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Behind The Board: Marcella Araica On The Art Of Engineering

Marcella Araica

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Behind The Board: Marcella Araica On The Art Of Engineering

The Miami-based recording and mixing engineer goes deep on how she got her start, producing her own beats in high school, recording with Missy Elliott and more

GRAMMYs/Apr 5, 2019 - 09:57 pm

Marcella Araica loves what she does. In the latest edition of The Recording Academy's Behind The Board series, the Miami-based engineer speaks animatedly about how she got her start in the recording industry. 

Having produced her own beats in high school and later honing her craft at Full Sail University in Orlando, Araica tells us about her early days engineering behind the board. Turns out the first artist she ever recorded was none other than GRAMMY-winning artist Missy Elliott, though Araica laughs that the session didn't quite go as planned. "I failed miserably," she laughs. "I mean, I was able to capture her, I just wasn't fast enough for her. Yeah, she wasn't having it." 

"The best sessions are always gonna be when things are free-flowing," she continues. "Nothing feels robotic and stagnant. You want to make sure that [the artist] is happy with what's being captured. I think once you gain the trust of the artist in that way, everything starts to be the natural flow of, 'Hey, what do you think?' They start to ask you for your input."

Watch Araica's full interview above. 

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Will Smith Dedicate His 1999 Best Rap Solo Performance GRAMMY To His Son

Will Smith at the 1999 GRAMMYs

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Will Smith Dedicate His 1999 Best Rap Solo Performance GRAMMY To His Son

In his acceptance speech, he offers thanks to his family and "the jiggiest wife in the world, Jada Pinkett Smith"

GRAMMYs/Sep 25, 2020 - 11:17 pm

Today, Sept. 25, we celebrate the birthday of the coolest dad—who else? Will Smith! For the latest episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we revisit the Fresh Prince's 1999 GRAMMY win for Best Rap Solo Performance for "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."

In the below video, watch rappers Missy Elliott—donning white leather—and Foxy Brown present the GRAMMY to a stoked Smith, who also opted for an all-leather look. In his acceptance speech, he offers thanks to his family and "the jiggiest wife in the world, Jada Pinkett Smith." He dedicates the award to his eldest son, Trey Smith, joking that Trey's teacher said he (then just six years old) could improve his rhyming skills.

Watch Another GRAMMY Rewind: Ludacris Dedicates Best Rap Album Win To His Dad At The 2007 GRAMMYs

The classic '90s track is from his 1997 debut studio album, Big Willie Style, which also features "Miami" and 1998 GRAMMY winner "Men In Black," from the film of the same name. The "Está Rico" rapper has won four GRAMMYs to date, earning his first back in 1989 GRAMMYs for "Parents Just Don't Understand," when he was 20 years old.

GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, J. Lo & Jada Pinkett Smith Open The 2019 GRAMMYs

Behind The Board: TOKiMONSTA On Creativity And Finding Common Ground Through Music

TOKiMONSTA

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Behind The Board: TOKiMONSTA On Creativity And Finding Common Ground Through Music

The L.A.-based electronic music producer describes the organic journey of turning her love of music into a career, how she's learned to go with the flow creatively and more

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2019 - 11:00 pm

Jennifer Lee aka TOKiMONSTA is up for her first GRAMMY Award this year, for Best Dance/Electronic Album for her third studio album, Lune Rouge. While she has been experimenting with beats and sounds and sharing her music with the world since her first EP in 2009, she didn't always think her love of music would ever be more than a hobby.

In the second episode of the Recording Academy's Behind The Board, which looks at the producers and other creatives behind the studio board, Lee dives into how she went from a music lover to full-time creator. She shares how she got her making beats with the likes of Flying Lotus and Daedalus at underground parties in her native Los Angeles and how that paved the way to where she is today.

She also discusses another way that going with the flow has helped her in her life, sharing that forcing herself to make music has never really worked. "I've learned that for me in my 'creative process' is to not really have a process," she says.

