meta-script15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: Janelle Monáe, King Krule, Killer Mike & More | GRAMMY.com
15 must hear albums june 2023
(Clockwise) Kim Petras, Juan Wauters, Amaarae, Janelle Monáe, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Maisie Peters, King Krule, Killer Mike

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15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: Janelle Monáe, King Krule, Killer Mike & More

From highly-anticipated debuts to long-awaited returns, check out 15 albums dropping this June from Kim Petras, Amaarae, Foo Fighters and many more.

GRAMMYs/Jun 2, 2023 - 01:39 pm

June is an important moment in the year, as it brings us Pride Month, Black Music Month and Juneteenth. It also marks the official start of summer, where rising temperatures invite late afternoons enjoying good music — whether it’s outdoors at one of the season’s many festivals or in the comfort of your own home.

As for the good music, this month brings us plenty of new releases by queer artists, like Kim Petras' long-awaited debut, Feed The Beast, and the Aces’ I’ve Loved You For So Long. Black musicians have much on offer in June as well, including Janelle Monáe (who is also queer) The Age of Pleasure, house music DJ and producer Jayda G’s Guy, and Ghana-born singer Amaarae’s Fountain Baby. Last but not least, June also marks the return of both Foo Fighters and Lucinda Williams after life-altering events, and the ultimate release of Bob Dylan’s 2021 concert film soundtrack, Shadow Kingdom.

To inspire you further with their bold artistry and moving stories, GRAMMY.com compiled a guide to the 15 must-hear albums dropping June 2023. 

Foo Fighters - But Here We Are

Release date: June 2

In dark times, humans often turn to art. Even if they have no answers for what the future holds, the transmuting power of expression reminds us that, sometimes, existing is enough. But Here We Are, Foo Fighters’ 11th studio album, does just that.

After "a year of staggering losses, personal introspection and bittersweet remembrances," as they state in their website  — referring to the sudden loss of longtime drummer, Taylor Hawkins,  and of frontman Dave Grohl’s mother, Virginia — they find both grievance and strength in what has been called "the first chapter of the band’s new life."

In support of this change, Foo Fighters have announced over 25 performances across the U.S. and Europe in the upcoming months. But Here We Are drops on June 2, and features ten new tracks, including promotional singles "Rescued," "Under You," "Show Me How," and "The Teacher."

Juan Wauters - Wandering Rebel

Release date: June 2

For most of his life, the Uruguay-born, New York-raised singer Juan Wauters was a rover — never for too long in one place. But as he sings on the upcoming titular track of his new album, Wandering Rebel, "During COVID I discovered/ that I like stability."

In a statement, Wauters reflected about moving back to his home country because of the pandemic, and the personal changes that came with it: "New York was the place I always came back to, but I never really had a 'home.' My parents left Uruguay, their home, when I was young. Now, [in Montevideo], I have a place to come home to, and people that are waiting for me."

The 12 songs on Wandering Rebel are defined as "candid reflections on subjects like career, romantic commitment, mental health, and the personal toll of touring," some of which can be seen through singles "Milanesa al Pan (ft. Zoe Gotusso)" and "Modus Operandi (ft. Frankie Cosmos)." As to not lose sight of his itinerant roots, Wauters will embark on a lengthy U.S. tour starting this month.

Bob Dylan - Shadow Kingdom

Release date: June 2

When the COVID-19 pandemic stalled Bob Dylan’s illustrious Never Ending Tour, he decided to baffle the world with something entirely different.

First released in 2021 as a concert film directed by Alma Har'el, Shadow Kingdom sees Dylan perform 14 tracks from the first half of his career in an acoustic, intimate atmosphere. In the setlist, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" from 1965’s Bringing It All Back Home marks the earliest composition to be featured, while "What Was It You Wanted" from 1989's Oh Mercy is the latest.

With little-to-no prior information, the film originally premiered on livestream platform Veeps, and swiftly disappeared 48 hours after. On June 2, an official soundtrack release will revive the experience for all those who missed it.

Rancid - Tomorrow Never Comes

Release date: June 2

Breaking a six-year absence of new music, California’s boisterous Rancid are back. Tomorrow Never Comes, the band’s tenth album, proves that the verve from one of punk rock’s biggest acts in the mid-1990s is still alive.

Produced by longtime collaborator and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz, the record holds 15 tracks, but runs just short of 29 minutes — Rancid’s briefest album yet. But judging by singles "Tomorrow Never Comes," "Don't Make Me Do It," and "Devil in Disguise," quick-paced or not, the quality remains the same.

Right after the release, Rancid will kick off an European tour for the rest of the month, before hitting Canada and a few cities in the U.S. starting September.

The Aces - I’ve Loved You For So Long

Release date: June 2

Pride month celebrations have just gotten the perfect soundtrack: I’ve Loved You For So Long, the Aces’ third studio album, comes out on June 2. 

Preceded by the title track and singles "Girls Make Me Wanna Die," "Always Get This Way," and "Solo," the album marks the Utah quartet’s first release since 2020’s LP Under My Influence. According to a press release, I’ve Loved You For So Long is "rife with songs that celebrate their queer identities, juxtaposed by tracks that reflect on their early relationships with Mormonism."

