meta-script2024 GRAMMYs: How The New Best African Music Performance GRAMMY Category Is A Massive Win For The World | GRAMMY.com
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interview

2024 GRAMMYs: How The New Best African Music Performance GRAMMY Category Is A Massive Win For The World

At the 2024 GRAMMYs, African music will be elevated via the newly announced Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category. GRAMMY.com sat down with industry leaders from the African music community to discuss the impact of this major development.

GRAMMYs/Aug 2, 2023 - 08:04 pm

Harvey Mason jr. didn't just visit Africa — he was transformed by it.

In 2022, the Recording Academy CEO visited a number of African countries, where he met with leaders in the local music communities and intently listened to what each had to say.

"Mind-bending. Game-changing. Eye-opening," Mason jr. said of his trips to Africa. "There's so much music, so much creativity over there. Africa is the birthplace of, well, everything, but definitely music."

Accordingly, the universe of sounds coming out of the African continent can't be boiled down to just those having an international impact today, like Afrobeats or Amapiano. No, every corner of Africa is a fount of brilliant musical offerings. So it's incumbent on the Recording Academy, the world's leading community of music professionals, to reflect the momentum happening across Africa.

With this as the engine, the Recording Academy has revealed a thrilling new GRAMMY category in time for the 2024 GRAMMYs: Best African Music Performance.

Announced in tandem with two other exciting, new GRAMMY categories, including Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Pop Dance Recording, the category elevates all flavors of African music — from Afrobeats to kizomba to Ghanaian drill to South African hip-hop — without regard to borders. Musical excellence from anywhere and everywhere in Africa will be carefully considered in this progressive category. 

While this development is a forward-thinking expansion for the Recording Academy, the GRAMMYs, and the international music industry as a whole, the new Best African Music Performance category is the "first step toward a much bigger, more fruitful journey ahead," Mason jr. tells GRAMMY.com. "And we're not done as an Academy: We're making sure that we represent music from that region fairly and accurately."

Read More: 2024 GRAMMYs: 4 Things To Know About The New Categories & Changes

To celebrate the new category, GRAMMY.com sat down with industry leaders — including Mason jr. — to discuss the story behind the brand-new Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category, its impact on the global music industry, and the future of African music.

These interviews were edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.

Photo Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy

*Harvey Mason jr. Photo: Emma McIntyre by Getty Images*

Harvey Mason jr. 
CEO, The Recording Academy

Harvey, you've spoken extensively about your recent travels to a number of African countries. I've got to imagine those trips informed the new Best African Music Performance category.

Absolutely. I've done three trips to Africa in the last year. I spent a lot of time listening to and hearing from the music community there. There's such a massive amount of talent and creativity in that region, and we're starting to see that penetrating the U.S. market and global market — with Afrobeats and Amapiano and other African genres becoming so popular, driving the sound, and dictating the creativity of artists that are not from that region. You're seeing collaborations and features happening around those genres, which are becoming so popular and are moving the music landscape.  

During my time there, I heard from the African music industry, and they all felt like they weren't being represented in our GRAMMY Awards process. It was an eye-opening experience to see the love and respect for the GRAMMYs and the Recording Academy from the continent of Africa. But it was also disheartening to think that they weren't being heard in our process. 

That's why I'm really excited about this new GRAMMY category. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of submissions we get and what impact that has on the genres coming from Africa. 

It's great to see the Recording Academy's purview spanning the entire African continent — not just popular sounds like Afrobeats or Afro Pop. 

It was important for us to make sure we tried to include as many genres as possible, knowing that we were not going to be able to put all the genres being created across the continent.  

We can't cover every genre as much as we'd like to and as much as they deserve to be recognized, so this is the first step toward a much bigger, more fruitful journey ahead. And we're not done as an Academy: We're making sure that we represent music from that region fairly and accurately. 

Read More: Love Burna Boy & Wizkid? Listen To These 5 African Genres 

Can you tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category? 

