meta-scriptHemmed In By Early Successes, Black Pumas Creatively Flourish On 'Chronicles Of A Diamond' | GRAMMY.com
Hemmed In By Early Successes, Black Pumas Creatively Flourish On 'Chronicles Of A Diamond'
Black Pumas (L-R: Eric Burton, Adrian Quesada)

Photo: Jody Domingue

interview

Hemmed In By Early Successes, Black Pumas Creatively Flourish On 'Chronicles Of A Diamond'

With a whopping six GRAMMY nominations under their belt, the pressure was on for Black Pumas to make a killer second album. And as 'Chronicles of a Diamond' demonstrates, their "musical connection is a lot heavier and deeper now."

GRAMMYs/Oct 30, 2023 - 04:00 pm

Out-of-the-box success can be a double-edged sword — and the Recording Academy had a catbird seat to the Black Pumas' rise.

Back during the 2020 GRAMMYs, the psychedelic soul duo of Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada was nominated for Best New Artist. The following year, the deluxe edition of their 2019 debut, Black Pumas, was nominated for Album Of The Year, and its lead single "Colors" received nods for Record Of The Year and Best American Roots Performance.

Their acclaim only swelled. At the 2022 GRAMMYs, their fly-on-the-wall release Capitol Cuts - Live From Studio A garnered nominations for Best Rock Album, and for "Know You Better (Live From Capitol Studio A)," Best Rock Performance.

Three years of GRAMMY nominations, for essentially one set of songs — this was a downright surreal way to kick off a career. "It's not something you ever take for granted," Quesada, their guitarist, as well as a composer and producer with an array of other projects, tells GRAMMY.com.

So when it came time to craft a follow-up to Black Pumas and its sister release, naturally, the pressure was on.

"When we first started working on music together… we were just making something we thought was cool and we wanted to listen to," Quesada says. "On this one, we had to remind ourselves a lot that that's the formula we need to stick to."

Released Oct. 27, the Quesada-produced, Shawn Everett-mixed Chronicles of a Diamond simultaneously plays to the band's strengths and chart new territory. Songs like "Mrs. Postman" and "Gemini Sun" feel meatier, more limbic, more exploratory.

"We just have so many more ideas, and the musical connection is a lot heavier and deeper now," Quesada says, noting that he and Burton had just met when Black Pumas started taking off. "So, it was really important to get some of that music out there."

Ahead of the album's release, Quesada spoke with GRAMMY.com about the genesis of Chronicles, the Pumas' adventures with the Recording Academy, breaking out of his comfort zone on the guitar, and much more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

I remember meeting you guys on the red carpet at the 2022 MusiCares Person Of The Year event, honoring Joni Mitchell. You both were very stoked for the album you were working on. So how would you trace that arc of time leading to Chronicles of a Diamond?

A lot happened. We were on tour a lot, but we thought it was really important to show this new music we'd been working on. We were on tour so much for the first album, and we were kind of largely defined by it. So we knew that we had these cool ideas and these different directions and things that we wanted to take things.

And I would say late last year and the beginning of this year for the first five, six months was really when things kicked into high gear with this album really coming into focus and wrapping up.

Can you talk about feeling "defined" by your last album?

Obviously, it did really well, so it was hard to complain, and people reacted to it and connected with the music, but it was a moment in time. It was 2017. Eric and I hardly even knew each other.

I think Eric has said it was like the "handshake period." We were getting to know each other and we weren't even a band yet. We hadn't even played a show when we worked on most of it, so it was really like a studio project — something we kind of did for fun. And it caught legs, took off, and we decided to focus on it.

We were on tour so long and it was like we were still defined by this music we did in 2017.Even last year we were like, "God, that was four, five years ago.

You guys were in the GRAMMYs machine the entire time. Can you talk about spending this crucial, pivotal period in the Recording Academy universe?

Oh, it was surreal to be recognized for all that, for something with such humble beginnings, something that we did in my home studio, not ever thinking or dreaming of GRAMMYs.

It's not why we set out to make the music. But when, all of a sudden, you're getting recognized in the same conversation of some incredible artists that are having either long legacy careers or breakout years — to be in that conversation of albums that are connecting not only with listeners, but with GRAMMY voters and just fans, is incredible. It's totally surreal.

I think we went to three GRAMMYs and every one, we never… [pauses] It's not something you ever take for granted. 

How do you feel you guys built off your past successes, and honed the elements people really connected with?

