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Meet This Year's Best New Artist Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show
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Meet This Year's Best New Artist Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show

Get to know the 10 rising stars who are up for this year's Best New Artist award: Arooj Aftab, Jimmie Allen, Baby Keem, FINNEAS, Glass Animals, Japanese Breakfast, Olivia Rodrigo, The Kid Laroi, Arlo Parks, and Saweetie

GRAMMYs/Nov 23, 2021 - 10:54 pm

Editor's Note: The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, <a href="https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2022-grammys-awards-64th-new-air-show-date-location-las-vegas-april-3-announcement "https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2022-grammys-awards-64th-new-air-show-date-location-las-vegas-april-3-announcement"">has been rescheduled to Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The below article was updated on Tuesday, Jan. 18, to reflect the new show date and location.

The Best New Artist category has been female-dominated in recent years. Five of the past six winners have been women, from Meghan Trainor to Megan Thee Stallion. This year's 10 nominees are even split with men and women, making the race particularly interesting.

There's also a handful of more experienced acts, like indie-rock group Glass Animals, who saw their first hit in 2014. That's not all that unusual, though, as the BNA award honors artists who achieved a breakthrough and notably impacted the musical landscape — and this year's roster have done just that.

The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards will see two teen phenoms, Olivia Rodrigo and The Kid LAROI, go head-to-head. They face off with one of country music's biggest breakouts (Jimmie Allen), rap's sample queen (Saweetie), Kendrick Lamar's protégé (Baby Keem), a U.K. standout (Arlo Parks), an alternative star (Japanese Breakfast), Pakistan's first female nominee (Arooj Aftab), and an eight-time GRAMMY winner (FINNEAS).

No matter who you're rooting for, GRAMMY.com has your guide to this year's Best New Artist nominees. Learn more about the latest crop of rising stars here.

Nominations for the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show are officially here! See the full list of nominations.\

 

Arooj Aftab

A singer, composer, and producer hailing from Lahore, Pakistan, Arooj Aftab has been working hard to get her music heard since the early 2000s.

She was one of the first Pakistani musicians to implement the internet to promote her music in her home country, helping pave the way for the Pakistani indie scene with her viral songs, "Hallelujah" and "Mera Pyaar." Aftab makes history with her Best New Artist nomination, as she's the first female Pakistani nominee.

Now three albums in, Aftab's music has continued to captivate fans and critics alike, delivering poetic lyrics with her silky voice and a sound that blends new-age and classical minimalism.

This year's Vulture Prince spawned her biggest streaming hit to date, "Mohabbat," which landed on Barack Obama's 2021 Summer Playlist.

Jimmie Allen

The only country artist in this year's Best New Artist category, Jimmie Allen instantly made an impact in the genre with his heartfelt 2018 debut "Best Shot."

Starting off his career with back-to-back No. 1 singles on country radio (his belt-worthy love song "Make Me Want To" reached the top in 2019), Allen has continued to make strides, becoming the first Black artist to win New Male Artist of the Year at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards.

The Milton, Delaware native's 2020 EP, Bettie James — as well as a deluxe "Gold Edition" he released earlier this year — showed off his versatility, bringing his country flair to collaborations with pop acts like Noah Cyrus ("This Is Us"), R&B stars Babyface ("Forever") and Monica ("Pray"), and Latin hitmaker Pitbull ("Flavor").

His talent is being noticed by superstars, too: in what the singer-songwriter calls an "ultimate dream" career moment, Allen was recently featured on Elton John's Lockdown Sessions on the track "Beauty In The Bones."

Read More: 5 Black Artists Rewriting Country Music: Mickey Guyton, Kane Brown, Jimmie Allen, Brittney Spencer & Willie Jone

Baby Keem

Two years after Baby Keem first gained recognition with his impactful debut "Orange Soda," the California rapper had the year of his life in 2021.

 The 21-year-old collaborated with Travis Scott, Kanye West, and his cousin, Kendrick Lamar, the latter of whom teamed with Keem on the fittingly titled track "Family Ties." (The two first worked together on an interlude for the Kendrick-curated Black Panther soundtrack in 2018, and Keem is the first artist on Lamar's company with Dave Free, pgLang.)

"Family Ties" is the latest single from Keem's debut album, The Melodic Blue, which hit No. 5 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. Keem has been touted for pushing boundaries in the rap/hip-hop sphere the way that Lamar has throughout his career.

"I don't want to do anything the common way," he told Lamar in an interview they did together for i-D magazine in 2020. "I want to reflect my feelings more in the music, with the chords that I love, because but I don't have too many songs with chords that I actually love and feel. I feel the s<em></em><em> I've been experimenting with now can tell a story on its own… I think everybody knows now that I'm on some completely different s</em><em></em>."