Deliberations were pretty brief and succinct. Everybody acknowledged the importance of the music coming from that region, and everyone was supportive of the idea. The conversation really centered mostly around the nomenclature — what we were going to call the category — and how we were going to ensure that we represented all the different music that's coming from the region fairly, accurately and inclusively. 

Once we realized we couldn't cover everything, we tried to find the sweet spot for making sure that the category was named properly and fairly and in a way that would invite participation from as many people as possible. 

Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here, as per its embrace of African music from across the continent? 

I'd love to see the Academy continue to make sure that we're respecting all music, not just Western music. And I'd like to see us continue to evolve as we have been these past three years: remaining fluid and accommodating, quickly and swiftly, as new genres and new markets emerge. 

We need to go deeper and in more detail within different genres of music. We know there are multiple different types of music — hundreds of genres, in fact — coming from Africa and from all 54 countries on the continent. I'd love to see us be able to honor even more music from Africa and other areas of the world. 

The future of the Recording Academy is going to build on equity. We're not just honoring music breaking in our country — we're celebrating music from around the world. 

Read More: 7 Incredible Sets From AfroNation Miami: WizKid, Uncle Waffles, Black Sherif & More 

Ghazi

*Ghazi. Photo: Jessica Chou* 

Ghazi 
CEO/Founder, EMPIRE 

Tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance category.  

When we first had Shawn Thwaites, [the Recording Academy's] genre manager for Global Music & African Music, at our EMPIRE headquarters in San Francisco, we discussed the potential for this category to come to life. Not only has African music exploded on a commercial level, which warrants recognition, but on a cultural level, its impact has been immeasurable. Behind the scenes, we focused on sharing information with the Recording Academy that would be valuable to their committee deciding on this category, the consumption and the growth, specifically in North America.  

One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?  

I think we'll see expanded categories in African music in the years to come, but this is a great start toward recognizing the merits and impact of African music. In the meantime, we look forward to working with the Recording Academy in putting together programming to help educate the current membership on the nuances and history of African music.  

This new GRAMMY category shows how the Recording Academy is truly a global entity with a global mission to support all music creators and professionals. Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here in its global mission to support the international music community? 

This is an exciting time in music. Fans are able to access any genre of music from any region of the world at any time. With that, it's inevitable that we'll see large-scale growth in international music in the coming years. It'll be imperative for the Recording Academy to establish a footprint, large or small, on every continent to work side by side with growing music communities around the world and support these artists and creators.  

Tunde Ajaba-Ogundipe

*Tunde Ajaba-Ogundipe. Photo: Harvard Business School* 

Tunde Ajaba-Ogundipe 
GM, African strategy at Sony Music 
Co-founder, No Wahala

Tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance category.

With the Latin community as a reference, we knew that if we could assemble a group of like-minded folks to push the inclusion of diverse African music categories using a long-game strategy, we would be able to try, learn from the misses, optimize, and try again until we found ourselves reaching our goal. We successfully saw that change greenlighted, with the [Best World Music Album] category officially being renamed to [Best Global Music Album] [in 2020].

Throughout the process of appealing to the Recording Academy to have this category added, a key factor was finding like-minded individuals within the organization to form cultural bonds, exchange knowledge, and champion the goal as a unit. We formed think tanks with key allies across the African, American and U.K. music industries, like Angelique Kidjo, Don Jazzy, John Legend, Juls, Riggs Morales, Sevi Spanoudi, Joy Wayodi, and Falu.

After the inclusion of the [Best Global Music Album] category in 2020, we were able to gauge how to collectively push for more inclusion via African music categories. I am grateful that everyone really rallied together to reach the end goal.

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?

I always remain an optimist [regarding] African music continuing to influence the global pop scene. With recent waves of music dominance from the current generation of African stars, like Burna Boy, CKay, Oxlade, Black Coffee, etc., I've witnessed many in the industry [mistakenly believe] that similar waves of global recognition of African Music haven't occurred in the past across genres.

I think it means more because of the way music is consumed today and how the African music business — and the business overall — has evolved. It's a lot more challenging to break acts with the attention spans of listeners being more finite now than ever before. Yet, African labels are finding their way into the current landscape.