One of the things we had to remind ourselves a lot was that when we made the first album we had literally no pressure, no management, no label, no anything.

I mean, eventually, by the time it came out, we did. But when we first started working on music together, we didn't really have any pressure around us; we were just making something we thought was cool and we wanted to listen to.

On this one, we had to remind ourselves a lot that that's the formula we need to stick to. Because we started to feel the pressure of following up an album like that, following up a song like "Colors" — a GRAMMY nomination and sales and accolades and things like that.

You kind of have to tune out all the noise and be able to focus on what it was that made you enjoy making it, and that made a bunch of people connect with it — that it was honest.

Can you talk about how the live experience was channeled into your performances in the studio?

We had the advantage of a couple of these songs being road tested — we were already playing them in our live show, and those just morphed.

With the first album, we recorded all these songs, and then the live show became something else. Each song changed radically over the course of every night; organically, things started to happen with the reaction of the crowd and certain moments, and the arrangements just changed.

This time around, we had the advantage of actually feeling these songs sort of change live. Then, we took that back into the studio, and kept that kind of live energy and those movements of what was happening at the live show, but utilized the studio as an instrument to make it.

It didn't have to sound live, but it felt live. So that was super advantageous this time around — all that being super road tested, and all that experience on tour.

When it's time to build off a past success, the demon of self-doubt tends to show up. If that happened, how did you beat it back?

Yeah, that was the hardest thing for all this. But I think having each other's backs, and pushing each other to make sure we were doing the best thing we could, I think was important. And I think we still wrestle [with it]... there are days you wake up with self-doubt.

A big thing for me was when you start to listen to the music with other people. When you're kind of head down in a zone, like in a studio dungeon cave all the time, that's when I think some of those doubts start to happen.

But as soon as you get out of that room and go play for [people], or somebody else comes in and listens, I feel like I listen in a different way. And if I see other people reacting in a good way, it suddenly makes me kind of perk up and be like, "Oh, OK, I was right. We were right on these instincts."

That's important, really getting our heads up and getting some other people around for their feedback. You kind of start to trust some other people.

How do you feel you've evolved as a guitarist and producer over the last several years?

One thing that was big for me this time around was to challenge myself, get out of my comfort zone and not repeat the same ideas.

I've been playing guitar for so long — and producing records — that I have certain little tricks that I know work. This time around, it was really important for me to just block my first instinct and play something different on the guitar — on this album in particular.

The easiest thing would be to play what I know works, but I would stop myself from playing something. I would even record the idea and then be like, No, delete that and let me come up with something different.

So, that was really important to me. Otherwise then it's not challenging myself — or challenging the listener at all, either.

Give me a tune where you felt you broke out of a box, guitar-wise.

I would say probably maybe like "Gemini Sun" or "Rock and Roll" on the album. The last two songs on the album were songs where I kind of was trying a different approach on something and trying to always fit in around what everybody else is playing.

I'm a big ensemble player. I used to be in a 10 piece band, so I really like when all the instruments complement each other. So, a lot of times, if everybody else has really heavy parts, I'm already trying to figure out where can I fit into all that — and not overplay, but still make my voice heard.

I love that quality in a rock band, where they operate more like a jazz band — every player a cog in the machine.

"Rock and Roll" was a good one, where it was such a different kind of song for us. We recorded that one mostly live — well, obviously, we overdubbed a lot of things on it, but what you hear on the album is mostly what we played in the studio.

We had just learned that on tour, went in there, and I think you can kind of hear the well-oiled machine going into the studio. And the best Pumas stuff with our band is [material where] every part just kind of fits like a glove.

Can you talk about how Shawn Everett helped to elevate the material and glue it into a cohesive whole?

Oh, yeah. That was our first time using an outside mixer, and Shawn was perfect. I've been a fan of his work for a long time. Shawn is not afraid to take chances or risks, and he also hadn't really heard the material like we had. We'd been working on it for years.

So, when he opened up the files, he just found these hidden treasures in there — I might've been too obsessed or scared at that point to ruin anything, to change anything.

And Shawn would just go and go in there and it was almost jarring at first, the first day we worked with him, to hear what he was doing, because we were like, "Oh, that's not how it goes." There's the demo-itis thing. We've been sitting with our rough mix for a long time.