The 11-track collection is also described as "a nostalgic look back at the formative experiences that shaped who they are as a band today, like pages straight from their diaries that will leave their listeners feeling seen and critics wanting more."

Janelle Monáe - The Age of Pleasure

Release date: June 9

Marking her return to music five years after 2018’s Dirty Computer, the chameleonic singer and actor Janelle Monáe ushers in The Age of Pleasure. Her fourth studio album features 14 tracks, including collaborations from Grace Jones, Amaarae, Seun Kuti, and others.

During an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Monáe said all the songs "were written from such an honest space," with the goal of being "so specific to this Pan-African crowd who are my friends. I want it to be a love letter to the diaspora."

If its two delightful singles "Float" and "Lipstick Lover" are any indication, it looks like Monáe has nailed her target — while also providing us a much-needed new era for the summer.

Amaarae - Fountain Baby

Release date: June 9

"Coming back after so long, I had a lot of time to think and reflect on what I wanted my message to be. Last time it was about confidence, this time it’s about love and faith," said Ghanaian-American singer Amaarae in a statement about her single, "Reckless & Sweet."

The mystifying track gives a taste of her upcoming sophomore album, Fountain Baby, set to release on June 9. Following her acclaimed 2020 debut The Angel You Don’t Know, the album also features last month’s cheeky "Co-Star," and points to an expansion of the singer’s avant-garde Afro-pop sound, as well as a celebration of Black women all over the world.

Jayda G - Guy

Release date: June 9

Canadian producer and DJ Jayda G was only 10 years old when she lost her father, William Richard Guy. However, his memories shaped her life in significant ways, and now she is ready to share them with the world through her upcoming studio album, Guy.

Through a press release, Jayda said that she wanted the album to be "a blend of storytelling, about the African American experience, death, grief, and understanding." The singer also added that "it’s about my dad and his story, and naturally in part my story, too, but it’s also about so many people who wanted more for themselves and went on a search to find that. This album is just so much for people who have been oppressed and who have not had easy lives."

The first single of the project, "Circle Back Around," features archival footage of Jayda and her father — an endearing portrait that ultimately delivers an uplifting message. As she explains further in the press release: "I think it’s just a testament that it’s never too late to look at yourself and try to understand why you are the way you are, and strive to be better. Understanding the Black man’s experience, Black people’s experience in terms of America, and rising above what society tells you you’re supposed to be."

King Krule - Space Heavy

Release date: June 9

British singer King Krule was inspired by "the space between" his London and Liverpool commutes — both places he considers home — to craft Space Heavy, his fourth studio album.

Written throughout 2020 to 2022, the record was produced by Dilip Harris, and recorded alongside bandmates Ignacio Salvadores, George Bass, James Wilson, and Jack Towell. In April, the hazy "Seaforth" was released as the album’s first single.

King Krule, whose real name is Archy Marshall, will soon embark on a summer tour spanning North America, Europe, and the UK. The first stop is in Minneapolis on July 21.

Killer Mike - Michael

Release date: June 16

It’s been more than a decade since Killer Mike released a solo album (2012’s R.A.P. Music), but June brings forward new, exciting material from the Atlanta rapper and member of Run the Jewels. Upcoming LP Michael is said to be his "most autobiographical" work so far, and features 14 tracks that depict "an origin story," according to a statement.

2022 singles "RUN" and "Talkin Dat S—!" are also included in the album, as well as this year’s "Don’t Let The Devil" and "Motherless" — whose two music videos form a short film paying homage to Mike’s late mother, Mama Niecy. The rapper is also set to perform a 19-stop tour in the U.S. this summer.

Home Is Where - the whaler

Release date: June 16

Florida emo band Home Is Where built a reputation for delivering catharsis through their gloomy lyrics and angry melodies. Their upcoming sophomore LP, the whaler, takes that up a notch: It was defined as a project about "getting used to things getting worse" in a press release.

Produced by Jack Shirley and containing 10 interconnected songs, the whaler "paints a bleak picture of a world in an endless state of collapse — of ruined utopias and desperate people faking normalcy — [but] there’s a humanity-affirming undercurrent throughout that screams to break free."

Ahead of the release, the band shared the lead single "yes! yes! a thousand times yes!," and is currently gearing up for a U.S. tour through the East Coast and Midwest in July and the West Coast in September.

Kim Petras - Feed the Beast

Release date: June 23

The much-awaited debut LP of German singer Kim Petras, Feed the Beast, finally has a birth date: June 23. After struggling with the leaking and eventual scrapping of would-have-been album Problématique, Petras compiled 15 tracks for this new effort — including last year’s mega hit "Unholy" featuring Sam Smith, which earned them both a GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

In an interview with Vice, the singer said Feed the Beast marks "a transition from being an independent artist to being at a major label now. Spearheaded by singles "If Jesus Was a Rockstar," "Brrr," and lead single "Alone" featuring Nicki Minaj, Petras will celebrate the release with a performance at NBC’s TODAY Citi Concert Series, as well as live sets at Governor’s Ball in NYC and Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas.

Lunice - OPEN

Release date: June 23

Described as a project that "focuses on the natural human ability and behavior of intuition, instinct, openness, flexibility, and adaptation," and also as "a bizarre ride through the Montreal underground," OPEN is the sophomore album by Canadian producer and TNGHT member, Lunice.