FINNEAS

Billie Eilish fans know this name well: FINNEAS is not only her older brother, but the mastermind producer behind all of the teen phenom's music.

After scooping up eight GRAMMYs for his work on Eilish's music — including Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year (twice), and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical — FINNEAS further wowed fans as a solo artist in his own right.

The 24-year-old delivered his cinematic debut album, Optimist, in October, writing and producing all 13 tracks on his own.

He's the only 2022 Best New Artist candidate with previous nominations (let alone wins); with this nomination, FINNEAS shares another GRAMMY honor with his sister, who won the award in 2020. 

GRAMMY Flashback: Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: FINNEAS On Billie Eilish & "Doing Production That No One's Ever Done Before"

Glass Animals

Another name that might be familiar, Glass Animals is one of the more established artists on this year's Best New Artist lineup.

The British indie-rock band have released three albums since forming in 2010, landing their first hit in 2014 with the hypnotic "Gooey." But it was their 2020 single "Heat Waves" that took the group from indie-rock stardom to mainstream success.

The song's bellowing beat drop and wavy melody made it an infectious radio hit, earning Glass Animals their first No. 1 at alternative radio and first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (where it reached the top 10).

Subsequently, their third studio album, 2020's Dreamland, became their first top 5 album in the UK, and first top 10 LP in the U.S. That breakthrough is ultimately what scored Glass Animals a Best New Artist nomination, despite their nearly decade-long catalog.

Read More: The 64th GRAMMY Awards: Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show & Nominations

Japanese Breakfast

Korean-American musician Michelle Zauner has been performing under the moniker Japanese Breakfast since 2013 (she has three permanent band members, interchangeably referred to as an indie project and an indie-rock band).

Similarly to Glass Animals, Japanese Breakfast saw their breakout in 2021 with "Be Sweet," the lead single from the act's third album, Jubilee.

Perhaps the newfound success spawned from Zauner's own personal happiness that inspired the LP — a change of pace from Japanese Breakfast's previous projects, which were a result of the pain Zauner experienced after the death of her mother.

"It was definitely a conscious choice to be like, 'OK, I've written two very dark albums and a whole book about grief, I want to write about something else,'" Zauner told GRAMMY.com ahead of Jubilee's release. "A lot of the record is about struggling or figuring out how to do that or making decisions for myself that allow me to embrace that again."

Read More: How Japanese Breakfast Found Joy On Her New Album Jubilee

The Kid LAROI

Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard — better known as The Kid LAROI — first caught attention when he joined forces with the late Juice WRLD on their 2020 track "Go."

At the end of 2020, the Australian singer-rapper released his breakout breakup hit, "Without You," an acoustic ballad that received a remix with Miley Cyrus earlier this year.

But it was his collaboration with Justin Bieber, the infectiously bouncy "Stay," that really took him worldwide, amassing nearly 2 billion streams and sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks.

At just 18 years old, The Kid LAROI's willingness to be vulnerable has connected with his generation and beyond, including superstars like Ed Sheeran and Elton John, who have both dubbed him "the biggest artist on the planet."

Arlo Parks

Though she has only been releasing music for three years, Arlo Parks (whose birth name is Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho) has been writing poems and turning them into songs since she was in her early teens.

The British singer-songwriter has been delivering vivid, sensitive narratives since her smooth 2018 debut "Cola," which eventually landed her a record deal with London-based indie label Transgressive Records in 2019.

In January, Parks released her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, a collection of 12 songs that expanded her alt-rock sound with touches of jazz and lo-fi production.

The project earned her the annual Mercury Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the U.K. music industry honoring the album of the year.

Read More: Arlo Parks Talks Debut Album Collapsed In Sunbeams, Winning Over Billie Eilish & Phoebe Bridgers

Olivia Rodrigo

This year took Olivia Rodrigo from Disney star to global phenomenon thanks to her smash debut, the belt-worthy, piano-driven power ballad "drivers license."

The instantly ubiquitous song, which Rodrigo had teased on social media in 2020, broke two Spotify records and made the singer-songwriter the youngest artist to ever debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100, where it sat for a record-setting eight consecutive weeks.

But that was just the beginning for Rodrigo, who has already released five singles from her critically acclaimed album, Sour – including another No. 1 with the feisty Paramore-nicking "good 4 u," notching Rodrigo another record as the first album to contain two No. 1 debuts.

At just 18 years old, Rodrigo has displayed the lyrical prowess of a seasoned veteran who has been touted by Cardi B and Rodrigo's personal hero, Taylor Swift.