But I feel like he brought another layer of artistry to it and helped shake things up a little bit in the final stages. He's a crazy, mad-genius engineer and he moves so fast that I was trying my best to steal secrets from him — from the wizard, but he just moves so fast when he's doing things and added a lot of character to it.

Do you remember any particular tunes or moments that Shawn cracked open in a scary but ultimately rewarding way?

In the song "Hello," there was a synthesizer thing that was just supposed to be slightly complementing the bass, and it was kind of one of those things that was supposed to be just felt but not really heard. Those are the little details we were obsessing over.

But then Shawn found that part and was, he's like, "That's cool." And he just completely cranked that part up where we were like, Oh God, that's crazy. That was kind of intense. We almost had to get up. I think we literally got up off our seats and were kind of uncomfortable. We were like, That's not good. I remember even our label was like, "What happened to that one? Did something go wrong?"

We dialed it back a little bit, but he found something dug in there that he kind of wanted to revolve a lot of the mix around. I could've spent a year mixing that, and I would've never done that — and I think it was for the better.

Black Pumas

*Black Pumas (L-R: Adrian Quesada, Eric Burton). Photo: Jody Domingue*

How would you say your friendship and creative relationship with Eric has deepened throughout the years?

We've been through so much in the last few years. We had literally just met when we started to work on this music.

And at this point, when you are that embedded with somebody and toured so much — it's like you live together, you work together, you party together, you have ups and downs together. You see everybody through their best and their worst and everything. And really just strengthens the relationship you have with everybody that you're on the road with like that.

I think it translates into the music at some point — when there's more of an emotional connection between everybody and some history.

On New Album Jonny, The Drums' Jonny Pierce Is Finished "Setting Myself Up To Lose"

It Goes To 11: Black Pumas' Eric Burton Shows Off The Synthesizer That Reminds Him Of His Childhood
Eric Burton

Photo: Jody Domingue

video

It Goes To 11: Black Pumas' Eric Burton Shows Off The Synthesizer That Reminds Him Of His Childhood

Among his extensive instrument collection, Black Pumas singer Eric Burton favors his Roland JU-06A because of its vintage sound and "that sheen that I love."

GRAMMYs/Jan 10, 2024 - 05:11 pm

Psychedelic soul duo Black Pumas have consistently channeled the sounds of the '70s and '80s. So, it makes perfect sense that the group's co-founder, Eric Burton, favors an instrument that can authentically replicate a classic tone: a Roland JU-06A synthesizer.

"I first acquired the Boutique JU-06A in Berlin, Germany, while we were on tour," Burton recounts in the newest episode of It Goes to 11. "Right before soundcheck, I went shopping with our keyboardist, looking for equipment that I could take on the bus and have on the move for inspiration."

And he does, indeed, take it everywhere. It accompanies him to lunch, dinner and even more soundchecks.

"I like how vintage it sounded. I love how toyish it felt. It reminds me of my childhood, almost like a Polaroid picture. It has that sheen I love," Burton says.

Most days, he utilizes the Roland JU-06A to simulate the feeling of other players: "There's a button you can push to hold whatever chord you're playing in place so that once you push it down, it'll go on forever."

You can witness the magic of Burton's synthesizer in person throughout the first half of the year, as the Black Pumas will kick off their 2024 tour on Jan. 18. The trek is in support of their sophomore album, Chronicles of a Diamond, which includes their latest GRAMMY-nominated track, "More Than A Love Song," up for Best Rock Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Press play on the video above to learn more about the features of Eric Burton's beloved Roland JU-06A synthesizer, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of It Goes to 11.

2023 In Review: 10 Trends That Defined Rock Music

15 Must-Hear Albums This October: Troye Sivan, Drake, Blink 182, NCT 127 & More
(Clockwise) Black Pumas, Blink-182, Taylor Swift, Gucci Mane, Sampha, BoyWithUke, Troye Sivan

Photos (L-R): Jody Dominigue; Jack Bridgland; Michael Tranafp; Paras Griffin/Getty Images; Jim Dyson/Getty Images; courtesy of the artist; Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images;

list

15 Must-Hear Albums This October: Troye Sivan, Drake, Blink 182, NCT 127 & More

Don't let the falling leaves bring you down — read on for 15 albums dropping in October from Taylor Swift, Gucci Mane and Riley Green.

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2023 - 03:22 pm

Fall has already begun, and 2023 enters its final act with the beginning of October. However, that doesn't mean the music has to slow down — this month offers plenty of new releases for everyone from rap fans to country aficionados.