That said, we should recognize the African icons of the past generations, like Babatunde Olatunji, Sade Adu, Ali Farka Touré, Angélique Kidjo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Seal, Sikiru Adepoju, Youssou N'Dour, RedOne, and more, for their wins across GRAMMY categories in the past. It's hard to imagine African music having this moment across the industry without those pioneers opening the doors in an era where it was harder than ever to gain a global audience. They still laid the groundwork, which inspired this generation — directly and indirectly.

[The Recording Academy has] always recognized the opportunities for amplification of African artists, songwriters and producers. I'm a direct witness to their advocacy, championing, and, in some cases, direct education in the past few years to ensure that gaps are bridged between African and diaspora communities and the organization. I'm excited to see the evolution that lies ahead for African music within the Recording Academy and beyond.

Shawn Thwaites

*Shawn Thwaites. Photo: Reid Fowler*

**Shawn Thwaites**
Project Manager, Awards, The Recording Academy 

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category?

African music has been a direct influence on America [and other countries]. The unique musical styles and traditions of Africa are too undiluted not to have its own category. Giving African music its own category would highlight and celebrate the diversity and richness of Africa. This is a great step forward! 

Can you tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category? 

We met with African music leaders, including artists and executives, and had in-depth conversations on ideas like the name of the category. This collaboration and discussion was a valuable way to ensure that the category for African music was created and remains healthy.

**One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?**

The Recording Academy is a peer membership organization. Tracks will be considered by the merit of a song among the voting membership, regardless of its country of origin. This process includes a listening component where screeners are carefully selected to screen the music. 

Our product eligibility period for the 2024 GRAMMYs is Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 15, 2023. Eligible tracks/singles include vocal and instrumental performances, with strong elements of African cultural significance that blend a stylistic intention, song structure, lyrical content and/or musical representation found in Africa and the African diaspora.

**In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?**

By celebrating the diversity of African music, we can spread awareness through cultural exchange: more collaborations between artists of different genres and more artist relations between labels and executives in America. 

Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here in its global mission to support the international music community? 

By recognizing the talent and creativity of musicians from diverse backgrounds, the Recording Academy can promote greater understanding and create a more inclusive and diverse global music community. 

Rikki Stein

*Rikki Stein. Photo: Chantal Azari* 

Rikki Stein 
CEO, Kalakuta Sunrise LTD, a holding company for Knitting Factory Records and Partisan Records

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category?

Stein: I have long considered Africa as having a tremendous contribution to make in the world, which has yet to be seen and fully appreciated. One day, one day!

Meanwhile, the simplest and most easily accessible aspect of Africa's attributes is its cultural treasure, within which music takes pride of place. In clubs and venues throughout the world today, music from Africa is being enjoyed. Good reason, indeed, for including Best African Music Performance as a GRAMMY category!

One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?

Stein: There are certainly a plethora of young [artists] vying for well-earned attention, but let's not forget the previous generation of artists whose music continues to delight fans across the globe.

As Fela Kuti's friend, manager and defender of his legacy, I derive great satisfaction, 25 years after his passing, from seeing the millions of monthly streams of his music. And when I look more deeply into where people are listening to his 50-album catalog, I discover it's everywhere! Khazakstan, Jakarta, Reykjavik, Osaka, as well as the more predictable U.S. and European destinations. So let's not forget the golden oldies!

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?

Stein: As a promoter of African music for over 50 years and having spent many of those years banging my head against a glass ceiling, I'm able to give a sigh of relief at seeing serious cracks appearing in that ludicrous structure which — who knows — may well even burst asunder and be no more!

So, let's big up the GRAMMYs and the Recording Academy for making this major contribution to its demise.

Juls

*Julian "Juls" Nicco-Annan. Photo: Dbcaptures*

Julian "Juls" Nicco-Annan 
Record producer, DJ and songwriter

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category?

