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Press Play At Home: LP Performs Impassioned Version Of "The One That You Love"

Backed by a classic Motown-ish stomp, the alt-pop singer/songwriter LP performs her pleading, yearning 2020 single "The One That You Love"

GRAMMYs/Mar 18, 2021 - 10:01 pm

After a year of tinny bedroom livestreams, we're all raring to enjoy some concerts again. Let the alternative-pop singer/songwriter LP remind you what those were like. 

In the latest episode of Press Play At Home, LP wails their 2020 single "The One That You Love" with a crisp, full band, driven by reverberating, Motown-sized drums.

LP's influences are appropriately stadium-scaled—The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen—and once recorded with Cyndi Lauper on a shelved release. 


Let's hope we can hear that team-up at some point. But in the meantime, check out this terrific performance of "The One That You Love" above and watch more episodes of Press Play At Home here.

Press Play At Home: Francisca Valenzuela Performs Her Courageous Feminist Paean "La Fortaleza"

Press photo of The Marias taken by Bethany Vargas
The Marías

Photo: Bethany Vargas

interview

The Marías Plunge Into The Depths On 'Submarine': How The Band Found Courage In Collective Pain

Following a major breakup, group therapy and finding solace in film, the Marías are back with a new album of ethereal pop. "It is my perspective on heartbreak, which can be interpreted in so many different ways," says singer/songwriter María Zardoya.

GRAMMYs/Jun 3, 2024 - 02:24 pm

The Marías had undergone a seismic change by the time they started working on Submarine, their second full-length album. Lead singer and songwriter María Zardoya and drummer and producer Josh Conway had ended their eight-year relationship, uprooting their lives and creative partnership in the process.  

Instead of being subsumed by the breakup's emotional waters, the L.A.-based pop band took a six month hiatus. They traveled, tended to their loved ones, and considered the next steps for their careers.  
 
Luckily for their large, devoted audience, Zardoya and Conway decided that their breakup wasn’t an obstacle for the Marías to keep going. "Even though you lose yourself in every heartbreak, I think that is an opportunity to gain even more," Zardoya tells GRAMMY.com.

What followed was a fruitful period at their Los Angeles studio, where Zardoya, Conway,  keyboardist Edward James, and guitarist Jesse Perlman reassessed their dynamics. They spent long days working on new songs, pushing through with the help of band and individual therapy. The end result is Submarine, a record that tells a story of loneliness, grief, and transformation.  

Submarine is a vibrant listening experience, and reflective of the Marías' love of film and well-curated aesthetics. The album is full of expansive arrangements, ranging from dream pop to rock and jazz. Water-like sounds, R&B harmonies, and soft electronic textures add to Zardoya’s ethereal vocals which, complimented by shimmery guitars and subtle percussion, create a contrasting narrative of desolation and romance. 
 
The group’s musical union, and their distinctive sound, is palpable through Submarine. Tight-knit danceable songs, cheeky vocals, and Zardoya’s immaculate style — which seeps through lyrics about drama, paranoia, and even the claustrophobic feeling behind modern technology — make for a strong release, where love and hope are still within reach. 
 
Ahead of their world tour, which kicks off in Mexico on June 11, and in celebration of Submarine, the Marías spoke with GRAMMY.com about overcoming the band’s potential dissolution, taking inspiration from arthouse cinema, and the emotional process of creating their third album.


Looking at your docuseries for 'Submarine,' something María said caught my attention. "There were a few moments after ‘Cinema’ that I thought the band was over." Can you elaborate on that? 
 
María Zardoya: There was a point where I did think that the band was over. I think we were all in a tumultuous place. I didn't know if I still wanted to make music, and I didn't know if The Marías would continue. But thankfully, it did.  

We went to therapy as a band; Josh and I went to therapy together; and we all started doing our [own] therapy. Through all of that work that we did, we realized that the music is so important. We have so much to say, and what we have to say is important. Let's continue.  

In the end, that period only made us stronger. Today our relationship with each other, and my relationship with Josh and the guys individually are stronger than ever. So I'm glad that we went through what we did. 
 
Can each of you, individually, tell me why the band is important to you? 
 