The month starts with Sufjan Stevens and the release of Javelin, his first fully-written album in eight years. On the same day, after several postponements, Drake will finally put forth For All the Dogs. Later in the month, blink-182 will make a long-awaited return with One More Time…, their first album featuring the original members since 2011, and Migos rapper Offset will drop his sophomore record, Set It Off.

There's also new work from Troye Sivan, NCT 127, Metric, Gucci Mane, and Taylor Swift closing off the month with the re-release of 1989 (Taylor's Version).

Don't let the falling leaves bring you down — below, GRAMMY.com compiled a guide with 15 must-hear albums dropping October 2023.

Sufjan Stevens - Javelin

Release date: Oct. 6

The last time Sufjan Stevens released an album fully written by himself was 2015's Carrie & Lowell. Javelin, his upcoming tenth studio album, will finally break this spell.

Mostly recorded at Stevens' home studio and featuring contributions from several friends (including the National's Bryce Dessner), the 10 tracks of Javelin bring back sounds of "70s Los Angeles' studio opulence" and vibes of a "detailed yet plain" self-portrait, according to a press release.

The album also features a cover of Neil Young's "There's a World" and an ambitious, 48-page art book with collages and essays written by Stevens. Javelin is preceded by the soothing single "So You Are Tired" and the spaced-out "Will Anybody Ever Love Me?"

NCT 127 - Fact Check

Release date: Oct. 6

Within the NCT constellation, NCT 127 is the subgroup anchored in South Korea's buzzing capital, Seoul. Since debuting in 2016, the nine-member ensemble has been infusing the city's vibrancy with innovative EDM and hip hop mixes.

On Oct. 6, NCT 127 will return with their fifth studio album, Fact Check, bringing in another round of their experimental K-pop sound. Consisting of nine songs, including lead single "Fact

Check (Mysterious; 不可思議)," the album expresses 127's confidence.

So far, they released a wealth of teasers that are linked to NCT's overall "dream" concept, video contents, and a highlight medley of the album tracks. After the recent ronclusion of NCT Nation, NCT's first full-group concert in South Korea and Japan, fans are expecting 127 to announce tour dates.

BoyWithUke - Lucid Dreams

Release date: Oct. 6

Mysterious masked singer and TikTok phenomenon BoyWithUke will continue his dream-themed saga with the release of Lucid Dreams, his fourth studio album.

According to a statement by the Korean American star, Lucid Dreams is meant to express "my desires, my fears, my past, and my dreams." He also adds that the each song on the album is "like a different step on the path. I'm facing past traumas, making the music I want to make, and figuring out who I am."

That development can be seen on pre-releases "Migraine" and "Trauma," where he opens up about mental health and childhood struggles over signature ukulele strings. In his own words, this album is truly "BoyWithUke blossoming, spreading his wings, and finding himself."

Drake - For All the Dogs

Release date: Oct. 6

After several postponements, Drake's eighth studio album is finally ready to meet the world. For All the Dogs is spearheaded by singles "Search & Rescue" and "Slime You Out" featuring SZA.

The album's tracklist is still a mystery, but it will reportedly feature names like Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, and Yeat, with production credits from 40, Bnyx, and Lil Yachty, among others. For All the Dogs is also linked to the Canadian rapper's debut poetry book, Titles Ruin Everything: A Stream of Consciousness — a 168-page collection written in partnership with longtime friend and songwriter Kenza Samir.

The album follows Drake's two 2022 studio albums: Honestly, Nevermind and Her Loss, in collaboration with 21 Savage. Currently, Drake is finishing up his It's All A Blur North American tour — one of the reasons why the album has been postponed before.

Troye Sivan - Something to Give Each Other

Release date: Oct. 13

On an Instagram post, Australian singer Troye Sivan stated: "This album is my something to give you — a kiss on a dancefloor, a date turned into a weekend, a crush, a winter, a summer. Party after party, after party after after party. Heartbreak, freedom. Community, sisterhood, friendship. All that."

Something to Give Each Other is Sivan's first full-length album in five years, following 2018's Bloom. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he revealed many of the inspirations behind this work, including partying, movies like Lost in Translation and Before Sunrise, and simple, ice-cold glasses of beer.

The trippy atmosphere of the album can be felt through pre-release singles "Rush" and "Got Me Started" — which features a sample of Bag Raider's omnipresent 2011 hit, "Shooting Stars." 