I think it is an amazing addition to the category, given the fact that Africa has a massive impact on music and culture worldwide. It's important for the roots of African culture and sounds to be showcased on a higher stage such as the GRAMMYs to show the world how powerful and influential our sound is. African pop music and culture have been on the steady rise for the last 15 years. It's great to see the GRAMMYs finally take the step to make this happen for us and the continent.

One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?

This is where it gets tough. People love to look at West Africa and South Africa predominantly because currently, those sides of the continent are at the forefront.

But East Africa has given birth to some incredible talent. It's important for Africans to push forward to become Recording Academy members, so they can have a voice to push their talent. Experts from different sides of the continent have to advocate. Representation is so important.

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?

I think a bit more research into who has been shaping the sound over the last few years is important. Engaging with many who have been documenting the journey of the genre [is important] as well. An African GRAMMYs show would be incredible. Latin America has one, and it has been incredibly successful over the years. 

This new GRAMMY category shows how the Recording Academy is truly a global entity with a global mission to support all music creators and professionals. Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here in its global mission to support the international music community? 

We need more members and more seminars to educate the artists and management back home about the [GRAMMY Awards] process and actually explain things properly. There's a massive disconnect — that gap should be bridged.

What are some African music albums, songs or artists you're personally enjoying right now and would like to shout out?

At the moment, Davido dropped an incredible body of work, Timeless, with the hit record "Unavailable." Worlasi from Ghana dropped a very in-depth and incredible album called The.rap.y, which touches on social issues men and women face; very deep album. I released a single with South African sensation Ami Faku called "Terrified" and J Hus' new record, "Who Told You."

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Mobolaji Kareem

*Mobolaji Kareem. Photo courtesy of EMPIRE*

**Mobolaji Kareem**
Regional Head West Africa, EMPIRE

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category? 

Africa has a rich and vibrant history with 54 diverse countries. There are just as many, if not more, genres of music across the continent, so it's viable to have this category as a starting point that can help define the music coming from here. With this category, a lot more artists/songs … can now have their own stage to compete and be celebrated globally. 

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry? 

The African music landscape has exploded globally and needs to continue to be exposed to the masses to help promote inclusivity and appreciation for the art.

Every mainstream music or sporting event, radio station, and beyond should have African music as part of the program to allow for maximum impact. African voices also need to be represented and involved in the decision-making, so this is a crucial step taken by the Recording Academy to give the music coming out of this continent the exposure and reach it deserves.

What are some African music albums, songs or artists you're personally enjoying right now and would like to shout out?  

Burna Boy - Love Damini
Asake -
Work of Art

Black Sherif -
The Villain I Never Was
Bad Boy Timz -
No Bad Boy, No Party

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Usher Collaborator Pheelz Talks New EP
Pheelz

Photo: Williams Peters

interview

Meet Usher Collaborator Pheelz, The Nigerian Producer & Singer Who Wants You To 'Pheelz Good'

After working with Usher on two tracks for his latest album, 'Coming Home,' Lagos' Pheelz is looking inward. His new EP, 'Pheelz Good II' drops May 10 and promises to be an embrace of the artist's unabashed self.

GRAMMYs/May 9, 2024 - 01:15 pm

If you were online during the summer of 2022, chances are you’ve heard Pheelz’s viral hit single "Finesse." The swanky Afro-fusion track (featuring fellow Nigerian artist Bnxn) ushered in a world of crossover success for Pheelz, who began his career as a producer for the likes of Omah Lay, Davido, and Fireboy DML.

Born Phillip Kayode Moses, Pheelz’s religious upbringing in Lagos state contributed to his development as a musician. He manned the choir at his father’s church while actively working on his solo music. Those solo efforts garnered praise from his peers and music executives, culminating in Pheelz's debut EP in 2021. Hear Me Out saw Pheelz fully embrace his talent as a vocalist, songwriter, and producer. 

"I feel important, like I’m just molding clay, and I have control over each decision," Pheelz tells GRAMMY.com about creating his own music. 

