Photo: Recording Academy
BROODS Talk Trippy "Peach" Video, Resurrecting Bob Marley & Finding Strength On "Too Proud" | Up Close & Personal
Hear from the electro-pop group about the inspiration behind their wacky visual, growing up with music as the driving force and who they'd want to perform with, dead or alive
Sibling electro-pop duo BROODS, consisting of Georgia and Caleb Nott, love making music but don't take it too seriously. Growing up in New Zealand, their parents encouraged them to sing and learn instruments from a young age and, consequentially, music became, and remains, their lifeblood.
Back in 2013, they released their first (self-titled) EP, co-written by the duo and produced by fellow Kiwi Joel Little. (Little would go on to earn a GRAMMY win for his work with another rising New Zealand alt-pop artist that year: Lorde.) The next year, they followed up with their debut album, Evergreen, with the singles "Bridges" and "Mother & Father" charting in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., launching a still-growing, global fan base.
Earlier this year, Georgia and Caleb dropped their third album, Don't Feed The Pop Monster, on Feb. 1. For the latest episode of the Recording Academy's Up Close & Personal, they spoke about their latest album, the creative process of it and why "Too Proud" was a big deal for them.
They also talked about the inspiration behind their wacky "Peach" music video, growing up with music as the driving force and who they'd want to perform with, dead or alive. You can watch a portion of the conversation above and read the full interview below. You can also visit on our YouTube page for a longer version of the video, as well as for other recent episodes.
So you guys released your third album, Don't Feed The Pop Monster, earlier this year. What was your original vision going into that and the overarching themes?
Georgia: When we were making this album, Don't Feed The Pop Monster, there wasn't really—
Caleb: —any kind of vision.
Georgia: We were just kind of in a position where we'd made a couple of albums and we'd been on a couple of labels and been dropped a couple of times. We had an opportunity to kind of just make whatever we wanted and kind of use our freedom to our advantage, rather than get down about being a little bit lonely and isolated.
Caleb: And having no label support or money, so we just did whatever we wanted as a result!
Georgia: I think the fact that we were in that position made the album what it is. The themes of the album are very in line with going through that experience of questioning yourself and, like every creative person, I think, goes through self-doubt.
Caleb: Imposter syndrome.
Georgia: And so it's a lot to do with that and trying to figure out how to be self-congratulatory and sustain yourself without having a clear, "This is what will happen if you release this album, This is what you'll get back," because there's never really anything like that. So you just gotta kind of do it for fun!
I love it. And on the album, you worked with Joel Little again, right?
Georgia: We did a couple of songs with Joel Little.
Can you talk about your creative process specific to this LP?
Georgia: With this album, we didn't work with one producer. In the past, we've worked with one producer for pretty much the whole album. This time we worked with—
Georgia: We did lots of co-writing as well. On the last records, we didn't really have other co-writers. But [for this album] we did this amazing writing trip in Nicaragua where we were working with different writers every day. I think the amount of collaboration that we did on this record was awesome, was definitely—
Caleb: Super fun!
Georgia: It taught us a lot about writing and how to, you know, be adaptable and kind of push yourself and experience with different kinds of music and different vibes, different themes.
What do you think was your favorite part about the collaborative process from that experience?
Caleb: I think collaborating with others is a key part of dodging creative block, number one, because you've got multiple minds working with you that can assist you and you're not just by yourself going, "Ugh, I have no idea what to do," and you can bounce off each other. I think the productivity of collaboration is awesome.
Georgia: Yeah. It kind of takes away a lot of the pressure as well.
Caleb: Especially if you like the people that you're working with, you know?
Georgia: Yeah. It also makes the experience of just making something with your friends and then getting to listen to it and show people and play it on stage. The whole process of this album was so fun and playing it on stage is so fun.
What have been your favorite songs this go around to perform live?
Caleb: I don't know, I feel like a surprising song to play on tour for us was "To Belong." We didn't really expect that crowd to respond to that one as much as a single or anything but they seem to know all the words. It's also the one six-minute song on the album.
