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Press Play: AkayCentric Delivers A Tender, Stripped-Down Performance Of "Body And Soul"
AkayCentric

Photo: Courtesy of AkayCentric

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Press Play: AkayCentric Delivers A Tender, Stripped-Down Performance Of "Body And Soul"

AkayCentric revisits "Body and Soul," off his 2019 'Ignition' album, in an intimate, romantic performance that spotlights his soaring vocals.

GRAMMYs/Dec 2, 2022 - 02:40 pm

AkayCentric offers a declaration of all-encompassing, eternal love in "Body and Soul," an immersive track off his 2019 album, Ignition. "Let me be the one for you/ And you'll be the one for me/ And I promise I'm gonna give my all," the Lagos, Nigeria native sings in the chorus.

On the studio version of "Body and Soul," a smooth backing track and an atmospheric blend of backing vocals propel the song forward. But in this stripped-down performance, the Afropop star trades those bells and whistles for a simple, acoustic guitar line and a plaintive, pure vocal delivery.

In this episode of Press Play, AkayCentric gives fans a front-row seat to his intimate living room performance, which puts his honeyed vocals on full display. Trembling vibrato and R&B vocal runs add to the emotional impact of the melody, with a gentle acoustic guitar line and backing vocals providing subtle texture to this performance of "Body and Soul."

AkayCentric is closing out 2022 with an acoustic set in Oakland, Calif., where he'll open for R&B star Tone Stith on Dec. 4. When he announced the show on social media, AkayCentric promised, "Trust me, I sound better LIVE." Judging by this performance, he's not wrong. 

Press play on the video above to watch AkayCentric's intimate performance of "Body and Soul," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Press Play. 

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Press Play: Watch Ibrahim Maalouf Spotlight His Improvisatory Powers In Energetic Performance of "Right Time"
Ibrahim Maalouf

Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy

Press Play: Watch Ibrahim Maalouf Spotlight His Improvisatory Powers In Energetic Performance of "Right Time"

Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf showcases his improvisation skills in this instrumental performance of "Right Time," a hip-hop track from his latest album, 'Capacity To Love.'

GRAMMYs/Jan 26, 2023 - 05:35 pm

Since the initiation of his solo career, Lebanese instrumentalist Ibrahim Maalouf has strived to diversify music with his trumpeting.

The musician found his start performing at international jazz and classical competitions. After quickly becoming one of the most decorated trumpeters, Maalouf began his career as a soloist, where he could transcend the bounds of traditional genres. His skillful, unique improvisation caught the attention of artists globally, including Afrobeats singer Angélique Kidjo.

Together, they released Queen of Sheba, which snagged Maalouf his very first GRAMMY nomination in the Best Global Music Album category at the 2023 GRAMMYs and made him the first Lebanese instrumentalist to be nominated in GRAMMY history.

In this episode of Press Play, Maalouf performs an instrumental version of "Right Time," an upbeat hip-hop track on his latest album, Capacity to Love. Accompanied by an electric guitar and saxophone, Maalouf plays the track's melody, originally sung by Erick the Architect from the Flatbush Zombies.

Maalouf then trades off with the saxophonist, as the two musicians deliver an impressive, improvised solo.

Capacity to Love is Maalouf's fifteenth studio album and first self-produced project. The genre-bending release features collaborations with pop singer J.P. Cooper, rapper D Smoke, New Orleans funk band Tank & the Bangas, and more.

Press play on the video above to watch Ibrahim Maalouf's performance of "Right Time," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Press Play: Ranky Tanky Offer A Powerful Performance Of "Stand By Me" Using Traditional Gullah Techniques
Ranky Tanky's Quiana Parler

Photo: Courtesy of Ranky Tanky

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Press Play: Ranky Tanky Offer A Powerful Performance Of "Stand By Me" Using Traditional Gullah Techniques

South Carolina-based musical ensemble Ranky Tanky provide a glimpse into Gullah musical culture with this live performance of "Stand By Me," which features a call-and-response singing style and body percussion.

GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2023 - 07:33 pm

As members of the tight-knit Gullah community, jazz-influenced gospel group Ranky Tanky constantly aim to keep the culture alive. Together, five members of Ranky Tanky — Quiana Parler, Quentin E. Baxter, Kevin Hamilton, Clay Ross, and Charlton Single — have made strides in educating people on Gullah, serving as the ethnocultural group's global music ambassador and leading initiatives to teach students about Gullah's history.

