert.
"Playing with him has been incredible," Paschke said. "He's so talented and always on a mission to be the best. He's positive and easy to work with, which makes those days when we might only get three or four hours of sleep worth it in the end."
Williams has become one of music's biggest stars, winning a total of seven Grammy Awards. At tonight's ceremony, he's nominated for six awards, including producing three of the five albums nominated for Album of the Year (Beyonce's "Beyonce," Ed Sheeran's "X" and his own album, "Girl.").
Paschke said Williams' dedication to his craft comes through in everything he does.
"Pharrell is such a hard worker," Paschke said. "He's one of my favorite people, and it's been great to work with him. I'm learning something new from him every day. He's very, very in tune with the industry, and everyone respects him."
While at the Grammys, Paschke said he's hoping to meet some of the industry's most notable stars. At the top of his list is Paul McCartney.
"The fact that he'll be in the crowd watching me is so cool," he said. "I just love his writing and what he did. He's music royalty."
Paschke said playing the Grammys is still surreal, but he said more than anything he wants to put on a good show for the national audience.
"To say that I'm excited is a massive understatement," he said. "I'm just hoping we go out there, rock the building and have a great time."