meta-script2023 GRAMMY Camp Musicians Share Their Artist Session Experiences | GRAMMY.com
2023 GRAMMY Camp Musicians Share Their Artist Session Experiences
Students participating in 2023 GRAMMY Camp

Photo: Timothy Norris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

interview

2023 GRAMMY Camp Musicians Share Their Artist Session Experiences

Gracie Abrams, G Flip, Moore Kismet, Paul Klein from LANY, and Lizzy McAlpine were the guest artists for 2023 GRAMMY Camp, where they discussed their career paths and helped students prepare for the music industry.

Recording Academy/Jul 24, 2023 - 04:11 pm

Scores of students nationwide are raring to join the music industry — and the Recording Academy just extended a hand to 86 of them during its annual GRAMMY Camp at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.

From July 16 to July 22, the GRAMMY Museum's guest artists — Gracie Abrams, G Flip, Moore Kismet, Paul Klein from LANY, and Lizzy McAlpine —  shared their career arcs and offered helpful insight about their livesi n the business.

Eight music career tracks were featured: audio engineering, electronic music production, the music business, music journalism, songwriting, vocal performance, video production, and instrumental performance. All culminated in virtual media projects, recordings and/or performances.

Paul Klein

*Paul Klein with Adam Weissler at the 2023 GRAMMY Camp. Courtesy of the Recording Academy™️/photo by Timothy Norris, Getty Images© 2023*

"GRAMMY Camp embodies the GRAMMY Museum's mission and education initiatives," Michael Sticka, the President and CEO of the GRAMMY Museum, said in a statement. "We're thrilled that with the support of the Hot Topic Foundation, Camp has extended to seven days this year."

To Sticka, this allows "high school students interested in a career in music more time and immersion to study with leading industry professionals and artists, resulting in a genuine learning experience about life in the music industry."

Read on for testimonials from the guest artists about the experience of working with 2023 GRAMMY Camp — and click here to watch the GRAMMY Camp Final Performances on COLLECTION:live.

These answers have been edited for clarity.

Moore Kismet

*Moore Kismet performing at 2023 GRAMMY Camp. Courtesy of the Recording Academy™️/photo by Rodin Eckenroth, Getty Images © 2023*

How does it feel to have participated in 2023 GRAMMY Camp?

Lizzy McAlpine: It feels great! I'm super honored to be a part of this amazing program and to get to talk to high school students who are really passionate about music, like I am. 

Moore Kismet: It's such an amazing honor to be a part of this year's GRAMMY Camp and help other kids my age learn about creating and sharing music in this current generation! 

Gracie Abrams: I feel so lucky to be included. 

The idea of being a part of a community that honors the impact of music, that lends its curiosity to learning ways of navigating the industry and leaning into the craft — I just couldn't be more grateful to participate and watch this next generation of storytellers and artists. 

G Flip: I'm so stoked to be involved with GRAMMY Camp! I was a drum teacher for many years and have always loved connecting with students who are interested in music. 

My drum teacher, Jenny, is the reason I'm a drummer so I know the importance of camps like this. Connecting with students is so important and rewarding, I can't wait.

I'm also such a big fan of Gracie Abrams, Lizzy McAlpine, Paul Klein, and all the other participants. I'm so honored to be included.

G Flip

*G Flip performing at 2023 GRAMMY Camp. Photo: Courtesy of the Recording Academy™️/photo by Timothy Norris, Getty Images © 2023*

In your eyes, what makes GRAMMY Camp an important and integral part of the music community?

McAlpine: It's crucial to foster the love of music, especially at the age these students are at right now — and to have a program that does that while also opening them up to a world of possibilities is so important.

Abrams: I feel the importance is in fostering curiosity and freedom and support in this industry. To be a young person surrounded by peers who are equally passionate and driven is such an impactful thing.

G Flip: During childhood and adolescence, your brain is growing and forming and grasping onto areas that spark interest and serotonin.

For my teenage years, drums was that for me. Giving students an opportunity like GRAMMY Camp is so awesome because it really can change these young people's lives — it can inspire and prove to young individuals that you can make a career from what you love.

They're learning from so many incredible legends and meeting peers who are just as passionate about music as they are. It's rad.

Gracie Abrams

What advice can you offer regarding making it work in the music industry?

McAlpine: Always be true to yourself because that is what makes you unique. Your gut will never lead you astray.

Kismet:
Most of my most poignant advice may be specifically geared towards any other queer students in the program, but considering how a lot of the kids in the program are my age or slightly older, I want to be able to provide insight into how to navigate the industry as a young adult.

