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 GRAMMY-winning indie folk duo the Civil Wars and rapper Yo Gotti.
The Civil Wars' John Paul White and Joy Williams discussed winning a GRAMMY, current projects and advice for aspiring artists, among other topics.
"Once the 'solo project' debuts, we'll end up going into the studio as soon as we can," said Williams, referring to her forthcoming newborn child as her "solo project." "We [haven't] set a deadline for when we want new music to come out, we just want to make sure we get songs that we love and then make decisions from there."
The Civil Wars were formed in 2008 after Alabama native White and California native Williams met at a songwriting workshop in Nashville. They played their first live performance as a duo at the French Quarter Cafe in Nashville, and their second at Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Ga., subsequently releasing a digital album, 2009's Live At Eddie's Attic. In February 2011 the Civil Wars released their debut album Barton Hollow, which garnered the duo their first two GRAMMY Awards for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the title track at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards in February. The Civil Wars are currently on tour throughout the United States, Europe and the UK with select dates scheduled through January 2013.
Yo Gotti discussed musical influences and his current projects, among other topics.
"To me it's a pretty even balance," said Yo Gotti regarding the business and creative sides of the music industry. "You just keep one from the other."
Born Mario Mims in Memphis, Yo Gotti draws on influences such as of Dr. Dre, Master P, N.W.A., and the late Tupac Shakur, among others. In 2000 Yo Gotti released his first album, From Da Dope Game 2 Da Rap Game, followed by 2001's Self-Explanatory, 2002's Block Burnin', Vol. 1, and 2003's Life, the latter of which featured Yo Gotti collaborating with GRAMMY winner Lil Jon on "Dirty South Soldiers." Back 2 Da Basics was released in 2006 and peaked at No. 6 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. Several mixtapes followed and in 2012 Yo Gotti released his major label debut, Live From The Kitchen, which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200.
Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At The Beale Street Music Festival.