Following up his 2017 acclaimed solo debut, CCCLX, the new record aims to be even more dynamic, with every track conceived to be performed live. Featuring collaborations with Cali Cartier, Zach Zoya, Yuki Dreams Again, DAGR and GRAMMY-winning producer DRTWRK, OPEN drops on June 23.

"No Commas," the pulsating first single off the project, sets the mood to the upcoming folly. "This track is the result of multiple natural occurrences where the melody, drums, and vocal performance coincidentally fit with each other in the moment of creation without any prior motive behind it," Lunice said in a statement. "I find these instinctual moments of creativity beautiful and inspiring."

Maisie Peters - The Good Witch

Release date: June 23

British singer/songwriter Maisie Peters calls herself The Good Witch — the "keeper of the keys and the holder of the cards" to her own universe, soon on display through her upcoming second album.

Written last year while she was on tour, Peters explains that its 15 tracks represent a time when she was "searching for balance between career highs and personal lows," a quality that can be seen through "Body Better," the album’s acutely honest lead single. 

"This is my heart and soul, my blood on the page, the collection of stories that I’ve managed to capture in the past year," said Peters. "A true chronicle of my life in recent history, it is my own twisted version of a breakup album and it all draws upon the same couple of months’ worth of experiences and inspirations." 

The singer is also set to tour 27 cities in the U.S. and Canada from August to October.

Lucinda Williams - Stories From a Rock n Roll Heart

Release date: June 30

Lucinda Williams is living proof that getting older doesn’t mean getting duller. The Americana legend just celebrated her 70th birthday in January — and the last three years of her life have been some of the most tumultuous yet.

In 2020, her Nashville home was damaged by a tornado. Then, came the COVID-19 pandemic. And lastly, a stroke that affected her ability to play the guitar, therefore changing the way she writes songs. But Williams didn’t let any of that stop her — Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart, her 15th studio album, comes out on June 30, and shows that she’s only getting better.

The project already has three singles out: "New York Comeback," "Stolen Moments," and "Where the Song Will Find Me," and counts on backing vocals from artists like Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, and Angel Olsen.

Listen To GRAMMY.com's LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2023 Playlist Featuring Demi Lovato, Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Frank Ocean, Omar Apollo & More

Amaarae performing in London in 2024
Amaarae performs in London in March 2024.

Photo: Burak Cingi/Redferns

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10 Can't-Miss Acts At Primavera Sound Barcelona 2024: Amaarae, Ethel Cain, Troye Sivan & More

Barcelona's Primavera Sound shines as a star-studded spectacle every year, but the famed international festival's 2024 lineup is especially lively. Get to know 10 acts you won't want to miss at Parc del Fòrum from May 29 to June 2.

GRAMMYs/May 22, 2024 - 08:43 pm

Since 2001, Primavera Sound has served as Barcelona's kickoff to summer. And with a stacked lineup chock full of effervescent acts for its 2024 iteration, this year's fest will certainly get the feel-good, warm-weather vibes rolling.

Phoenix starts the party with pop rock and new wave on May 29, setting the stage for fellow headliners Pulp, Vampire Weekend, and Justice on May 30. Lana Del Rey, The National, and Disclosure will make everyone's Friday night on May 31. Then, SZA, PJ Harvey, Mitski, and Charli XCX will ring in June on Saturday, before house/electronic acts ANOTR, The Blessed Madonna, Chloé Caillet, and Mochakk close things out on June 2.

But the headliners are just the beginning of what makes this year's Primavera Sound Barcelona exciting. Peggy Gou, L'Imperatrice, or Omar Apollo will likely tease new tunes, as they all gear up for June album releases. And just a month ago, Faye Webster, The Last Dinner Party, and Eartheater all had their respective Coachella debuts, proving they're more than ready to tackle the Primavera stage.

In the festival's jam-packed five-day lineup, hundreds of acts are primed to kick-start summer with a bang. Below, GRAMMY.com highlights 10 sets you won't want to miss in Barcelona — from Deftones' alt-metal bash to Amaarae's soulful hip-hop.

yeule

Performing: May 30, Plenitude Stage

Singaporean musician yeule is pioneering the ambient and glitch pop genres one song at a time. Born Nat Ćmiel, their stage name is based on a video game character, Paddra Nsu-Yeul, which speaks to their artistic steps in and out of reality. yeule's musical (and fashion) aesthetic is defined by the cyberworld, marked by futuristic, alternative styles that bewitchingly break norms.

Though they started out as a bedroom producer, yeule's more recent creative endeavors — like their invigorating 2022 album, softscars — have been more collaborative, adding a new layer of inspiration and beauty to their work. With influences ranging from Avril Lavigne to Radiohead, yeule's Primavera set will be ideal for living out all of your emo nostalgic fantasies.

Deftones

Performing: May 30, Amazon Music Stage

Get ready to scream with Deftones at Primavera. Winning their first GRAMMY back in 2001, the alternative metal band is still rocking out 20-plus years later — and making waves in this festival lineup. While Primavera tends to be led by various electronic and pop acts, Deftones is uniquely ushering punk to the festival's frontlines.

Banding together in 1988 in Sacramento, Deftones is known for their progressive experimentation within metal and rock, often dipping into psychedelia, post-punk, trip hop. Headed by lead vocalist Chino Moreno, the band's hardcore sound is unabashedly raw, original and heavy, continuing to evolve expansively with the metal genre.