We're constantly taken advantage of, and I want to be able to show people how to protect themselves, their art, and their passion.

Abrams:
My best advice thus far, though I am incredibly new here, would be to surround yourself with truly kind, decent people.

The spirit of those you collaborate with seeps into all the other lanes in your life and every relationship is one you can learn from — to be in the spirit of lifting each other up is critical. 

G Flip: It might sound clichéd, but follow what makes you happy. 

People can tell when something is faked or forced, if you stay true to yourself and just do what you want, people will gravitate towards that authenticity.

Also, if you're not happy at the end of the day, what's the point? Follow what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place.

Lizzy McAlpine Schyler O'Neal

*Courtesy of the Recording Academy™️/photo by Timothy Norris, Getty Images© 2023*

The Recording Academy Proudly Invites Nearly 3,700 Music Creators & Professionals To Join Its 2023 New Member Class

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See Miley Cyrus, Ice Spice, Noah Kahan, Kelsea Ballerini, & More Artists' Reactions

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2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See Miley Cyrus, Ice Spice, Noah Kahan, Kelsea Ballerini, & More Artists' Reactions

The 2024 GRAMMY nominations have been announced! Here’s how nominated artists from boygenius to Jelly Roll reacted on social media.

GRAMMYs/Nov 10, 2023 - 10:09 pm

This afternoon, the highly anticipated 2024 GRAMMY nominations were announced, bringing loads of excitement to music enthusiasts.

After the announcements were made, nominated artists shared their reaction on social media. A series of appreciation posts flooded the timeline from the likes of first-time nominee Tyla, trend-charting rapper Coi Leray, country star Kelsea Ballerini, and more.

Dive into the social media celebration posts, while catching up on the full nominees list. Make sure to tune into the 2024 GRAMMY awards on Sunday, Feb. 4 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, will air live (8:00-11:30 PM, LIVE ET/5:00-8:30 PM, LIVE PT) on the CBS Television Network and will stream on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

"On My Mama" singer/songwriter Victoria Monét shared pre-nomination nerves last night, comparing the feeling to the anticipation of draft day. Little did she know, she'd be one of the most nominated artists of the year. She received six nominations in total: Record Of The Year, Best New Artist, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Performance, Best Traditional R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song.

After Coil Leray found out she was nominated for Best Rap Performance for "Players" and Best Pop Dance Recording for her feature with David Guetta (“Baby Don't Hurt Me"), the rapper took to X, formerly known as Twitter: "Wow I'm really Grammy Nominated ? That's crazy. Let me let this sink in real quick and I'll brb."

Miley Cyrus specifically highlighted the women in the music industry, while celebrating her fans and team:

Afrobeats star Davido's latest album Timeless was nominated for Best Global Album, while also receiving nominations for Best African Music Performance and Best Global Music Performance.

Americana musician Jason Isbell thanked The Recording Academy for the Best Americana Performance, Best American Roots Song, and Best Americana Album nominations.

Rising artist Tyla, whose song "Water" was nominated for Best African Music Performance, posted a series of tweets capturing her immense shock:

Atlanta based R&B singer-songwriter, Summer Walker, shouted out all the "lover girls/boys" after CLEAR 2: SOFT LIFE EP was nominated for Best R&B Album.

Several artists took to Instagram to share more reactions to their nominations, including Best New Artist nominees Noah Kahan, Jelly Roll, Gracie Abrams, Ice Spice and The War & Treaty:

Country star Kelsea Ballerini shared a live-reaction video to her Best Country Album nomination.

Boygenius was nominated for Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Alt Music Performance, Best Alternative Music Album, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. The trio posted a photo of them hugging while staring at the TV displaying their nominations.

Latin singers Pedro Capó and Gaby Moreno celebrated their Best Latin Pop Album nominations, while fellow Latin star Juanes rejoiced over his Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album nod:

And despite writing GRAMMY-winning and GRAMMY-nominated hits for the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Julia Michaels (respectively), songwriters Shane McAnally and Justin Tranter were both shocked their names were included in the Songwriter Of The Year category — proving that a GRAMMY nomination is always magical, no matter how many times it happens.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Get To Know The Best New Artist Nominees At The 2024 GRAMMYs
(Clockwise From Top-Left): Coco Jones, Ice Spice, Gracie Abrams, Victoria Monét, Noah Kahan, The War And Treaty, Fred again.., Jelly Roll

Photos: Def Jam Recordings, Capitol Records, Image from TiVO, Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET, Image from TiVO, Austin Hargrave, Image from TiVO, Ashley Osborn

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Get To Know The Best New Artist Nominees At The 2024 GRAMMYs

From new rap sensations to a country star with a second life, the 2024 GRAMMY nominees for Best New Artist are nothing short of inspirational.