Offset - Set It Off

Release date: Oct. 13

Migos rapper Offset said in a statement that his sophomore album, Set It Off, took over two years to finalize. "This season is personal for me. It marks a new chapter in my life," he added.

A follow-up to his 2019 debut LP, Father of 4, the album will feature appearances by stellar names such as rapper Future, Travis Scott, Chloe Bailey, and Latto, as well as Offset's wife Cardi B, who appears on single "Jealousy."

Later in the statement, Offset said he feels "like Michael Jackson coming from a successful group breaking records to superstardom on my own. This body of work is healing for me and a letter to my fans and supporters." Lead single "Fan" brings back that comparison through many Michael Jackson references in the music video — a clever choice for the rapper's keen self-awareness.

Metric - Formentera II

Release date: Oct. 13

Exactly one year after the release of Formentera, indie royalty Metric took to social media to announce their ninth studio album, Formentera II. "Sometimes I feel like I'm in a damn maze and maybe you do too, or maybe you have it totally together, or maybe you feel like you're always floating somewhere in between," they wrote. "Wherever you're at right now, I am here to guide you to the rocking️ conclusion of our Formentera I & II odyssey."

The Canadian band also shared lead single "Just the Once," which was described by vocalist Emily Haines as a "regret disco" song in a press statement. "It's a song for when you need to dance yourself clean," she added. "Beneath the sparkling surface, there's a lyrical exploration of a simple word with many meanings. Once is a word that plays a game of opposites."

In support of the release, Metric revealed another single, "Who Would You Be For Me," and will be playing special concerts in NYC, L.A., Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Santiago starting Oct. 10. The concerts will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut LP, Old World Underground, Where Are You?

Riley Green - Ain't My Last Rodeo

Release date: Oct. 13

Alabama country star Riley Green has a moving story behind his second full-length album. Echoing the 2019 hit "I Wish Grandpas Never Died," Ain't My Last Rodeo came from one of the last conversations the singer shared with his late grandfather, Buford Green, who was an essential figure shaping his love for music and nature.

"I was fortunate enough to grow up within about three miles of my grandparents, so they were a huge part of my growing up and who I am — and this album is a lot of who I am," Green said in a press release. "This is really the first time I was able to really take my time, write and record songs that really felt like a cohesive album."

Ain't My Last Rodeo features 12 tracks (including a cover of Tim McGraw's "Damn Country Music")  and collaborations with Jelly Roll and Luke Combs. In February 2024, Green will embark on a 34-stop tour throughout the U.S.

The Drums - Jonny

Release date: Oct. 13

As its title suggests, the Drums' upcoming sixth studio album, Jonny, dives deep into current solo member Jonny Pierce's life. According to a press release, the album mainly explores "the deep-rooted childhood trauma Pierce experienced growing up in a cult-like religious community in upstate New York."

The singer explains further: "When I finished Jonny, I listened to it, and I heard my soul reflected back at me. It is devastating and triumphant, it is lost and found, it is confused and certain, it is wise and foolish. It is male and female, it is hard and gentle.

"To encapsulate one's whole self in an album, to honor each and every part of you, even the parts that feel at odds with each other, is to make something deeply human, and because my religion is humanism, the album becomes a sacred place for me to worship. Each feeling a different pew, each song a hymn to the human heart."

In the past few months, Pierce gave insight into the 16-track, indie-pop collection through singles "I Want It All," "Plastic Envelope," "Protect Him Always," "Obvious," and "Better." Jonny is the band's first full release since 2019's Brutalism.

Gucci Mane -  A Breath of Fresh Air

Release date: Oct. 17

Following 2016's Ice Daddy, Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane's sixteenth studio album will be named A Breath of Fresh Air.

In it, Mane is likely in his most vulnerable, relatable state yet. "I kind of wanted to let people know that I go through pain," he stated in an interview for Apple Music (via Revolt). "Like I said, I didn't want to have so much just superficial topics. I hit people and let them know, 'Hey, this was going on,' but it ain't a bad thing. It's okay to be happy. You know what I'm saying?"

According to iTunes, the album is set to have two discs and 24 songs, including singles "Bluffin" featuring Lil Baby, "Pissy"  featuring Roddy Ricch and Nardo Wick, "King Snipe" with Kodak Black, and "06 Gucci" with DaBaby and 21 Savage.

