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.
2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Winners & Nominations List
Photos (L-R): Dasom Han, Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images, Gabriel Chiu, Rick Kern/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management, Han Myung-Gu/WireImage
Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More
Spotlighting artists of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, GRAMMY.com honors AAPI Heritage Month this May with 44 songs by Japanese Breakfast, NewJeans, Keshi and many more.
As spring blossoms and May rolls around, AAPI Heritage Month reminds us to recognize and reflect on the talents of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists — across the music industry and beyond.
It's vital to celebrate diversity year-round, and May sparks additional dialogue about reshaping spaces to be more inclusive, especially within industries that are traditionally difficult to break into. Today, the music community views difference not as an obstacle, but an opportunity to celebrate individual and collective identity.
While 2023 marks 60 years since the first Asian American GRAMMY winner, AAPI creatives have been making waves in the music community for centuries. Whether you're raging to Rina Sawayama's enterprising electropop or vibing out with NIKI's soulful indie musings, AAPI artists are continuing to shape contemporary genres like never before.
In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, GRAMMY.com compiled an original playlist to honor AAPI musicians' creativity and novelty. Take a listen to the playlist featuring more than 40 trailblazing creatives on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.
Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images
Everything We Know About Foo Fighters' New Album, 'But Here We Are'
'But Here We Are' marks the Foo Fighters’ first album since the passing of their beloved drummer Taylor Hawkins. With the lead single "Rescued" out now, take a look at all the details we know about the rock band’s forthcoming LP.
Foo Fighters have faced trying times in the last few years, but the beloved American rock band always returns to hope. Announced today, their upcoming album But Here We Are marks their first album since drummer Taylor Hawkins' passing in March 2022, and its title points to the importance of finding unity in the present.
Having won 15 GRAMMY Awards since the beginning of their career in 1994, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have masterfully produced dozens of versatile rock classics over the years. And though But Here We Are is their eleventh album, the project denotes a historic turning point in the band's catalog — as a press release describes, “the first chapter of the band’s new life.”
Take a look at everything we know about Foo Fighters' forthcoming album.
But Here We Are Drops June 2
Kicking off the summer right, the band's new album will drop June 2, and fans can pre-order it now. Its vinyl is now available on their website in both black and white, and CD, cassette, and digital downloads are available alongside various clothing merchandise.
Surprise, Its Lead Single "Rescued" Is Out Now
Foo Fighters surprise-released the album's booming lead single, "Rescued," today on all streaming platforms. The band also shared an official lyric video made by designer Agustin Esquibel, featuring black text glitching in and out over white.
"I’m just waiting to be rescued," lead singer Dave Grohl growls over guitar, his chorus describing a desperate search for freedom. "Bring me back to life."
They Started Teasing The Album A Week Before Announcing It
Fans first started speculating new music from Foo Fighters was on its way when the band's official Instagram shared a short Instagram reel on April 12. The captionless reel asks "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" over an instrumental snippet of what we now recognize as "Rescued."
Yesterday, one day before "Rescued" dropped, another cryptic reel popped up, asking "Are you feeling what I'm feeling?" and "This is happening now." The apt lyrics foreshadowed the song's release and album announcement, sending patient fans into a frenzy.
The Album Serves As A "Testament" To Healing
Foo Fighters has never been a group to shy from vulnerability, and But Here We Are nods to the band's recent struggles. In a recent press release, their upcoming album is described as “a brutally honest and emotionally raw response to everything Foo Fighters endured over the last year."
Continuing, the press release explains that the record is "a testament to the healing powers of music, friendship and family." Fans can expect an emotional rollercoaster of an album ranging from "rage and sorrow to serenity and acceptance," and it's self-evident that the band is unafraid to tap into raw authenticity for their music.
Read More: Foo Fighters Are An Indestructible Music Juggernaut. But Taylor Hawkins' Death Shows That They're Human Beings, Too.
They've Unveiled The 10-Song Tracklist
In addition to dropping "Rescued," the band also shared the 10-song tracklist of their 11th LP. The title track clocks in at No. 4, and the lead single "Rescued" kicks off the album with an energetic, grungy start.
