Remember "Hey There Delilah"? Interview With the Real Delilah, 5 Years After the Song's Grammy Nomination

Five years after Plain White T's hit, "Hey There Delilah" was in the running for two Grammy awards, people are still talking about the girl from the popular tune. Delilah DiCrescenzo, a very successful professional runner who just missed out on the 2012 Olympic Team, will be featured in the ESPN The Magazine's February 18 music issue, in which she tells the story of how she ended up in the song for the umpteenth time:

She was back home in Chicago while on break from school at Columbia University. She had a boyfriend at school, but met a guy at a party who was in this band called the Plain White T's, and the musician told her he was going to write a song about her. A few months later, Tom Higgenson visited her house to drop off a CD. One of the tracks was called "Hey There Delilah."

She was flattered. Then the song got big. Real big. Nominated for a Grammy big. On February 8th, 2008, she attended the Grammys with the band. The song didn't win, but she described the day as one of the best of her life. In the 5 years since, the song still follows her. And that's okay. The song didn't get Tom Higgenson the girl, she is still with the same boyfriend from college (full disclosure: my brother, Will), but they've both enjoyed the ride.

With the Grammy Awards ceremony taking place Sunday night, we look back five years and let Delilah DiCrescenzo give her take on music's biggest night.

Liam Boylan-Pett: How did you enjoy the 2008 Grammy Awards?

Delilah DiCrescenzo: It was so much fun. For one day, and one day only, I was a guest at the biggest party on the planet. And unlike every adolescent movie I've seen, at this party all the pretty/rich people were also nice and happy!

LBP: What was the best part? What was the worst?

DD: I loved the red carpet interviews. Everyone was so friendly, complimentary, and skilled at making you feel at ease. It lasted a couple of hours and every interview basically covered the same questions, but each had their own style which kept it fresh and fun. 

The worst part had to be that I didn't eat for about 12 hours because I didn't know to pack anything in my tiny handheld purse. And going to the bathroom during the broadcast was a big time commitment because they don't want to show people walking up and down the aisles. 

LBP: How was the lead up to the actual event? Were you nervous? 

DD: Me? I wasn't nervous at all! Them, their anxiety was palpable. I began to understand how much of an artist's future hinges on snagging big awards like this. But, they were still nominated and there is something to be said for that. 

LBP: What was it like when they didn't win the Grammy?

DD: Deflating. Starting at their nomination, it was a two-month gradually building emotional crescendo. When they lost, it felt like someone popped the balloon. I know Tom used the loss as an ice breaker with Paul McCartney during the next commercial break. 

LBP: Is there anything you can tell us that the viewer at home might not ever notice?

DD: It's amazing how many unfamiliar faces the viewer might see in the crowd. A lot of those people in the television shot are seat fillers for when the artists mingle and go to the restroom. They will never show empty seats in the broadcast. 



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Liam Boylan-Pett

Liam is a culture writing intern at PolicyMic. His work has appeared in "Running Times" and other running publications. He is also a professional middle-distance runner for the New Jersey-New York Track Club. After graduating from Columbia University with his bachelor's degree, he earned a Master's of Professional Studies in Journalism from Georgetown University. Originally from Bath, Mich, he spends his time watching TV, reading longform journalism, and thinking about who is going to be in the NCAA basketball tournament's Final Four.

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