Release date: Oct. 20

blink-182's newest single, "One More Time," is a hard-earned reflection about what really matters in life. The punk rock trio, which hadn't been reunited since 2011's Neighborhoods, now realizes how personal struggles impacted their friendship, and how they hope to make it different in the future.

"I wish they told us, it shouldn't take a sickness/ or airplanes falling out of the sky," they sing, referencing Travis Barker's 2008 plane crash and Mark Hoppus' 2021 cancer diagnosis. "I miss you, took time, but I admit it/ It still hurts even after all these years."

A proof of maturity since they stepped into music in 1992, the heartfelt single is also the title track off upcoming LP One More Time... Featuring 2022's "Edging" and "More Than You Know" as well, the album was recorded mostly during their reunion tour this year, and boasts 17 tracks in total.

Sampha - Lahai

Release date: Oct. 20

Lahai is Sampha's grandfather's name and his own middle name. Now, it will become part of his musical history — the singer's sophomore studio album and follow up to 2017's acclaimed Process is due Oct. 20.

Over social media, Sampha described the record through a series of words as intriguing as his music: "Fever Dreams. Continuums. Dancing. Generations. Syncopation. Bridges. Grief. Motherlands. Love. Spirit. Fear. Flesh. Flight." Featuring contributions from singers like Yaeji, El Guincho and Yussef Dayes, it will feature 14 tracks that seemingly take a more positive tone than his previous work.

In a statement about lead single "Spirit 2.0," the south London singer said "it's about the importance of connection to both myself and others, and the beauty and harsh realities of just existing. It's about acknowledging those moments when you need help — that requires real strength."

Starting Oct. 12 in his hometown, Sampha will play a string of concerts throughout the U.K., Europe, and North America, wrapping it up on December 4 in Berlin, Germany.

Poolside - Blame It All On Love

Release date: Oct. 20

"I've spent 15 years being like, 'f—your rules,' and I finally feel like I'm not trying to prove anything or anyone wrong," says Jeffrey Paradise, the man behind "daytime disco" project Poolside, in a statement about his upcoming album, Blame It All On Love.

"It's just pure, unfiltered expression, and that's why I'm really excited about this record," he adds. The album bears 11 tracks described as "funky, soulful, laidback, and full of hooks" — as can be seen in singles like "Float Away," "Each Night" featuring Mazy, and "Back To Life" with Panama. According to the same statement, "the production marks a return to his live music roots and finds ease in simple and radiant layers of sound, even as it comes face-to-face with the complex reality of one's dreams come true."

Blame It All On Love is the follow-up to 2020 and 2021's duo Low Season and High Season. Poolside is on tour across the U.S. until Oct. 14.

Black Pumas - Chronicles of a Diamond

Release date: Oct. 27

Black Pumas' long-awaited second studio album, Chronicles of a Diamond, is "wilder and weirder" than its predecessor, according to an official statement. It is also the Austin-based duo's "fullest expression" of "frenetic creativity and limitless vision."

The album contains 10 tracks that expand on their trademark psychedelic soul sounds, as it can be seen in singles "More Than a Love Song" and "Mrs. Postman." "I wanted to make something we'd be thrilled to play live 200 days a year," says singer/songwriter Eric Burton in the same statement. "I wanted to be able to laugh, cry, bob my head, do the thing: it was all very much a selfish endeavor."

After the release, the Black Pumas will embark on a U.S. tour starting Dec. 4 in Austin, Texas, and follow into an European tour starting March 15 in Paris.

Taylor Swift - 1989 (Taylor's Version)

Release date: Oct. 27

Just three months after the release of Speak Now (Taylor's Version), Swifties will be treated to the singer's fourth re-recorded album this month: 2014's 1989. "To be perfectly honest, this is my most FAVORITE re-record I've ever done because the five From The Vault tracks are so insane," she revealed over social media.

As usual with Swift, the announcement of the album was marked by a slew of hints, starting with the news' date — Aug. 9, or 8/9 — during the final U.S. stop of her Eras Tour at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium. On that day, she also debuted new, blue outfits that alluded to 1989's assigned color. Afterwards, the discovery continued through a partnership with Google Search for fans to solve word puzzles in order to discover the titles of the five "From the Vault" tracks.

The album, which Swift said "changed my life in countless ways" will be available in digital, cassette, CD, and vinyl. She will also release deluxe versions in four different colors: crystal skies blue, rose garden pink, aquamarine green, and sunrise boulevard yellow.

