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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.

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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.

Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: TOKiMONSTA On Authenticity & Why 'Lune Rouge' Is "A Celebration Of Life"

Behind The Board: Producer/DJ Spencer Brown Explains How Embracing His Sexuality Changed His Creative Process
Spencer Brown

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Behind The Board: Producer/DJ Spencer Brown Explains How Embracing His Sexuality Changed His Creative Process

As an openly gay artist, Spencer Brown strives to make his fans feel accepted by keeping one goal in mind: "to bring as much love and peace and good energy as I possibly can."

GRAMMYs/Jun 30, 2022 - 11:03 pm

Spencer Brown certainly wears an array of hats as a DJ and producer. But if you ask him, he'll tell you he plays just one role in this life — however broad.

"The easiest way to describe what I do is just: artist,'" he says. "I produce music; I DJ my own music; I DJ, digging through other people's music that people maybe don't know. But artist, I think, is the easiest way to do it."

As he describes in the below video, his mission as an artist is simple: bringing joy. "My ultimate mission with my music is to bring as much love and peace and good energy to people as I possibly can."

Brown — who came out as gay in 2020 — has used dance music as an outlet of many sorts since he was young. In a special episode of Behind The Board for Pride Month, Brown details how his creative process changed once he embraced his sexuality. "When I was a kid, and I wasn’t out of the closet, I was very uncomfortable, growing up, with myself. Once I really started to learn and understand myself, I could really be in tune with my creative side even more. And I feel like my music significantly improved."

He also offers a helping hand to those who might be struggling to find acceptance within themselves or their community. "I never had an LGBTQ idol growing up," he adds. "If someone is struggling and they really like my music, I want to connect with them on that."

Brown also describes the flow state conducive to creativity, how he shows up to DJ gigs with a "blank slate," and why he avoids "by-the-books" sounds. Check out the insightful video above and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Behind The Board.

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Behind The Board: Haywood Details Her "Messy" Creative Process And Explains Why She Usually Works Alone
Haywood in her studio.

Photo: Courtesy of Leah Haywood

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Behind The Board: Haywood Details Her "Messy" Creative Process And Explains Why She Usually Works Alone

As a producer and songwriter, Haywood's song ideas come to her fully formed, with specific production in mind — which is why she doesn't need anyone else's opinion.

GRAMMYs/Jul 18, 2022 - 07:51 pm

After 20 years of writing and producing songs for the likes of Selena Gomez, BLACKPINK and Justin Bieber, Leah Haywood makes her return as an artist on her new album, Pressure On My Heart. Though it's her first project since 2001, Haywood — who now uses her surname as her stage name — insists that her creative process hasn't changed. She says that "99 percent" of her songs have been a fully realized idea, complete with a specific production treatment.

"Quite often on the edge of sleep — I might wake up at 3 in the morning and do a voice note," the Australian artist details. "Because I am a producer, when I hear the song in my head, I hear the production. The two are absolutely married, for sure." 

In this episode of Behind the Board, go inside the process that unfolds after Haywood gets a late-night song idea. As she explains, not everything she hears in her head will translate into something she can recreate in a recording. "I have to start producing what I hear, and quite often, that will be the determining factor of, 'Is this really working?'" Haywood says.

"My style of production is messy," she adds, explaining why she typically chooses to do studio sessions alone. "Probably, a lot of these ideas that I do for myself might not have been accepted in a room full of people. But the thing is, they couldn't hear what I'm hearing in my head."

Going it alone allows Haywood to pursue her ideas without outside input, and tune in entirely to the song idea. "I might be hearing this crazy backing vocal arrangement. And I sing just one vocal and it doesn't sound that exciting," she offers as an example. "But once you get that whole freakin' backing vocal arrangement in, the whole thing flips on its head."

Learn more about Haywood's creative process and her journey in the music industry in the video above, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Behind the Board.

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