meta-scriptA Timeline Of Brazilian Hip-Hop: From The Ruas To The Red Carpet |
Matuê performs during the Rock in Rio Festival
Rapper Matuê performs during the Rock in Rio Festival in 2022

Photos: Buda Mendes/Getty Images


A Timeline Of Brazilian Hip-Hop: From The Ruas To The Red Carpet

The timeline of Brazilian hip-hop leads to the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, where several Brazilian hip-hop artists are nominated in the inaugural Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance: Planet Hemp, Criolo, Filipe Ret, Luccas Carlos and Dallas.

GRAMMYs/Nov 15, 2023 - 03:27 pm

"Going downtown back then was like going to NY with all the lights, the buildings," said Brazilian artist Mano Brown in the 2022 documentary Racionais MC's: From the Streets of São Paulo.

In the 1970s, Brown was only known as Paulo, a teenager from one of the harshest favelas at the outskirts of the 20 million person Brazilian metropolis. Then taking baby steps into hip-hop — a brand new form of music-making — Brown could barely imagine becoming one of the most relevant figures in national culture. Nor would he dare to say that Brazilian hip-hop would go big on a global level.

There are three new categories at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, the inaugural award for Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance. Among its nominees are two mainstays of Brazil's hip-hop today: the '90s rap-rock staple Planet Hemp's collaboration with São Paulo sambista-rapper Criolo, "Distopia"; and Rio trapstars Filipe Ret and Luccas Carlos, along with top-tier producer Dallas, featuring "Good Vibe." 

Brazilian hip-hop has walked a long, rocky road from the tough favelas and skyscraping downtowns to the 2023 red carpet in Seville, which will host the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs on Nov. 16. It's a story of many acts, a wide range of beats, clashes with the establishment and Black pride, genre-hopping creativity, and unstoppable endurance. As with samba and funk, innovative artists reinvented and reshaped the culture of hip-hop, claiming it as their own.

Follow through the decades of Brazilian hip-hop's rise and and press play on some  hallmark song from the country's artists below: 

1960s -1970s: Spoken Word, Proto-Rap & Local Influence

It's undeniable that those kids in the Bronx in the late 1970s were the first to create a music genre out of a given prosody, spoken word traditions, double-entendres, displaced rhymes, and wordplays. All of these features, however, can be found across several disparate cultural practices. In Brazil, these were seen in Northeast repente practice, and also in samba or marchinhas — century-old songs chanted during carnival street parties.

One of the first popular Brazilian artists to record a song drawing from these elements is Jair Rodrigues. With his "Deixa Isso Pra Lá," the singer playfully jams with a staccato pattern following the broken beat rhythms of the samba ensemble. Other notable examples of this avant-garde era are Gerson King Combo and his funky "Mandamentos Black" and Miele, who recorded a parody of Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight."

1980s: Roots In Rio And São Paulo

By the late 1970s, the most populated cities of the country, Rio and São Paulo, witnessed the growth of favelas and low-income suburbs that eventually became essential hubs for Black-centered cultural practices. There, American funk music was highly appreciated and James Brown records were a must for DJs playing the massive parties that took place in local sports courts over the weekend. 

Brazilian hip-hop evolved in this landscape, and was first compiled by a Brazilian major in 1988 on Hip-Hop Cultura de Rua. Thaíde was one of the main acts on the compilation; the young rapper and b-boy was often seen at the square in front of the São Bento — the central metro station that gathered these new aficionados. 

Joining the ranks were Região Abissal, a group that recorded the first album of Brazilian hip-hop, 1988's Hip rap hop, and the Black Juniors, whose 1984 album Break melded funk, electro, and the country's burgeoning rap style.

1990s: Rap Rises Against All Odds

The 1990s laid the foundations of hip-hop in Brazil. The country kicked off the decade with its first presidential elections since 1960, following a three-decade hiatus of military dictatorship. Freedom of speech was the norm once again, and the racial and social fracture faced by underprivileged populations was moore palpable than ever. In this context, rappers used music as a manifesto, bluntly denouncing the daily racism and violence experienced by Black youth.

There's no other group or artist that captured that zeitgeist as Racionais MC's did, coining all-time classics of Brazilian music such as "Diário de um Detento" — the story of an imprisoned man killed during a massacre that took place in the Carandiru correctional facility in 1992. Their albums Holocausto Urbano (1990), Raio X do Brasil (1993), and Sobrevivendo no Inferno (1996) are revered masterworks. Racionais MC's shaped rap during a decade that also saw Planet Hemp's first album, Usuário (1995), and Bahia duo MD MC’s recording a music video in New York — a first for Brazilian hip-hop artists.

2000s: Hip-Hop Culture Continues To Grow

Brazilian hip-hop kept a steady pace throughout in the early aughts. In 2000, Sabotage's Rap é Compromisso set a higher bar for storytelling and wordplay, earning the rapper national acclaim. Female artists such as Dina Di and Negra Li also became more vocal, claiming space despite a constant misogyny that often made performing or recording a tough task.

All over the country, different regions and artists appropriated that new sound, proving that São Paulo was not the only hip-hop antenna. In the national capital Brasília, Gog released four albums, following five other releases in the '90s; in Salvador, Vandal, Lord Breu, and Dimek linked up with the UK hip-hop and grime scene on their mixtape Fayaka Stepaz; in Fortaleza, the group Costa a Costa debuted in 2007 with the seminal mixtape Dinheiro, Sexo, Drogas e Violência; Rio's MV Bill released his sophomore album Declaração de Guerra (2002), and Black Alien showed off his complex, multi-punchline Babylon by Gus Vol. I: O Ano do Macaco (2004).

Early 2010s: Hip-Hop Becomes MPB

Although hip-hop was inescapable in Brazilian music throughout the 2000s, it was still overlooked by the media and music industry; rap was still seen as an underground fad and a combative platform that had no place in most TV channels or radio stations. 

This started to change in the early 2010s. With a background in street rap battles and performances at underground venues, São Paulo's Emicida and Criolo took a place among the big sharks, showing off their skillful music-making and bending boundaries of hip-hop. In just a few years, they released songs that made the radio charts, collaborated with major Brazilian artists such as Caetano Veloso and Milton Nascimento, and performed at several festivals. 

With their 2009 mixtape Pra Quem Já Mordeu um Cachorro por Comida, até que Eu Cheguei Longe…, Emicida proved how universal and still local his rap could be, writing about love and self-care while still denouncing the challenges faced by Brazil's Black population. 

