Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
The 2022 GRAMMYs Was A Momentous Return To An In-Person Ceremony. But It Didn't Forget The Lessons Of Last Year.
The 2022 GRAMMYs marked a glorious return to the physical realm, reminding us all of the magic of humans playing instruments and singing for other humans. And the sea change that was last year's GRAMMYs led directly to what we saw on April 3.
The year was 2021, vaccines were just rolling in and the GRAMMYs looked a lot different that time around — especially as winners' reactions went. Sure, it was quirky fun to watch GRAMMY recipients' computer cameras flicker to life during the remote Premiere Ceremony — and to see a grainy image of the Strokes celebratorily spraying beers in a basement while they played pool.
But let's be real: it wasn't the same, was it? That divide was especially apparent in 2022, as first-time GRAMMY winners — like family-music artist Falu, the gamer-friendly 8-Bit Big Band and Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab — telegraphed a thousand emotions at once as they approached the stage. That's what the GRAMMYs are all about — celebrating musicians and feeling that love radiated back to the world.
As award shows go, that only really works when there's a traditional live audience for the sake of mass energy feedback — not a distanced, separated one. While the 2021 GRAMMYs were celebrated as a back-to-basics, no-nonsense celebration of music, the lack of a crowd left an obvious void — even as that year's nominees, like Bad Bunny, Dua Lipa and Harry Styles, grooved along to each others' performances.
And audiences aside, as much of a boon Zoom has been for instant face-to-face communication (can you imagine what COVID would have been like in the '90s?), with relatively low image quality comes a loss of subtle rapport. At the 2022 GRAMMYs' Premiere Ceremony, you could see exactly what the winners were feeling. And at the subsequent show, viewers were treated to a sea of smiling faces, just happy to be around each other and celebrating music.
Music is one of the ultimate expressions of humanity. And at the live and in-person 2022 GRAMMYs, a heck of a lot of humanity was restored.
First, let's talk about Trevor Noah, who in his first year hosting the audience-free GRAMMYs faced a challenge by having a lack of a room to read. (Remember, early on in the pandemic, during the "from home" talk shows, how the Jimmys and their ilk would reflexively pause after jokes for laughter that never came?) Like a tree falling in the forest with nobody around, how does a comedian know if their laughs are landing?
That wasn't a problem at the 2022 GRAMMYs. Whether Noah was playfully ignoring Silk Sonic's Bruno Mars in an Encanto nod or taking FINNEAS to task for his apparent lack of a surname, his jokes landed throughout the vaxxed audience at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena. (If you must know, even in the so-called "war room" near the ceremony, the "Daily Show" host had GRAMMY.com's staff in stitches.)
This year's musical performances (which the 2022 GRAMMYs' producers wisely opted to keep front and center) spoke themselves.Among the night's many performers, Olivia Rodrigo crooned the heart-aching "drivers license" in an onstage Mercedes, while Silk Sonic got the crowd dancing in their seats, and Billie Eilish and FINNEAS electrified the arena in a hail of thunder.
(Oh, and if you're curious about how those three artists fared, Rodrigo won GRAMMYs for Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album; Silk Sonic won all four GRAMMYs they were nominated for; Eilish was nominated for seven GRAMMYs but did not win. Jon Batiste, the most-nominated artist at 11, won Album Of The Year for We Are. Head here for the full list of winners.)
By keeping the 2022 GRAMMYs as music-first as the last one, yet adapting that approach to an in-person experience, the ceremony was able to embrace the best of interior expression while thrilling a crowd of music lovers.
As Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield, who called the 2021 ceremony "the best GRAMMYs ever, by an absurd margin," put it about the 2022 GRAMMYs: "We need to accept reality. We now live in a world where the GRAMMYs are awesome." Of course, critics are entitled to their opinions about the relative merits of each ceremony.
But for this performance-heavy show, it'd be nigh-impossible to say the GRAMMYs didn't put music first. While nobody can tell the future, thank goodness a live audience could enjoy the 2022 GRAMMYs and celebrate the gift of live music the way it's meant to be experienced: together.
Baritone saxophonist Veronica Leahy
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
GRAMMY Jazz Band Plays Duke Ellington, Count Basie & More | 2018 GRAMMY Week
The GRAMMY In The Schools Live! program showcased the formidable chops of this year's GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session band and celebrated music education in the Big Apple
After spending the first few days of GRAMMY Week getting acquainted, rehearsing and plotting their schedule, the members of GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session finally got to let the music do the talking at the GRAMMY In The Schools Live! concert in New York City on Jan. 25.
