I’m in the lobby of the Georgian Terrace, the hotel directly across the street from the Fox Theatre, the venue for tonight’s GMA Dove Awards. This might be my favorite part of events like this. The lobby is teeming with artists, publicists, reporters, and organizers. You don’t have to know personally them to know which category they belong to. The artists look like, well, rock stars. They’re not all dressed up yet, though every car that rolls up disgorges several garment bags with tonight’s carefully selected finery. Even without said finery, there is a definite look: the hair and the shoes and the disheveled insouciance that says “rock star”. It’s saying it a lot in this lobby!

The publicists are busy getting their artists from interview to interview and taking care of details, lots of details. They have a way of looking across the lobby at their artist and giving this little nod that says, “It’s time to wrap that interview up, we have places to go and we need to stay on schedule!”

The media are struggling to get good sound on their recorders in this noisy lobby. A TV program is recording a promo with a hip-hop artist right behind me. Over and over, trying to get the sound right. Some of these reporters are a little bit like vultures, waiting to try to get an on-the-spot interview with anyone who wanders by. There are two elevator doors in the lobby, and every time they open it’s like a shell game. Will that elevator reveal a famous artist?

The organizers are easy to spot, because they’re getting ever closer to frantic. Things seem to be under control so far, but we’re just over an hour from the pre-show, and the tension will ramp up from now on.

I forgot one other category: the fans. They’re here too, trying not to be too obvious, but looking star-struck. It’s hard to blame them. If you’ve grown up listening to and being impacted by certain artists and their songs, it’s a very cool thing to stroll past them on Peachtree Street.

The other thing I love about settings like this is the conversations one can overhear. They are just not the sorts of discussions you typically here. For example, beside me, right now, this conversation is taking place:

“Who was that?”

“Actually that’s the head of a new label I’m on.”

So, I’m having fun already, and nothing has even started yet. Someone is beat-boxing in a corner. Mac Powell’s family just walked by, mercifully unnoticed by the masses. About a third of the artist of the year nominees are in the lobby, right now, some pushing baby strollers. And I’m starting to form an opinion on the latest rock star-dressing trend I need to adopt. So far, it’s rolled-up jeans. Note to self: buy jeans that are way too long so I can roll them up.