Georgia: Yeah, we start our set with that song second and it's just all about vibes and pulling in the audience into our heads. And it's such a live album, if that makes sense. It's was so easy when we were writing it to imagine it live. And the way that it felt actually playing it live was just satisfying as hell.
I want to talk about the "Peach" video because there's a lot in there.
Georgia: It's very overstimulating, that video!
It's very '90s pop vibes, I love it. Can you speak to the story behind that song and video a bit?
Caleb: I think a lot of people expect there to be a lot more in-depth thought about the "Peach" video, or a lot more planning or writing that went with it, but it was just the right people on the right day, kind of. And we had an incredible director [Sam Kristofski], a friend of ours from back in New Zealand as well, that's based here and basically just let him go—
Georgia: Go crazy!
Caleb: —and do what he thought because we love everything he makes. And he's super funny.
Georgia: We kind of just had one initial idea that we wanted it to be kind of the show that we used to watch when we were kids called "Top of the Pops." Is that a thing here?
Caleb: I don't think it was.
Georgia: No, but it's basically just a music TV show where pop artists from that time would come and do a performance, lip syncing obviously, and it was just like amazing lights and super early-2000s/late '90s. So cringey but in the best way!
And we wanted to recreate that kind of vibe, that nostalgic music show thing but then just trip it out like crazy. And have six different costume changes, because I am obsessed with dressing up. Every time I clean my room it just turns into a big dress up party. And we basically just wanted to have as much fun making the video as we did making the song.
I love that. It does look like it was a lot of fun.
Caleb: It was the hottest day ever. It was 118 degrees that day in Burbank.
Georgia: I'm so glad that we chose to do the video in a studio, wow.
And then one of the other songs on the album, "Too Proud," is the first song Caleb also sings on, which is really cool. And it's such a powerful song. Caleb, what did it feel like for you to offer your voice, literally, to that track?
Caleb: I guess writing "Too Proud" and performing it is something that I had never done before. Singing in front of people scares, you know—can I say sht? Living sht out of me! And it took me quite a while to even figure out how I was gonna even do that on stage, to be honest.
Georgia: You did it on TV and everything though!
Caleb: It was the first time I sang in front of anybody was on national television.
Georgia: I was so scared for him, I was just trying to walk around and be like, "Keep his energy good everybody. He's about to sing for the first time!" [Laughs.]
Caleb: During the performance, my arms went completely numb and it was slowly going up my arms. And so I was singing and at the same time I was thinking, "You better not pass out on live television." I took my hand off the mic stand for one second and it went like this. [Shakes hand.] I had to put it back on the mic stand.
Georgia: It's scary! It's scary singing on TV.
Caleb: I guess, yeah, writing that song, there's a large stigma around men and mental health and that, you know, you gotta be tough and keep your feelings in. But it's actually really relieving to let out feelings and talk about them and, I guess, just trying to encourage that with more men and—
Caleb: —especially men, but everybody. Therapy's pretty awesome. [Chuckles.]
Growing up in New Zealand, it sounds like you guys had a pretty musical upbringing at home. When did you first start making music and then when did it maybe shift to, "Okay, I think I wanna be a musician"?
Georgia: I think music has just been the focal point of our lives, since day one really. Our parents have always, you know, made it such a huge part of—
Caleb: Just day-to-day life.
Georgia: Yeah, day-to-day life, like connecting with other people and just literally something to do if we needed something to do.
Caleb: It was entertainment for us, really. It was just instruments everywhere.
Georgia: We'd just get pushed up in front of, like, the piano.
Caleb: And we weren't allowed to watch any TV shows basically, just because they were like, "Well you can do something better with your time. Go play guitar or sing or something."
