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13 New Songs To Add To Your Holiday Playlist From Kacey Musgraves, Jacquees, The Flaming Lips & More

Kacey Musgraves

Photo: Manny Carabel/WireImage/Getty Images

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13 New Songs To Add To Your Holiday Playlist From Kacey Musgraves, Jacquees, The Flaming Lips & More

Based on the sheer amount of new holiday music released this year, apparently we all really need a big dose of festive cheer—Los Lobos, Macklemore, blink-182 and more are also here to help

GRAMMYs/Dec 24, 2019 - 09:30 pm

Before we enter into the next decade, we have to get through the holidays. Whether you're one of the many people responsible for streaming Mariah Carey's 1994 classic "All I Want For Christmas Is You" to the top of the charts this month or you've trying your best to avoid the sound of jingle bells at all costs, the holiday season can create a whirlwind of emotions.

But one thing's clear: we can all use a big dose of festive cheer. Thanks to a rich, diverse selection of new holiday songs and albums from Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, Jacquees, The Flaming Lips, Los Lobos, Macklemore and many others, it's the perfect time to get cozy and pump up the sounds of peace and joy.

2018 Holiday Jams: Don't Sleep On These Brand-New Holiday Songs From RuPaul, Lil Jon & More

"Glittery," Kacey Musgraves ft. Troye Sivan

If Mariah Carey is the reigning queen of Christmas music, Kacey Musgraves is definitely the princess. Back in 2016, the GRAMMY-winning alt-country star released A Very Kacey Christmas, featuring both original and classic tracks and toured with it. This year, she added brand-new shimmer to the album with an Amazon Prime special, "The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show."

The show was filled with special guests, including Aussie pop star Troye Sivan, who joined her to sing "Glittery," a new, original holiday song about a lover that makes you feel like a beautiful snow globe. The special also spawned a live album, meaning you can tune into this track and the rest of the fun moments anytime. Musgraves is truly a better-dressed, modern Santa.

"Christmas Tree Farm," Taylor Swift

The Swifties had a great year, as GRAMMY winner Taylor Swift released her currently GRAMMY-nominated seventh studio album, Lover. As if the LP and the singles and videos that led up to it weren't enough, the pop star gave her fans another gift just in time for the holidays, a new song called "Christmas Tree Farm."

Her lyrics are filled with nostalgia for the farm she grew up on and the simpler times of childhood, as they dance over the classic, bright holiday song melodies. The music video even features cute footage from the Swift family's home videos.

"It's Christmas Time," Macklemore Ft. Dan Caplen 

Like Swift, GRAMMY-winning rapper Macklemore is also feeling a similar childhood nostalgia on his new track, "It's Christmas Time," featuring rising U.K. soul singer Dan Caplen. The cheerful song is paired with a cute, festive music video, in which the kids drink eggnog out of one of the Seattle artist's golden gramophones (which he won three of with Ryan Lewis back at the 56th GRAMMY Awards).

"Every year around Christmas time I think to myself 'Just do it Ben. Make the song. You can be the new Mariah Carey.' Well, this year I finally am," Macklemore joked on Twitter.

Watch: Mariah Carey Releases A New Video For "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

"7 O'Clock News / Silent Night," Phoebe Bridgers Ft. Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger

Tuning into the news in 2019 can be surreal and overwhelming. Apparently this was not so different in 1966, when GRAMMY-winning folk heroes Simon And Garfunkel released "7 O'Clock News / Silent Night," featuring a recording of the current news over their singing of the Christmas classic.

While technically not an original song like the rest on this list, Phoebe Bridgers, Fiona Apple and The National's Matt Beringer update the heart-wrenching song for our current reality, offering 100 percent of its proceeds to Planned Parenthood. Berninger plays the newscaster in this version, reading headlines about gun violence and anti-abortion legislation. The important, haunting song is part on the compilation album co-created by Berninger, 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood, which, of course, benefits the nonprofit organization.

"Miss You This Christmas," Letters to Cleo

"The days get short, the nights are really cold. / This year Christmas ain't the same / I'm not used to stringing lights alone, I miss you this Christmas," Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo sings on "Miss You This Christmas," from their new EP, OK Christmas. It is one of the two original songs on the Boston alt-rockers guitar-slicked holiday album, which also features two fun covers.

"Hanukkah in '96," Alex Frankel

In addition to all the new Christmas-themed music that dropped this season, Hanukkah+, a fun, star-studded compilation album, brought—finally!—a whole new batch of Hanukkah-themed bops. Frankel, a "Hebrew school dropout" and half of New York electro duo Holy Ghost!, contributes the synth-y, nostalgic "Hanukkah in '96." He says the fun new song is "the greatest Jewish song ever written (in a major key)."

Read: Holy Ghost! On What "Do This" Is Really About & Why They Feel So Good About 'Work'

"Sing It Now, Sing It Somehow," The Flaming Lips

Also a new track featured on Hanukkah+, The Flaming Lips' "Sing It Now, Sing It Somehow," is gorgeous, haunting and ecstatic, all at once. The producer of the album, GRAMMY-winning music supervisor Randall Poster said, "Seeing the Flaming Lips is like going to temple—if they had unicorns and body glitter as sacraments. So, I thought their spiritual connection would be relevant to celebration, contemplation and the spirit of the holiday." Amen.