2. Under You
3. Hearing Voices
4. But Here We Are
5. The Glass
6. Nothing at All
7. Show Me How
8. Beyond Me
9. The Teacher
It's Produced By Greg Kurstin & The Band Themselves
To craft But Here We Are, Foo Fighters worked with record producer Greg Kurstin, a frequent collaborator who produced the band's Concrete and Gold (2017) and Medicine at Midnight (2021). A songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Kurstin has worked with everyone from Paul McCartney to Maren Morris.
Kurstin has won nine GRAMMYs, including Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical twice. In addition to working on Adele's 25 and 30, he co-wrote and produced her moving ballad "Easy on Me," which took home the GRAMMY for Best Pop Solo Performance this year.
It Arrives Before They Continue Touring & Headlining Festivals
When news broke in 2022 that Hawkins had passed, Foo Fighters immediately canceled their upcoming touring schedule, cutting more than 50 shows. The band later paid moving tribute to their late bandmate with six-hour, star-studded concerts in Los Angeles and London.
Foo Fighters will embark on a headlining tour spanning the US and UK from May to October, along with select festival performances in between. They're set to headline Boston Calling and Ohio's Sonic Temple in May, Tennessee's Bonnaroo in June, San Francisco's Outside Lands in August, and more major music festivals.
Billie Eilish Pays Tribute To Taylor Hawkins In A (Literally) Thunderous Performance Of "Happier Than Ever" | 2022 GRAMMYs
Photo: Ben Heath
Nick Waterhouse's 'The Fooler' Is An Evocative Tale Of A City And Relationship Lost
"This record is like the skeleton key to decode earlier works," the singer/songwriter and guitarist says of 'The Fooler.' Using the sounds of his youth in San Francisco, Waterhouse's latest ruminates on connection, memory, and the disappearance of place.
Nick Waterhouse holds an affection for a certain version of San Francisco — one that is reminiscent of Beat culture, but decidedly contemporary. His is a North Beach life filled with drunken, late-night trips to the famed City Lights bookstore, DJ gigs at clubs that no longer exist, hours spent behind the counter at one of the city’s most revered record stores, and long, stoney car rides with its most lauded music critics.
And yet, in a refrain familiar to many denizens of the cool grey city of love, Waterhouse’s San Francisco has slipped away with time, gentrification and disease. On his sixth album, The Fooler, the singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer earnestly attempts to recapture the essence of his city lost. Waterhouse doesn’t indulge in nostalgia, instead using it to frame a universal story about what happens when your "heart and your memories can betray you in really nice ways."
"It's a record about human connection and memory, and places and the disappearance of places," Waterhouse tells GRAMMY.com. "The life that we've all led the last few years — everything is radically changing. [But] I don't posit mourning in remembering these things or these lost places."
An evocative, cerebral portrait of time, place and space, The Fooler’s 12 tracks meld R&B, garage and soul — the primordial aural ooze seeping from jukeboxes in San Francisco institutions like Tosca, Specs and Café Trieste during Waterhouse's salad days. He channels the sonic boom of Phil Spector and the voice of Lee Hazelwood on lead single "Hide And Seek," evokes Dylan and the surf-rock of the Allah-Las (whom he produced) on "Late In The Garden," while literary greats like Virginia Woolf inform the narrative.
While Waterhouse has achieved what he calls a "new creative impetus" and newfound narrative songwriting skills, he has kept busy outside the confines of memory. In recent years he left his native Los Angeles for Europe, co-produced and played guitar on Lana Del Rey’s latest album, and collaborated with Jon Batiste on 2021’s GRAMMY-winning We Are. He’s revived efforts on his label, Pres, and will embark on a small tour of the U.S. and European this spring.
But for all the physical and sonic terrain traversed, Waterhouse is pulled back to the place where he first found creative success — beginning with his 2012 revival soul-leaning debut, Time’s All Gone — and found his voice. "This is the total distillation of all the spirit of what my time in San Francisco was. And what I was, in my heart, thinking and feeling too — but with some good distance and perspective," he says of The Fooler.
You needn’t haunt the bars along Columbus and Vallejo streets in San Francisco, have found love on Muni, or know the difference between the Lower and Upper Haight to enjoy The Fooler, but you’ll certainly find yourself enraptured by the dreamy figures in Waterhouse’s nuanced, yet capacious city of memory.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The press release for this album is one of the headiest I’ve read recently, with a lot of literary references and existential questions. Was this always more of a conceptual album for you?