Taking place at The New School's John L. Tishman Auditorium, the GRAMMY Museum event proved to not only showcase this year's class of Jazz Session students and the many alumni of the program who were in attendance, but it also spotlighted the year-round initiatives of the Museum, which include a range of programs for youth musicians and music education.
The event also acknowledged the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum's 2018 Music Educator Award recipient Melissa Salguero, a music teacher at P.S. 48 in the South Bronx.
"This is one of the most epic moments of my life. My dream was to teach in a city that loved and cherished music," said Salguero. "To be honored in New York City as a New York teacher, this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life."
But on this January evening, the spotlight shone brightly on the 18 young musicians in the Jazz Session band — comprising five saxophones, five trumpets, four trombones, bass, drums, guitar, and piano.
With direction from conductor Justin DiCioccio, the band performed a taught set list showcasing, in DiCioccio's words, the "different styles and moods of jazz." Out of the gate, the band swung through Neal Hefti's "Whirly Bird" with a brisk fervor, highlighted by the sax chairs trading solos.
They segued into "Cabeza De Carne," a Latin clave-based tune that put some pep in the audience's collective step, and Benny Golson's "Along Came Betty," which seemed to bottle the sounds one might hear at 2 a.m. at a late-night NYC jazz club.
"We've had one rehearsal, by the way," quipped DiCioccio in between songs.
Following a take on Randy Brecker's "Sponge," which featured cool riffing and angular walking bass lines courtesy of guitarist Jordan Reifkind and bassist Augustus "Gus" Allen, respectively, the Jazz Session members kicked into high gear.
The ensemble performed a spirited take of Buddy Rich's "West Side Story Suite." The multi-layered composition was chosen in honor of the centennials of composer Leonard Bernstein and famed drummer Rich. Appropriately, the sprawling tune was sparked by brassy punctuations and impressive stick work by drummer Varun Das.
Next, the musicians' showcased depth and range that belied their experience on "Red Hair, No Freckles," a complex piece composed by GRAMMY Museum Executive Education Director David Sears, who offered, "If we play it right, your body should move." Judging by the audience reaction, they indeed got it right. The collective navigated the multiple odd time signatures in the piece with aplomb while interpreting the tune's R&B, funk and progressive pop flavors that ably mixed elements of Earth, Wind & Fire, James Brown and Chicago.
For a special encore, the Jazz Session band was joined by one of their own, alumni Jon Batiste. The gregarious pianist/bandleader for "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" — who came straight from a show taping to play with the students — sat in for a performance of Duke Ellington's "Kiki" and Count Basie's "Splanky."
In the presence of the senior musician, the band upped their game and matched Batiste's fire, measure by measure. For his part, the smiling Batiste dazzled the ivories, with his playing light as a feather and forceful at the appropriate moments and improvised solos that were ripe with articulate calls and responses, motifs and linear flourishes. Jazz Session pianist Esteban Castro, who stepped aside for the final two songs, smiled for the duration as he witnessed the masterclass.
As for the Jazz Session members, the experience and education they amass during their GRAMMY Week crash course will certainly bode well for their future careers. And the time they are spending together in the Big Apple constitutes a form of networking, which one alumnus described as an integral part of the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session experience.
"[I advise them to] keep in touch with each other," said David Grossman, a pianist/bassist who was a Jazz Session band member in the mid-'90s. "They might know this but their fellow bandmates, hopefully, they'll know [each other] for a long, long time."
"These are some of the finest young jazz players in the country and we are giving them a very unique lens of what it means to work in music," said Scott Goldman, Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. "The kind of challenges that they will face as a working musician, the kind of discipline that is required by a working musician — this is an experience that I don't think you are going to get in any conservatory setting."
Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins
Photo: Newspix/Getty Images
Dave Grohl Calls Early Foo's Recordings "Total F****** Chaos"
The rocker reveals lesser-known details about his early records and reflects on fallen friends
Dave Grohl founded the GRAMMY-winning rock band Foo Fighters just a year after Kurt Cobain passed away and Nirvana subsequently disbanded. Given the Foo's current place as one of the biggest rock bands in the entire world, it can be hard to imagine they had humble beginnings, and likewise it's easy to forget that Grohl had to essentially start over from scratch following Nirvana's breakup.
In a recent interview with Hot Press, Grohl reflected on losing his bandmate Cobain, then experiencing similar loss with close friend Chris Cornell much later in life. "I just want everyone to survive," he says. "You cross your fingers and say your prayers and hope everyone makes it home safe at night."
