The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The Beale Street Music Festival, held May 4–6 as part of the Memphis in May International Festival. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including rapper/actor Childish Gambino and folk singer/songwriter Valerie June.
Childish Gambino discussed music education, creative differences between music and TV and his major label debut, Camp, among other topics.
"It was kind of a concept album that I made for teenagers," said Childish Gambino regarding Camp. "I don't feel like there's a lot of music made for teenagers. … I made it for [the] 13-year-old me."
Childish Gambino is the musical project of comedy actor Donald Glover. It began as a solution to Glover's search for someone to rhyme over beats he was creating in his spare time. In 2008 Glover released his first album as Childish Gambino, Sick Boi, and followed with 2009's Pointdexter. In 2010 he released two mixtapes, I Am Just A Rapper and I Am Just A Rapper 2. Another full-length album, Culdesac, was released in 2010.
Childish Gambino subsequently landed a record deal with Glassnote Records and in 2011 released his major label debut, Camp, which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200. Aside from music, Glover performs with his sketch comedy group, Derrick Comedy, and appears on the TV comedy series "Community."
June discussed the differences between the business and artistic side of the music industry, social media and working with the Black Keys, among other topics.
"Little things would come to me that I wanted to tell the world, the whole world," said June. "I think that's what's so good about Facebook. So many good things that happen in the world, you can just get on your microphone and put it out there."
Combining elements of folk, soul, blues, and traditional Appalachian elements, Memphis-based singer/songwriter June began performing professionally at age 19 as part of the husband-and-wife duo Bella Sun. As a solo artist, she drew local attention performing at folk festivals and workshops, and released two albums, 2006's The Way Of The Weeping Willow and 2008's Mountain Of Rose Quartz. For her forthcoming album, June collaborated with GRAMMY winners Booker T. Jones and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. The latter co-produced and co-wrote several songs and plays on the album.
Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At The Beale Street Music Festival.