Completely. Then this record is like the skeleton key to decode earlier works. But with this record, I also had a breakthrough in writing. And I had a sudden knowledge of how I could use perspective as a songwriter; there were traces of it in earlier works, but this is finally what I think was a holistic expression.
That feeling of discovery was a big part of what drove this, and the themes in it. It's a record about human connection and memory, and places and the disappearance of places. I was listening to an interview with John Vanderslice this morning and he talked about how radically changed in such a short period of time [San Francisco] was, but even now, it's a major metropolitan area with the most vacancies of any first world nation.
With your previous work, were you mostly writing from your own perspective, asserting yourself as the character?
In a way, yes. I always was very careful not to write selfishly — the editor in my head was like, there has to be a reason that the song makes it to being done.
This record exists in the same city that Time’s All Gone was happening in, but that record was from the street level. It was like from the bus, from only where I was sitting. I was working two jobs and anxious; it was paycheck to paycheck, going through a relationship that was fragmenting; going through an apocalyptic breakup with somebody that ended up being very meaningful in my life, but I'm not with them anymore.
Now it's like 10 to 12 years later, I can see all of that floating above it. It's like this big dialogue between the characters and the world around it. And it's looking in the windows of all these places in the city, looking into other people's lives, and almost looking into people's spirits.
I thought a lot about Virginia Woolf and consciousness. The thesis is like, what does it mean to be in a space and have human connection? How do people change your life, and who changes?
The genesis of The Fooler occurred during a trip to San Francisco earlier in the pandemic. In addition to that cataclysmic change, I read that you had a number of really big changes happen in your life — you moved out of the country, you ended a relationship. How has that impacted the sound and spirit of this record?
Some of the things you're describing happened after this record, some of them were happening during, some of them were happening, maybe unconsciously before. A lot of the topics in the record are also me touching those things. And taking from them the meaningful collagen, the bone marrow, and using it to tell a story that isn't a literalized, confessional story. That was a huge breakthrough for me writing.
Is there one tune that you feel is a high watermark of this newfound ability to write in this narrative style?
"The Fooler" to me is that song, because lyrically it's so tight and it tells this story. It’s about space and memory and it's obscure enough for people to hang their own meanings on, but to me it still has meaning. "Was It You" is more of a literal storytelling, but it's also a city song. "The Fooler" and "Late In The Garden" are epiphany songs.
I wanted to write a musical novel. I wanted to write something that made me feel like James Salter’s Light Years, one of my favorite books, Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, or Mrs. Dalloway. They're going inside and outside, and perspectives change, but it's hitting at the same core human element.
I'd love to hear more of your history about you in San Francisco. Do you see this record as a sort of tribute to that time in your life?
When I was 19, I moved on to Vallejo Street with my then closest friend from Southern California. It was hanging out at [bars like] Specs and Tosca and going to City Lights drunk at 11 o'clock to buy a book, and hang out and write, and talk to people that have ideas, and talk about all the stuff that needs doing and will be done. I also studied literature at San Francisco State and the University of East Anglia.
On my last day of university, I lived in the Upper Haight at the time — I was in exile from North Beach — and I had gone through a massive tragedy that completely disrupted and ruptured my world. I was in a really bizarre state of mind, and I was comforting myself. I was just surviving.
I was listening to a lot of Them and Van Morrison, and I was working at the record shop that brought me joy, which was Rookys in the Lower Haight. And a lot of the sound that went into the sonics of this record are these specific types of New York City records made by people like Bert Berns, and Bob Crewe, and Ellie Greenwich. Dick Vivian, who ran Rookys, was playing those records a lot.
There was this girl who I thought was the most mysterious and beautiful person I'd ever seen. We took the train twice a week to San Francisco State and we never spoke. The very last day of this course we were in, I realized she was sitting in the back of that class. She came up and sat in front of me, and she turned around and she's like, "So where are we gonna go get a drink right now?"
And I fell in love with this person. We ended up living together. Her father was the piano player for Van Morrison. All these confluences of strange things started happening. I'm not a mystical person, but it was this feeling. The way that she lived, and her humor, and her mind — she was so literary and intelligent and wry and funny, and stylish. Our life was this life that I had dreamed of.