2022 saw the release of the first two tapes in his Pheelz Good trilogy: Pheelz Good I and Pheelz Good (Triibe Tape), which was almost entirely self-produced. The 29-year-old's consistency has paid off: he produced and sang on Usher’s "Ruin," the lead single from his latest album Coming Home, and also produced the album's title track featuring Burna Boy. But Pheelz isn't only about racking up big-name collaborators; the self-proclaimed African rockstar's forthcoming projects will center on profound vulnerability and interpersonal honesty. First up: Pheelz Good II EP, out May 10, followed by a studio album in late summer.

Both releases will see the multi-hyphenate "being unapologetically myself," Pheelz tells GRAMMY.com. "It will also be me being as vulnerable as I can be. And it’s going to be me embracing my "crayge" [crazy rage]...being myself, and allowing my people to gravitate towards me."

Ahead of his new project, Pheelz spoke with GRAMMY.com about his transition from producer artist, designing all his own 3D cover art, his rockstar aesthetic, and what listeners can expect from Pheelz Good II.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

What sparked your transition from singing in church to realizing your passion for creating music?

For me, it wasn’t really a transition. I just always loved making music so for me I felt like it was just wherever I go to make music, that’s where I wanna be. I would be in church and I was the choirmaster at some point in my life, so I would write songs for Sunday service as well. And then I would go to school as well and write in school, and people heard me and they would love it. And I would want to do more of that as well. 

A friend of my dad played some of my records for the biggest producers in Nigeria back then and took me on as an intern in his studio. I guess that’s the transition from church music into the industry. My brothers and sisters were in the choir, but that came with the job of being the children of the pastor, I guess. None of them really did music like me; I’m the only one who took music as a career and pursued it.

You made a name for yourself as a producer before ever releasing your music, earning Producer Of The Year at Nigeria’s Headies Awards numerous times. What finally pushed you to get into the booth?

I’ve always wanted to get into the booth. The reason why I actually started producing was to produce beats for songs that I had written. I’ve always been in the booth, but always had something holding me back. Like a kind of subconscious feeling over what my childhood has been. I wasn’t really outspoken as a child growing up, so I wouldn’t want people to really hear me and would shy away from the camera in a sense. I think that stuck with me and held me back. 

But then COVID happened and then I caught COVID and I’m like Oh my god and like that [snaps fingers] What I am doing? Why am I not going full steam? Like why do I have all this amazing awesomeness inside of me and no one gets to it because I’m scared of this or that?

There was this phrase that kept ringing in my head: You have to die empty. You can’t leave this earth with all of this gift that God has given you; you have to make sure you empty yourself. And since then, it’s just been back-to-back, which just gave me the courage.  

How did you react to " Finesse" in former President Barack Obama’s annual summer playlist in 2022?

Bro, I reacted crazy but my dad went bananas. [Laughs.] I was really grateful for that moment, but just watching my dad react like that to that experience was the highlight of that moment for me. He's such a fan of Barack Obama and to see that his son’s music is on the playlist, it just made his whole month. Literally. He still talks about it to this day. 

Experiences like that just make me feel very grateful to be here. Life has really been a movie, just watching a movie and just watching God work and being grateful for everything.

At first he [my dad] [didn’t support my career] because every parent wants their child to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. But when he saw the hunger [I have], and I was stubborn with [wanting] to do music, he just had to let me do it. And now he’s my number one fan. 

Your latest single, "Go Low" arrived just in time for festival season. What was it like exploring the live elements of your art at SXSW and your headlining show in London at the end of April?

I have always wanted to perform live. I’ve always loved performing; Pheelz on stage is the best Pheelz. Coming from church every Sunday, I would perform, lead prayers and worship, so I’ve always wanted to experience that again.

Having to perform live with my band around the world is incredible man. And I’ll forever raise the flag of amazing Afro live music because there’s a difference, you know? [Laughs.] There are so many elements and so many rhythms and so many grooves

I’ve noticed that much of your recent cover art for your singles and EPs is animated or digitally crafted. What’s the significance, if any, of this stylistic choice?

It still goes back to my childhood because I wasn’t expressive as a child; I wouldn’t really talk or say how I felt. I’d rather write about it, write a song about it, write a poem about it, or draw about it. I’d draw this mask and then put how I’m feeling into that character, so if I was angry, the mask would be raging and just angry.