GRAMMYs/Nov 10, 2023 - 04:21 pm

The Best New Artist category is perhaps one of the GRAMMYs' most exciting. Each year honors artists from all genres who have the potential to become timeless legends in the future.

Whether the nominees have been in the game for decades or are fresh debutantes, the Best New Artist honor highlights the moment they are living now, and how they are breaking through the noise with distinctive voices, visions, and sounds.

The Best New Artist nominees for the 2024 GRAMMYs are Gracie Abrams, Fred again.., Ice Spice, Jelly Roll, Coco Jones, Noah Kahan, Victoria Monét, and The War And Treaty. Though only one of them will win the golden gramophone, their nominations speak to their excellence, and foreshadow exciting journeys ahead.

Below, get to know the nominees for Best New Artist at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Gracie Abrams

Since her 2019 debut single "Mean It," Gracie Abrams has been making every listener feel like her closest friend. Through confessional lyrics and a soft, raspy voice, she's caught the attention of fans, media and even other singers alike.

On her list of admirers are names like Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift — both of whom invited Abrams to be an opening act for their respective tours. Amid those prestigious gigs, Abrams still found the time to release her debut studio album, Good Riddance, in February.

Co-written by her and The National's Aaron Dessner (who also produced the album), Good Riddance was recorded at Dessner's famous Long Pond Studios, which added to the record's intimate atmosphere. "I think working with Aaron allowed for so much to come up that I don't think would have for me otherwise. So much of that is because of the trust that he and I share,," Abrams told GRAMMY.com earlier this year.

The 24-year-old grew up surrounded by art (she's the daughter of Hollywood director J.J Abrams and producer Katie McGrath), but that only made her talents bloom further. In a generation filled with remarkable female songwriters, Abrams' delicacy leaves a deep, gripping mark.

Fred again..

Fred Gibson, better known as the viral producer and DJ Fred again.., rose to popularity during the pandemic. When people couldn't go to clubs or even leave their homes, his mix-and-match dance tracks brought us just the right amount of nostalgia and euphoria.

His Actual Life album series started as an EP in 2020, but quickly expanded into three studio albums — the latest of which, Actual Life 3, arrived in October 2022. In each project, the trivialities of the world find a new veneer: voice notes from friends, clips from social media, and even the restlessness of public transport all become main characters, surrounded by Fred again..'s larger-than-life synths.

But before diving into his own complex creations, Gibson was already lauded as one of the UK's most prominent producers. He co-wrote and/or produced hits for a number of artists, from Ed Sheeran to Rita Ora, and was mentored by Brian Eno — who was his family's neighbor growing up. In 2020, he won Producer of the Year at the Brit Awards, becoming the youngest producer to do so at 26 years old.

Though Gibson has admitted that he's "not really fussed" by the glitz and the glamor, he's undeniably become the dance scene's hottest new star. And as the only dance act in the Best New Artist category, that may be evident at the 2024 GRAMMYs, too.

Ice Spice

Who hasn't heard of Ice Spice? The rapper's chill bars and fiery curls dominated the world this year, whether it was on TikTok's latest viral hit or the Met Gala red carpet.

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, the 23-year-old had a breakthrough with 2022's "Munch (Feelin' U)," followed by the equally popular "Bikini Bottom" and "In Ha Mood." The singles led up to her January debut EP, Like..?, and propelled Ice Spice — whose birth name is Isis Gaston — even higher.

In less than a year, she released collaborations with PinkPantheress ("Boy's a Liar Pt. 2"), Nicki Minaj ("Princess Diana" and "Barbie World," featuring Aqua), and Taylor Swift ("Karma"), becoming the first artist to land four top 10 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart in 2023.

While Ice Spice hasn't even released a debut studio album yet, she's an undeniable phenomenon who is pushing the drill scene far and beyond. Her style and bravado have made a mark on the music industry, and will likely continue to do so.

Jelly Roll

"I want to write a conceptual album that kind of outlines my journey of religion, my journey of spirituality, my journey of redemption, my journey of wrongdoings," Jelly Roll explained to GRAMMY.com earlier this year.

That album is his first country LP, 2023's Whitsitt Chapel. It was named after Whitsitt Chapel Baptist Church in his hometown of Antioch, Tennessee, where he was baptized at 14 years old.