If she wins, she'd be the third-youngest winner after LeAnn Rimes, who was 14 when she won in 1997, and Billie Eilish, who was 17 upon winning in 2019.

Saweetie

After establishing herself as a viral star on social media in 2017, Saweetie first broke onto the rap scene with the confident single "My Type" in 2019.

The California rapper born Diamonté Harper has had two other singles take off, the most recent being her biggest hit to date, the club-ready Doja Cat collab "Best Friend." Several of her songs masterfully sample past hits, including Petey Pablo's "Freek-A-Leek" on "My Type."

She's proving to be a businesswoman, too: in addition to launching her own record label (Icy Records) in 2018, Saweetie has partnered with several brands, including PrettyLittleThing for a clothing and jewelry collection and McDonalds for its Famous Orders series.

With her anticipated debut album, Pretty B<em></em><em></em> Music, set for release in 2022, Saweetie hasn't shown any signs of slowing down.

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List​

The 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony To Feature Performances From Carlos Vives, Samara Joy, Madison Cunningham, Arooj Aftab & More; Presenters Include Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner & Others

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The 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony To Feature Performances From Carlos Vives, Samara Joy, Madison Cunningham, Arooj Aftab & More; Presenters Include Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner & Others

Streaming live on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT on live.GRAMMY.com and the Recording Academy's YouTube channel, the 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony is where the majority of this year's 91 GRAMMY Awards categories will be awarded.

GRAMMYs/Jan 27, 2023 - 02:00 pm

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect additional performers and presenters.

Officially kicking off the 2023 GRAMMYs, the 65th GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will return to the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with a star-studded celebration of performers, presenters and awards. Taking place Sunday, Feb. 5, at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT, just hours before Music's Biggest Night, the 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will stream live on live.GRAMMY.com and on the Recording Academy's YouTube channel.

The beloved annual event, in which the majority of this year's 91 GRAMMY Awards categories will be awarded, will be hosted by current GRAMMY nominee Randy Rainbow and will feature an opening number performance by Blind Boys of Alabama, La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia, and additional surprise performers. Other artists scheduled to perform include current nominees Arooj Aftab, Madison Cunningham, Samara Joy, Anoushka ShankarCarlos VivesShoshana Bean, Maranda Curtis, Buddy Guy and Bob Mintzer.

Presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the day include current nominees Judy Collins,  Babyface, DOMi & JD BECK, Myles Frost, Arturo O'Farrill, Malcolm-Jamal WarnerAmanda Gorman, and five-time GRAMMY winner and former Recording Academy Board of Trustees Chair Jimmy Jam. Recording Academy Chair of the Board of Trustees Tammy Hurt will provide opening remarks. Additional talent and co-host to be announced in the coming days.

This year, City National Bank has signed on as the first-ever presenting sponsor of the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony.

Read More: 2023 GRAMMYs Performers Announced: Bad Bunny, Lizzo, Sam Smith, Steve Lacy, Mary J. Blige & More Confirmed

All Premiere Ceremony performers and hosts are current nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs, as are most presenters. Aftab is nominated for Best Global Music Performance ("Udhero Na" with Anoushka Shankar); Babyface is nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance ("Keeps On Fallin'" with Ella Mai); Blind Boys of Alabama are nominated for Best Americana Performance ("The Message" with Black Violin); Cunningham is nominated for Best American Roots Performance ("Life According To Raechel") and Best Folk Album (Revealer); DOMi & JD BECK are up for Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album (NOT TiGHT); Frost is nominated for Best Musical Theater Album (MJ The Musical); Joy is nominated for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album (Linger Awhile); La Marisoul is up for Best Tropical Latin Album (Quiero Verte Feliz with La Santa Cecilia); O'Farrill is nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album (Fandango At The Wall In New York with The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Featuring The Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective); Rainbow is up for Best Comedy Album (A Little Brains, A Little Talent); Shankar is up for Best Global Music Performance ("Udhero Na" with Arooj Aftab) and Best Global Music Album (Between Us… (Live) with Metropole Orkest & Jules  Buckley Featuring Manu Delago); Vives is nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album (Cumbiana II); Warner is nominated for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album (Hiding In Plain View); Bean is up for Best Musical Theater Album ("Mr. Saturday Night"); Curtis is nominated for Best Gospel Album (Die To Live); Guy is nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album (The Blues Don’t Lie); and Mintzer is up for Best Instrumental Jazz Album (Parallel Motion).