The angry ones were the best ones, so that stuck with me even after I started coming out of my shell and talking and being expressive; that act of drawing a mask still stuck with me. And then I got into 3D, and I made a 3D version of the mask and I made a 3D character of the mask. So I made that the main character, and then I just started making my lyric videos, again post-COVID, and making them [lyric videos] to the characters and making the actual video mine as well.

In the future, I’m gonna get into fashion with the characters, I’m gonna get into animation and cartoons and video games, but I just wanna take it one step at a time with the music first. So, in all of my lyric videos, you get to experience the characters. There’s a fight [scene] among them in one of the lyric videos called "Ewele"; there is the lover boy in the lyric video for "Stand by You"; there are the bad boys in the lyric video for "Balling." They all have their own different characters so hopefully in the near future, I will get to make a feature film with them and just tell their story [and] build a world with them. I make sure I put extra energy into that, make most of them myself so the imprint of my energy is gonna be on it as well because it’s very important to me.

You and Usher have a lengthy working relationship. You first performed together in 2022 at the Global Citizen Festival, then produced/co-wrote "Coming Home" and "Ruin." Take us through the journey of how you two began collaborating.

It started through a meeting with [Epic Records CEO] L.A. Reid; he was telling me about the album that they were working on for Usher and I’m like, "Get me into the studio and lemme see what I can cook up." And they got me into the studio, [with Warner Records A&R] Marc Byers, and I wrote and produced "Coming Home." I already had "Ruin" a year before that. 

["Ruin"] was inspired by a breakup I just went through. Some of the greatest art comes from pain, I guess. That record was gonna be for my album but after I came home I saw how L.A. Reid and Usher reacted and how they loved it. I told them, "I have this other song, and I think you guys would like it for this album." And I played "Ruin," and the rest was history.

Before your upcoming EP, you’ve worked with Pharrell Williams, Kail Uchis, and the Chainsmokers in the studio. What do you consider when selecting potential collaborators?

To be honest, I did not look for these collabs. It was like life just brought them my way, because for me I’m open to any experience. I’m open to life; I do it the best I can at any moment, you understand? 

Having worked with Pharrell now, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and the Chainsmokers, I’m still shocked at the fact that this is happening. But ultimately, I am grateful for the fact that this is happening. I am proud of myself as well for how far I’ve come. Someone like Timbaland — they are literally the reason why I started producing music; I would literally copy their beats, and try to sound like them growing up. 

[Now] I have them in the same room talking, and we’re teaching and learning, making music and feeding off of each others’ energy. It’s a dream come true, literally.

What's it like working with am electro-pop group like the Chainsmokers? How’d you keep your musical authenticity on "PTSD"?

That experiment ["PTSD"] was actually something I would play with back home. But the crazy thing is, it’s gonna be on the album now, not the EP. I would play it back home, like just trying to get the EDM and Afrohouse world to connect, cause I get in my Albert Einstein bag sometimes and just try and experiment. So when I met the Chainsmokers and like. "Okay, this is an opportunity to actually do it now," and we had a very lengthy conversation. 

We bonded first as friends before we went into the studio. We had an amazing conversation talking about music, [them] talking about pop and electronic music, and me talking about African music. So it was just a bunch of producers geeking out on what they love to do. And then we just talk through how we think the sound would be like really technical terms. Then we get into the studio and just bang it out. Hopefully, we get to make some more music because I think we can create something for the world together.

I’ve noticed you dress a bit eccentrically. Have you always had this aesthetic?

I’ve always dabbled in fashion. Even growing up, I would sketch for my sister and make this little clothing, so like I would kick up my uniform as well, make it baggy, make it flare pants, make it fly. 

I think that stuck with me until now, trying different things with fashion. And now I have like stylists I can talk to and throw ideas off of and create something together. So yeah, I want to get into the fashion space and see what the world has in store for me. 

What can fans expect as you’re putting the finishing touches on your upcoming EP Pheelz Good II and your album?