Criolo's Nó Na Orelha (2010) snuck rap into the MPB, featuring the sad, larmourous song “Não existe amor em SP” and the Afrobeats-laden jam "Bogotá." 

Not by chance, Emicida and Criolo were the first Brazilian hip-hop artists amongst the Latin GRAMMYs nominees. Criolo is nominated for this year Best Portuguese Language Song for "Algoritmo Íntimo" at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, and Emicida won the 2020 Best Portuguese Language Rock Or Alternative Album, with Amarelo

Late 2010s: Hip-Hop To The People

Criolo and Emicida's national success echoed that of American artists, and informed the country's appreciation of hip-hop. Brazilian underground rap grew stronger in the second half of the 2010s, which saw the first massive wave of young hip-hop fans. 

This period also saw the rise of trap music made in Brazil via the likes of Raffa Moreira, who managed to adapt and expand the Atlanta-based formula of triplets and snare rolls in his own style.

Crews were also on the top then: Costa Gold, Recayd Mob, and Nectar Gang are some of the collectives who laid the groundwork for artists such as BK and Jé Santiago. In 2018, Minas Gerais' Djonga  released his first album, Heresia — his first step on the path to Brazilian rap stardom. Up in the Northeast region, Bahia's Baco Exu do Blues collabs with Pernambuco's Diomedes Chinaski and releases "Sulicídio" — a powerful jab to the Rio/São Paulo-centered hip-hop Brazilian scene.

Early 2020s: Brazil Becomes A Hip-Hop Powerhouse  

Blending with different genres, but especially branching out of trap, the rap game got big in the beginning of this decade. Fortaleza's Matuê became one of the biggest stars in Latin America, amassing millions of streams, while pop act and Latin GRAMMY/GRAMMY nominee Anitta collaborated with up-and-coming MCs like L7.

Spearheaded by Filipe Ret, trap began to meld with baile funk in Rio and São Paulo. Meanwhile, Marcelo D2's Planet Hemp joined forces with Criolo to revamp their rap rock. Not by chance, both acts are among the first list of rappers nominated for the Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance.

Female artists such as Tasha and Tracie, Nina do Porte, Nic Dias, and Ajuliacosta are keeping the pace and the memory of pioneers, but now they rise as innovators. LGBTQ+ performers like Rico Dalasam, Mona Brutal, and Sodomita are also taking centerstage, pushing aside homophobia and dropping bars about topics that cover queerness and much more. 

Grime and drill also see the day of light by the hands and pens of SD9, Leall, Fleezus, and Febem. Rap seems unstoppable now, in every corner of every big Brazilian city. From north to south — and now going global — hip-hop reigns supreme in Brazil.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

Central Cee performs in Madrid

Photo: Aldara Zarraoa/Redferns


5 International Hip-Hop Scenes To Watch Now

Acts around the globe are shifting away from imitating American artists, creating an audible international shift toward sounds that are truer to location. Read on for five countries with distinct hip-hop scenes worth checking out.

GRAMMYs/Dec 12, 2023 - 02:16 pm

Fifty years since the recognized beginning of hip-hop culture in the United States, its beats, rhymes and life have been inspiring artists and doing serious business around the world. These days, though, there’s an audible international shift away from imitating American acts and producing sounds that are truer to location.

"Overall, we’re definitely seeing the decline of the dominance of rap music on a global scale," notes Nima Etminan, COO of Empire. Headquartered in San Francisco, Empire is included among
Billboard’s 2023 International Power Players and has offices in New York, London, South Africa and Nigeria. An experienced A&R executive, Etminan is originally from Germany and frequently works from each base to scout and sign talent.

is working, Etminan has noticed, are emergent international styles that may count rap music and hip-hop culture as ingredients or influences. Artists around the globe are breaking new sonic ground, whether it’s Puerto Rico’s Bad Bunny rapping and singing, or the hip-hop appeal of the corridos by Mexico’s Peso Pluma.

"I think that the essence of African American culture when it comes to talking and dressing and stuff is definitely still there, but it’s just less because [America has] less global influence," he says. " Now everybody kind of has their own local scenes that are bigger. So the American stuff still plays into it, but just on a much smaller scale because they have their own heroes and their own superstars who are big that they are looking up to."

With all that in mind, asked Etminan and other global music minds to recommend international rap scenes that are worth watching now.


In November, Brazilian hip-hop artists made a big impression at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs. Planet Hemp and Criolo were the first to win the inaugural award for Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance with their song "Distopia." They were nominated alongside three other Brazilian rap acts worth watching: Luccas Carlos, Dallas and Filipe Ret.

Empire, which is both a record label and distributor, just hired its first employee in Brazil. The company has good reason to watch and invest in this region.

"I think Brazil is one of the fastest rising areas," says Etminan. "I think as far as their own sound and culture that’s really big but hasn’t exploded outside of that yet, and hasn’t had mainstream success yet, it’s probably Brazil."

Read more: A Timeline Of Brazilian Hip-Hop: From The Ruas To The Red Carpet


French rap music may not be on the radar of the average American fan, but France is the second largest market in the world for hip-hop — behind only the United States.

"Take a look at the country's Top Spotify lists and it's strongly dominated by domestic artists in the genre who come from Paris, Marseille and from various regions across the country," notes Alexandra Greenberg, the U.S. consultant for CNM (Centre national de la musique), France’s national music office. "The country also has Les Flammes, an international awards show celebrating rap going into its second year this coming April."

Paris-based hip-hop journalist and author Epée Hervé Dingong suggests becoming acquainted with the likes of Ninho, an MC of Congolese descent influenced by American Southern rappers, who recently collaborated with Lil Baby. Dingong also pointed to Booba, who has had three NO. 1 albums and eight other Top 10 releases in France since his 2002 debut.

"Booba is not new," says Dingong, who is working on a book chronicling the history of the hip-hop mixtape, "but he is still the king." 


The world’s embrace of Afrobeats originated with Nigerian artist Fela Kuti, who was likened to be the James Brown of Africa. Current Nigerian superstars who are poised to eclipse that success internationally, like Burna Boy and Olamide, have grown up under the influence of the Kuti family (including Fela’s recording artist sons, Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti) and the allure of American rap.

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy introduced a new category of Best African Music Performance, reflecting the continent’s current breakthroughs in the North American music business. And a remix of "Sittin’ on Top of the World" by Burna Boy featuring 21 Savage is one of the nominees for Best Melodic Rap Performance in 2024. Fellow nominees in the category are "Attention" by Doja Cat, "Spin Bout U" from Drake & 21 Savage, "All My Life" by Lil Durk feat. J. Cole, and SZA's "Low."