Paving the way for contemporary heavy metal over the years, Deftones is a defiant act you won't want to miss at a major stage at Primavera Sound.

Troye Sivan

Performing: May 31, Santander Stage

Ready to feel the rush? Troye Sivan certainly is.

The Australian pop star is making Primavera an early stop in his tour for Something To Give Each Other, his latest album featuring jubilant singles like "Rush" and "Got Me Started." Once his European tour wraps in Birmingham, England at the tail end of June, he'll be headlining the Sweat Tour with fellow headliner Charli XCX — who coincidentally will be performing at Primavera the next day on June 1.

From the electropop seedlings on his 2015 debut, Blue Neighborhood, to the full-fledged forlorn beauty of his 2020 EP, In A Dream, Sivan's artistry has evolved significantly in the last decade. Today, his music is its most freeing yet, and there's no doubt it'll be glorious (and sweaty) on the Primavera stage.

Obongjayar

Performing: May 31, Plentitude Stage

UK-based Nigerian artist Obongjayar's musical style is nearly indescribable. Interlacing Afrobeat, spoken word, and EDM, all of his songs are distinctly tinged with a signature, soulful vibrance, and it'll be sensational to see how Obongjayar takes his pensive profundity to fill the Primavera stage.

Though he might be best known for the Fred again.. collaboration "adore u" (which samples his track "I Wish It Was Me"), Obongjayar's special sound effortlessly meshes with everyone he works with. From "If You Say" with Sarz, to "Point and Kill" with Little Simz, to "Protein" with Jeshi, it would be fair to call Obongjayar a chameleon — except instead of blending in, he's standing out.

Ethel Cain

Performing: May 31, Santander Stage

There's no better word to describe Ethel Cain's music than transcendent.

A master of gothic indie rock, Cain stitches together uncanny Americana and lovelorn nostalgia into a radiant, sensory experience. Her debut album, 2022's Preacher's Daughter, is divine and sometimes disturbing, but its ambience live sends audiences into an impossibly satisfying trance.

Whether you're listening to the enchanting slow burn of "A House In Nebraska" or the eerie roar of "American Teenager," both Cain's storytelling and live performance are infallibly spine-chilling — do yourself a favor and don't miss Cain's hauntingly beautiful set at Primavera.

BADBADNOTGOOD

Performing: May 31, Cupra Stage

Looking for a band that combines jazz styles with hip-hop production? Look no further than BADBADNOTGOOD, an innovative Canadian instrumental band.

After meeting at a Toronto jazz program in 2010, the three-piece band bonded over their hip-hop music appreciation, and the rest is history. Since then, BADBADNOTGOOD (which now features Leland Whitty in place of original member Matthew Tavares) has released five studio albums — fittingly, including covers of hip-hop songs with jazz interpretations. The group has also worked with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler, The Creator, Thundercat, and many more notable artists.

The band's collaborative production and remixing has earned them two GRAMMY wins and five total nominations, and there's no question BADBADNOTGOOD's set will put a spell on Barcelona.

Arca

Performing: May 31, Amazon Music Stage

Electronica is Arca's playground, and the pioneering producer's set at Primavera is sure to craft a whole new world. Dynamism defines the Venezuelan musician's shape-shifting art; through its avant-garde fusion of reggaeton, ambient techno, and dark electronica, her music is bursting with vigor.

Arca's music often discusses themes of gender identity and sexuality, and her views of queerness center around harmony and inclusion, which reflect in her pristine tracks "Nonbinary" and "Machote" on her GRAMMY-nominated album KiCk i. Having released 10 albums since 2006; worked with artists like Rosalía, Björk, and the late SOPHIE; and even opened for Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour, Arca brings immeasurable experience to Barcelona.

The producer's music naturally begs to be heard live — it's meant to sweat to and be danced to, and Arca's Primavera set will embody true electronic extravagance.

ATARASHII GAKKO!

Performing: June 1, Cupra Stage

This rising Japanese girl group's powerful sound easily warrants a stage name in all caps and with an exclamation point.

Fresh off their U.S. television debut on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," ATARASHII GAKKO! is ready to tackle the Primavera Sound stage with their engaging J-pop that integrates elements of hip-hop, rock, and jazz. Intrepid and commanding, their live performance features synchronized dancing, matching sailor school uniforms, and occasionally a marching band.

The quartet's upcoming world tour has a handful of sold-out dates. They've already conquered crowds at Coachella and Head in the Clouds — and there's no doubt that ATARASHII GAKKO! will bring their best to Barcelona.

Amaarae

Performing: June 1, Amazon Music Stage

Ama Serwah Genfi — better known as Amaarae — is an alté trailblazer. Raised between Atlanta and Accra, Ghana, the singer crafts mercurial music that is both introspective and stylish, and destined to be performed for vast audiences.

From her 2017 EP, Passionfruit Summers, to her 2023 album, Fountain Baby, it's easy to be mesmerized by her distinct, eccentric soprano and overflowing confidence. Her critically acclaimed "Sad Girlz Luv Money" (featuring Molly and Kali Uchis) charted globally in 2021, and just last year, she became the first Ghanaian American to perform an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Amaarae's live performances bring her blend of R&B, pop, and afrobeats to a new level, and she's ready to introduce her infectious global beats to Primavera.