Read More: Where, What Channel & How To Watch The Full 2023 GRAMMYs

"We are so excited to kick off GRAMMY Sunday with the Premiere Ceremony ahead of Music's Biggest Night," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said. "Not only do we have an incredible lineup of presenters and performers, but this ceremony will also reveal the winners in the vast majority of our categories, celebrating this amazing year in music across many of our genre communities."

Following the Premiere Ceremony, the 2023 GRAMMYs will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET / 5-8:30 p.m. PT.

On GRAMMY Sunday, fans can access exclusive, behind-the-scenes GRAMMYs content, including performances, acceptance speeches, interviews from the GRAMMY Live red-carpet special, and more via the Recording Academy's digital experience on live.GRAMMY.com.

The Official 2023 GRAMMYs Playlist Is Here: Listen To 115 Songs By Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar & More

Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

The GRAMMY U Mixtape is a monthly, genre-spanning playlist to quench your thirst for new tunes, all from student members. GRAMMY U celebrates new beginnings with fresh pop tunes that will kickstart 2023.

GRAMMYs/Jan 6, 2023 - 12:17 am

Did you know that among all of the students in GRAMMY U, songwriting and performance is one of the most sought after fields of study? We want to create a space to hear what these students are creating today!

The GRAMMY U Mixtape, now available for your listening pleasure, highlights the creations and fresh ideas that students are bringing to this industry directly on the Recording Academy's Spotify and Apple Music pages. Our goal is to celebrate GRAMMY U members, as well as the time and effort they put into making original music — from the songwriting process to the final production of the track.

Each month, we accept submissions and feature 20 to 25 songs that match that month’s theme. This month we're ringing in 2023 with our New Year, It's Poppin'! playlist, which features fresh pop songs that bring new year, new you vibes. Showcasing talented members from our various chapters, we felt these songs represented the positivity and hopefulness that GRAMMY U members embody as they tackle this upcoming year of exciting possibilities.

So, what’s stopping you? Press play on GRAMMY U’s Mixtape and listen now on Spotify below and Apple Music.

Want to be featured on the next playlist? Submit your songs today! We are currently accepting submissions for songs of all genres for consideration for our February playlist. Whether you write pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, or classical, we want to hear from you. Music must be written and/or produced by the student member (an original song) and you must be able to submit a Spotify and/or Apple Music link to the song. Students must be a GRAMMY U member to submit.

About GRAMMY U:

GRAMMY U is a program that connects college students with the industry's brightest and most talented minds and provides those aspiring professionals with the tools and opportunities necessary to start a career in music.     

Throughout each semester, events and special programs touch on all facets of the industry, including the business, technology, and the creative process.

As part of the Recording Academy's mission to ensure the recorded arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, GRAMMY U establishes the necessary foundation for music’s next generation to flourish.

Not a member, but want to submit to our playlist? Apply for GRAMMY U Membership here.

Anoushka Shankar Wrote A Composition Standing Up For Women & Girls. 10 Years Later, She Questions How Far We've Come.
Anoushka Shankar

Photo: Gui Süssekind Bailey

interview

Anoushka Shankar Wrote A Composition Standing Up For Women & Girls. 10 Years Later, She Questions How Far We've Come.

Anoushka Shankar is firing on all cylinders, with two nominations at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Through an ever-deepening facility with her sitar, the virtuoso communicates her feelings about a global problem with bracing clarity.

GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2023 - 05:50 pm

Upon hearing glowing press blurbs about her, Anoushka Shankar audibly winces.

"It goes without saying that Anoushka Shankar is a virtuoso sitar player," The Guardian gushed, front and center in her press release. Ditto for Harper's Bazaar, who proclaimed she's "making her own unique mark on the world." Her live show is "Expect to be thoroughly intoxicated," wrote an awestruck Time Out New York.

To which Shankar emits a sheepish reaction through her teeth: "Whoa boy."

"I have that real mix of pride and self-loathing when it comes to this stuff," Shankar tells GRAMMY.com from New Delhi; her London accent rings clear. "On one level, I feel like I'll never be good enough at it, but on another level, I'm feeling great about it."

The nine-time GRAMMY nominee isn't projecting false humility. Through the lenses of her recent music — including a new song, "In Her Name" — it's clear that Shankar is galvanized by more important things than self-gratification. One of them is a magical sense of interplay with her collaborators. The other is an inner drive to address issues that affect women and girls — chief among them, the scourge of sexual violence.

Speaking to GRAMMY.com, Shankar praises colleagues like vocalist and composer Arooj Aftab, composer and conductor Jules Buckley, percussionist Manu Delago, Dutch orchestra Metropole Orkest, and poet Nikita Gill.