Josh Conway: Music has been important to me my entire life. That's something that I kind of realized over the last couple of years; music is more important to me than anything else. I'll do whatever it takes to continue making music and making music with people that I love, especially. It's special to be doing this with all my best friends. 
 
Edward James: I've always wanted to be in a band. I love the concept of a group of people who are one for all and all for one, and who get to experience everything together. It's a unique interpersonal relationship dynamic that you don't get really with anyone else in your life. So apart from the existential pursuit of music that we're all drawn to, the camaraderie is so important, because of how difficult the dynamic is to maintain and to continue. I think doing it with the band sort of translates to every other sort of relationship you can have in your life.  
 
Jesse Perlman: Whether if we took one year off, or five years off, we would still, at some point, get back together and be like, "Okay, we're ready." I think we're so close, and we miss touring so much. This whole rollout and recording process that we did in the last year has just been so open — and I think we're just so ready to take this on the road.  
 
Zardoya: It's important to express myself, and to get out the feelings that are inside. That's why music is so important to me, and this band is so important to me. I've gotten a lot of DMs and letters in the mail from fans saying that our music has helped them through different periods in their lives. That they feel seen, and represented — with them being Latin and me being Latin — and how inspired they are. So music is important for me individually, but it's also important for me to keep doing this for the people who get something out of our music.

Jesse, you mentioned missing touring. What is everyone's favorite part of touring? A lot of musicians have detailed how touring can be grueling and financially unviable.  
 
Perlman: We're coming up on almost eight years of being in this band, and I feel like we've done it all. We've gone around the country so many times now, and that was special. But now we're at a level where we finally have a whole crew and we can play these bigger, beautiful theaters.  

We can make a cool, eclectic setlist with a mix of all the songs [from Submarine, Cinema and EPs Superclean Vol. I and II] — and that's my favorite part, putting together a fun set. Surprising the fans with interludes and jams and a big production with cool lights and stuff. That’s so fun for me. 
 
James: My favorite part of touring is just that feeling of nervousness before a show. Then sort of going over the hilltop as soon as we play the first notes of the first song. Then riding that feeling during and after the show. 
 
Conway: All of the trouble of getting to and from the venue, carrying gear, and the off days in a random city — all of that can be pretty grueling and taxing. But when you can play these songs, in front of fans that love you, and love your music and sing along. You can see people experiencing joy. It makes it all worth it, 99 percent of the time. 
 
Going back to the process of making 'Submarine,' María, you mentioned a transition between thinking the band was over to making music again. Can you tell us more about that moment? 
 
Zardoya: I think we took the intensity of Josh [Conway] and me transitioning from a romantic relationship to a platonic relationship and put it into the music. [We] also used it to work on ourselves and grow individually. I'm grateful for everything that we've been through, the intense moments and the hard moments because we just put it into music. 
 
How did you start and arrive at the theme of the album? From having an "aha moment" to completing the project? 
 
Zardoya: The aha moment came when the album title came into my head. I shared it with the guys and they were super into it. That's when the album’s world started to be built. When we started hearing how it could all come together, that’s when Submarine— the title and the concept — was born. I saw so much symbolism in using water to represent this going inward, this introspective journey that we were all on. And then using these underwater sounds in the tracks.  
 
Conway: There was also a moment when we had been working on the album for a couple of months. We had gotten to a good place after writing, and then María and I listened to the first six songs that are on the album now. That was the first time where María and I were able to conceptualize what it's gonna sound like when you listen to the whole album. We were dancing in the studio and that was just a really exciting moment. We both knew we just heard the beginning of the album and we loved it. 
 
You did a great track-by-track breakdown of your 2021 album, 'Cinema.' Can you talk about the tracks in 'Submarine?' 
 
Zardoya: The opening track, "Ride," is almost like an introduction to Submarine. Where Cinema started with these beautiful string arrangements, we kind of wanted the first track of Submarine to be a little bit more hard-hitting and in your face. Almost like it's slapping you into this world.  
 
Perlman: The intro to Cinema was dramatic. Then when you listen to "Ride" opening Submarine, it's more fun and light-hearted.  
 