Of starting anew with the Foo Fighters in 1995, he refers to the decision as a type of therapy. "[Our] hearts were broken when Kurt died. … I felt I had to do it — to exorcise something in my soul," Grohl says. "We still feel like that every time we make a record — every time we step on stage."
Grohl also admits that he was more than surprised when the Foo's second album, The Colour And The Shape, broke through and launched him and his band back into the spotlight, especially in light of the working conditions under which the record was made.
"I remember making that record while not having a place to live. I was sleeping in my friend’s back room in a sleeping bag. His dog would come in and p on the sleeping bag every f night," Grohl says wryly. "It was total f* chaos. The fact we survived that means we could survive anything."
Photo: Monhand Mathurin
5 Essential D'Mile Productions: Silk Sonic, H.E.R. & Others
'An Evening with Silk Sonic' producer D’Mile revisits his career milestones and discusses his blockbuster 2021, which included back-to-back GRAMMY “Song Of The Year” Awards and multiple hit collaborations.
"He is a genius. I don’t feel like most people realize how much of a genius he actually is" producer D’Mile asserts when thinking back on his most popular project to date with Bruno Mars.
But prior to the formation of Silk Sonic, longtime friend and bandmate Anderson .Paak implored Mars and D’Mile to come together for a session. "Once we realized we were doing a group project, I think it was easy for all of us to know what kind of vibe it was going to be," D'Mile says.
"Leave The Door Open,'' the GRAMMY-winning product of the trio’s collaboration, became a hit for its groovy R&B bridges and velvety vocal harmonies — and D’Mile’s career skyrocketed. Now, he is a creative backbone behind many top artists, infusing discographies with blues, jazz and neo-R&B, while engineering for Beyoncé, Jay Z, Lupe Fiasco, H.E.R. and others. Long before earning a clutch of awards, D’Mile was disciplined in a musical household.
Dernst Emile II, a.k.a. D'Mile was born to two esteemed Haitian musicians — vocalist Yanick Étienne and Dernst Emile, an established music arranger and instrumentalist — with a wide global lineage and appreciation of the music of the African diaspora. Coming up in Brooklyn, D'Mile learned the piano from his father, and would hear his mother sing jazz and Haitian konpa around the house.
"They would always work together," the 37-year-old music producer bashfully remembers over Zoom, chuckling. "My dad [still] gives private lessons to this day. I was just always around instruments my whole life — the jam and recording sessions. I feel like I am just a younger version of him."
A young D'Mile inherited the musical aptitude of his parents, nurturing his musical roots while keeping his ear close to the ground as his career blossomed. "One of my first [producer] placements ever was actually Mary J. Blige in 2005," D’Mile reflects bashfully. That single was the title track on Blige’s 2005 album, The Breakthrough, which won the GRAMMY Award for Best R&B Record.
Nearly two decades into producing music, D’Mile applies artists' personal experiences to the music they create together, tailoring their sounds as a reflection of who they are, at the moment he meets them. "I just do what I know when I feel right in my heart," D’Mile says, shrugging his shoulders. "[But] when I do a collab with an artist, I try to speak to who they are through the music."
That insight, and ability to cohere an artist's essence with contemporary culture, has led to many hit-making moments. After having compulsive thoughts of quitting music over the past decade, D’Mile ignited an artistic flare at the beginning of the pandemic and a plethora of gold-plated accolades was on the horizon.
From 2020 to 2022, D’Mile experienced highs that accelerated career’s trajectory. At the 2020 GRAMMY Awards, D’Mile received seven nominations for his work on Lucky Daye’s debut album, Painted and H.E.R’s second album, I Used To Know Her. Following the police murder of George Floyd, D'Mile channeled racial tensions into H.E.R.'s "I Can’t Breathe"; the song won the coveted GRAMMY Award for Song Of The Year in 2021. That same year, D'Mile won an Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Fight For You") in the motion picture, Judas and the Black Messiah.
D'Mile's star only continued to rise in 2022. At the 64th GRAMMY Awards, the producer took home three golden gramophones for his work on Silk Sonic's "Leave the Door Open" — including Song and Record Of The Year. A testament to his production expertise and wide-ranging ear, D'Mile was also nominated for his efforts on Christian/Contemporary song "Hold Us Together (Hope Mix)."
"I am not saying my first accomplishments haven’t hit me yet, but it is just unbelievable sometimes to think of all of the good things that have been happening in my career recently," D'Mile reflects.
The Los Angeles-based musician is nourishing the nucleic basis of R&B, creating an environment for upcoming and celebrated artists to rejoice and evolve. The producer shared memories from some of his favorite collaborations with GRAMMY.com.