With the former, Shankar is nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Global Music Performance, for "Udhero Na"; with the middle three, she's up for a golden gramophone for Best Global Music Album for Between Us…, their co-created live album.

But it's "In Her Name," featuring Gill, that's at the forefront of Shankar's mind. She initially released the song about a decade ago as "In Jyoti's Name," in tribute to its namesake: a physiotherapy intern named Jyoti Singh Pandey, who died from injuries as a result of a gang rape in 2012.

Pandey's attack and death sparked protests throughout India; the news affected Shankar deeply. With the 10-year anniversary looming, Shankar decided to revitalize the tune with words from Gill. Hence, "In Her Name," which grapples with this particular horror and so many of its kind through electrifying, evocative language.

"Time cannot devour/ What we will not allow to be forgotten," Shankar recites, channeling Gill's words. "Let the wind take these embers, these ashes/ And build a goddess of wildfire in her name."

Today, Shankar grapples with her innate optimism when considering this subject, as eradicating sexual violence seems to be a two-steps-forward, one-step-back proposition. But musical monuments like "In Her Name" do crucial work nonetheless. Because at the very least, they shatter silence — and offer a thread of beauty amid human suffering.

Read on for an in-depth interview with Shankar about this crucial issue, other musical offerings in the immediate rearview, and more. And for a hub of global organizations working to counteract sexual violence, visit here.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

I became aware of your work 20 years ago, when Concert for George came out. What are your memories of that time?

It's a funny one, that one, because obviously, it was celebrating a loved one. So, on one hand, it was a truly iconic concert to take part in, musically. But on the other hand, the main experience was an emotional one — of connecting with people and sharing our love for someone. So, it was a very unique concert experience for me.

What was it like to be in the room with George?

A bit like being with family, but at the same time, with someone who had a larger-than-life presence as a musician and human.

You're nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Global Music Performance for "Udhero Na," your collaborative track with Arooj Aftab. Tell me about how you and Arooj connect artistically and personally.

It's mutual admiration and friendship and love, but it started off a little differently, because she was in college at Berklee College of Music in Boston. When I would tour in that region, she would be at my shows. I guess she was maybe a fan first, but she also knew some people that I knew, so we became acquaintances and then friends.

At the time, there weren't that many people like us out there touring. So, I think it meant something to her to be able to come see me out there doing what I did.

Then, that kind of shifted as she got older. We became more peers, and it's been really beautiful to see what's happened for her in these last couple of years, with people discovering how amazing she is. So, that's been really lovely.

Can you tell me about the writing and/or recording process behind "Udhero Na"?

It's a song that preexists our working together on it. It's a beautiful piece of music that she wrote long before, and then wanted to release as a bonus track when she was releasing her album, Vulture Prince.

She sent it to me, and I just utterly loved it. I recorded it in my bedroom while I was alone in my house, because I had COVID and my kids were staying with a friend. So, it was a remote and kind of bizarrely chilled-out, relaxing recording process over a cold, dark London winter.

Between Us… is nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Global Music Album. I find its marriage of East and West so beautiful. How did that live recording come about?

It's interesting that you use that phrase, "the marriage of East and West." I think the reason it works is that we're so many generations past that first marriage. The pieces on this album are more like little diaspora babies that belong to the world in a really authentic and integral way. They're not the parts that make up their whole.

This live record, Between Us…, came about because I wanted to explore my music in an orchestral space. I worked with Jules Buckley to choose pieces of music that we thought could live in that space in a really beautiful way.

Manu Delago had been a dear collaborator of mine for several years at that point. He was central to a few of the songs that I kept wanting to see translated into the orchestra, so we invited him in to almost be a second soloist on the show.

We did this little run of shows in 2018, and then had some conversations about: Let's book some more. In the middle of all that stuff, the pandemic happened. As we started coming out of it, I just found myself going back to that album on my Dropbox now and then; I had the recording from one of the shows we had done.

In isolation, it blew me away to hear so many human beings together, on a stage, playing music together. It was hard for me to even remember what that felt like, and I kept listening to it, saying, "Oh my god, I was! I was on stage with 40 people playing music!"

I found myself getting a lot from the energy of hearing people together playing music. So, as we came out of it, I just wanted to put it out there. We didn't record it thinking I was going to put it out one day, but it's been a joy to share it.

I feel like the most pristine, lossless WAV file in the world couldn't do justice to how it felt with all that music swirling around you.

That's a great way to put it. Especially with music that has lived in different avatars: to hear it expand and grow to that scale feels really magical.

But at the same time, I think that's something that's so beautiful about music — some of the songs here, I can play them with just Manu and have the most amazing experience of connection and chemistry in music. But then, it can also grow to include all these other people, and it's beautiful.