Conway: Then "Hamptons." María and I were cycling through old beats, and that one caught our attention. We just started writing to it. We pretty much had the whole thing written on the first day. It was a lot of fun.  
 
Zardoya: I think thematically I wrote these lyrics after visiting the Hamptons. I wanted to hate the Hamptons because it's like this bougie place in New York, but I honestly loved it. It was beautiful. The nature was so pretty. 

What about "Echo" and "Real Life"? 
 
Zardoya: "Echo" is about being pulled into two different directions and living in that ambivalence, which makes you feel paralyzed. This was probably one of the hardest songs to write on Submarine — both thematically and then also piecing it together. We had a part written and it wasn't quite doing it. Then finally, one afternoon the chorus came out of nowhere. And then I think we were like "Okay, here we go. We've got the song." 
 
"Real Life," lyrically, is about the culture that we have with our phones, and everything being virtual. It’s about wanting to have that one-on-one human connection in real life. Songwriting-wise, it came out of a jam that we were all doing together in the Dominican Republic. We were there for a show. We started jamming and it all — the melody, lyrics, and everything — came out of nowhere. 
 
James: It was pretty much written in 30 minutes. It was crazy fast. 
 
Perlman: Whenever we play it, it's perfect every time. It's always the first one we soundcheck with. It's one of my favorites on the album. 
 
In a YouTube video, you said that 'Submarine' is not necessarily about your heartbreak. Can you expand on that? 
 
Zardoya: Words in songs live subconsciously, within me. These songs could be about us, they could be about something that happened 10 years ago, they don't have to be about anything in particular. They are subconscious thoughts that come up to create a song. It is my perspective on heartbreak, which can be interpreted in so many different ways. 
 
Have any films or music helped inspire or complement the aesthetic of 'Submarine?' 
 
Zardoya: I've always been inspired by visuals when it comes to what we do and how it merges with the music. Film was like my first love. One of the movies that inspired this album, 'Three Colors: Blue' by Krzysztof Kieślowskii, from the 'Three Colours' trilogy. Aside from the color blue, and how we've moved from red to blue in this album, in that movie, the main character loses her family at the beginning and she has to figure herself out and go on this introspective journey to find herself.  

That's kind of how I felt with this album. In the beginning, I found myself in this place of solitude and loneliness. Then throughout the album, just like Julie in the movie, I started to find myself and started to find courage in the pain that I had been feeling.  
 
Other movies that I rewatched during the making of this album were 'Lost In Translation' and 'Her.' 'Lost In Translation' is also about solitude, and I found that perspective inspiring the visuals and the record as well. Then on 'Her', technology and loneliness kind of go hand in hand. All of these relationships that we have with technology and with our phones were kind of interspersed throughout the album.  
 
Later I discovered that these two films were created in response to the end of a relationship [between film director Sofia Coppola and filmmaker Spike Jonze]. So I loved that as well because you create this art in response to something real and something tangible.  

In making 'Submarine,' did you learn something or find a silver lining? 
 
Conway: You don't have to be in a romantic relationship to love someone.  
 
Zardoya: Even though you lose yourself in every heartbreak and every loss, I think that you have an opportunity to gain even more. 

Conway: When the album ends, there is a glimmer of hope. In my mind, it feels like that you'll be getting out of the submarine pretty soon. 
 
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Empress Of
Empress Of

Photo: Bethany Vargas

interview

Empress Of Is Here 'For Your Consideration': How Heartbreak, Horniness & Self-Acceptance Led To An Actualized Album

"How can we make it hot?" Empress Of wondered while writing her new album. Out March 22, 'For Your Consideration' is at once dancefloor ready and introspective. "I take my career very seriously, but I also am having a laugh at how absurd it is."

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2024 - 01:21 pm

Inspiration can strike anywhere — something that Empress Of learned during a night out at a strip club. 

The singer/songwriter and L.A. native returned to the studio the next morning, raring to work that energy into her new album. "I came into the studio, like, ‘Guys, I went to a strip club. I gave a beautiful woman money. That is the energy for today,’" she says with a laugh. "Almost to a fault, everything can be an inspiration." Her upcoming album, the ecstatic For Your Consideration (due March 22), was spurred by that type of sultry stimulus and winks knowingly at the seductive glitz of her Hollywood home.