Pheelz Good II, [will be] a close to the Pheelz Good trilogy of Pheelz Good I, Pheelz Good Triibe Tape and Pheelz Good II. The album is going to be me being unapologetically myself still. But it will also be me being as vulnerable as I can be. 

It’s going to be me embracing my crayge [crazy rage]. Like just embracing me unapologetically and being me, being myself, and allowing my people to gravitate towards me, you get me. But I’m working on some really amazing music that I am so proud of. I’m so proud of the EP and the album.

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Photo of GRAMMY trophy
GRAMMY Award statue

Photo: Jathan Campbell

list

How Much Is A GRAMMY Worth? 7 Facts To Know About The GRAMMY Award Trophy

Here are seven facts to know about the actual cost and worth of a GRAMMY trophy, presented once a year by the Recording Academy at the GRAMMY Awards.

GRAMMYs/May 1, 2024 - 04:23 pm

Since 1959, the GRAMMY Award has been music’s most coveted honor. Each year at the annual GRAMMY Awards, GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists are recognized for their musical excellence by their peers. Their lives are forever changed — so are their career trajectories. And when you have questions about the GRAMMYs, we have answers.

Here are seven facts to know about the value of the GRAMMY trophy.

How Much Does A GRAMMY Trophy Cost To Make?

The cost to produce a GRAMMY Award trophy, including labor and materials, is nearly $800. Bob Graves, who cast the original GRAMMY mold inside his garage in 1958, passed on his legacy to John Billings, his neighbor, in 1983. Billings, also known as "The GRAMMY Man," designed the current model in use, which debuted in 1991.

How Long Does It Take To Make A GRAMMY Trophy?

Billings and his crew work on making GRAMMY trophies throughout the year. Each GRAMMY is handmade, and each GRAMMY Award trophy takes 15 hours to produce. 

Where Are The GRAMMY Trophies Made?

While Los Angeles is the headquarters of the Recording Academy and the GRAMMYs, and regularly the home of the annual GRAMMY Awards, GRAMMY trophies are produced at Billings Artworks in Ridgway, Colorado, about 800 miles away from L.A.

Is The GRAMMY Award Made Of Real Gold?

GRAMMY Awards are made of a trademarked alloy called "Grammium" — a secret zinc alloy — and are plated with 24-karat gold.

How Many GRAMMY Trophies Are Made Per Year?

Approximately 600-800 GRAMMY Award trophies are produced per year. This includes both GRAMMY Awards and Latin GRAMMY Awards for the two Academies; the number of GRAMMYs manufactured each year always depends on the number of winners and Categories we award across both award shows.

Fun fact: The two GRAMMY trophies have different-colored bases. The GRAMMY Award has a black base, while the Latin GRAMMY Award has a burgundy base.

Photos: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

How Much Does A GRAMMY Weigh?

The GRAMMY trophy weighs approximately 5 pounds. The trophy's height is 9-and-a-half inches. The trophy's width is nearly 6 inches by 6 inches.

What Is The True Value Of A GRAMMY?

Winning a GRAMMY, and even just being nominated for a GRAMMY, has an immeasurable positive impact on the nominated and winning artists. It opens up new career avenues, builds global awareness of artists, and ultimately solidifies a creator’s place in history. Since the GRAMMY Award is the only peer-voted award in music, this means artists are recognized, awarded and celebrated by those in their fields and industries, ultimately making the value of a GRAMMY truly priceless and immeasurable.

In an interview featured in the 2024 GRAMMYs program book, two-time GRAMMY winner Lauren Daigle spoke of the value and impact of a GRAMMY Award. "Time has passed since I got my [first] GRAMMYs, but the rooms that I am now able to sit in, with some of the most incredible writers, producers and performers on the planet, is truly the greatest gift of all." 

"Once you have that credential, it's a different certification. It definitely holds weight," two-time GRAMMY winner Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter of the Roots added. "It's a huge stamp as far as branding, businesswise, achievement-wise and in every regard. What the GRAMMY means to people, fans and artists is ever-evolving." 