We [once] went to a book signing at Tosca in North Beach, and the journalist Joel Selvin turned to us and he goes, "I'm writing a book on Bert Berns right now." Then Selvin started inviting me over on weekends, where he'd smoked dope and take me for a drive in his Shelby Cobra and play me all this Bert Burns stuff, and tell me all the stories that I've been dying to hear.
That sound became North Beach for me. That sound became like my salad days, because it was always on in the background and everywhere I went. I was DJing a lot — we would be at Edinburgh Castle, or at the Knockout or at Casanova, or the Elbo Room, or Koko in the Tenderloin and all the music in that period of time was like girl groups and ‘60s soul and the R&B I liked.
I orbited in similar circles, and went to many of those bars and soul DJ nights. I remember seeing you perform your first album at Bimbo’s in North Beach.
When I had my career from my first record, I went out on tour and I basically left the city and never came back fully, and the city never came back to me too.
I struggled for a long time. I had a really hard couple years trying to enter another part of my life like, Do I make records now? I tour? I don't like this. I want to go back to North Beach. I want to listen to Bert Berns records in Tosca and have my girlfriend and have my life back and have my network of friends.
Then I realized everybody else's life was getting totally disrupted, and everybody was leaving or moving. That ex, when we split up, she went to New York and I went to L.A. All our friends went off to New York or to L.A. or to Austin or to Chicago or to Berlin. And those were the people who could tell the wind was changing then.
So much of what you're saying resonates really deeply with me as a Bay Arean who no longer lives there — you want to revisit that life, but realize that it's not there anymore.
Goodbye to all that, really. The cheap thing is for it to be nostalgia, right? But it gets to a deeper thing about what is memory, what is desire, what is unrequited love? What is society doing to people?
It's about release, surrender. But also why everything's worth doing even if it's gone, or you're tricked. "Unreal" and "No Commitment" are songs about the outside world to show what these characters are rebelling against or living among. And then like other songs like "Looking For A Place" or "Was It You" or "Was The Style" those are like, what is worth living for?
"Hide and Seek" is about adult relationships; they're not about visceral stuff that could be mistaken as youthful. All these songs, too, are love songs with no love in the choruses. "Hide And Seek" is not a toxic relationship, but it's about the uncertainty of what love feels like, and when people are glancing off each other instead of connecting all the way.
Cover art for The Fooler — a couple in front of City Lights Books in North Beach
I and others have previously cast you among the wave of retro soul artists. How has that characterization shaped your music, if at all?
What I'm doing is not aping. I'm expressing myself with the tools and the vocabulary that I have on hand, and a listener has to trust me, that I'm doing what I'm doing in good faith.
I always had much more in common with — and actually lived among and worked among and incubated with — the San Francisco garage scene. Ty Segall is playing drums on my first record. But you know, when you make your first record with horns and gospel-style vocals, and the people who work on your record — including your publicist and your distributor — put out Daptone-related stuff or Mayer Hawthorne or Aloe Blacc related stuff, you're put into the bloodstream as another one of those cells. It also switches how people hear stuff. I struggled with that from the beginning.
Back to The Fooler, is there anybody playing on it that you want to highlight or any interesting production facts that you think are worthwhile to note?
Making it with Mark Neill, at his place, was really revelatory for me. I surrendered to Mark to be the artist. And I also brought in my childhood best friend, Anthony Polizzi, who's playing second guitar or piano, who's a part of my DNA. Almost every record I've put out has a song co-written by us; we haven't lived in the same city together since we were 17.
[Mark] understood the sound was the place and we talked a lot about these records specifically that were influencing us whether they were little Anthony and the Imperials records, or they were loving spoonful records, or they were Bert Berns records. And he was looking into me to find who I was, and for me, it helped push me.
What else is on your plate that is contributing to your new creative impetus?
I'm writing a lot. I have been working on a lot of other projects; I'm working on another record with Jon Batiste to follow up the work that we won a GRAMMY for.
I'm finding that in a lot of my writing, [my breakthrough] helped me comprehend how I want to write and what I'm actually trying to strike at. Every day, I try to get closer or touch it if I can. So it's been good. It's turbulent, but it's productive.
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Photo: Rachel Kupfer
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.
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'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 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 (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'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.
The Rise Of Underground House: How Artists Like Fisher & Acraze Have Taken Tech House, Other Electronic Genres From Indie To EDC