Lee also talks about how she's proud of her GRAMMY-nominated album, that time Skrillex called to congratulate her on her nomination and how making music that she truly loves helps her connect with fans.

"I'm hoping that if I make music that's for myself, that there's a commonality between me and my listeners where we can agree on this music together. So it's more of a joint venture where we all get this," Lee explains.

Watch the exclusive interview with TOKiMONSTA above, and don't forget to tune into the 61st GRAMMY Awards on Sun. Feb. 10 on CBS.

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Queen Latifah Inducts Missy Elliott Into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame, Lizzo Performs

Missy Elliott

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of FameMissy Elliott

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Queen Latifah Inducts Missy Elliott Into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame, Lizzo Performs

The GRAMMY-winning hip-hop icon, who became the first female rapper given the honor, gave an inspiring speech: "Don't give up, because I'm standing here. And this is big for hip-hop, too"

GRAMMYs/Jun 14, 2019 - 10:10 pm

Last November, GRAMMY winner hip-hop mainstay Missy Elliott made headlines as the first-ever female rapper nominated for the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Last night, the all-around icon made history as she joined the 2019 class of inductees. She is just the third-ever rapper inducted, with GRAMMY winners JAY-Z and Jermaine Dupri preceding, becoming the first in 2017 and second in 2018, respectively.

Fellow GRAMMY-winning hip-hop heavyweight Queen Latifah presented Elliott with the award—and some loving words—during the ceremony held in New York. The evening was filled with a powerful energy, thanks to even more mega queens honoring Elliott, including the one and only Michelle Obama and rising rap goddess Lizzo.

"Missy, I want to thank you for all of your trailblazing ways," Obama said in the video message shared during the event, which Elliott also Tweeted out. "Thank you not for just sharing your gift with the world, but for being an advocate for so many people out there, especially young girls who are still figuring out how to make their voices heard."

Related: 'Da Real World' At 20: Missy Elliott Champions Women, Hip-Hop Rookies, And, Most Of All—Herself

Lizzo performed Elliott's classic 1997 mega-bop "Sock It 2 Me" while rocking an O.G.-Missy finger-wave hairstyle. GRAMMY-nominated rapper Da Brat joined her to hit her original bars on the Supa Dupa Fly track. As Lizzo strutted onto the stage, she shouted-out her idol:

"Missy, I want to thank you for inspiring young black girls like me to chase their dreams. I love you so much, I wouldn't be here without you. This is for you." Earlier this year, Lizzo got an assist from Elliott on her own fire track "Tempo."

Of course, Elliott had her own powerful words to add, offering gratitude for the honor. "I cry because it's a lot to take in. I'm thankful, humbled. I'm grateful to be up here with so many geniuses in this room, I've met so many people that I looked up to, and still look up to, as songwriters and producers," she said during her acceptance speech, which you can watch a clip of, along with part of Lizzo's performance, in the above video.

She continued: "I want to say one thing to the writers, to the upcoming writers, 'Do not give up.' We all go through writer's block. Sometimes you just have to walk away from a record and come back to it. But don't give up, because I'm standing here. And this is big for hip-hop, too."

In addition to all the amazing songs she's penned for herself, Missy's also written songs for an impressive list of artists. As ABC News points out, that list includes major music players like Aaliyah, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande and many others.

The 2019 Songwriters Hall of Fame class of inductees, who became eligible after putting in at least 20 years of hit-writing, also included GRAMMY-nominated singer Yusuf/Cat Stevens and GRAMMY-winning folk legend John Prine.

Jack Tempchin, a writer for the Eagles and GRAMMY winner Dallas Austin, a co-writer and producer behind many of TLC and other artists' hits, were also inducted last night. GRAMMY winner Justin Timberlake and GRAMMY-nominated pop star Halsey were honored with other awards during the ceremony, receiving the Contemporary Icon Award and Hal David Starlight Award, for "gifted" young songwriters, respectively.

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Missy Elliott Is Ready To Get The World Dancing Again

Missy Elliott

Photo: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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Missy Elliott Is Ready To Get The World Dancing Again

The hip-hop legend recently shared she is working on a new album dropping next year, 14 years after her last LP, 'The Cookbook.' What can we expect?

