Obama, 55, appeared onstage alongside Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez to discuss the important role music had played in their lives.
Introducing the segment, Keys said, “Music is what we all love, music is what it’s all about. Everybody is out here shining and I’m so proud to bring us together to honor this moment because music is what we cry to, it’s what we march to, it’s what we rock to, it’s what we make love to. It’s our shared global language.”
A source familiar with the planning tells PEOPLE Obama attended for friend and Grammys host Alicia Keys.
Keys had been to the Obama White House a couple of times, says the source.
“It’s a nice friendship that they have,” the source says. “Mrs. Obama just wanted to be supportive of Alicia.”
At the show on Sunday night, after Gaga, Lopez and Smith each spoke, Obama delivered a brief speech to audibly rapturous reaction.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story, and I know that’s true for everybody here,” Obama said.