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2022 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Latin Music
(From left) Bad Bunny, El Alfa, Natalia Laforcade, Rosalía, Rauw Alejando

PHOTO: Gladys Vega/ Getty Images; John Parra/Getty Images; Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy; Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Latin Recording

list

2022 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Latin Music

2022 glowed with abundance in every region and style — from Chilean folk and Mexican sierreño to Argentine synth-pop, Dominican dembow and good old fashioned rock en español.

GRAMMYs/Dec 27, 2022 - 08:51 pm

Years from now, 2022 is likely to be remembered as a moment of expansion and inspiration for Latin music. It’s not only that the unstoppable reggaetón beat and its multiple permutations brought people to their feet as the entire world danced to the sounds of Bad Bunny, KAROL G and Rosalía.  

After years of pandemic-related suffering, 2022 glowed with abundance in every region and style — from Chilean folk and Mexican sierreño to Argentine synth-pop, Dominican dembow and good old fashioned rock en español. Forgotten genres were resurrected and given bright new outfits, while a wave of daring young producers experimented with cutting-edge textures and studio effects. Globalization shook up the Latin spectrum, and the results are splendorous.

Here are some of the notable trends that emerged during the past 12 months.

The New Epicenter Of Global Pop? Puerto Rico 

As the mainstream embraces Latin trap, EDM and folk genres like champeta and bachata in this brave digital world of neo-reggaetón hits, Puerto Rican vocalists and producers have mastered the recipe of success. 2022 marked the third consecutive year in which Bad Bunny was the most streamed artist in the world on Spotify. An intriguing combination of raucous party hedonism and melancholy self-reflection, Benito’s musical universe continues to evolve, but his hold on pop culture is part of a wider trend.  

The year also saw the release of excellent new tracks by Ozuna, Rauw Alejandro, Daddy Yankee and Myke Towers, confirming San Juan as the avant-garde capital of Latin futurism. La isla del encanto’s dominance shouldn’t surprise the most studious observers of popular music, though. Just like Jamaica, Puerto Rico has given birth to countless legends in the past, from Tito Rodríguez and Cheo Feliciano to El Gran Combo and Héctor Lavoe. Further, there is a solid threadline that unites the early salsa sizzle of 'Maelo' Rivera with the 2000’s narratives of Tego Calderón and the melodic brilliance of a Rauw Alejandro.

The Seduction Of Retro Lives On 

Much of today’s Latin music relies on the-future-is-now sonics, with the use of autotune, synth patches and all sorts of studio gimmicks to create the slick patina of today's hits. At the same time, a number of artists prefer a return to analog warmth and the formats that hypnotized their ears in younger times.  

Growing up in Texas, multi-instrumentalist and Black Pumas leader Adrian Quesada developed an obsession with the intoxicating strand of psychedelic baladas that flourished throughout Latin America between the early ‘60s and mid ‘70s. Quesada had already recorded a reverential cover of "Esclavo y Amo" by Peruvian combo Los Pasteles Verdes, but in 2022 he recorded an entire album, Boleros Psicodélicos, with mostly original songs that capture the sinuous beauty and baroque harpsichord lines of the original genre.  

Following a similar vein, Natalia Lafourcade’s stunning De Todas Las Flores favored a retro approach with songs such as the breezy tropi-pop gem "Canta la arena." The album was recorded live on tape, with every musician present in the recording studio and no previous rehearsals. And if the intro to the solemn "Llévame viento" reminds you of Claude Debussy and French impressionism, it’s no coincidence. The Mexican vocalist showed producer Adán Jodorowsky pictures by Claude Monet for inspiration while they worked on the record.   

Dembow Transforms The Urbano Landscape 

Hypnotic and repetitive, the Dominican genre known as dembow is instantly addictive, but at the same time a bit of an acquired taste. Because of its aggressive pattern, it can be successfully transplanted to mainstream reggaetón — a prime example being Bad Bunny’s eye-opening use of dembow in his mega-hit "Tití Me Preguntó."

The indisputable king of the format remains El Alfa, the incredibly prolific, 31 year-old singer/songwriter from Santo Domingo who has turned the native riddims and hilarious slang from his homeland into a cottage industry of feverish dance anthems. El Alfa (Emanuel Herrer Batista) releases singles and videos at a breakneck pace, and 2022 found him riding a creative wave. A collaboration with Braulio Fogón and Chael Produciendo, "Tontorón Tontón" grooves with a fervor that borders on insanity, as El Alfa spits out rhymes that fuse hilarious vulgarity with surreal impressionism.