Joyce Wrice - Overgrown
Executive produced by D’Mile, Joyce Wrice's 2021 debut album is an exquisite gift to R&B buffs. The bluesy 14-track Overgrown is a delineation of nostalgic 90’s R&B and hip-hop, with pitched vocal highs and emotional lows.
"The first time Joyce and I met in the studio, I was picking up on who she is as a woman and her vision for Overgrown," says D’Mile. "I got close with her and I would gather information off of what she would play me. I feel like when I make music, that's me kind of examining who you are."
Throughout Overgrown, the San Diego native sings about the pains of healing from heartbreak and unrequited love. The album is also a celebration of womanhood, where a confidently independent Wrice embraces the mental strength she discovered while finding herself.
Buddy - "Happy Hour"
Compton-raised rapper Buddy released his sophomore album, Superghetto, in 2022 and D’Mile produced one of the most popular tracks from the project. "Happy Hour" is an ode to letting loose and treating life as joyously chaotic as ordering a drink at a crowded bar on a weekend night.
"Buddy and I created this song a couple of years ago," D’Mile recalls, thinking deeply about the track's origins.
The single can be seen as a sequel to T-Pain’s 2007 anthem, "Bartender" — and fittingly so. Adds D'Mile, "T-Pain hopped on the track maybe a few months before it was released. I can’t take credit for getting that feature on the song, but it did make all the sense in the world."
H.E.R’s "Fight For You," "I Can’t Breathe" & I Used To Know Her
In 2021, D’Mile got together with longtime collaborators H.E.R and singerTiara Thomas to create socially-charged songs that highlighted the atrocities of police violence against Black Americans.
"The creation of these songs started with a conversation," D’Mile says, smiling as he reflects on the trio's tight bond. "H.E.R and Tiara were talking about what was going on in the world. H.E.R. is an artist that really cares about people and cares about what's right."
D'Mile recalls that H.E.R. picked up a guitar and played "I Can’t Breathe." "I remember tearing up when I first heard the song and I just knew exactly what I needed to do to help."
The producer also assisted on the tearful tune "Could've Been," which was also born from this session and later appeared on H.E.R’s second LP.
Victoria Monét - Jaguar
D’Mile had his hands in all processes behind the production of Victoria Monét’s debut album, Jaguar. The supersonic 2020 project is a funky unification of fun R&B with sultry pop melodies.
While Monét has penned lyrics for Ariana Grande, Nas, Chris Brown and others, Jaguar was the Georgia native's first full-length foray as a solo artist. The performer, dancer and recent mom is also using D’Mile’s musical compositions on her next album. D'Mile says he's excited for Monét’s next musical chapter, which incorporates her experiences with motherhood and more sass.
"We dug a little deeper. She is an artist that I feel really comfortable with," the producer says of Monét's forthcoming record. "There might be a couple of songs that you wouldn’t expect from her, and then there are songs that are just incredible records."
Silk Sonic - An Evening With Silk Sonic
The breakout group of 2021 were undoubtedly the nostalgically catchy vocal duo Silk Sonic — a project of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. D’Mile executive produced the entire An Evening With Silk Sonic album, which swept the 64th GRAMMY Awards.
D’Mile related immensely to Bruno Mars, who is also a producer, and found commonality in .Paak's interest in older R&B originals from the likes of Michael Jackson, Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder. The stars finally aligned in 2020 when Anderson reached out to D'Mile about a collaboration.
"It took us two years to create the vision and we all just kind of love that era of music [that Silk Sonic is emulating]. That's what we grew up on," D’Mile reminisces. "'Smoking Out the Window' was a song that Bruno and Anderson sat on for five years until the right moment came. It feels like a blur because we were just having so much fun together."
Vicente Fernandez performs at the 2002 Latin GRAMMY Awards
Photo: M. Caulfield/WireImage
Vicente Fernández Posthumously Wins GRAMMY For Best Regional Mexican Music Album | 2022 GRAMMYs
The late Mexican legend, who died in December at 81, won the GRAMMY for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) for his 2020 album, 'A Mis 80's'
Nearly four months after his death, Vicente Fernández 's legacy lives on.
The Mexican icon’s album, A Mis 80's, won Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano). The posthumous win marks Fernández 's fourth career GRAMMY.
Aida Cuevas' Antología De La Musica Ranchera, Vol. 2, Mon Laferte's Seis, Natalia Lafourcade's Un Canto Por México, Vol. II and Christian Nodal's <em>Ayayay! (Súper Deluxe)</em> were the other albums nominated in the category.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2022 GRAMMYs.