The lifelong friends turned bandmates released their sophomore album, Good Time, in 2019, which helped Ranky Tanky snag their very first GRAMMY Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album, marking the first Gullah music recognition in GRAMMY history.

In this episode of Press Play, Ranky Tanky presents "Stand By Me," the opening track from the award-winning album. The musical ensemble utilizes traditional Gullah performance techniques, emphasizing body percussion and call-and-response singing. Vocalist Quiana Parler stands centered at the microphone as a dancer performs a contemporary routine.

Ranky Tanky ended 2022 with their second GRAMMY Award nomination in the Best Regional Roots Music Album category for their live album recorded at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The 13-song LP includes another live rendition of "Stand By Me."

Later this year, Ranky Tanky is expected to release their third studio album and is currently slated to perform a string of shows throughout the United States.

Press play on the video above to watch Ranky Tanky's performance of "Stand By Me," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Press Play: Tank And The Bangas Deliver A Vulnerable, Sultry Performance Of "Heavy"
Tank and The Bangas

Photo: Courtesy of Tank and The Bangas

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Press Play: Tank And The Bangas Deliver A Vulnerable, Sultry Performance Of "Heavy"

Tank and The Bangas highlight the importance of communication and trust with this intimate performance of "Heavy."

GRAMMYs/Jan 12, 2023 - 06:05 pm

For Tank and The Bangas frontwoman Tarriona "Tank" Ball, honest communication is king. But even if that isn't always easy to practice in her personal life, it always comes through in her group's music — and that's exactly the case with "Heavy."

"Heavy on your love/ Heavy on your trust in me/ Heavy on communication/ Honesty," Tank sings on the track, a B-side from their latest album, Red Balloon. It's an understated, yet powerful statement that characterizes the foundation of any healthy relationship.

In this episode of Press Play, the group shares the importance of an open dialogue with a sultry performance of "Heavy." As Tank stands front and center at the microphone, The Bangas — Joshua Johnson, Norman Spence II, and Albert Allenback — evoke a casual, intimate atmosphere to help put the song's vulnerable message at the forefront.

Red Balloon is Tank and The Bangas' third studio album and serves as a successor to their 2019 release, Green Balloon. The project earned the group their second GRAMMY nomination, as it's up for Best Progressive R&B Album at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Press play on the video above to watch Tank and The Bangas' performance of "Heavy," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Press Play: Hezron Clarke Chases Down His Dreams With An Inspiring Performance Of "Man On A Mission"
Hezron Clarke (second from right) and his band

Photo: Courtesy of Hezron Clarke

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Press Play: Hezron Clarke Chases Down His Dreams With An Inspiring Performance Of "Man On A Mission"

Pulling from his own experience of pursuing a passion, rising reggae star Hezron Clarke uses "Man on a Mission" to deliver a message of hope for anybody who's chasing a dream.

GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2023 - 06:00 pm

"We are ordinary people doing extraordinary things/ Smallest tides rock the biggest boats/ So who says it can't be done?" rising reggae and blues star Hezron Clarke sings in the chorus of his song "Man on a Mission." It's a message of support and encouragement for anybody with a dream to chase — because that's exactly how Clarke got to where he is today.

In this episode of Press Play, Clarke delivers a hopeful and chilled-out performance of "Man on a Mission," which is the title track of his 2022 album. The album cover serves as the backdrop of the performance, with Clarke sitting on a stool and strumming an acoustic guitar while an array of backing musicians accompany him as he sings.

"Man on a Mission" is also the first track on the album, and fittingly lays out the thesis of the project: The singer isn't shy about pursuing his passions, and he won't stop until he's accomplished what he wants to do. He also celebrates those who inspire him, reminding himself and other dreamers that any goal is attainable, no matter how improbable it might seem.

In his Man on a Mission album, a large part of that goal is elevating reggae music and refocusing the genre on its roots, while also incorporating his own bluesy leanings. A native of Montego Bay, Jamaica, Clarke headed to Kingston — the world's most prominent reggae hub — to record his album, and brought some of the genre's most legendary players into the studio with him.

"Man on a Mission represents a mission to restore reggae music to greater prominence internationally and bring back something soulful to the market," Clarke explained to The Hype Magazine in September. "It also represents the resilience to keep going, to keep making good music, reggae music, real heart and soul music, until it reaches a greater level of acceptance."

Press play on the video above to watch Clarke's full performance of "Man on a Mission," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Press Play.

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