Last Night A Lo-Fi Songstress Saved My Life

While the ubiquitous stars of the Latin pop firmament compete for hundreds of millions of streams, indie artists from Argentina to Mexico continue doing what they do best: writing awesome songs. Easy access to recording equipment has allowed a young generation of female bedroom-pop and lo-fi rock performers to blossom undeterred by any record label interference.

On her brilliant and darkly hued EP Misterios de la Plata, Argentine singer Srta. Trueno Negro channels her devotion to the Velvet Underground. Hailing from Culiacán in Sinaloa, Bratty collaborated with Cuco on the hazy reverie of "Fin Del Mundo." In Brazil, São Paolo native Brvnks flexed her angular, guitar-based hooks on "sei la," an atmospheric duet with Raça. Seeped in the sugary vibes of ‘80s Argentine bands like Metrópoli, "Tuna" — an under promoted single by young Buenos Aires composer Mora Navarro — is probably one of the most gorgeous Latin songs of the decade.

Bachata Officially Not A Niche Genre Anymore

All those Dominican aristocrats of the early 20th century who looked down on bachata as the filthy music of the lower classes would shake their heads in disbelief if they saw the place of honor it occupies today. Prince Royce and Romeo Santos made headway in bringing the authentic strains of música del amargue into the mainstream.  

But just like salsa in the ‘90s, bachata is now part of the pop lexicon, and artists from different genres delve into its mystique. Most famously, Rosalía, whose majestic "LA FAMA" distorts the expected guitar lines into jagged, digitalized objects of beauty. The autobiographical lyrics are poignant, and the diva’s decision to enlist the Weeknd helped to further the cause (as it turns out, bachata’s wounded feelings sting even more deliciously as a duet.) In Colombia, Elsa y Elmar aimed at the very roots of the genre with "atravesao," complete with skittish bongó beats and a vocal delivery that bleeds unrequited romance. Even in Buenos Aires, bachata has attracted the muse of talented songwriters such as Silvina Moreno, whose "Ley de Atracción" muses philosophically on the perverse contradictions of erotic desire.

2022 Year In Review: 7 Trends That Defined R&B

The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show Nominations Are Here: Doja Cat, Jack Antonoff, Jon Batiste, FINNEAS & More React On Social Media
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The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show Nominations Are Here: Doja Cat, Jack Antonoff, Jon Batiste, FINNEAS & More React On Social Media

Following the announcement of the 2022 GRAMMYs Award Show nominations, artists across genres joined in excitement with their fans on social media

GRAMMYs/Nov 24, 2021 - 03:02 am

Editor's Note: The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, 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 2022 GRAMMY nominations have been announced, and artists, songwriters and producers across genres wasted no time sharing their excitement.

Here are some of the top social media reactions from the 2022 GRAMMY nominees.

Doja Cat

Doja Cat is up for eight GRAMMY Awards: Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Melodic Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.

H.E.R.

H.E.R. is also nominated for eight awards at the 2022 GRAMMYs: Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best R&B Performance, Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song and Best Song Written For Visual Media.

Jon Batiste

Musician and TV personality Jon Batiste is nominated for 11 GRAMMY Awards: Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Album, Best Improvised Jazz Solo, Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Best American Roots Performance, Best American Roots Song, Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media, Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Music Video.

FINNEAS

Eight-time GRAMMY winner FINNEAS received nominations for four categories: Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year and Best New Artist.

Jack Antonoff

Five-time GRAMMY winner Jack Antonoff is up for Album Of The Year and Producer Of The Year.

Major Lazer

EDM trio Major Lazer received their first GRAMMY nomination this year for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album.

Dan + Shay

Three-time GRAMMY winners Dan + Shay are up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

BJ The Chicago Kid

Seven-time GRAMMY nominee BJ The Chicago Kid is up for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Black Pumas

After receiving nominations for Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Best American Roots Performance at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, Black Pumas are up for two new two categories the very next year: Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance.

Los Lobos

Three-time GRAMMY winners Los Lobos are up for Best Americana Album.

The Recording Academy will present the 2022 GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, April 3, on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on demand on Paramount+ from 8–11:30 p.m. ET / 5–8:30 p.m. PT. Additional details about the dates and locations of other official GRAMMY Week events, including the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, MusiCares' Person of the Year, and the Pre-GRAMMY Gala, will be announced soon.

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List