The Recording Academy Texas Chapter recently hosted its GRAMMY Block Party at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. Hosted during the annual South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conference, the annual event convened more than 650 people, including Recording Academy members from across the country, SXSW attendees and local musicians.
During the event, the Chapter conducted exclusive interviews with Texas-based country collective Josh Abbott Band, UK indie rock band Kaiser Chiefs, and GRAMMY-winning artists Van Hunt and Salt-N-Pepa's DJ Spinderella.
The Josh Abbott Band discussed managing the business side of music, their favorite GRAMMY moments, advice for aspiring musicians, and the Texas music scene.
"The amazing part of [the Texas music scene] is the passion [of] the fans," said Abbott. "They're not just your typical fan. They know our names, they know where we're from, they know my dog's name. They love our music. And that's the way it is for every Texas country band. [Texas fans are] very passionate about not just the music, but who you are."
Hunt discussed his musical background, creative influences and juggling the artistic and business sides of the music industry.
"Creatively I'm influenced by, as cliché as it is, life," said Hunt. "I enjoy collecting memories and I take pages and pages of notes and compose them with the sounds that I hear."
Kaiser Chiefs lead vocalist Ricky Wilson and bassist Simon Rix discussed the challenges of playing festivals, advice for aspiring artists and favorite GRAMMY moments.
"It's interesting because when we play festivals, it is kind of a competition," said Wilson. "People aren't specifically buying tickets to see you personally, they're buying a ticket to see a lot of [bands]. You kind of have to win people over."
DJ Spinderella discussed winning a GRAMMY, mentoring and her DJ influences.
"I have three favorite DJs that I [have] looked up to across my career," said DJ Spinderella. "One is Jazzy Jeff … another is DJ Scratch, who is like my mentor [and] teacher. And [may he] rest in peace, Jam Master Jay, who I was blueprinted after. Salt-N-Pepa and myself [were] blueprinted after Run-D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay."
The Texas Chapter GRAMMY Block Party featured performances by DJ Spinderella, Josh Abbott Band and blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. The block party also featured remarks by Recording Academy Vice Chair Christine Albert, Recording Academy Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer Daryl Friedman, and Texas Chapter President Paul Wall and Senior Executive Director Theresa Jenkins.