Tell me more about the deeper workings of this music — the submerged majority of the iceberg as opposed to the exposed tip.

Working with Jules Buckley in particular, we were able to orchestrate around the sitar in a way that felt modern and energizing as opposed to conventional or overly sentimental.

Because I think it could be really easy to do that, especially with the emotional quality of the sitar. Not that any of this is wrong, but it could be really easy to go into Bollywood strings or kind of faux-Western-classical territory. I think his sensitivity with the way he worked around my music, the ragas… he was just brilliant.

And the orchestra is mind-blowing as well, because I have so much experience working with a truly diverse array of unbelievable musicians — the ones the world says are the best in the world. [But] working across traditions is really, really hard.

People can take the best orchestra in the world, and they might really struggle to play an asymmetric beat cycle with precision, for example, which would maybe be simple for us. We just speak different languages.

So, what I think is happening on that record is, even when it sounds simple, the level of skill the orchestra, Manu and Jules are exhibiting allows all the elements to come together, and the way they do is really amazing.

I get that it's inelegant to say "the marriage of East and West," as that's been happening forever. It's something I've always thought about the Beatles' "Within You, Without You"; it kicked open the door to that idea for me. But it's just one part of the chain.

Yeah, it's part of the chain! I think that's the evolution. We had some first meetings of East and West that started with my father, an iconic legend. Then, generation after generation of different meetings. This just feels like it's an existing rather than a meeting, and that only can come forward from it happening before, and pushing forward from there.

Can you talk about "In Her Name" and its decade-long gestation? What was the germ of the song — the intention — back then?

The intention at the time was more of an emotional response to what happened to Jyoti Singh Pandey 10 years ago — her gang rape that eventually led to her death.

Like so many humans in the world, I was affected very deeply by that news, and it led to me telling my own story. It really impacted me deeply, and it came out in a piece called "In Jyoti's Name."

The reason I named it that was because up until that time in India — and usually still — victims' names are protected to shield them from what some may perceive as the shame of what happened to them.

And her family, at the time, actually gave permission to release her name. I thought that was really powerful, because it spoke to how it wasn't her shame. I felt significance in it, so I released the song in her honor, but with her name in it.

As these years have gone on, there have been so many others like her. I'm almost reluctant to continue naming them, because there are so many that I'll miss one. But I found myself noticing the anniversary was coming up this year, and thinking: God, 10 years is a time in which a lot can change.

Yet, I remember at the time saying: This has got to change, and enough is enough. It feels like that's not what has happened. That's why I felt it important to come back to it. Not just to mark the anniversary, even though that is, of course, significant, especially to people who actually knew and loved her.

But to just question where we are. Around the world, in all the ways that women's bodies are impacted. It just felt like an onslaught, and I think this piece of music comes from there.

Can you talk about Nikita Gill? What she brought to the song, and what you appreciate about her?

Ah, she's magic. She has a very powerful way of speaking simply, that is not simple. It takes a great deal of skill to make something seem as accessible as that, but speak a truth that reaches in that kind of way that she makes it.

So, when I realized I wanted words on this version, she was my first and only phone call. She said yes before I even finished asking; for all the same reasons I wanted to make the song, she wanted to be a part of it.

I don't know what to say about her poetry, other than it speaks all my feelings in a way that I would never be able to express, and it's an honor to get to speak them.

Regarding this global horror that you're deeply invested in and making music about, what progress have we made in the last decade, from your perspective? And where do we go from here in order to negate this suffering and death?

It feels like for every step forward, there's a kind of step back. And it feels like as it can happen with progress overall, there's so often resistance.

It can feel really baffling at times that this topic can suddenly become center-stage, and we can be talking about it and listening and learning. Then, suddenly, some politician comes along, or something happens where there's some shaming tweet about someone, and it just feels like we get pushed down again.

So, I don't know if I can say to you whether we've made progress overall, because for every bit we have made, it feels like we're going backwards. I feel like, historically, I've always landed on the side of optimism, and I'm [Uneasy laugh] a little undecided about that right now.

Anoushka Shankar

“In Her Name” single artwork. Credit: Shilo Shiv Suleman

I'm pretty young, but I do remember a time when the model of manhood was aggression and derring-do and imposing your will on others. Consent was addressed in the media in crazy ways that wouldn't fly today.

Yes, thank you for bringing it there, because things have definitely moved, and it is amazing to look back and realize how nuanced change is. 

I can go back and watch a TV show I feel nostalgic about, and I can feel shocked about what's actually in there in a way I didn't necessarily remember at the time. Which shows how things have changed. As a child, as a teenager, as a young woman at that time, that would have been presented to me as fine, so I processed it as fine. I can look back and go: Wow.