As Billboard explains, artists will often see significant boosts in album sales and streaming numbers after winning a GRAMMY or performing on the GRAMMY stage. This is known as the "GRAMMY Effect," an industry phenomenon in which a GRAMMY accolade directly influences the music biz and the wider popular culture. 

For new artists in particular, the "GRAMMY Effect" has immensely helped rising creators reach new professional heights. Samara Joy, who won the GRAMMY for Best New Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs, saw a 989% boost in sales and a 670% increase in on-demand streams for her album Linger Awhile, which won the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album that same night. H.E.R., a former Best New Artist nominee, saw a massive 6,771% increase in song sales for her hit “I Can’t Breathe” on the day it won the GRAMMY for Song Of The Year at the 2021 GRAMMYs, compared to the day before, Rolling Stone reports

Throughout the decades, past Best New Artist winners have continued to dominate the music industry and charts since taking home the GRAMMY gold — and continue to do so to this day. Recently, Best New Artist winners dominated the music industry and charts in 2023: Billie Eilish (2020 winner) sold 2 million equivalent album units, Olivia Rodrigo (2022 winner) sold 2.1 million equivalent album units, and Adele (2009 winner) sold 1.3 million equivalent album units. Elsewhere, past Best New Artist winners have gone on to star in major Hollywood blockbusters (Dua Lipa); headline arena tours and sign major brand deals (Megan Thee Stallion); become LGBTIA+ icons (Sam Smith); and reach multiplatinum status (John Legend).

Most recently, several winners, nominees and performers at the 2024 GRAMMYs saw significant bumps in U.S. streams and sales: Tracy Chapman's classic, GRAMMY-winning single "Fast Car," which she performed alongside Luke Combs, returned to the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time since 1988, when the song was originally released, according to Billboard. Fellow icon Joni Mitchell saw her ‘60s classic “Both Sides, Now,” hit the top 10 on the Digital Song Sales chart, Billboard reports.

In addition to financial gains, artists also experience significant professional wins as a result of their GRAMMY accolades. For instance, after she won the GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album for Rapture at the 2020 GRAMMYs, Koffee signed a U.S. record deal; after his first GRAMMYs in 2014, Kendrick Lamar saw a 349% increase in his Instagram following, Billboard reports. 

Visit our interactive GRAMMY Awards Journey page to learn more about the GRAMMY Awards and the voting process behind the annual ceremony.

2024 GRAMMYs: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

Chike
Chike

Photo: Courtesy of Michael Jason Lloyd

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Global Spin: Watch Chike Light Up The Stage With A Technicolor Performance Of “Egwu”

Nigerian Afrobeats singer Chike celebrates the joy that music brings to the spirit in this electrifying performance of his latest single, “Egwu.”

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 10:53 pm

Nigerian Afrobeats singer Chike recognizes music's ability to release inhibitions freely. Instantly, it'll improve your mood or make you want to dance — and his new track, "Egwu," is a celebration of that movement.

“Music need no permission to enter your spirit,” Chike declares in the chorus of the song. “Anywhere, anyhow, you know say you go feel/ Life is life, life is life.”

In this episode of Global Spin, watch Chike deliver a vibrant live performance of “Egwu,” made complete by his intricately patterned colorful suit and neon stage lighting.

The original version of “Egwu,” released on Dec. 15 via Brothers Records, features the late Nigerian rapper Mohbad: “I made a ton of music with a great guy, and I’m happy I can share the first one with the world,” Chike revealed on Instagram. On March 29, he dropped a remix of “Egwu” with DJ Call Me.

In another social media post, Chike announced that he will offer “an intimate musical experience as well tell stories of love, romance, and life” at his upcoming show, Apple of London’s Eye, in England this July.

Press play on the video above to watch Chike’s technicolor performance of “Egwu,” and don’t forget to keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Global Spin.

Ayra Starr's "Rush" To The Top: The Afrobeats Singer On Numerology, The Male Gaze & The Power Of Kelly Rowland

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

news

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."

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