Bikini Kill

Performing: June 1, Pull&Bear Stage

Famed pioneers of the riot grrrl movement in the '90s, Bikini Kill is bringing punk fun (and rage) to the Primavera stage.

Influencing alternative stars like Sleater-Kinney, Pussy Riot, and The Linda Lindas, it's no question that the iconic American band has inspired the next generation, whether that be through their music or activism. From "Rebel Girl" to "Feels Blind" to "I Like F—ing," Bikini Kill's beautifully irate music calls for female solidarity and empowerment still resonate with listeners today.

Though the band broke up in 1997, they reunited in 2019 and have since been touring together — and now, Primavera offers a special chance to see another inspiring moment from the revolutionary rockers.

​​Leap Into AAPI Month 2024 With A Playlist Featuring Laufey, Diljit Dosanjh, & Peggy Gou

Composite graphic with the logo for GRAMMY Go on the left with four photos in a grid on the right, featuring (clockwise from the top-left) CIRKUT, Victoria Monét, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., and Janelle Monáe
Clockwise from the top-left: CIRKUT, Victoria Monét, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., and Janelle Monáe

Graphic & Photos Courtesy of GRAMMY GO

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Recording Academy & Coursera Partner To Launch GRAMMY GO Online Learning Initiative

Class is in session. As part of the Recording Academy's ongoing mission to empower music's next generation, GRAMMY Go offers digital content in specializations geared to help music industry professionals grow at every stage of their career.

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 05:01 pm

The Recording Academy has partnered with leading online learning platform Coursera on GRAMMY GO, a new online initiative to offer classes tailored for music creators and industry professionals.

This partnership empowers the next generation of the music community with practical, up-to-the moment digital content that provides wisdom for both emerging and established members of the industry. Continuing the Academy’s ongoing mission to serve all music people, courses cover a variety of specializations tailored to creative and professional growth. 

GRAMMY GO on Coursera includes courses taught by Recording Academy members, featuring GRAMMY winners and nominees and offers real-life lessons learners can put to work right away.

Starting today, enrollment is open for GRAMMY GO’s first Coursera specialization, "Building Your Audience for Music Professionals," taught by Joey Harris, international music/marketing executive and CEO of Joey Harris Inc. The course features Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, 10-time GRAMMY nominee Janelle Monáe and three-time GRAMMY winner and the 2024 GRAMMYs Best New Artist Victoria Monét. This foundational specialization will help participants gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to build a strong brand presence and cultivate a devoted audience within the ever-changing music industry. 

The partnership’s second course, launching later this summer, aims to strengthen the technological and audio skills of a music producer. "Music Production: Crafting An Award-Worthy Song" will be taught by Carolyn Malachi, Howard University professor and GRAMMY nominee, and will include appearances by GRAMMY winner CIRKUT, three-time GRAMMY winner Hit-Boy, artist and celebrity vocal coach Stevie Mackey, five-time GRAMMY nominee and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., and 15-time GRAMMY winner Judith Sherman. Pre-enrollment for "Music Production: Crafting An Award-Worthy Song" opens today.

"Whether it be through a GRAMMY Museum program, GRAMMY Camp or GRAMMY U, the GRAMMY organization is committed to helping music creators flourish, and the Recording Academy is proud to introduce our newest learning platform, GRAMMY GO, in partnership with Coursera," said Panos A. Panay, President of the Recording Academy. "A creator’s growth path is ongoing and these courses have been crafted to provide learners with the essential tools to grow in their professional and creative journeys."

"We are honored to welcome GRAMMY GO, our first entertainment partner, to the Coursera community," said Marni Baker Stein, Chief Content Officer at Coursera. "With these self-paced online specializations, aspiring music professionals all over the world have an incredible opportunity to learn directly from iconic artists and industry experts. Together with GRAMMY GO, we can empower tomorrow's pioneers of the music industry to explore their passion today."

GRAMMY GO also serves as the music community’s newest digital hub for career pathways and editorial content that provides industry insights for members of the industry; visit go.grammy.com for more. For information and enrollment, please visit the landing pages for "Building Your Audience for Music Professionals" and "Music Production: Crafting An Award-Worthy Song."

Meet 5 GRAMMY Nominees Who Started At GRAMMY U: From Boygenius Engineer Sarah Tudzin To Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying

Alté Artists  Odunsi (The Engine), TeeZee, Lady Donli
(From left) Cruel Santino, Somadina, Prettyboy D-O, Odunsi (The Engine), Kingsley Okorie of the Cavemen, Tay Iwar, TeeZee

Photos: The Lizard Queen; Kate Green/Getty Images; Paras Griffin/Getty Images; Jérémy Beaudet; Pedro Gomes/Redferns; Lorne Thomson/Redferns; David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Raf Simons

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10 Alté Artists To Know: Odunsi (The Engine), TeeZee, Lady Donli & More

Nigerian slang for "alternative," the fusion genre of alté describes any artist with a unique visual aesthetic whose music blends elements of Afrobeats, pop, rap, R&B, soul, and dancehall.