Jelly Roll had a turbulent journey before becoming one of country music's most exciting new artists. After breaking a cycle of felonies, he still spent almost two decades treading the waters of the music industry. Born Jason DeFord, the 38-year-old star spent a good amount of the early 2000s selling rap mixtapes out of his car. But the hard work paid off — he has since developed a unique mix of hip-hop, rock and country, which led him to a Grand Ole Opry debut in 2021, and to last year's smash hit "Son of a Sinner," off his 2021 album, Ballads of the Broken.

The success of "Son of a Sinner" inspired a full pivot to country, and his decision has proven right with the success of singles "Need a Favor" and "Save Me," the latter of which earned him a nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance this year for his duet version with Lainey Wilson. Along with coming full circle musically, Jelly Roll mends his past while becoming a new artist — and we're lucky to witness his becoming.

Coco Jones

You might remember Coco Jones from the 2012 Disney Channel film Let It Shine. In it, she played the prodigious teenage singer Roxie — and offered a glimpse of her dazzling talents.

Although Let It Shine was the most watched movie of the year for kids and tweens in 2012, it took a whole decade for Jones to truly gain the recognition she deserves. The South Carolina-born, Tennessee-raised star spent the majority of the past years as an independent singer and actress, dropping four EPs and scoring roles in films like 2018's Flock of Four and in the 2022 television series Bel-Air.

It was only last year, after she signed a contract with High Standardz and Def Jam Recordings, that her efforts started to pay off. She released her first major label EP, What I Didn't Tell You, featured on Babyface's GRAMMY-nominated Girls Night Out ("Simple"), and earned her first No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart with the sultry "ICU."

Now, she attests to her potential as R&B's next soulful diva with her first GRAMMY nomination.

Noah Kahan

When Noah Kahan named one of his songs "Stick Season" — the Vermont-specific term to describe the dreary, gray days between Halloween and the first snow — he didn't know that this period of time would be more bountiful to him than any blossoming spring.

First teased on TikTok in 2020, "Stick Season" went viral in the next two years, culminating with its official release as the lead track off Kahan's 2022 LP of the same name. The album followed suit as a smashing success, earning the top spot on five Billboard charts upon its release (including Top Rock & Alternative Albums) and prompting collaborations with Kacey Musgraves, Hozier and Post Malone.

The 26-year-old folk-pop singer is still adjusting to all the prestige, which will only grow as he starts 2024 with a stadium/arena tour that includes dates at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl and New York's Madison Square Garden. "It's f—ing unbelievable," he told GRAMMY.com in October. "It feels so fake that it's almost like, the more time I spend thinking about it, the more abstract it becomes."

Kahan's main strength is this unflinching honesty — he talks openly about his struggles with depression and anxiety, and his lyrics resonate because of their sharp vulnerability. His openness as well as his charming wit have helped him continue to reach bigger audiences, and have now helped him earn his first GRAMMY nomination. 

Victoria Monét

While Victoria Monét has been releasing solo music since 2014 with her debut EP Nightmares & Lullabies: Act 1, she used to be best known for her work behind the scenes. Her expertise was writing hits for many of today's biggest pop stars, including Ariana Grande, Chloe x Halle, BLACKPINK, and more.

She has even been nominated for three GRAMMYs thanks to her songwriting prowess: two in 2020 for her work with Grande (Album of the Year for Thank U, Next and Record of the Year for "7 Rings") and one in 2021 for her work with Chloe x Halle (Best R&B Song for "Do It.")

Gradually, people started to notice the 34-year-old songwriter for her own singing as Monét came into her artistry more and more. Her 2020 independently released EP, Jaguar marked a breakthrough in her career and was critically acclaimed for its luxurious R&B melodies and classy undertones.

Following suit came her debut solo album, 2023's Jaguar II, through RCA Records. The album was equally acclaimed, and its supporting tour sold out minutes after being announced. Add to that  seven nominations at the 2024 GRAMMYs — including Best New Artist and Record Of The Year for "On My Mama" — it's more than clear that Monét is already a superstar to be reckoned with.

The War and Treaty

Tanya and Michael Trotter Jr. found each other in 2010, when they both played at Maryland's Spirit of Love festival. The name was a good omen, as the couple soon began a lasting partnership — both in love and in music.

The War and Treaty is their way to let us peek into their rich universe. While originally formed in 2014 under the name Trotter & Blount, they changed it in 2017 after several discussions. "Michael, calm down," Tanya said one day, as retold by Michael on BobbyCast. "This is not a war, we need to come to some sort of treaty about this."