Though these artists are beloved around the world, the worsening economic climate in Nigeria has made it challenging for them to succeed at home, explains Etminan.

"The inflation in Nigeria was so crazy this year," he says, "and the Nigerian currency lost so much of its value, so a lot of the money these artists were making was devalued at the same time. So that’s stuff that plays into [their ability to work at home and] that’s really tough. And that’s outside of anyone’s control, you know?"

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

South Africa

A&R executives like Etminan are still heavily focused on the talent and potential in South Africa, though the man who was arguably the biggest star in the South African scene with the most international appeal lost his life in 2023. AKA, an MC who was the top-selling South African hip-hop artist of all time, was shot and killed in Durban in February when his career was still on the rise. He was 35.

Presently, South Africa gets the most attention globally for amapiano, which takes influence more from house music and the more local kwaito music from the Nineties, but there is a growing cooperation and
collaboration with the South African rap world. Like most specifically rap scenes, South Africa’s is male-dominated, but a notable exception is Nadia Nakai, an Artist Of The Decade nominee at the South African Hip-Hop Awards and reality star in the Netflix series Young, Famous & African. Nakai and her contemporaries reflect an aspirational lifestyle in their music.


"The UK market for a long time was very tough," says Etminan, adding that the market is small, saturated, and generally concentrated around London. "Especially when it comes to hip-hop, a huge percentage of the Black population in the UK is centered around London and once you leave London it’s very white."

Hip-hop with an English accent may not have had as much success catching on internationally as other UK-bred styles like drum & bass and grime have, but a current set of stars are demanding the world’s attention.

"I think Central Cee is probably a perfect example of what can happen," Etminan adds. "Everybody loves Central Cee and I don’t know if part of it is his look — he’s very racially ambiguous, he’s good looking, girls love him. He makes music that obviously has a UK accent and stuff like that, but it’s very adaptable and catchy. I feel like Central Cee is probably the one that I hear played the most from people that just listen to regular American rap music [in England]."

Central Cee won two 2022 MOBO Awards for Best Male Act and Video Of The Year for his song "Doja," which was directed by Cole Bennett, the popular Chicago video director from Lyrical Lemonade. He celebrated his 25th birthday in 2023 with the release of Split Decision, a joint project with Mercury Prize-winning English rapper Dave, also 25 and a still-rising star who appeared on the UK series "Top Boy" (which became a US hit for Netflix). Cee is also bridging countries with collaborations such as "Eurovision," a song and video featuring rappers and producers from France, Spain, Italy and across the United Kingdom. 

Luckily, YouTube offers a free passport to experiencing the creativity from these scenes and artists as well as music from all across the planet. A true benefit of the streaming age is that hip-hop fans of any age who appreciate originality, flow and bumping beats can learn about how an American-bred art form has inspired the world.

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2023 Latin GRAMMYs General Hero


Latin GRAMMYs 2023: Listen To The Nominees For Best Portuguese Language Urban Performance

The five nominees for Best Portuguese Language Urban Performance reflect the diversity of Brazilian music. Listen to the nominated works and tune in to the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs on Nov. 16.

GRAMMYs/Oct 20, 2023 - 03:13 pm

The Latin GRAMMYs have introduced three new categories to the awards this year in order to recognize an ever broader spectrum of Latin culture: Songwriter Of The Year, Best Singer-Songwriter Song, and Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance. The new category for urban music in Portuguese nods to the force that Brazilian music has become on the world stage.

Portuguese urban music is a broad category, encompassing funk carioca and other uniquely Brazilian genres as well as hip-hop and rap, or a fusion of urban genres with other styles. Collectively, the five 2023 Latin GRAMMY Nominees who are up for the honor of Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance represent this diversity in Brazilian music. The artists nominated are: Àttøøxxá and Carlinhos Brown (“Da Favela Pro Asfalto”), GIULIA BE (“Aviso De Amigo”), Iza (“Fé”), Planet Hemp Featuring Criolo (“Distopia”) and Filipe Ret with Caio Luccas and Dallass (“Good Vibe”).

The 24th Latin GRAMMY Awards will be held on Nov. 16 in Sevilla, Spain. Learn about the nominees for this new category, then don’t miss the broadcast on Univision at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT).

Àttøøxxá Featuring Carlinhos Brown – “Da Favela Pro Asfalto”

This nomination is a first for Afro-Brazilian fusion group Àttøøxxá, who recruited the vocal gifts of fellow Baiano, Carlinhos Brown for the party jam "Da Favela Pro Asfalto," off their recent album Groove. It may be their first Latin GRAMMY nom, but Groove is their fourth album and the quartet is well-known for simultaneously bringing cosmopolitan hip and retro cool to pagodão, the Bahia-bred style that dominates their sound. On the come up for a little while now, they brought some of their pagodão seasoning to Anitta’s “Me Gusta,” in 2020.

This is a significant moment for Àttøøxxá and their genre. Guitarist Chibatinha said in a statement, “This nomination is a celebration of black music. ‘Da Favela Pro Asfalto' is a significant song because it brings together two generations of Bahia music and to be chosen by world critics to compete gives this work another weight.”

GIULIA BE  – “Aviso De Amigo”

Giulia Be is a chart-topping, multihyphenate singer-songwriter and actress from Rio de Janeiro who earned her second Latin GRAMMY nomination with the song “Aviso De Amigo.” The offbeat, bedroom funk tune with the eyelash-fluttering lyrics from her 2022 debut album DISCO VOADOR, may be more indoor-voice than some of her made-for-arenas pop bangers but its sophistication and confident pacing makes it a standout.

Giulia’s career is white hot right now. Last year’s nomination was for Best New Artist. In 2022, she also starred in the hit Netflix drama Depois Do Universo and, on a lighter note, saw DISCO VOADOR album track “pessoa certa hora errada” become a viral TikTok hit.

Iza – “Fé”

Backed up by a gospel-inspired chorus, a samba trio, and clubby hip-hop beats, Iza tells her story and sings about what keeps her going on “Fé,” the 2022 single that brought her a second Latin GRAMMY nomination. Her first nomination came just last year when her critically successful debut album Dona de Mim put her in the running for Best Portuguese Language Contemporary Pop Album. (This year, she followed Dona de Mim with AFRODHIT.)

Iza knows about the hard work and struggle she describes in “Fé.” Before signing with Warner Music Brasil, the singer, songwriter and dancer worked as a video editor while she built her following by posting cover songs on YouTube.