GRAMMYs/Feb 28, 2024 - 05:40 pm

Afrobeats and amapiano may be the most prominent sounds originating from Africa on the global radar, but another sound from Africa is gaining steam. 

Coined by the creative collective DRB LasGidi in 2014, the alté genre combines elements of Afrobeats, pop, rap, R&B, soul, dancehall, and more. It's the sonic result of a Nigerian arts scene developed by and for unconventional personalities; alté describes any artist whose music blends the aforementioned elements and subscribes to the aesthetic tenants of the scene. 

"Alté is Nigerian lingo for 'alternative,' which means freedom of expression essentially through any medium," alté pioneer, rapper, singer/songwriter, and producer TeeZee told RedBull. In 2016, alté exploded into the mainstream, with a new class of rising stars gaining cult followings.

The genre's emergence is a reaction to conservative Naija culture, which is sometimes unwelcoming to radical changes in the status quo. Alté is distinguished by its origins in youth-led subculture and is built around an experimental aesthetic; it is exemplified by the vibey visuals of genre trailblazers Cruel Santino and Odunsi (The Engine) and the radical, non-traditional designs inspired by Nigerian and London youth culture of Mowalola.

Alté artists such as Amaarae and Tems have experienced global commercial success, while  Ayra Starr, who unifies alté and mainstream Afrobeats, was recognized at the 2024 GRAMMYs in the new Best African Music Performance Category. In Lagos, the fifth NATIVELAND music festival was held in December 2023 at the biggest venue to date and featured a bill of alté acts. Organized by the culture platform The NATIVE co–founded by TeeZee, the publication has been lauded for supporting the alté's rise. 

Lagos youth have successfully created a paradigm-shifting global movement. To get to know the multidisciplinary genre, these 10 alté acts are an introduction to the innovative scene. 

Cruel Santino

Formerly publishing music under the mononym Santi, the Nigerian singer/songwriter, director, and rapper is widely recognized as a key figure and the frontrunner in alté. A member of the Monster Boys collective, Cruel Santino is known for his distinct delivery and fusion of R&B, dancehall, rap, Afrobeats, and indie, as well as his signature ever-changing locs and distinguishing fashion. Santi first developed a cult-like following among Lagos’ youth in 2016 following the release of "Gangsta Fear," a collaboration with fellow alté trailblazer Odunsi (The Engine). At the time, Cruel Santino was rapping under the moniker Ozzy B. He has since demonstrated his range and artistry in collaborating with Gus Dapperton, Amaarae, Skepta, and DRAM. 

Cruel Santino’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Subaru Boys : FINAL HEAVEN, was featured on Rolling Stone’s The 100 Best Albums of 2022 list. The project is a fascinating exploration of the creative mind of Santi, who orchestrated the album to have the same effect as a video game. On tracks like "WAR IN THE TRENCHES" and "TAPENGA," dense synth beats, classic breakneck African drums, and computerized PlayStation-like effects fuse to create an idiosyncratic sound and help craft the vision of the Subaru Boys digital world. The Afrofuturism and intergalactic visuals associated with the concept album also draw influence from Mortal Kombat, cementing Santi’s talent as a multidisciplinary visionary.      

Odunsi (The Engine)

Odunsi (The Engine) is one of the most critical figures and producers in alté, and ushered in a new generation of Nigerian creatives who challenged the existing status quo. Odunsi released his debut project in 2016, Time of Our Lives, and followed with a slew of singles and EPs. His 2019 project, rare, was a commercial success, earning him nominations at The Headies, Nigeria’s annual music ceremony recognizing outstanding achievements in the industry, and SoundCity MVP Awards. 

Known for his cutting-edge sartorial choices and elaborate production abilities, Odunsi effortlessly blends sounds of R&B, hip hop, and Afrobeats with braggadocious lyrics, crooning on his track "PDA!" from his 2020 third studio album EVERYTHING YOU HEARD IS TRUE, "That girl got too much swagger/Fashion killer, uh, that's Margiela."

His eye for fashion goes beyond just lyricism. In 2023, Odunsi collaborated with longtime friend and fellow alté influencer Nigerian designer Mowalola for the SABI BOI collection. The same year saw the surprise release of his three-track EP SPORT. The compact project is a captivating cruise through the remarkable sonic experience Odunsi has spent years crafting. The intro track "NOSTALGIA" is a sultry blend of Afrobeats and R&B and, unsurprisingly, features Cruel Santino. 

On the EP’s second track, "OTE!," named after his abbreviated moniker, the energetic instrumental ladened with fast-paced African drums creates an infectious rhythm impossible to deny. Throughout the standout’s 1-minute and 32-second runtime, Odunsi seamlessly flows between English, Nigerian pidgin, and Yoruba languages, showcasing a one-of-kind swagger that cannot be replicated. 

Prettyboy D-O

Erupting into the scene in 2018 with Everything Pretty, the eclectic artist has created his own lane within alté. A rap maverick, Prettyboy D-O is known for his distinct flow and frenzied blend of Afrobeats, dancehall, alté, and R&B. His ascension continued with his 2021 album Love is War, which appeared as the 17th slot on the Fader’s list of Top 50 best albums that year. 

Aesthetically, he is easily distinguishable from your typical Naija rapper. Owing to his bold appearance — including a signature colorful buzzcut — cult-like following and fusion of grimy street music and the alté genre, Prettyboy D-O has been described as "culté." 