Georgia: Thanks mom and dad. [Laughs.] And we started writing music pretty young too. I think I started trying to write music after my dad told me, about my favorite singer, "You know, she writes all of her own music. You can do that too!" And I was like, "Oh, okay!" I just went into my room and started writing songs. I was, like 10 and then I didn't really get good until I was about 16, 17 and had something to sing about. I guess for us, we didn't really have a choice really. We've just always done music and always had music be the main event everywhere we go. Every relationship that we've had that's lasted has been brought together with music. And I think for us it's just such a necessity for our own survival and sanity. To be in a career now that we get to do this and share our music specifically with people is pretty amazing.
Were your parents also musicians or where did that influence come from them?
Caleb: I don't know. Our parents were musicians in a hobby way, not professionally.
Georgia: Yeah, mom taught me to play the guitar though.
Caleb: She didn't teach me. I had many guitar teachers but I only had a couple lessons with each one because I couldn't really handle it. I ended up teaching myself. I wasn't very good with direction as a child.
Georgia: Just a little bit too all over the place.
Georgia: But yeah, our parents sang a lot. They'd sing at weddings and church and my mom ran the choir at our elementary school.
Caleb: Which I was very upset about because she made me stay in it. Georgia wanted to be in it, didn't you?
Georgia: Well, she'd do this thing, where she goes—
Caleb: It was at recess, so you had to go and sing at choir during your break time.
Georgia: I kind of just wanted to play.
Caleb: I just wanted to kick balls around.
Georgia: My mom, wow, she'd do this thing. Every time I tried to quit the choir she'd be like, "Oh I thought you wanted to be a singer..." And I was like, "I do! I do want to be a singer, mum!" And she's like, "Well, you gotta take every opportunity then."
Caleb: I said, "Mom I don't want to be a singer. Why do I have to be here?"
Georgia: Well look at you now! I think our parents were huge in making us actually stick to all these comments about wanting to pursue music. They saw how much it was a part of us and I think they never forced it but they did tell us, "If you want to do it, then you're gonna have to work really, really hard and have to have really thick skin. And you're gonna have to be able to deal with disappointment and discipline." So I think that was really important.
Caleb: And I still can't handle any of those things.
Georgia: It's really hard. But it's also really worth it.
What was each of yours first CD and first concert you attended? Your early musical loves.
Caleb: I think we got cassette tapes, didn't we?
Caleb: No I got Ricky Martin, "Livin' La Vida Loca."
Georgia: And the first CD I ever bought myself was the single "Lucky" by Britney Spears.
Caleb: Mine was Bob Marley: Greatest Hits, the gold album.
Georgia: Yeah, that's definitely had more spins than the Britney Spears. Sorry Britney.
Caleb: "Toxic" though, many spins.
If you could perform with any artist dead or alive, who would it be?
Georgia: Probably Bob Marley. I don't think I'd want to perform with him though, I'd just want to watch him. I think that still makes me pretty sad sometimes when I know that I'm never gonna see him live. I just feel like it would complete me as a person.
Caleb: Yeah. I'd have to almost agree fully on that one. I think there were a couple years where I strictly listen to Bob and pretty much nobody else.
Georgia: Which meant that I strictly would listen to Bob.
Caleb: So I think that's where it came from. My big brother introduced me to Bob Marley when I was 13 and that was the end of it.
Georgia: I'm surprised that we're not a reggae band!
Caleb: Yeah. I feel like I'd want to see Blondie. Done. Like a king.
Georgia: You'd want to perform with Blondie? I'd want to perform with Blondie.
Caleb: Yeah I feel like that would be so fun.
Georgia: I feel like we'd be great together. Me and Debs. I kind of look like Debs in this sexy tank. Have you seen that picture of Debs in the sexy tank? It's a good one!
I love it. So we're gonna resurrect Bob Marley and see him perform. You'll open with Blondie for Bob Marley?
Georgia: We'll open with Debs. Yep.
Caleb: At Red Rocks.
GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw
On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.
In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.
Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year
Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration
Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the
The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at
"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community."
Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list.
At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in
After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.
In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.
Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized.
For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: The Recording Academy
Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Alexa Zaske
This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.
The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.
Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."
Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.
Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed.
Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.
My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.
For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.
(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)
Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images
Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs
Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards
As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.
Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.
"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."