GRAMMYs/Oct 10, 2018 - 04:34 am

The GRAMMY-winning superstar Missy Elliott has been an influential powerhouse for years, making a name for herself starting with her successful debut album Supa Dupa Fly in 1997, featuring her classic jam "Sock It 2 Me." Since then she released five more studio albums and countless hit singles and collabs, although her last LP was 2005's The Cookbook. She has released some juicy, one-off singles and has been on some hot features over the past 13 years, but the world is ready for more Missy. Luckily, she is ready to give the world what it wants, teasing a 2019 LP in a recent social media post. What can we expect?

The rap pioneer recently took to Twitter to announce that she's ready to "get y'all a**es dancing again," hinting she'll have new music for us in 2019. The tweet featured a clip of a new unreleased track of hers called "Cool Off," which sounds like it will be a dancefloor-ready banger. Five days before that post, in another tweet, she touched on why it's been so long since she's put out an album. "For so long I was hesitant to put out music in fear no one would get it because people said music has changed & my sound been so different," she shares. "But now I'm like hey, bump it make music that feels good to me, let me get y’all a**es dancing again."

We are ready, Missy. Ready for whatever new jams you have been cooking up. She raps on the sneak peek of "Cool Off, "Missy in this b***h/doing s**t you ain't ever seen." I think we're ready to see it, but for now we will have to hope for whatever magic the hip-hop queen has been preparing for us.

We hope her and longtime friend and collaborator Timbaland have been spending at least some time in the studio together so that he can add his magic, futuristic touch through producing at least a few songs on her upcoming album. The list of Elliott's Timbaland-produced classics is nearly endless, including "Sock It 2 Me" and "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" from her debut Supa Dupa Fly, "One Minute Man" and "Get Ur Freak On" from Miss E…So Addictive and "Work It" and "Gossip Folks" from Under Construction. It is hard to deny how amazing and dynamic the music they put out together is, with his forward thinking production bringing her sound to the next level every time.

Timbaland was the lead producer on all of her studio albums other than her sixth, which he played a smaller role on, and they were working on her seventh album set to release in 2008, along with Pharrell and others on production, until, after delays, the album was never released. Pharrell and Elliott eventually released two singles in 2012 "9th Inning" and "Triple Threat," both of which featured classic slow-jam/future-sound Timbaland beats along with his vocals.

Two years later, in 2015, Elliott teamed up with Pharrell to release the viral hit "WTF (Where They From)," a booty-bouncing, highly danceable track featuring the producer's catchy, joyful beats, as well as some verses from him as well. We can only hope and pray Elliott's latest studio sessions have and will include both GRAMMY-winning mastermind producers to keep lifting her amazing flow and bold presence to the next level with joyous, future-ready beats.

Elliott has always confidently pushed the envelope and set the tone for what it means to be a female hip-hop artist in the male-dominated industry. There is no doubt that she will keep bringing her unique brand of sexy, empowered, independent female to the table in her new music. This year she has already given us a taste of that on the remix of Ciara's girl power track "Level Up." The two celebrate their greatness as women, recognizing they won't settle for less than they deserve, with Elliott confidently rapping, "Original, no klepto'/ Got a new flow, got a new glow./Level up, I'm beautiful/My a**, bounce like a yo-yo."

The remix of the GRAMMY-winning R&B star's recent single reunites the pair, along with Fatman Scoop, the three of whom collabed on "Lose Control," the biggest—and still classic dance-inducing jam—single from Elliott's The Cookbook. Elliott is also featured on "borderline," a bouncy, shiny Pharrell-produced song on Ariana Grande's Sweetener, released this August.

We can only hope these recent features point to some heavy doses of female-empowerment, along with some unexpected yet heavy-hitting, female-dominated collabs on Elliott's 2019 album. The cherry on top that would tie it all together would have to be provided by Timbaland and Pharrell's powerhouse production skills. We will wait patiently and practice our dance moves until then.

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