That can be a very strange feeling, because it brings a bizarre kind of grief for myself, or others like me, in the past. As a child, I was raised in what people were telling me was a post-feminist society. We were told everything was fine now.

But like you're saying, we go back and look at the way it was, and it was so far from fine. It's a weird thing to look back and realize I've had to continue learning that, as a woman, I deserve better than that. Or that people I'm next to, or raising, deserve better than that.

I guess what gives me hope is that I'm raising boys. That was something that gave me a heart attack at first, when I was pregnant and realized I was having a boy. I had to work through what that was about. It was like: Oh my god! I'm raising future men! What does that mean?

And then I turned it around and I was like, What an incredible opportunity. And I watch my older kid and his friends, and they're just amazing. Their language, their understanding, their nuance, their care, their awareness. It really, really blows me away.

My older son doesn't want to watch things that don't pass the Bechdel test. You know? Or he gets really frustrated by old cartoons, where it's all about romance; he'll immediately catch when something sexist happens. His group of friends is really, truly mixed and safe and open.

I didn't have a fraction of that when I was his age. That was not what was [prevalent].

I'm sure that extended to your beginnings in the music business, which was and is male-dominated in many regards.

It really was, but I'm more aware of that looking back than I was at the time.

I remember reading a statistic for which the numbers escape me now — I'm making this up — but say, it took 30 percent of women in a boardroom to speak 20 percent of the time for men to feel like they were speaking more than half the time. Because their presence felt so novel. It felt so loud.

That's kind of what it was like. Now, I can look back and say, "Yes, it was very male-dominated." But at the time, I probably would have seen myself and one other woman there and said, "Wow! This is great!". [Laughs.]

The 2023 GRAMMYs are coming up, and you're in the midst of a press cycle. But what are you planning on when this hectic period wraps up? What will you be working on when there's a clearing?

I just did a mini-tour of India, but I haven't come back and done a proper tour of America since the pandemic. So, that's going to be happening in the autumn, which I'm really excited about. I'm in this very last-minute panic of what that tour's going to be. [Laughs.] I'm leaving it to the wire.

I'm starting to write a new album at the beginning of the year, and I'm very excited about that as well. If things go according to plan, it's a new album and the beginning of a big tour.

Can you drop any hints about that album?

[Hesitantly.] A producer I'm very… excited about? [Laughs.] No, I guess not. Not yet!

Before we get out of here: you've been steeped in the sitar for your entire life. All these years later — even with your advanced facility with the instrument — do you ever feel like you've just scratched the surface with what you can express with it?

I feel like I'm at the beginning section of the whole available journey. There is something about getting good at my instrument that brings true joy. When I play now, there's an intimacy with my instrument that's such a beautiful feeling. I could have had a similar amount of skill 10 or 15 years ago, but I don't feel like I had this feeling when I play.

I know that comes from growth, so I can tell I'm growing through an evolution on my instrument. I can feel that, and that feels really, really beautiful.

One of the frequent stories I tell when people ask what I learned from my dad is that I learned more from example. He was at the top of the mountain with the instrument, but I sat next to him every single day, watching him still journeying and seeking and looking at how much more he had to do.

So, I can't even answer the question in correlation to that, because I know where he was compared to me. Therefore, what he still saw ahead of him. That puts it all into perspective, I guess.

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5 Standout Moments From Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever, The Hometown Encore Tour
Billie Eilish performs onstage at The Kia Forum on Dec.13, 2022, the first night of her tour

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for ABA

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5 Standout Moments From Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever, The Hometown Encore Tour

Opening night of the highly anticipated, sold-out Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever, The Hometown Encore tour brought new guest stars, tender moments, and a whole lot of holiday cheer. EIlish will perform in her native L.A. for three nights in December.

GRAMMYs/Dec 14, 2022 - 11:23 pm

Billie Eilish is celebrating the holiday season in her native Los Angeles, with a few thousand of her nearest and dearest.

On Dec. 13, the GRAMMY-winning musician kicked off her Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever, The Hometown Encore tour at The Kia Forum in Inglewood, to a sold-out crowd. Eilish has two additional sold-out gigs at the Forum on Dec. 15 and 16. 

While there were no opening acts, just a pre-show soundtrack of classic Christmas tunes. Over the course of two hours, the 20-year-old ran through more than 30 songs on a stage that seemed to be fully constructed from LED screens. 

She was not shy about displaying her youthful vigor, jumping in the air, doing the splits, jaunting around with the mic stand like a classic '70s rocker. Even while sitting on the floor during slow songs or confined to a small platform atop a crane as she floated around the arena, Eilish maintained her stage presence to the point that no one could take their eyes off her.

