Kat Graham on Game-Changers and the 2015 Grammys

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ELLE's Annual Women In Television Celebration

After months of anticipation, chart-topping Billboard battles, and a series of songs we can’t get out of our heads (from “Drunk in Love” and “Stay With Me” to “Fancy” and “Shake it Off”) the biggest night in music has finally arrived. Eyes will undoubtedly be glued to the Grammys red carpet and stage, and thanks to Kat Graham and Degree, all the game-changing moments that will make Sunday night one to remember. 

The Vampire Diaries star teamed with Degree Women to go behind-the-scenes at the Grammys, and “see what it takes to deliver a performance that not only changes an artist's image, but can also change the industry.” Ahead of the 57th annual ceremony, Graham clued us in on her Grammy predictions, and a game-changing project that she’s ready to share with the world.

Glam: If you could have been part of any Grammys performance in history, which would it have been, and why?

Kat: It’s so hard. [So many past] performances were so incredible, and so good, and so game-changing in their own way, that I really don’t think that I would have added anything to them. I’m fine to just say that I will hopefully have my own one day, and that will be my Degree, game-changing moment.

Glam: When you do have that performance, is there a singer, dancer, musician, that you’d want to share it with?

Kat: Prince, obviously. There’s no one better. 

Glam: We want to know if you’ve got any predictions for Sunday’s ceremony, starting with Song of the Year. Who do you think will win?

Kat: I would be surprised if Sam [Smith] doesn’t win Song of the Year. He’s so humble and so incredible. He came onto the scene with such a different kind of voice and a different kind of song, that just kind of crushed you in the way that when Adele came out, it crushed you—in the most beautiful, epic way. I’m hoping that Sam Smith wins.

Obviously, my girl Taylor [Swift]—I always want her to win all the awards. So, I don’t know. I’m kind of tied between them.

Glam: What about Album of the Year?

Kat: Oh, I don’t! I’m going with Degree, and I’m so excited because we’re doing this game-changers campaign, which is all about looking at the different performances that have been game-changing for these artists. Even on Sunday, I want to see who’s going to come, who’s going to bring it, who’s going to do something different.

I know that a lot of artists are excited about the Grammys, but I don’t even know that, at that level, when you are that good, to even be nominated for a Grammy—at what point do you feel like “I lost,” you know? Even being nominated is such an honor. Even being able to perform—it’s such an epic moment in your career. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like people are just there to be a part of this incredible night—the biggest night in music—and I’m just there to watch, and just be a part of it.

Glam: Well you’re actually embarking on a game-changing moment with the release of a three-part film series, Muse. What was the genesis of that idea?

Kat: A lot of people ask me if I like singing, or dancing, or acting [better]. I started off as a back-up dancer, I got into music and engineering when I was, like, 14, and I booked Vampire Diaries. I released some songs, did some touring, I’ve been on the show for six years, did a couple of films. People think that I’m bouncing around, and for me, the most important thing is that people realize “That’s just kind of who she is. She is a dancer. She is an artist. She is that.” And I thought, who better to help me explain what I do than me?!

That was my moment where I really needed to step up and create something that was different. That included the theatrical side to what I do, and some incredible cinematography and direction by Darren Genet, who’s a brilliant, brilliant director—one of my favorites in the world, that has ever been... There are so many things where I really get to have fun as an artist. I love dancing, and I love singing, and I love acting. And I grew up watching Shirley Temple, and I grew up watching Josephine Baker, and I look at all the icons—Sammy Davis, and even Elvis—and these people, they did all that stuff. They had albums and films, and they knew how to jam...

Glam: What game-changing projects have you planned with Degree ahead of the Grammys?

Kat: Being able to this amazing stuff with Degree, where I got to do these really cool dance breaks, that you’ll get to see—I’m sure you’re going to be online, checking your Twitter and Instagram for all the stuff. Degree and I are doing some really good dance breaks, really cool gifs, and we did some really cool stuff with E!, with Laurieann Gibson.

Glam: We’re excited to see those dance breaks! But when you finally do get red-carpet ready, who will be the “muse” to inspire your look?

Kat: I’m all about eras... I don’t know if I have picked an era [yet]. I don’t think it’s the 50s, I don’t think it’s the 60s, I don’t think it’s the 80s. It might be close to the 70s, and it might be close to late 40s. I love funk, and I’ve gotten into a lot of funk recently: funk music, Sly [and the Family Stone], James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, I’m really into that music. So that might reflect in what I’m wearing. Or, I might just want to be super glamorous—it depends on what I’m listening to that day.