Planet Hemp Featuring Criolo – “Distopia”

Rio de Janeiro rap-rock legends Planet Hemp have been making music (and problems for the authorities) since 1993. A lot has happened since their formation. The group has survived tragedy, been arrested for advocating marijuana use, broken up and reunited. Current and former members such as BNegão and Black Alien have gone on to be known as rappers and musicians beyond the band. Collectively, Planet Hemp had enough laurels to rest on for the foreseeable future, but the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro spurred the members to action.

In 2022 they returned with Jardineiros, their first studio album in more than 20 years. Despite the long hiatus, the release found them in top form and joined by collaborators such as superstar rapper Criolo, who gives lead single “Distopia” its powerful chorus.

Filipe Ret with Caio Luccas and Dallass  – “Good Vibe”

Moody, dim trap beats and meandering lyrics with shades of funk proibidão made Filipe Ret a diamond-certified star. Producer Dallass crafted quite a few of those beats for the Carioca rapper over the course of their careers, however, when the two regular collaborators made “Good Vibe” something else entirely happened. The track, which appears on 2022’s Lume, feels light, dreamy, maybe even sunny. Vaporwave synths brighten the typically gloomy corners and everything seems to float on clouds of reverb.

What could bring on such good vibes? Well, it’s a song about a girl. Love seems to have put Ret and rapper Caio Luccas in the mood to look on the bright side. It’s working for them.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

Trini Lopez in London in 1965

Trini Lopez in London in 1965

Photo: Stanley Bielecki/ASP/Getty Images


Trini Lopez, Who Revitalized American & Mexican Folk Classics, Has Died From COVID-19 At 83

The GRAMMY-nominated singer/guitarist's biggest global hits were lively covers of folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary's "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree"

GRAMMYs/Aug 13, 2020 - 02:18 am

GRAMMY-nominated singer, guitarist and actor Trini Lopez, whose lively blend of American and Mexican folk songs with rockabilly flair earned him worldwide fame in the '60s, has died at 83. The Mexican-American artist died from COVID-19 at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif. yesterday, Aug. 11.

Beginning with his 1963 debut studio album, Trini Lopez At PJ's, Lopez found success bringing new life—and a raucous, danceable beat and vocal delivery—to other artists' songs, including folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary's hits "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree." Both songs would be his biggest, with his versions out-charting theirs both on the Billboard Hot 100 and international charts.

Back at the 6th GRAMMY Awards in 1964, following his epic breakout year, Lopez was nominated for Best New Artist.

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If I Had A Hammer: From Aretha Franklin To Public Enemy, Here's How Artists Have Amplified Social Justice Movements Through Music

His rocked-up rendition of "I Had a Hammer," released in 1963 on his live debut album, hit No. 3 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 in 36 countries. The song was originally written by political activist/folk icon Pete Seeger and Lee Hays and recorded as a protest song by their band The Weavers in 1950, reemerging as a GRAMMY-winning No. 10 hit from Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962, the year prior to Lopez's breakout success with the classic song.

Popular '60s West Hollywood star-studded venue P.J.'s, where the Dallas-born singer recorded his first two albums (which also put the club on the map outside of Los Angeles), was where he got his big break, from none other than Frank Sinatra. After catching a few of his shows, the Rat Pack leader signed him to his Reprise label.

"I remember reading in the trades that Frank Sinatra frequented P.J.’s a lot so I moved over there so I could meet him," Lopez said. "I was hired for three weeks and I stayed a year and a half. I played four or five shows every single night and I never repeated a song. I just kept waiting to meet Frank Sinatra, and within a month he came with an entourage and to my surprise he offered me an eight-year record contract on his label. I put P.J.'s on the map with my live albums since they were recorded for Sinatra's record company."

Read: Sin-atra City: The story of Frank Sinatra and Las Vegas

A self-proclaimed "proud" Mexican-American born to immigrant parents in Dallas in 1937, Lopez also performed and recorded many songs in Spanish at a time when artists, including himself, were asked by labels to hide or Whitewash their Latin identity. Trini Lopez At PJ's included a rendition of traditional Mexican folk song "Cielito Lindo" and in 1964, he released The Latin Album, filled with of Spanish language classics. His father, Trinidad Lopez II, was a ranchera singer who made his living as manual laborer.

As The Guardian notes, "in the mid-'60s he was releasing as many as five albums a year, though that slowed in the late '70s. While he continued performing, he released very little music until 2000, when he began recording again and released a further six albums." His final album, released in 2011 and titled Into the Future, was a nod to Sinatra, featuring songs from his catalog.

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At the peak of his musical fame in the '60s and '70s, he also found moderate success in film and TV, with roles in films The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Antonio (1973) and a variety show special on NBC in 1969, "The Trini Lopez Show."

A talented guitar player—he started playing at age 11—Gibson Guitars had him design two instruments in 1964, which remain highly sought after to this day. Dave Grohl and Noel Gallagher are both fans of the vintage models. Grohl paid tribute to Lopez on Twitter today, underscoring that he's used his on every Foo Fighters album ever recorded.

His electric live performances and hit records made him an in-demand artist in the Las Vegas circuit, as well as around the globe, including one jaunt he found most memorable—stealing the show as the Beatles' opener in Paris in 1964.

"I used to steal the show from them every night!" he said in a 2014 interview. "The French newspapers would say, 'Bravo, Trini Lopez! Who are the Beatles?'"

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Maceo Plex

Maceo Plex

Photo: Ruben Schmitz


How Will Coronavirus Shift Electronic Music? Maceo Plex, Paul Van Dyk, Luttrell, Mikey Lion & DJ Manager Max Leader Weigh In

"Now, the silver lining could be that people are going to make some amazing music coming out of this. When you don't have the pressure of making a hit track for the club, you usually make something more interesting," Maceo Plex predicts

GRAMMYs/Mar 26, 2020 - 11:06 pm

Amidst all the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, one certainty is this will affect everyone in some way, and it already has had huge effects on all who work in the music industry. As major music events like Coachella, Ultra, SXSW, Glastonbury, Time Warp and many more continue to be canceled or postponed, as well as upcoming tour and club dates, many artists, managers, promoters and the crew members are facing gravely reduced or non-existent income over the next few months and possibly beyond.

We reached out to four globe-trotting DJ/producers—Barcelona's Maceo Plex (Ellum Audio), Los Angeles' Mikey Lion (Desert Hearts), San Francisco's Luttrell (Anjunadeep) and Berlin's Paul Van Dyk (Vandit Records)—and London/New York-based DJ manager Max Leader to learn how the pandemic is directly affecting them and those they work with. While this crisis is radically shifting their plans this year, they all see silver linings, especially in the sense of unity felt in the dance music community and, increasingly, humanity as a whole.