Since then, they have been stirring hearts with emotional anthems inspired by soul, country, and gospel music. However, it was only in 2022 that they signed with UMG Nashville, already carrying one EP and three studio albums under their belt. In March 2023 came the devotional Lover's Game, their first major label LP, with production credits by GRAMMY winner Dave Cobb.

"This album isn't about whether you like the music or not," Michael said in an interview with NPR. "This album is about, 'Do you understand what we're trying to say? Can you get with this? Do you feel the inclusion in our voices? Do you feel the resilience? Do you feel the overcoming? And if you feel it, do you have a heart for the War and Treaty?"

As one of only eight artists with a Best New Artist GRAMMY nomination for 2024, it seems at least their peers do..

The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.

The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy's Voting Membership.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Behind The Scenes Of The Eras Tour: Taylor Swift's Opening Acts Unveil The Magic Of The Sensational Concert
(L-R) girl in red, OWENN, GAYLE, beabadoobee, Gracie Abrams

Photos (L-R): Natasha Moustache, Natasha Moustache, Scott Eisen, Octavio Jones, Octavio Jones; all photos TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

interview

Behind The Scenes Of The Eras Tour: Taylor Swift's Opening Acts Unveil The Magic Of The Sensational Concert

Everyone's obsessed with Taylor Swift's massive stadium tour — including her opening acts. From indie pop star Gracie Abrams to GRAMMY nominee GAYLE, hear backstage memories and reflections from the people who take stage right before the superstar.

GRAMMYs/Jul 12, 2023 - 06:40 pm

To say Taylor Swift's Eras Tour is leaving everyone wonderstruck would be an understatement.

Distilling a 17-year discography as iconic as Swift's into one show sounds impossible, but the star has proven that no task is too daunting for her. And while she has conquered stadiums with ease before, The Eras Tour transcends her foregoing concerts with its all-encompassing three-hour setlist, high-level production and powerful pathos: its worldwide magnificence is pure magic.

Enchanting hundreds of thousands since March, Swift's latest tour is as delightful as it is influential, providing a perfectly satisfying mix of nostalgia and surprises in true Swift fashion. Even though the musician is technically in her Midnights era, the celebration of her remarkable career is undoubtedly historic — and she's determined to share the moment with other artists during her trek across the globe.

The Eras Tour has featured a cohort of rising and established stars, from 2000s rock staples Paramore to indie rockers like beabadoobee and Phoebe Bridgers. They all have that same sparkle of charm and creativity that made Swift a sensation, and they also share a passion for her beloved discography. To understand what it's like playing a part in such a historic tour, GRAMMY.com spoke with some of Swift's opening acts about performing for sold-out stadiums.

"I shed a tear because I knew that it meant Taylor really believed in me," OWENN, who was a backup dancer on Swift's 1989 Tour, said of his invitation to open for the tour.

From special epiphanies to hilarious backstage moments, OWENN and his fellow openers Gracie Abrams, beabadoobee, girl in red, and GAYLE take us along their Eras Tour journeys — all the way back to the very first night.

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us about the moment you were offered an opening slot for The Eras Tour. What did the invitation mean to you?

Gracie Abrams: Prior to ever dreaming about my own shows I dreamt about going on tour with Taylor… The invitation to join the Eras Tour felt like the biggest prank of all time. I was like, "this can't be right…"

It made my world stop and I just couldn't believe the scale of the honor. I still can't believe it, two months into playing the tour. It's the best for every reason and in every way.

OWENN: I was offered The Eras slot while I was on tour choreographing for Lil Nas X. It was definitely [a] moment that I will never forget… It meant that Taylor really believed in me and that my life was going to be forever changed.

beabadoobee: A serious pinch me moment! It was the end of last year, around the time I was doing "Jimmy Fallon" in December, and I was speaking with my manager about joining Taylor's tour as the main support. Funny because years ago I did an interview and mentioned how she would be my dream artist to go on tour with. I was thrilled to be a part of her Eras Tour.

girl in red: I was so stoked when I was offered to be opening act on the Eras Tour! I had never been to a stadium show, let alone play one, and the fact that my favorite artist invited me is just the coolest thing.

GAYLE: My manager and I — Kristina Russo, who has been my manager since I was 14 — were in my hotel room when she got a call and had a formal offer with all of the dates.  We cried, jumped around, and hugged.

My manager and I then surprised [my bandmates] by screaming "We're opening for Taylor Swift!" and they were shocked! We all hugged and cried, and I got two ice cream cakes from Uber Eats delivered to my hotel room, and we all ate them with plastic forks on the ground. It was truly one of the best days ever!