Tay Iwar

A genuine jack of all trades, the musician’s buttery vocals posit him as one of the most soulful agents in alté. Tay Iwar debuted in 2014 with his mixtape Passport, following up in 2019 with his debut album, GEMINI. The latter weaved together elements of Afrobeat and R&B, while featuring guest appearances from Cruel Santino, Odunsi (The Engine), Preyé, and his brother Suté Iwar. 

Tay Iwar has also participated in GRAMMY-nominated projects. In 2020, he provided vocals on "True Love" from Wizkid’s Made in Lagos project in 2020, and co-wrote "Steady" on the deluxe version. The deluxe edition was nominated for Best Global Music Album at the 64th GRAMMY Awards. 

Showing no signs of slowing down, the vibrant alté vocalist signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music in 2022 and released his Summer Breeze EP in June 2023. 

Lady Donli

While there is space for all artists in alté, commercial success sometimes seems like a boys-only club. Despite this, Lady Donli has paved her own path within the genre. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Donli spent her early years between the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Kaduna. The songstress flawlessly melds Afrobeat, R&B, and soul music.

She released her first project Love or War in 2014 and, nearly a decade later, she returned with sophomore project Pan African Rockstar. Combining an Afro-fusion sound with self-assuring lyrics on the title track, while including content about social issues affecting African youth, particularly Nigerian youth and women on other album cuts, Lady Donli is a vanguard of the revolutionary alté scene. 

BOJ

One-third of alté founding fathers DRB LasGidi, BOJ is recognized for pioneering the fusion genre. The term was coined in his 2014 debut track "Paper" where he croons, "The ladies they like me cus I’m a shy guy/Say the ladies they like me because I’m an alté guy." His knack for self-expression without boundaries and the contemporary constraints of popular culture has paid off, earning him a partnership with Jameson Irish Whisky and a solo publishing and distribution deal with MOVES Recordings.    

BOJ credits artists such as Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Lagbaja, and Sean Paul as influences, attributing his taste to the records his parents played at home while growing up. Being raised on a diverse musical palette, these creative sources formed the eclectic rhythm of BOJ’s afrobeats, dancehall, reggae, and hip-hop-influenced signature sound. This prototypical sound he helped craft has fed directly into the modern sound of Afrobeats, and he is now regarded as a musical backbone in Lagos. His 2023 project Gbagada Express confirms this, littered with appearances from heavy hitters, including 2024 GRAMMY nominee Davido, Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Fireboy DML, Tiwa Savage, and others.

The Cavemen

Formed in March 2018, the highlife band of sibling duo bassist Kingsley Okorie and drummer Benjamin James are known for their avant-garde live performances. The group was discovered early by Lady Donli and their debut project, Roots, was released in August 2020. An ode to their Naija heritage, the pair recorded the project in their living room, and took home the 2020 Headie Award, a music award show founded in 2006 to recognize outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry, for Best Alternative Album. 

The album was executively produced by Lady Donli, and The Cavemen. returned the favor by producing 11 songs on the alté pioneer’s 2019 project Enjoy Your Life. Their contributions to alté are precise and unique, retaining the original essence of highlife music while combining additional Afro-fusion musical elements.    

SOMADINA

Somadina has claimed her space among the next generation of alté stars. The young songstress cites many influences on her artistry — including John Legend, Fela Kuti, Avril Lavigne and the English pop music duo Shampoo — which is reflected in her bold blend of R&B, pop, alt-rock, and Afropop. 

In 2019, Somadina was tapped by Lady Donli to feature on the track "FLAVA" alongside alté breakout star Amaarae. In 2022, Somadina continued to showcase her promising rise by releasing an EP titled Heart of the Heavenly Undeniable under her independent label Somadina Sounds. featuring Odunsi (The Engine) and The Cavemen. on the track "Small Paradise."  Later that month, she performed at Lollapalooza Chicago as one of the Nigerian artists featured on the bill alongside Tems and Rema. 

TeeZee 

Co-founder of Nigeria’s The NATIVE Networks, TeeZee’s contributions to the alté movement are undeniable. He began his career as one-third of the group DRB LasGidi and is regarded as one of Nigeria’s first self-publishing artists. The rapper/singer has since collaborated with artists ranging from Skepta to Davido to Kid Cudi. He continues to release projects as a solo act and executive producer, and debuted his first solo album, Arrested by Love in 2022. Still, his contributions to alté extend beyond just music. 

In 2016, he established The NATIVE, a space for Naija youth to unite for their shared interest in the craft. He cited the genre's lack of media attention during the early stages of the innovative style as the reason for founding the music magazine, which has since become an epicenter for all things relating to the culture. NATIVE Records, a label under The NATIVE Networks, was founded in 2022 through a joint venture with Def Jam Recordings and signed its first act, Odumodublvck in the same year. The rapper has since experienced significant critical and commercial success upon releasing his mixtape EZIOKWU, executively produced by the alté OG.

SuperJazzClub 

SuperJazzClub is a nine-person Ghanaian supergroup with skills ranging from vocals and production to DJing, filmmaking, and more. Their first song, 2019's "Couple Black Kids," is an alternative hip-hop tracj with brassy synths, heavy drums, and a computerized piano featuring vocals from all members.