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The Show Might Go On

Longtime (he's been in it since '90s raves) underground legend Maceo Plex, a.k.a. Miami-born Eric Estornel, was set to headline Ultra, Movement (which was recently rescheduled from May to September) and Time Warp plus a bunch of major club dates over the next few months. He underscores that this is going to be hard for everyone as they all scrambles to readjust, reschedule and recover losses, and thus will likely reshape the electronic music industry as a whole.

"It's not just DJs it's musicians, bands, anybody that their job is to congregate people together to hear music is affected. That can be promoters, DJs, they all have the same story, club owners, everybody's pretty much screwed. It does give you a sense of unity because everyone's in it together," the Ellum Audio label head told us over the phone late last week.

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Leader has been in the industry for years, formerly as a promoter and currently, for the past 18 years, as a manager of a roster of major DJs. He also paints the picture of a challenging year for everyone planning and playing events in 2020, highlighting just how many dates and dollars have already been lost.

"The bread and butter for my artists and for me is in live shows. My clients tend to do anywhere from six to 12 shows a month and we work three to six months in advance. So, what happened two weeks ago, was the cancellation or attempt to reschedule the gigs, between one to three months from that moment to three months ahead," he explained during a phone chat last week. "And the promoters that were booking for three to six months from that point, were not booking anymore because they didn't know what was going on, which means that you're already at nine months of no shows. So, if you start looking at nine to 12 months, it means in the space of two weeks, you're suddenly 12 months away from receiving any income from touring."

Canceling even just a few shows could be financially crushing to promoters, as well as the clubs and everyone else who works for them. "Also, these promoters, some of them are weekly promoters, some of them are monthly promoters, and they try to honor deals. Now you lose one show for artists of the caliber that I work with, you could lose $25,000, $30,000. If you lose that amount two or three times in a row, you could be out of business," Leader noted.

For Estornel, van Dyk and Leader, their long, successful careers have put them in a place where they are currently okay financially. Of course, dipping too far into savings is stressful, as is not having an income stream to share with your team. "I'm already going into savings, because of having to cancel the ongoing business," Leader added. "I would say that my business is 90 percent gigs, so I have effectively lost 90 percent of my business right now. And it happened immediately. It happened overnight."

Estronel was set to debut his new M^3 live show in Los Angeles on March 14, which, as he put it, ended up being "the first weekend that no events were happening pretty much anywhere." Two days before the event, California banned all gatherings over 250 people (now restrictions are even tighter) in the interest of public health and safety.

"I was waiting, too. I'm not a promoter, but I was promoting [M^3] pretty much in conjunction with Factory 93, so I already had the production and all the equipment and everything paid for. So that's why it's super important to reschedule. But, at the same time, I think Factory 93 was giving money back to whoever wanted it. I don't know how they were doing it, but I had to pay for a lot of that production out of my pocket. It was already there and I was like, 'Well, f**k it. Let's do this stream.' That wasn't anywhere near what we were going to have planned for the holograms and all kinds of crazy stuff, but at least we used some of the cool lights. So those can kind of come together quickly."

Both van Dyk and Luttrell had major tours slated this year in support of their 2020 albums—the German trance legend's 10th album, Guiding Light, drops on April 17, while the S.F. deep house hero's sophomore LP, Lucky Ones, came out on March 13. Of course, with global spring dates, both tours have been put on hold.

Luttrell was also set to make his Coachella stage debut in April, which will now have to wait until October. "It's affected it quite a bit thus far. I have an album tour that was set to begin April 2. Now everything is being pushed back a few months to end of July through August. Feeling good about getting most of the shows rescheduled at least!" he shared over email.

For Mikey Lion and his Desert Hearts crew (the label/party maestro squad he leads and co-founded in 2012 in San Diego), their flagship "72+ hours of nonstop house and techno" festival was slated for April 23-26, but luckily they were able to find new dates pretty quickly. Some of the other festivals the crew were booked to play have also been affected, including at Lighting in a Bottle, whose 2020 edition was canceled, and Vujaday in Barbados, which was postponed to November. Desert Hearts is also beloved for the fun club nights and block parties they throw in a bunch of different cities. Those will have to wait this year as well.

"We postponed the festival to Oct. 22 to 26, 2020. Luckily our fest is in a really good place right now to come back because we were able to find a make-up date quickly and we didn't have too many deposits out there right now because we were monitoring the whole situation," Lion explained over the phone. He noted how this is not necessarily the case for other independent festivals and events, and that could have far-reaching negative effects in the industry. "I think that that's probably the biggest problem that all the other festivals are going through right now, is that if you're an independent festival that's not backed by Live Nation, AEG or some other big financial backer, you're using your ticket money to secure the acts that you're having, all the equipment, everything. You have so many deposits out there. Then we have this totally unforeseen disease that's coming through and everyone's having to cancel, and then all of a sudden all the fans are looking for refunds and those festivals don't have the money to be paying their fans back because it's all tied up, it creates this really hectic ecosystem where the fans think that they're getting ripped off and festivals can't do anything about it."

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For all the events and festivals that are able to successfully reschedule and bring the majority of their lineup with them, that is a big relief, but of course a year's worth of events can't all happen in the fall and winter, especially outdoor events in colder climates. And who will get to play in the more limited event pool? Probably the bigger DJs, for the most part, with less slots for local opening acts—and less money for everyone overall. It is hard to predict exactly how hard the crisis will strike the global economy, but it has already done damage, with many hourly or gig workers currently out of work. For most people, the less income they make, the less money they will spend on going out, festival tickets and travel, so it becomes harder to get people to clubs and festivals.

"The festivals are already rescheduling and they're not going to be able to pay the same," Estornel noted. "So DJs fees are definitely going to go down in general. Which is kind of a trickle-down effect; the bigger DJs will have to charge less and some of the smaller DJs' fees will then obviously go down as well. Then resident DJs that live in that city might not even play at all. Or if they do, for very cheap, because the promoters are not going to be able to charge the same entrance at the same ticket price or entrance at their clubs or whatever because people are not going to have any money,

"Rescheduling events, in my case, because of the fact that I'm in a position to headline, I get to reschedule first before others. I feel bad for all the other people that are, to promoters, maybe second or third tier artists that aren't getting rescheduled right away… I'm in a position where I can't complain because I can reschedule. But then again, I can't because I'm booked. I was booked up for the rest of the year."