It was such an honor to be invited onto this tour. I know that's not a decision she takes lightly, so to be a part of that is the best thing ever.

Walk me through your first night on the tour. What was going through your mind? What was the energy like?

Abrams: The first day of tour I just remember walking into the stadium for soundcheck and crying laughing as soon as I heard my voice on the PA. It felt insane, to be honest, I felt crazy.

But then walking on stage, it was all of a sudden just about the community of people, the beyond dedicated die-hard fans who looked gorgeous and sparkly and committed to their outfits — it was about celebrating Taylor's legacy. It was like everyone in the room could feel the weight of it. I felt the most amount of gratitude, and I was also just internally bubbling with anticipation to watch her show on this tour for the first time.

OWENN: The first night on tour was insane! I rehearsed so much and trained really hard, but nothing could have prepared me for that level of energy and intensity ... from my vocals to me dancing in front of all of those people. It was definitely a surreal moment. Electrifying!

beabadoobee: Honestly every emotion. I would go through being extremely excited to terrified, to wanting to throw up all over myself and then back to being just so pumped to get out there.

The energy was incredible — the stadiums, the stage, the crew, and the fans were all so supportive too. I always caught some fans singing and dancing to my songs; that really surprised me!

girl in red: The first day we were playing I remember walking up on stage for soundcheck and getting really nervous about playing later cause it was so big. I was worried I'd mess up the words and make a fool out of myself, but luckily it went well!

GAYLE: Opening up for the first night on the Eras tour was such a high honor and I was so scared. I practiced a million times in my hotel room because I was so anxious that I was going to forget the setlist. I made my whole family and my best friend's family go to the first two shows in Arizona. I also randomly really, really, really wanted my brother to think I did a good job.

Everyone in the crowd was so excited to kick off the tour, and so many people hadn't seen Taylor live in so long! It was such a kind crowd, and there was so much excitement and energy. It will forever be a memory I keep very close to my heart.

How does this tour compare to other tours you've been part of? What makes it unique?

Abrams: Every single inch of this tour is unlike any other I've been a part of in the past. This is only my second year touring ever, and to have had the opportunity to see the inner workings of the biggest tour in the world so intimately is just the luckiest thing.

Everyone that I've gotten to know on the crew of the Eras Tour is an exceptional person. Everyone is so hard working and so passionate about their role in the tour, and that alone is inspiring, even more so to realize it is a direct result of Taylor's energy and attitude as a person and as a leader. I think everybody feels as proud and lucky as I do to be involved in any capacity.

OWENN: I feel like every tour is unique in its own way, but this one for sure is different for me because I'm singing instead of dancing in the background. A completely different experience!

beabadoobee: The sheer size of everything, how professional Taylor is, and of course how it felt like we entered her world. She played for three plus hours and she looked like she didn't break a sweat. She's a superstar through and through and one of the nicest people on top. Really inspiring to see her perform to like 100,000 people yet still make you feel like she's playing and singing to just you.

girl in red: I think the biggest difference is the scale of the venue and that people might not know who you are. People are there to see Taylor, so the crowd chemistry is a little different and you have to adapt to that! 

GAYLE: Well, Taylor was my first stadium tour ever — which is the craziest thing to say ever. With other tours I've been on, I can distantly remember at what age I heard their songs and fell in love with their music. I fell in love with AJR when I was 12. I fell in love with P!nk when I was 10, thanks to my mother. I got obsessed with My Chemical Romance when I was 14, and I heard Tate McRae when I was about 15 and I loved her music. I've heard of Taylor Swift my whole entire life and there was never a point in my life where I didn't know and love her.

Share a special backstage moment — anything fun, silly, memorable that happened.

Abrams: I honestly just feel so lucky to be going through this tour with my crew and band, every one of whom are my second family now, the people I love more than anything and trust so deeply and laugh so hard with. I think for all of us having the opportunity to lean on each other as we've gone through these milestone firsts has been really formative.

OWENN: A very special backstage moment for me is when myself, my band and team all join hands in a circle and say a prayer. It's a beautiful moment for me as we're all connected and about to go on stage.

beabadoobee: We got to hang out backstage and just have fun, have a laugh and speak about our cats and whatever was on our minds. She's the loveliest person and even that she made the time meant a lot.

girl in red: I think the most memorable part of the tour, aside from playing my show, is getting to see Taylor play her show. After my show, I get ready to see her put on the performance of a lifetime and it feels like I'm in a very special time in my life. Very happy to be here.

GAYLE: I get very nauseous before and after I'm on stage and once, I walked off stage and started vomiting everywhere. The trash can was unfortunately right where Phoebe Bridgers was walking on stage, so I wished her and her band good luck as I was vomiting.