Opening night of the tour showcased how Eilish has stepped into her status as an international superstar — an echelon she continued to climb even as the pandemic marred the release of 2021's Happier Than Ever. She kept very busy in the interim of the COVID-plagued industry, releasing live concert films taped at The Hollywood Bowl, sharing a documentary detailing her previous touring cycle, doing collaborations with Nike, branding new fragrances, and recording an Oscar-winning entry into the legacy of James Bond themes: "No Time To Die."

Then the restrictions cleared, gatherings were permitted, and postponed dates were solidified, and so she hit the road, playing over 75 shows in almost eight months across four continents (she’s visiting the fifth, South America, in 2023), and that number doesn’t include her headlining slots at festivals like Coachella 2022.

Although Eilish performed at both weekends of Coachella 2022 — which, despite its location in Indio, is an L.A. festival for all intents and purposes —  her performance within city limits took her infamous energy to a new level. Built on a combination of the considerable experience she gained as a performer in 2022 and her unfettered love for her hometown, Eilish truly seemed happier than ever onstage. Read on for five moments Billie Eilish showed Los Angeles that there is no place home.

Billie Gets Jazzy With Tunes New And Old

Billie Eilish is an artist born into a generation that doesn’t give a darn about genres. With Spotify and other DSPs, everyone has access to every genre in the palm of their hand, and she’s been influenced by all of them — including jazz.

While her music may not fit a jazz aesthetic, Eilish has begun to implement more artistic improvisation into her vocal delivery. A lilt to close a phrase here; a small riff between verses there. The improvisation demonstrates her continued ownership over the songs, and Eilish's ease with manipulating them.

Such skills came front and center during two songs in particular: "my future" (her first time performing it on this tour) and "Billie Bossa Nova." Had there not been thousands of fans screaming every word, Billie’s intricate vocal work could have turned the forum into an intimate jazz lounge for a few minutes.

Listened To Her Fans, And Went Deep Into Her Catalog

In the days leading up to the shows, Billie took to Instagram to ask fans what songs she should perform, because "these shows are for you!" 

On Dec. 13, Eilish performed "xanny," the second track on WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO? and one she hadn't performed in four years. 

There’s no way to know whether she decided to perform "xanny" because her fans requested it, though it was one of the most unifying moments in the entire show. 

If only she had also done "wish you were gay," which is what I sent to her through Instagram.

She Climbed "Mount Everest" With Some Friends

When Billie says she has a song stuck in her head, everyone in the crowd knows she’s going to sing it. 

So when she referenced Labrinth's "Mount Everest," everyone knew what was coming — yes, that includes Labrinth’s appearance. Eilish said she was going to make the shows special, and that just had to include some of her friends.

Labrinth’s music is as titanic as it is poignant, and it may be hard to believe the sweet-voiced Eilish could match his intensity. But she did so with aplomb, especially when she took on the duties for the verse of Labrinth’s song for the "Euphoria" soundtrack, "I’ve Never Felt So Alone."

For "I’ve Never Felt So Alone," the crowd was singing along instead of screaming along. The screams were welcome for the rest of the set, but it was simply impossible not to take it down a notch and be in your feelings in that moment.

Apparently, Finneas Sneezed

Eilish's creative relationship with her brother Finneas — her co-writer, producer and band member — took center stage during the acoustic portion of her performance. 

Finneas admitted that he had sneezed on his sleeve earlier, and was worried everyone could see the remnants when he took a seat on his stool next to his sister under the direct front lighting. At this admission, Billie started laughing with sheer glee. Then Finneas started laughing at her.

It may sound like innocuous stage banter, but it’s a kind of chemistry that’s infectious. It was a powerful, honest moment that highlighted the unique chemistry required to make this music.

Everyone in the crowd felt it, and the acoustic versions of  "i love you," "Your Power" and "TV," were just as powerful and honest.

Santa Eilish Or Billie Clause?

Billie Eilish was full of holiday cheer, giving not just the gift of music but actual gifts for the audience as well.

From atop a raised platform that moved throughout the arena, where she performed three songs, Eilish took candy from a stocking and threw it into the crowd. Before the final song of the night, "Happier Than Ever," she pulled out a bag of gifts and threw what looked like t-shirts into the crowd as well.

This came after she performed an actual Christmas song —"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." 

Billie is an artist who keeps her family close, and the holidays are a time of family. At her Happier Than Ever, The Hometown Encore, everyone in the audience felt like they were a part of the Eilish family…if only for a couple of hours.

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