Estornel also underscores that festivals moving towards later dates is going to cut into the bottom line of clubs, as everyone is now competing for a limited window of dates and likely a smaller pool of attendees with any money to spend on nights out. "A lot of these festivals are moving to those [later] months and they're going to take up a lot of the weekends that clubs function really well in those parts. So economically, it looks pretty crazy," he explained.

Leader echoed both of these points, that there are a limited number of dates for events and DJs to fill for the rest of the year and smaller pool of money for everyone. He is also cautious about predicting that events will be back up and running before at least a few months off. He notes recent conversations he's had with promoters, those who are looking ahead to book fall/winter dates—no one can pay deposits right now. Everyone is pretty much just trying to stay afloat at this point.

"The conversation that I do have with bigger promoters is, 'Okay, we're looking at the last two weekends in October, the first two in November, the New Year's Eve, we're looking to fill these holes. This is who I want from your roster on that. However, obviously we can't contract this right now. We obviously can't pay any deposits for it right now," Leader said.

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Livestream Nation

van Dyk explains how not being able to travel to his sold-out Moscow show on March 13 led him to play via livestream to the packed venue in Russia from an empty club in Berlin. From that experience, he decided to launch a weekly livestream series from the club, which he's calling PC Music Night. He and fellow German DJ/producer Chris Bekker have shared two livestreams so far, much to the delight of trance and progressive house fans around the world.

"I was supposed to play in Moscow last weekend and because they have restrictions of people from Germany flying into Russia because of the Coronavirus and you have to go into quarantine," van Dyk explained. "What do people do when their shows are canceled and something cannot happen? Well we use the latest technology. We came up with the idea of me going into an empty club here in Berlin, have everything set up and then stream my performance from Berlin live to Moscow. It obviously is not the same as me being there because, it's difficult to interact. I had a little monitor so I was able to see what's going on in the venue in Moscow, but it was one way to sort of cope with the grim times and the possibilities that there are right now. and we came up with an idea from that streaming experience."

WATCH LIST: Live Streaming Concerts From SOFI TUKKER To Neil Young

Since both the epic Paul van Dyk and Maceo Plex sets aired on March 13 and 14, respectively, many DJs and artists have understandably jumped on the livestream wagon, craving a way to continue to share their music with the world and engage with their fans. It's safe to say that music livestream offerings are a bit oversaturated at the moment, but it has been fun to see the different ways artists and their fanbases have been engaging with them. For Estornel, he's aiming to think outside of the box when it comes to interacting with his fans during quarantine times:

"Everything's flooded with DJs doing streams. So now I'm thinking of new ideas… something more interesting. Somewhere between nerdy, like a studio talk but musical where you could dance to it. Hopefully we'll do something for these months, until things get back to normal."

Since we spoke last week, Lion and the Desert Hearts squad have started a new daily livestream series that's very on-brand with their colorful, playful vibes. Stepping out of the box a bit, the eclectic offerings include Q&A on Mondays with Lion, cooking lessons with his brother and labelmate Porky on Tuesday, yoga on Wednesdays and DJ sets from the squad on Sundays.

It's About Time For Unity!

While not being able to interact with others "irl" is difficult for all of us, connecting online, especially over music, can be especially powerful during these times of isolation. van Dyk witnessed this during his first PC Music Night livestream, where he encouraged fans to send track requests and special shout-outs in the comments.

"Chris Bekker and myself played for five hours for free for everyone who wanted to join, just simply to put a smile on people's faces, for people to connect. There was so much interaction going on from people from the U.S. talking to people from Italy, from Italy talking to people in South America. It's like they were all interconnecting. There was a sense of community, a sense of being there for each other. That is the essence of what we are trying to do with this DJ set."

The Berlin legend underscored the importance of staying in touch with others while we are apart, as during times of global distress, we all need comfort and support. "It's those little things to still be there for each other. I don't really like the term social distancing because what we have to do is stay physically apart from each other. But if anything, we should be socially closer and support each other. I think this is what we can do, and this is what we should do in crazy times like this."

Resources for Music Creators & Professionals Affected By COVID-19: Asia, Europe & The U.K.

Seeing as the coronavirus crisis really does affect everyone, van Dyk sees this as an opportunity to put aside our differences and practice real empathy and growth. "In these times right now, I think we can all interconnect. At the end, of the day it doesn't really matter if you're a Trump supporter or if you support Sanders. At the end of the day, it's about the species, us as humans. Everyone is affected by it. We have to be there for each other. And that's about actually putting the human first, putting the real us first and therefore being there for each other," he added.

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Lion pointed to the surprising and rather atypical unity we're seeing here in the States between Democrats and Republicans as they try to address the crisis is something to be celebrated. It could also have policy implications that change our lives for the better going forward.

"I think that things like universal healthcare and ideas like universal basic income are at the forefront right now of things we're realizing would be a massive help. It's crazy to see Republicans even embracing those things right now because of the situation that we're in. I don't think they would ever come to grips with and accept it unless they're seeing it affect them," Lion stated. "Hopefully we start getting some relief for people that are really struggling right now."

"I think that people are going to come out of this much more understanding of other people's situations and we are all in this together," he added. "I think that we're going to start seeing a lot more compassion from people in the world."

Luttrell echoed their messages, in sharing what gives him the most hope right now: "I feel like a big crisis like this—especially one that affects the world all at once—gives us an opportunity to come together and become closer as humans on this planet."

In the midst of trying to reschedule, reorganize and roll with the waves of the world, everyone we spoke to has already felt unity across the electronic music scene and the larger music and events industry. As Lion noted, many artists have been understanding about returning deposits for canceled events, given the circumstances, even though money will not really be coming in for a bit. At the end of the day, everyone in entertainment is more or less in the same boat right now.

"For the most part, I think that agencies and the artists are being really cool with getting back to the deposits in a lot of circumstances because I think everyone gets it, that we're all in this together," Lion said. "People are definitely working together on it. At the same time, that's money coming out from the artists and all of our foreseeable calendar just got completely wiped out, basically. I don't have any income coming, none of the other Desert Heart guys do, and we don't know how long this is going to last.

"It's a really harrowing experience, and it's not just the artists that are going through it, it's the managers, the agents, all the photographers and videographers, security, bartenders, all the logistics people to build teams. The list goes on and on and that's just the music industry. You know, the entire entertainment industry is getting absolutely battered right now. Think about Las Vegas, it's a city of almost 700,000 people and their entire ecosystem is based on entertainment. That entire city's pretty much out of work right now, I'd imagine."