What have you learned from watching Taylor's show? What's been your favorite song to hear live or a memorable onstage moment?

Abrams: Watching Taylor's show is like watching an Olympian. Watching Taylor's show is also like sitting in a tiny room and sharing secrets with your best friend. There's a strength and a sensitivity to her show that is unlike anything I have ever seen or heard of in my entire life, with the exception of knowing her as a friend.

She is as rare a person as she is an artist and performer. I think the most popular opinion in the world right now is that Taylor's show is the best in the history of time. To watch and study the ways in which she's able to hold herself fully, while also carrying these stadiums of so many tens of thousands as they sob and dance and laugh and scream, is just unimaginable until you're lucky enough to see it for yourself.

OWENN: I actually have a couple of favorite things. When Taylor goes through the 1989 and reputation eras, I have flashbacks of those tours from the memories with her and the dancers to the actual choreography, it's so nostalgic!

And the opening of The Eras Tour! "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" is actually one of my favorite songs from Taylor so that's always a treat.

beabadoobee: I think the biggest take away is hearing her amazing songwriting. She really has a knack for making incredible songs and storytelling, being so direct with her words and lyric choices, I personally love that!

It was mind-blowing watching her go through each era and nail everything — all the costume changes, the acting theatrical elements to the show, and of course her insane stamina to go for more than three hours every night. I've never seen anything like that.

My favorite moment has to be when she dedicated "Our Song" to me and then played it on the first night. That song means so much to me and I mentioned in an interview a while back how it was my ringtone when I was younger and shaped my childhood. It was awesome!

girl in red: I've learned so much from seeing her performance, but I think what sticks out the most to me is how perfected the show is and how that truly just reflects Taylor as an artist. She has created all this beautiful and fantastic music and now she's made the most entertaining show. I'm so inspired by her work ethic and she really puts the work in – and that's why she is the best.

GAYLE: "Cruel Summer" is a hit and the best thing ever! Also "my tears ricochet" kills me, but also "champagne problems, " but also "Bejeweled." Also, watching Ice Spice and Taylor play "Karma" together was iconic!

I've learned that Taylor Swift is a beast and can do the impossible — sing for three and a half hours for three days straight, and for multiple weekends in a row. She paces herself beautifully and the way she paces her setlist is amazing. [She] is captivating from beginning to end.

5 Reasons Why Taylor Swift's Eras Tour Will Be The Most Legendary Of Her Generation

Lizzy McAlpine’s Big Year: The Viral Singer Details The Biggest Moments Behind Her Fast-Rising Career
Lizzy McAlpine

Photo: Caity Krone

interview

Lizzy McAlpine’s Big Year: The Viral Singer Details The Biggest Moments Behind Her Fast-Rising Career

As Lizzy McAlpine winds down the U.S. leg of her tour, the "ceilings" singer looks back on her song going viral, performing on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," headlining a sold-out tour, and signing with a major record label.

GRAMMYs/Jun 7, 2023 - 03:59 pm

Lizzy McAlpine is a skilled storyteller who has become known for her candid and relatable songwriting in genres ranging from pop to indie folk. "As I’ve grown and evolved as a songwriter, I've been able to let the vulnerability shine through a little bit more and I’ve become less afraid of saying exactly what's on my mind," she says, speaking from Los Angeles over a Zoom call. 

Apparently, listeners appreciate her honesty. 

McAlpine has turned hundreds of millions of listeners into dedicated fans since the release of her first album, Give Me A Minute, in 2020. After introducing her sophomore album five seconds flat, her popularity seems to have skyrocketed . Her hit song "ceilings" peaked at No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reached 230 million streams and climbing on Spotify, was certified Gold, and inspired a TikTok challenge resulting in over 742,000 posts featuring a sped-up version of the song. She recently  performed on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and signed with RCA Records. The second leg of her tour sold out immediately. 

"Even though the experiences we all go through are universal, it can feel isolating when you’re in the moment," says the 23-year-old Philadelphia-born musician. "I hope that people can feel less alone and have an outlet to express their emotions that is healthy by listening to my songs." 

With her soft but steady voice, McAlpine sings from a place where most of us feel least comfortable — a place of uncertainty, contradiction, and discovery — which is reflected in lines like "it's not that I hate you, I hate that it hurt" and "I was trying to be honest, but now I think I should've just lied." Instrumentally, five seconds flat is layered with electronic features, strings, guitar, piano, drums, and horns. But McAlpine doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into a style: "My albums are just a reflection of who I am at the time." 

