Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images
Chloe X Halle
Behind The Seams: Chloe X Halle's Red Carpet Style Evolution
Celebrity stylist Zerina Akers describes her evolving strategy for dressing the emerging, GRAMMY-nominated R&B duo
A quick Google search will return exactly how wardrobe curator and celebrity stylist Zerina Akers got her start in the industry. If her name sounds familiar, it should: One of her clients is 22-time GRAMMY-award winner Beyoncé. But what many don’t know that Akers is also the woman behind the looks of Parkwood's own emerging singing duo, Chloe and Halle Bailey.
On the heels of their first-ever GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist, not to mention a nod for Best Urban Contemporary Album for their debut, The Kids Are Alright, we caught up with Akers to discuss the young nominees' ever-evolving style and what to expect when they hit the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards red carpet.
2018 MTV Video Music Awards
"At that time, only a select few donned Iris Van Herpen on the red carpet. These looks marked Chloe X Halle's first time in couture—and continued their growth as fashion icons."
Chloe X Halle may only be 20 and 18 years old, respectively, but they are very involved when it comes to curating their public ensembles, according to Akers. "Style is such a personal form of communicating your mood, motives and intentions. They are flexible and will listen when I push them towards some riskier fashion decisions but will not budge if it’s something that just doesn't empower them as young women."
Naturally, what’s worn on the red carpet versus as a performance differs for several (or perhaps obvious) reasons. "For me, shapes and the balance of space is important for red carpet looks," Akers continues. "Most red carpets are much longer and more grueling than they appear, so comfort is always appreciated. But sometimes the more painful option—like the corseted dress or higher heel—is worth it!"
2016 BET Awards
On the other hand, when it comes to live performances, comfort and functionality is mandatory.
"Each artist needs to feel free to deliver a great deal of themselves to their audience, often having to focus on a number of things simultaneously: including but not limited to playing instruments, listening to stage cues, interacting with the audience, while singing and dancing," Akers explains. “The last thing I would want my client to be worried about is fussy clothes, uncomfortable shoes, or having to manage any fears on top of the natural anxieties that come with the vulnerability of performing in front of a crowd!"
"The Kids Are Alright" Music Video
"We just had fun filming this piece—mixing fashion high and low and experimenting every step of the way."
"With all of my clients I try to listen and find out what it is that they have in mind for the project at hand, as well and include options with my perspective," Akers explains. "Then, we powwow at fittings, sometimes going in a different direction all together. I try to allow for a certain flow of creativity and change, this usually requires bringing a wide variety of options."
How does Chloe X Halle’s style differ from one another? Akers describes them both as risk-takers in their own right. "They're young women who are constantly evolving,” she adds. "Chloe is free-spirited and loves celebrating the S-curves of her body. She’s always on the hunt for fresh new styles to try. Halle appreciates a more classic approach to the carpet with chic and sexy silhouettes but loves flowing boho styles day-to-day."
2016 MTV Video Music Awards
"This was the Chloe X Halle's second red carpet, but the first time they really broke out as fashion darlings. They took a risk wearing Rodarte and really owned the looks."
Despite their super-close resemblance (after all they are sisters), Akers emphasizes that she rarely, if ever, dressed them in twinning looks. "I try not to dress them in identical looks but looks that compliment one another usually from the same brand or designer," she explains.
"Initially, I appreciated how it almost told a mini-collection story for the brand. These days I lean more so to complimenting colors, print, or silhouettes—it’s about what truly works best for them individually. As they have gotten older, they lean towards more simple silhouettes and less ruffles and volume."
2017 NAACP Image Awards
While Akers works with an array of styling clients, one thing always stays consistent: her nuanced ability to help each woman maintain their own style identity.
"Fashion is more for mass consumption, while style is personal," she says. "For me, it’s important that with each client, it is a collaboration. It's important to find the balance between meeting—and hopefully exceeding—their expectations, and also pushing them to leave their comfort zone to try things that they may not have selected on their own."
What will Chloe X Halle debut on the red carpet this year? You'll have to wait until the 2019 GRAMMY Awards LIVE on Sunday, Feb. 10 on CBS to find out.
Behind The Scenes: On Set With Rising R&B Star Ella Mai
Mai's hit single "Boo'd Up" is getting a GRAMMY music video makeover just in time for the 61st GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10
The 61st GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10 is just days away, and to get fans even more excited, the Recording Academy is taking them behind the scenes with first-time GRAMMY nominee Ella Mai for a music video collaboration featuring her hit single "Boo'd Up."
The song is getting a music video makeover, but it won't be your typical set of visuals. This will be an experience you'll have to engage with to see more of. Consisting of four parts, the video will ask viewers to interact with it by in order to unlock the next segment. As it goes on, each video segment progresses into a more elaborate scene filled with guests and surprises.
"Ultimately, what you see when we launch will be completely different from the video that you see when we conclude," Recording Academy Chief Marketing Officer Evan Greene said in the Behind The Scenes video.
Video director James Frost said the idea is to take you on a visual journey:
"One [video setup] we start at the beginning, which is a really stripped-down version of the video. Gradually, in each additional setup we build the video up even more, so the idea of being when people click at certain points the video will evolve and become bigger."
"Each year on the GRAMMYs, we try to do something with an artist that's very relevant to that year and so we're always looking for someone that's topical to kind of star in our promotions for that year's theme," Creative Director Jason Karley said on why they worked with Mai.