Resources For Music Creators & Professionals Affected By COVID-19: West Region

For van Dyk, it is important to him to be able to personally esure his regular team is financially stable during this time. "It requires us being socially aware of our surroundings, of the people who need help and then actually do something. I'm committed to do this in this way, and therefore I don't think my crew needs to be too worried about it."

<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink=";utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:540px; min-width:326px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:16px;"> <a href=";utm_campaign=loading" style=" background:#FFFFFF; line-height:0; padding:0 0; text-align:center; text-decoration:none; width:100%;" target="_blank"> <div style=" display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div></div></div><div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display:block; height:50px; margin:0 auto 12px; width:50px;"><svg width="50px" height="50px" viewBox="0 0 60 60" version="1.1" xmlns="" xmlns:xlink=""><g stroke="none" stroke-width="1" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd"><g transform="translate(-511.000000, -20.000000)" fill="#000000"><g><path d="M556.869,30.41 C554.814,30.41 553.148,32.076 553.148,34.131 C553.148,36.186 554.814,37.852 556.869,37.852 C558.924,37.852 560.59,36.186 560.59,34.131 C560.59,32.076 558.924,30.41 556.869,30.41 M541,60.657 C535.114,60.657 530.342,55.887 530.342,50 C530.342,44.114 535.114,39.342 541,39.342 C546.887,39.342 551.658,44.114 551.658,50 C551.658,55.887 546.887,60.657 541,60.657 M541,33.886 C532.1,33.886 524.886,41.1 524.886,50 C524.886,58.899 532.1,66.113 541,66.113 C549.9,66.113 557.115,58.899 557.115,50 C557.115,41.1 549.9,33.886 541,33.886 M565.378,62.101 C565.244,65.022 564.756,66.606 564.346,67.663 C563.803,69.06 563.154,70.057 562.106,71.106 C561.058,72.155 560.06,72.803 558.662,73.347 C557.607,73.757 556.021,74.244 553.102,74.378 C549.944,74.521 548.997,74.552 541,74.552 C533.003,74.552 532.056,74.521 528.898,74.378 C525.979,74.244 524.393,73.757 523.338,73.347 C521.94,72.803 520.942,72.155 519.894,71.106 C518.846,70.057 518.197,69.06 517.654,67.663 C517.244,66.606 516.755,65.022 516.623,62.101 C516.479,58.943 516.448,57.996 516.448,50 C516.448,42.003 516.479,41.056 516.623,37.899 C516.755,34.978 517.244,33.391 517.654,32.338 C518.197,30.938 518.846,29.942 519.894,28.894 C520.942,27.846 521.94,27.196 523.338,26.654 C524.393,26.244 525.979,25.756 528.898,25.623 C532.057,25.479 533.004,25.448 541,25.448 C548.997,25.448 549.943,25.479 553.102,25.623 C556.021,25.756 557.607,26.244 558.662,26.654 C560.06,27.196 561.058,27.846 562.106,28.894 C563.154,29.942 563.803,30.938 564.346,32.338 C564.756,33.391 565.244,34.978 565.378,37.899 C565.522,41.056 565.552,42.003 565.552,50 C565.552,57.996 565.522,58.943 565.378,62.101 M570.82,37.631 C570.674,34.438 570.167,32.258 569.425,30.349 C568.659,28.377 567.633,26.702 565.965,25.035 C564.297,23.368 562.623,22.342 560.652,21.575 C558.743,20.834 556.562,20.326 553.369,20.18 C550.169,20.033 549.148,20 541,20 C532.853,20 531.831,20.033 528.631,20.18 C525.438,20.326 523.257,20.834 521.349,21.575 C519.376,22.342 517.703,23.368 516.035,25.035 C514.368,26.702 513.342,28.377 512.574,30.349 C511.834,32.258 511.326,34.438 511.181,37.631 C511.035,40.831 511,41.851 511,50 C511,58.147 511.035,59.17 511.181,62.369 C511.326,65.562 511.834,67.743 512.574,69.651 C513.342,71.625 514.368,73.296 516.035,74.965 C517.703,76.634 519.376,77.658 521.349,78.425 C523.257,79.167 525.438,79.673 528.631,79.82 C531.831,79.965 532.853,80.001 541,80.001 C549.148,80.001 550.169,79.965 553.369,79.82 C556.562,79.673 558.743,79.167 560.652,78.425 C562.623,77.658 564.297,76.634 565.965,74.965 C567.633,73.296 568.659,71.625 569.425,69.651 C570.167,67.743 570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631"></path></g></g></g></svg></div><div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style=" color:#3897f0; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;"> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"><div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div></div><div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)"></div></div><div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style=" width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"></div></div></div></a> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href=";utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Here&#39;s a fantastic new video that we&#39;ve made for you, I hope you enjoy it.⁣ ⁣ When I wrote this song and named this album, I never expected it would be released during a time like this. However, instead of dwelling on the obvious and unfortunate irony of it all, I&#39;m trying to make a conscious decision to continue reminding myself just how fortunate I am.⁣ ⁣ I make music. I’m not putting myself in danger every day like the medical professionals and everyone still out there working to keep our society running - like the head of the CDC, or the people keeping grocery stores stocked and functional - but I do hope that what I have to offer can help bring joy to people feeling stressed, overwhelmed, scared or hopeless right now.⁣ ⁣ If you’re stuck inside like the rest of us, put this music video on and dance around in your apartment, or lay in your bed holding your phone watching it, whatever you feel like. If you have one, get your dog all riled up. Give them lots of belly rubs and laugh at them zooming around the house to the music. Imagine how happy dogs are right now? Their favorite people are home all day. They’ll never disappear for hours on end (which to them probably seems like days). Dogs are possibly the most stoked they’ve ever been in history. Sadly, I don’t have a dog cause my landlord doesn’t allow them, but thinking of all the dogs out there living their best life with their favorite humans that are stuck at home right now makes me really happy.</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href=";utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> Luttrell</a> (@ericluttrell) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2020-03-25T19:20:45+00:00">Mar 25, 2020 at 12:20pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote><script async src="//"></script>

To Release Or Not To Release?

As van Dyk put it, music is a necessity in most people's lives, especially those who make it. Music plays an important part in all of our daily lives, and right now feels like a time where many of us are turning to music to escape or to dive into our feelings. "I'm a musician. To me, music is an essential of part of my life. When I'm sad I'm listening to music. When I'm happy, I'm listening to music. When I'm somewhat in between, I'm still listening to music. It's my passion. Therefore, music is something that's essential, from my perspective, in everyone's life," the German artist said.