"Christmas and You," Los Lobos

Read: Los Lobos' Louie Perez & David Hidalgo Working On A Ritchie Valens Musical

GRAMMY-winning Los Angeles rock greats Los Lobos recently released their first holiday album, Llegó Navidad, four decades into their illustrious musical career. Along with reimaginings of under-sung holiday classics "Feliz Navidad," "Dónde Está Santa Claus," "It's Christmas Time In Texas" and more, the album also offers a heartfelt original song, "Christmas and You."

As NPR's Michael Martin explained, "It is a classic Los Lobos operation—a lovingly curated collection of songs from across North, Central and South America with, of course, an original song that makes you want to cry."  

"Alabaster," Andrew Bird

Like Los Lobos, current GRAMMY nominee Andrew Bird has dropped his first holiday album several decades into his career (his first album came out in 1996). The indie folk-rock violinist's new EP, Hark!, follows his aptly-titled, GRAMMY nominated LP, My Finest Work Yet. The six-track surprise project is very much an Andrew Bird Christmas album, filled with his trademark whistling, melancholic lyrics and a mellow, lo-fi "White Christmas" cover. One of the original tracks, "Alabaster," feels both like a church hymn and a local pub's winter closing song, in the best way possible.

Of the project, the "Olympians" singer said, "A lot of folks have a hard time with the holidays but they serve a purpose to us as a people—to create comfort, warmth and atmosphere within the darkness and the cold that can crush one's spirit. There are a couple originals in here that address this idea of light and warmth in the darkness as well as some classics that have some nostalgic resonance with me. Hark! What sounds come flowing alabaster?"

Watch: Andrew Bird Covers Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" For ReImagined

"Christmas Party," Jacquees

The self-appointed "King Of R&B" Jacquees serves up a sexy dose of holiday spirit with his latest project and sophomore studio album, Christmas In Decatur. The nine-track LP of original holiday music, labeled as "HOTTTTT" by Hot New Hip Hop, arrived just one month after King Of R&B. The new album, whose title is a nod to his Georgia hometown, opens with the bubbling "Christmas Party," and also includes the amazingly NSFW "Like Santa Claus," ending on a celebratory high note with "Happy Holidays."

"Tell your people Happy Holidays (Happy Holidays). / We're so blessed to see these better days. / Oh, what a year it's been / All the up's and down's … / It's a New Year, baby, so glad that we made it out / all drinks on me, uh (all drinks on me)," Jacquees soulfully sings on the last track.

"Jolly Liver," Beach Slang

"I want beer!" James Alex of Philly rock outfit Beach Slang repeatedly growls over the chorus of their new rock 'n roll bah-humbug track, "Jolly Liver." Alex, who penned the song, closes it out with the amazing lines: "A-well-a-well-a, ho, ho, ho / and a-all that junk. / There ain't no halo hangin' 'round this dump. / I meant to be a saint. I ended up a drunk."

The new, rocking holiday-inspired song, released earlier this month, came along with the news that the band's next album, The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City, is due out Jan. 10.

"Not Another Christmas Song," blink-182

Apparently not one to follow their own advice, pop-punk group blink-182 follows 2001's "Won't Be Home For Christmas" with 2019's "Not Another Christmas Song." The new Christmas song has Mark Hoppus singing, "I'm burned out like lights on a tree. / Old songs, can't listen to these. / Fake a smile but all I can see is empty boxes and trees. / Another year not a coffin / Growing up or whatever you call it."

"Christmas Techno Dance," Klaus Blatter

This year, Santa was generous, as there are actually more new holiday songs than we can include on this list. We'll go out with the bizarre, hilarious holiday club track, "Christmas Techno Dance" by German comedic dance outfit act Klaus Blatter. It's paired with an equally wacky music video, for which the YouTube description explains, "The Christmas Techno Dance video is basically a summarized updating of the Bible with all the boring elements of the story removed… If you wish to enter the kingdom of god all you are for needing is this video and single of Klaus Blatter. The story is told!"

From the Recording Academy family to you and yours, please have a safe, joyful, music-filled holiday!

Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" Hits No. 1 25 Years After Its Initial Releas

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GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.

In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.

 

Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

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Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

 GRAMMY.com

 Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 and will be broadcast live on the Univision Television Network at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. 

"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community.

Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list. 

At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself  but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and the album release of that concert, Juan Gabriel En Vivo Desde El Palacio De Bellas Artes, broke sales records and established his iconic status. 

After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.   

In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.   

Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized. 

For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or ticketing@grammy.com.

Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Grizzled Mighty perform at Bumbershoot on Sept. 1

Photo: The Recording Academy

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Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Alexa Zaske
Seattle

This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.

The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.

Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."

Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.

Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed. 

Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.

My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.

For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.

(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)

Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

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Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Feb 11, 2019 - 10:58 am

As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.

Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.

"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."

Full Winners List: 61st GRAMMY Awards