Greene adds: "Ella Mai's 'Boo'd Up' is a song that's permeated culture and so everybody knows this song, but now we want to give people a little bit of a different way to experience it, unlike anything they've ever seen before."
Watch how the Recording Academy and Ella Mai put together this elaborate project in the above video, and tune into the 61st GRAMMY Awards to see Ella Mai and more of your favorite artists.
To watch Mai's video, go to grammysevolving.com.
Photo:John Shearer/Getty Images
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper Win Best Pop Duo/Group Performance | 2019 GRAMMYs
The 'A Star Is Born' leads take home Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Shallow" at the 61st GRAMMY Awards
She also gave a dazzling performance of "Shallow" on the GRAMMY stage during the show.
Gaga accepted the GRAMMY for the pair and gave a powerful speech. The win marked her second of the night and the first-ever win for actor Cooper. "Shallow," which the duo sung together in A Star Is Born and is featured as a single from the film's soundtrack, also won Best Song Written For Visual Media. Gaga's "Joanne (Where Do You Think You're Goin'?)" snagged Best Pop Solo Performance.
During her emotional acceptance speech the star spoke to the importance of the mental health awareness.
"I'm so proud to be a part of a movie that adresses mental health issues, they're so important. And a lot of artists deal with that, and we gotta take care of each other. So if you see somebody that's hurting, don't look away. And if you're hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody," Gaga said.
Other Best Pop Duo/Group Performance nominees were Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato ("Fall In Line"), Backstreet Boys ("Don't Go Breaking My Heart"), Tony Bennett and Diana Krall ("'S Wonderful"), Maroon 5 and Cardi B ("Girls Like You"), Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton ("Say Something") and Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey ("The Middle").
Gaga has earned nine GRAMMY wins and received 24 nominations to date times.
She won her first two GRAMMYs at the 52nd GRAMMY Awards for Best Dance Recording for "Poker Face" and Best Dance/Electronic Album for The Fame, her debut album. She also made her first GRAMMY stage performance that year, singing a medley that included her "Poker Face" and "Speechless" along with GRAMMY-winning icon Elton John's "Your Song," who joined her onstage for an unforgettable duet.
Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Everyone's A VIP At Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY Gala: From Travis Scott To Jimmy Jam To Brandi Carlile
Pass through the velvet rope at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles for an exclusive look at the star-studded 2019 Pre-GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons
On Feb. 9, on the eve of Music's Biggest Night, the 61st GRAMMY Awards, artists from across genres and decades gathered at the glitzy Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. for the 2019 Pre-GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons.
Less than 24 hours before the big red carpet walk today, the likes of current GRAMMY nominees Ella Mai, Dua Lipa, Diplo, Shaggy, Alice Cooper and Weird Al Yankovich, and GRAMMY winners Melissa Etheridge and Quincy Jones, brought their vibrant energy and killer looks at the annual celebration hosted by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis. Onlookers tried to spy the glam looks on the red carpet as they peered into the hotel's glass—we'll let you past the velvet rope and walk it with us as at this exclusive music industry event.
Dua Lipa & Ellie Goulding | Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
This year's who's-who of music gala celebrated iconic industry veteran Clarence Avant, known as the Godfather Of Black Music, as the honoree of the evening. Like event host and fellow legend Davis, he helped launch the careers of many great artists, working with the likes of GRAMMY-winning greats Bill Withers, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of The Time.
The video celebrating Avant had countless heroes such as Former President Barack Obama, Jones, Diddy and JAY-Z sharing how much they love Avant, the powerful impact he's made on their lives and music, and how he always knows the right thing to say. Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow introduced him with a fitting complement, and a huge one given the company they were in: "You're the ultimate music person." The Time properly brought the funk on stage to celebrate Avant with a performance of their '80s hits "The Bird" and "Jungle Love," dancing as if no time had passed.
Current GRAMMY nominee Travis Scott set the mood opening the evening's performances with "Goosebumps" and "Sicko Mode," while sisters and fellow nominees Chloe x Halle brought home a rousing cover of the late GRAMMY-winning Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin's "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves." Brandi Carlile, another current GRAMMY nominee, returned to the stage to join the duo, along with past nominee Valerie Simpson and Broadway star Keala Settle, ending the evening on quite the high note.
Chloe x Halle | Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Other musical guests for the evening included current nominees Bebe Rexha, Florida Georgia Line and H.E.R., along with past nominees Jazmine Sullivan and Ledisi, plus GRAMMY winner Rob Thomas. Sullivan and Thomas offered a powerful duet, belting out Aretha and George Michael's "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."
As the evening rolled on, Davis made sure to highlight all the countless legends in the room, as the crowd continuously burst into applause and often up on their feet to celebrate the likes of music greats Barbara Streisand, George Clinton and Dionne Warwick, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Apple's Tim Cook and even former-L.A. Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Don't forget to tune in to the 2019 GRAMMYs live from Staples Center today. Start with the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony at 12:30 p.m. PST/3:30 ET, then follow us to the red carpet at 2:00 p.m. PST/5:00 p.m. ET—both will be live streamed right here on right here on GRAMMY.com.
Then the moment you've all been waiting for, the 61st GRAMMY Awards, hosted by 15-time GRAMMY winner Alicia Keys, will air live at 5:00 p.m. PST/8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT on CBS.
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
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.