Photo: Courtesy of GRAMMY Museum
Aloe Blacc: Musical Message-Maker | "Required Listening"
A creative whose range covers free expression, savvy business and social uplift, Blacc knows what he wants his songs to mean to future generations
On the Aug. 8 episode of the GRAMMY Museum's Required Listening podcast, Artistic Director Scott Goldman sat down with R&B singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc for a wide-ranging interview setting his goals of "inspiration, motivation, aspiration" in contexts ranging from the historic to the deeply personal.
Blacc reveals that his latest album, still in the works, reflects new emotions that emerged from his family life, as evidenced by its prerelease single "Brooklyn In The Summer." "I'm married and I have kids and I have love in my life," said Blacc. "I wanted to express this side of my artistry."
He describes writing a love song as a "new hat" because his releases are dominated by motivational messages he considers urgently needed in today's world. While Blacc admits Michael Jackson's social messages in songs helped him see what was possible, his greater mentors are voices such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. "These are the elders who have made their statements that last a lifetime," he shared.
Blacc's 2013 major-label debut, Lift Your Spirit was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 57th GRAMMY Awards and reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Seeing himself as an "artivist" — both an artist and an activist — he considers great lyrics as "poems that mean something forever." He seeks to embody positive uplift in his writing because whether positive or negative, "words become a mantra that you sing."
"When I decided to sign a contract with a major label, I realized that I had access to a megaphone that was much bigger than what I had prior," said Blacc. "I have a duty to use it in the right way."
This lofty goal included Blacc's soaring vocals in collaboration with late EDM producer/artist Avicii on his 2013 international hit "Wake Me Up." "It's deeply saddening," said Blacc about his friend's death earlier this year. "It's really hard for me to take because I know how much he loved music and I feel like we've lost one of the greatest producers of our time."
Behind the social messages and even his recent, more romantic composing, Blacc has many other dimensions, including a background in business, artistic projects with producer/DJ Exile, and even his dark sides that he has no intention of sharing. "I'll write and create whatever I want," he said. "There's heinous concepts that I'd never release to the public, that I never want my kids to hear me sing."
The wide range that began when Blacc was a youngster learning LL Cool J's Bigger & Deffer by heart, "front-to-back," also led to his testimony earlier this year, during GRAMMY Week, before a field hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on copyright reform. Take this chance to follow his creative reasoning as we all discover where his artistry leads next in the latest episode of "Required Listening."
Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY
Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business
The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.
In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.
The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs
Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage
What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.
Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.
Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images
Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show
Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion
There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.
The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.
This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.
"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."
Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.