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.
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.