Born Lorely Rodriguez, Empress Of debuted in 2015 with the sublime Me and has since perfected a formula of avant pop songwriting, high-energy electronic textures, and bold poetics across two further albums. But a distinct change powers For Your Consideration, in part powered by a surreal heartbreak: the press release accompanying the album’s announcement details having been broken up with by a film director, only to wind up bombarded by his "For Your Consideration" campaign for the Oscars. 

As such, For Your Consideration embraces the strengths of her first three records, while bringing a renewed immediacy to every facet. The house and R&B influences are distilled to their essence on some tracks, while others lavish in lush experimental pop. Lyrically, Rodriguez opts for raw, sensual tales of love, lust, and loss — sung in both Spanish and English. 

Nearing the release of For Your Consideration, Empress Of spoke with GRAMMY.com about finding inspiration from Raya dates and early ‘00s club music, losing your naivety, and finding her Lady Gaga transformation.

As an L.A. native, how has your perception of the entertainment industry shifted over the last few years? Was that something that had any impact on the way that you grew up and envisioned your future?

It's funny, I never saw L.A. as "the stars" and all that. But on this record, I'm embracing that L.A., or embracing that side of myself. I see "For Your Consideration" billboards everywhere. And now I'll have a "For Your Consideration" next year. But it’ll be like, "For your consideration: For Your Consideration." I think it's funny. I'm poking fun at it on this album. 

I don't think I've ever been so lighthearted with my album art and how I promote myself. I've always felt like an "indie darling." Maybe a little serious. And here I'm like 10 years into doing this, this is my fourth album, and I'm like, Let's ride a shooting star over Los Angeles. Let's be her. Let's send the message, and the message is she's a shooting star.

It feels as if you're introducing another side of yourself within this almost satirical and intensely contemporary conception of "the artist." It’s as if you needed to build to this level of poking fun, and now you’re comfy enough to.

For sure. And I think confidence is something you hear on the album. Even just working with this photographer, she was like, "If we're going to do this…you need to give me camp. You need to give me laughing, throwing your head back." 

I couldn't be serious on this album cover. And what I love about that is like, yes, I take my career very seriously, but I also am having a laugh at how absurd it is what we do.

I think there's a big misconception in art that you have to be stoic when you’re theorizing and contextualizing. The signs of having fun can actually be much stronger than projecting something more intense.

I think it's like you said: I'm comfortable. And there's also something when you speak about an album that you know is good. There might've been other times in my career where I was not as assured in something, like maybe I was doing something new. But even on this record, I'm doing something new. I worked with tons of producers and songwriters and all that, but I know it's a good album. If I didn't make it, I would want to listen to it.

You did work with some incredible songwriters for the album. There's never a moment where I hear something and think it sounds unlike you or out of place.

Age is confidence. And being older and having done four albums now, I just don't really doubt anything. I don't think I've compromised or was in a situation where a producer was pushing too much of themselves on a song. I feel like I was a very good leader on this album where even though I wasn't at the laptop or making the beats or whatever, I was able to convey what I wanted to make.

I agree with you about age — I know when I was young I would push myself and had this strange confidence because I was naïve! But as you grow older, you see a more complex picture. Thematically, does it feel like this captures that romantic, cyclical sense of longing and then having and then losing? 

Totally. You have that naive confidence when you're younger. When you're older, you have confidence about not caring anymore. Naiveness turns into "I don't give a f—." That is even more power in itself. 

The romantic themes and feminine themes on the record, the themes about wanting to be wanted and wanting to feel good, but being okay with letting it go — a lot of the lyrics are just a little bit more direct than I would have ever said them. An earlier me would drown it in metaphor. And I don't feel like I'm drowned in metaphor. It's like who I am right now. If you went on a date with me, I wouldn't be trying to present a version of myself that you would like. You would just get me. 