"Right now, everyone has endless time on their hands," Lion added. "People are digging, people are paying attention, everyone's at their computer. It is a good time to get stuff into people's hands and really try to affect people in a positive way. Music's absolutely one of the best ways to do it."

"To me, music is an essential of part of my life. When I'm sad I'm listening to music. When I'm happy, I'm listening to music. When I'm somewhat in between, I'm still listening to music. It's my passion." – Paul van Dyk

Perhaps it's a great time to put out an uplifting track or music video, but what about releasing an album or club cuts? While many in the industry seem to be encouraging fans to support their favorite artists with online album and merch sales, other entities, like Amazon and even some artists themselves, have decided now is not necessary a good time to release projects. If you can't tour in support of the release, will the financial investment in the project be worth it?

For electronic artists specifically, who support and promote each others' new, often then-unreleased, records by playing them at their DJ sets around the world, the hype and release cycle just had a big wrench thrown through it. Additionally, if most of the DJs of the world are hunkering down in their home studios right now, which tracks and albums will cut through the noise when everything is dropped in a few months?

Leader's comments speak to this, and the "hustle," as he put it, that will ensue to get the gigs and have your music heard this year.

"You can definitely plan ahead in terms of what you're releasing to the world. Everyone is assuming that come July, August, this will die down. I personally am not having conversations besides with the most optimistic of promoters about shows, pre-October, right now. And really, most of the conversations are 'Well, let's see what the next couple weeks unfolds for us,' so you're not really banking on anything there. But in terms of products or music being released, and social media, building your fan base, and working on consultancy jobs or working with brands, there's still some business out there that can be done. It's a hustle."

"One thing that I am thinking is that all these DJs who usually are gigging Friday, Saturday and Sunday, home on Monday, recovering on Tuesday, making music on Wednesday, and then getting ready to tour again on Thursday, are finally having long periods of time to actually make music. And so, I think what we'll find is a plethora of music coming out at the same time, which has an effect on the developing artists," Leader continued. "Even if I'm looking in October [for their release], I think the market is going to be really excited about the [bigger] producer who's finally released some new material because they had four, five months off the road."

Estornel and Lion also spoke to releasing tracks during the age of COVID-19:

"You don't sell music to dance to or to DJ to when nobody can go out and dance," Estornel explained. "They're not really selling that much music. You have all these artists that had their releases planned and it's like if you postpone the schedule, then their music doesn't come out until way later, when that music's old, basically."

"You can't really go test out new tracks now. I feel like the entire record label promo system right now is just worthless, because how are people even going to go try out your tracks or get feedback on stuff?" Lion says. "I've been seeing a lot of artists go to moving all their stuff over to Bandcamp because it's a much more direct peer-to-peer system over there than having a middle man like Apple Music or Beatport. I'm actually running through and getting our Bandcamp set up today."

Read: Musicians Earn $4.3 Million From Bandcamp With Nearly 800,000 Items Sold On Friday

Creativity & The Future Of Dance Music

Regardless of artists' personal stances on releasing new music now, it's likely many of them will be using the ample free time to work on music in some way. 

"The city where I live, San Francisco is now on lockdown," Luttrell said. "I won't be traveling outside my apartment much the next few weeks. I'll take it as an opportunity to focus on having more interaction with fans online and come up with fun ways to promote different songs on the album... I'm already working on a bunch of new songs that will eventually be the next album, so I feel like there's going to be a lot of time to make that really special. A lot of those songs will have been written during this lock down in S.F., so maybe I'll use the weirdness of it all as some sort of inspiration."

Similarly, van Dyk also feels new music will come out of this experience for him. "I finished my new album," he said. "I was ready to be out on the road in the world to play my music in front of my audience. So it's a bit of a strange timing for me, but I constantly make music and so, I'm pretty sure whatever extra time I have at hands now, some music will come out of it."

Leader also sees these times as a creative challenge and powerful reset for his work. "I think that everyone's playing from a level playground now. You know, everyone is suffering, and in a way, we're all in it together for that reason. And I'm optimistic by nature. I believe that this will end, and we will get back to business, and that it allowed me to really think outside the box in terms of my business. If you're in an intense job like I'm sure you have, you're going a million miles an hour, and you always wish you had a second to breathe, this is giving us that second."

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Estornel, who has a young son, acknowledges the challenge of working from home if you have kids that are now out of school. Yet he is embracing the creative exploration that may likely come from the reduced pressure he and other DJs are inevitably facing to make the next club banger. 

"Now, the silver lining could be that people are going to make some amazing music coming out of this. When you don't have the pressure of making a hit track for the club, you usually make something more interesting," Estornel said. "So maybe something new will come out of this, but for the most part it also kind of depresses people because if things are kind of bad out there and you're making dance music and nobody's dancing. It's like, f**k. You don't feel inspired. It's tough.

Maceo Plex added, "I feel less pressure to make a bomb kind of, because there's no reason to right now. In the past, the reason why I have any kind of a bigger name is for all the music that I made that I wasn't worrying about making a bomb. I was just trying to make something that was cool and creative, or pretty or just different sounding tracks. Those ended up becoming bombs. So, I mean, it's kind of good. Creatively, I don't have that pressure. So I might have a bomb after this, I don't know. I'd rather not think about it."

Regardless of whether or not the world is gifted any glittering Maceo Plex bombs over the next month, electronic music will be shifting. With a halt as drastic as this, there is no way things will remain exactly the same when we return to the dancefloor. He sees parallels to the disco backlash in the late-70s that, while harrowing, directly led to the emergence of house music and thriving underground scenes in Chicago, New York City and beyond. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.

"I think this may be the biggest blow to clubbing since the disco backlash back in the late-'70s, early 80s when everybody was for just a moment it was like this media-driven burning of disco records and stuff." Maceo Plex said. "Since then, clubbing got bigger and better and dance music got way more popular over the past 30, 40 years. I think this is kind of like a reset. I'm hopeful we're going to come out of this strong. Nothing can really stop people from listening to dance music and dancing. …We'll be fine, in other words. It's just that it's going to take a couple of years to get back to the size of festivals that we were used to for a little while. They're kind of almost ridiculous at this point; 100,000 people festivals and stuff like that. I don't feel bad for them as much but because they've made so much money, but EDM, this is probably going to be such a huge blow to commercial EDM music more so than underground music."

"I think underground dance music's going to get big. It's going to get bigger, in a way. It's going to see a Renaissance," Estornel concluded. "Whatever happens, the dance music community is in for a wild ride, with new faces and sounds likely emerging over the coming years."

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