Since the collective’s founding, SuperJazzClub has concentrated on encouraging a spirit of creativity and self-expression among youth. The first of its kind within alté, the group’s novel sound and boundary-pushing aesthetic secures them as a staple in the movement. 

South African Singer Tyla Won The Inaugural Best African Music Performance Category At The 2024 GRAMMYs. What Does It Mean For African Music On The Global Stage?

Killer Mike accepts the GRAMMY for Best Rap Song at the 2024 GRAMMYs
Killer Mike accepts the GRAMMY for Best Rap Song for "Scientists & Engineers" at the 2024 GRAMMYs,

Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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10 Acceptance Speeches That Made Us Laugh, Cry, & Smile At The 2024 GRAMMYs

From Taylor Swift's record-shattering Album Of The Year win, to Killer Mike and boygenius category sweeps, these are the emotional GRAMMY winning moments that made up Music's Biggest Night.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 11:22 pm

Glitz, glamor, and great performances from legendary musicians are only part of what make the GRAMMYs Music’s Biggest Night. It’s also an occasion to honor the music industry’s best and brightest, highlight their greatest achievements from the past year, and watch them soak up the glory. 

Some of the night’s biggest moments came when artists accepted their GRAMMY trophies, from Taylor Swift announcing her next album to teary-eyed moments from SZA and Best New Artist Victoria Monét. Here are a few of our favorite acceptance speeches from the 2024 GRAMMYs. 

Killer Mike Sweeps With Three GRAMMYs In A Row

Atlanta rapper Killer Mike had already given a moving speech upon winning Best Rap Performance for “Scientists & Engineers,” saying “I want to thank everyone who dares to believe that art can change the world.” But his third and final win, Best Rap Album for Michael, sent him into another dimension: “It’s a sweep! Atlanta, it’s a sweep!” 

Tyla Was Shocked To Win Best African Performance

Although her hit song “Water” has dominated the charts, even Tyla was caught off guard by her Best African Music Performance win – the first ever awarded in this category – exclaiming “What the heck?!” The South African star continued "This is crazy, I never thought I’d say I won a GRAMMY at 22 years old."

Boygenius Sweep The Rock Categories

Boygenius already had something to celebrate when Phoebe Bridgers won a GRAMMY for her collab with SZA. They went on to win three categories during the Premiere Ceremony – Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, and Best Rock Album – enabling each member of the trio to give a separate speech. “We were all delusional enough as kids to think this might happen someday,” Lucy Dacus said. 

Miley Cyrus Was A Class Act

Accepting the prize for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Flowers,” Miley Cyrus took to the stage to strike a pose with presenter Mariah Carey – “This M.C. is gonna stand by this M.C.” — before launching into a story about a boy who tries desperately to catch a butterfly, before nabbing one when they least expect it. “This song ‘Flowers’ is my butterfly,” she concluded. 

SZA Runs From Backstage To Accept Award

Changing backstage after her GRAMMYs performance, SZA was caught off guard when “Snooze” won Best R&B Song. She embraced friend and presenter Lizzo before giving an emotional, funny speech. “I can’t believe this is happening, and it feels very fake,” she said. “I love you, I’m not an attractive cryer, have a good evening.” 

Taylor Swift Announces New Album

When the pop mega-star took to the stage to accept her lucky 13th overall GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album (Midnights), she decided to use the moment to give her fans the ultimate gift, announcing her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, will release on April 19. “I want to say thank you by telling you a secret that I've been keeping from you for the past two years,” she said. 

Billie Eilish Didn’t Know What To Say

After delivering a lovely performance of her Barbie movie ballad “What Was I Made For?,” Billie Eilish wasn’t exactly at a loss for words when the track won Song of the Year. The words that came out of her mouth were a bit less than rehearsed, however: “Whoa, whoops, yikes, whoa my goodness! Damn, that’s stupid guys!” she said. “I don’t even know what to say, I’m shocked out of my balls.” 

Victoria Monét Delivers Tearful, Eloquent Speech

Through tears of joy, Best New Artist winner Victoria Monét gave a speech worthy of an artist who spent years writing for others before striking out on her own. “This award was a 15-year pursuit,” she said, going on to compare herself to a plant growing in the soil of the music industry. “My roots have been growing underneath ground, unseen, for so long, and I feel like today I’m sprouting, finally above ground.” 

Miley Cyrus Makes An Even Wilder Record of the Year Speech

Cyrus returned to the stage twice after her first GRAMMY win, first to perform her award-winning song, and then once more to accept a second golden gramophone for Record of the Year. “This award is amazing, but I really hope it doesn’t change anything, because my life was beautiful yesterday,” she said. Then she ended the speech by saying “I don’t think I’ve forgotten anyone, but I might’ve forgotten underwear!”

Taylor Swift’s Record-Shattering Album of the Year

Lightning struck twice for Taylor Swift, as the evening ended with her taking home a record-breaking fourth GRAMMY for Album of the Year (Midnights), more than any other artist in GRAMMY history. Flanked by producer Jack Antonoff and friend and collaborator Lana Del Rey, she gave a speech that highlighted her passion for music-making, saying  “For me the award is the work. All I wanna do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much, it makes me so happy." As happy as Swift was, her fans probably left even happier. 

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