A lot of these songs were written with me using [the dating app] Raya for the first time and going on dates. [Laughs.] It's weird. It helps with when you're writing songs, because I'm tired of presenting a version of myself that someone can understand. Either you get it or you don't.

 But getting there takes a lot of sifting through your own personal crap doesn’t it? 

Oh my God. Yeah. There was a 27-year-old version of me that was like, [nervous muttering]. And now I'm just kind of like, "Yes, there's a lot of intention and a lot of art direction, vision, but to me it feels less safe, and I like that."

I feel like there's a sweet spot in an artist's career when they become less safe. And I have seen it before in other artists and I'm like, Cool. This is an evolution for you. I don't know if I'm quite there. I don't know if I'm at the Lady Gaga point of less safe, but I feel like it takes time.

I was struck by the level of detail you went into in the runup to the album, talking about the heartbreak you experienced with a film director. Do you feel like being that direct and transparent helped you just push past it and move through it instead of getting stuck in metaphors?

Everyone always loves my breakup songs. I get so many comments from fans being like, "Your song got me through my breakup." The song I have with Muna, "What's Love," is a breakup song — a "breakup song but I'm not broken." It feels like my "thank u, next." Like, yes, I'm heartbroken, but I learned so much in it.

Completely. And now you can really go and sing it to the masses and have the story be your triumph. Does that ever get uncomfy, though, having people run up to you like, "I loved your most painful traumatic moment!"

No — once music is out, it belongs to people, and it's up to them for interpretation. If I broke up with someone or if I was mourning someone and had to go and play this song about them on tour, it would be difficult. But when I sing the songs, they kind of feel like someone else's songs. When I’m on tour and I sing my songs, it's like I'm singing a song that I added to my playlist.

How far into the writing and concepting did you get before you started working with someone like Rina Sawayama or Muna?

I wrote a lot of these songs during a summer, and then going into fall, going into sessions, I knew I wanted to start everything with my voice. I feel like the voice is the most important instrument. No matter what producer or songwriters, I was like, "Can you just turn the microphone on, and can I just beatbox and hum and sing, and we just chop it up and make some world?" 

I was like, "I just want to write hot songs. I want to write horny songs. I want to write fun songs. I want to be on stage and I want to be sexy and I want to evoke this sensuality." And so when I was writing, I was just like, "Okay, how can we make it horny?" 

That’s so fun, especially because you’re doing it by being unapologetically dedicated to what you needed in that moment.

I wrote these songs over two years, but I definitely remember being in the studio and coming up with ideas with these songwriters and just being like, "How can we make it hot? I just want to feel hot."

There’s this incredible duality to your music that makes me think of artists like Björk — this ability to bounce between really lux, almost ballad-y melodies, and then you can get really club-ready. And then, you've got some electronic textures. Who were your influences here, and how did you go about harnessing that wide spectrum so cohesively?

I was listening to a lot of music from the early 2000s. I was listening to this band called Koop, and their album Waltz for Koop which has Yukimi Nagano on it. I was listening to Des’ree’s "You Gotta Be. I was listening to the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack, with the Cardigans. I was listening to a lot of Pharrell and the Neptunes. I always listen to Saint Etienne. I just love the sexiness of being in a club in the early 2000s.

I was struck by how much singing in Spanish was emphasized on this album. Was that something you set out to do at the outset of the record?

On your fourth album, you’re like, How else can I make this exciting for myself? I’ve never written this much music on an album in Spanish. And I wanted to write with co-writers who write in Spanish. 

Just being in the room with them and thinking of themes and song titles that go with that flirty sexiness, like "Sucia" which means dirty, and "Fácil" which means easy, and "Preciosa" which means precious. It’s so fun. It made writing this album so exciting for me. For "Preciosa," the night before I had gone to a strip club and I came into the studio, like, "Guys, I went to a strip club. I gave a beautiful woman money. That is the energy for today. Let’s write a song." [Laughs.

Almost to a fault, everything can be an inspiration, whether it’s being objectified as a woman or being heartbroken or being on a Raya date and having a one-night stand. I hate and love that everything turns into a song.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

video

GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Franc Moody
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out GRAMMY.com's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."

Moniquea

Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.

L'Impératrice

L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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