After completing a 27-show international tour on Sept. 11, McAlpine will head back into the studio to continue developing her third album — and to work toward new goals, including getting back to acting on stage or screen ("I'll literally take anything. I miss it so much"), building a world around her upcoming album through visuals and fan experiences, and buying a house. But first, she discussed her recent career highlights with GRAMMY.com. 

On "Ceilings" Going Viral And Writing Songs That Connect

I was definitely surprised. I don't expect any of my songs to have viral moments. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, and I'm not going to chase it or try to make it happen. Also, this wasn't a single, it was just on the album, and so I definitely wasn't expecting this song to resonate as much as it did with people. 

I try to just write about things that have happened to me. Apparently, it's universal — I’ve gone through things that everyone seems to go through, and I put them into words. I think about my feelings all the time. I journal all the time; I have to write about a feeling until I understand it. That’s part of what songwriting is, for me, too. It's writing about things that I don't understand until I understand them. And I feel like a lot of people connect to that. 

I'm not having any crazy experiences that no one else has ever had in their life before. I just tend to find ways to talk about these things that I experienced, [which are] sometimes feelings that are hard to put into words, and in ways that not a lot of people have talked about. I think people connect to the realness and the honesty.

[Noticing the "ceilings" TikTok trend] was a gradual thing for me. I can't remember which video I saw first, but I saw the sped-up sound getting a little bit of traction on TikTok, and then I started seeing the videos, and it snowballed from there. I wasn't expecting it. It was wild.

On Her "Tonight Show" Performance And Building A Lasting Career

I've done the late night talk show world before, but this was the first talk show experience that I had in at least a year. I had so much fun. I get nervous before I perform anywhere; it doesn't matter who's watching. But I wasn't that nervous at all. Jimmy was so nice. We did the bit, we filmed it. And then at the end, he was like, "Let me know if you want to listen to the mixes back. We want to make sure that you like it." It was just fun to be there and be on the set and perform the song for an actual audience.

I wouldn't say that was the turning point in being more widely recognized. I can't pinpoint one exact moment where it started changing, but it's always been a gradual, uphill kind of growth, which is what I want. I'm not chasing the overnight success thing. I want a long lasting career. And so I'm trying to build it gradually and with intention. That was one step on the path.

On The Joys And Challenges Of Headlining A Sold-Out Tour 

At first, I was fully convinced that all the tickets had been bought by bots or scammers or something, and that there was no way they sold out that fast. I was only convinced when I walked onstage at the first show and saw actual people in the audience. It was surreal.

Especially since this is the second leg of the five seconds flat tour, we wanted to make it different from the first tour, so if people are coming for a second time, they're not getting the same thing. And we also wanted to level it up production-wise, because we have the means to do that now. We have a whole set. We have walls and a couch. We have lighting. It basically feels like a living room, which was my design and I really wanted to make it feel homey and intimate because that's my vibe. I interact with the furniture and the lamps, and I move around the set. I'm pretty sure last tour just had a rug onstage — and that was it. But that's all we could afford. It’s starting to feel like an actual production now. 

There are a lot of challenging parts of touring for me. My cup is already pretty empty — I don't have a lot of social energy. The traveling takes more out of it, and then the performing takes even more out of it, so that at the end of the day, every day, I have nothing left. Sometimes it's easy once I'm on stage to go into that mode of performing. But it is hard on my mind and my body afterward. 

So it's hard, but there are obviously fun moments. I love my team so much. My band and the crew are so kind and so fun to be around. My favorite moments on the tour so far have been with them.

On Signing With A Major Label And Embarking On A New Record

In tandem with the tour being a level up this time around, this also feels like the right time to go to a major label. I had thought about it right before five seconds flat came out but I wanted to hold out a little longer. That album didn't seem like the right album to take to a major. It was a gut thing. And now it feels like I am on the edge of something and this decision to sign with RCA is definitely pushing me towards that. 

I want to do and accomplish a lot of things in my life and my career. This is a step towards all of those goals. I was ready to take that step. 

I am working on my third record, and it's taken a long time, but it's finally on its way. All my albums are going to sound different because I'm always going to be a different person when I'm making them. Who I am now is leaning more towards ’70s-inspired sounds like Elliott Smith and the Smiths and those types of artists. A big inspiration for this album is Andy Shauf — his music is incredible. Just like 70s-sounding, live, more raw and less tuned and perfected. I want the next album to feel more authentic. Not that my stuff before hasn't sounded authentic, but I'm leaning more towards a less clean, less polished sound.

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