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GRAMMY-nominated Producer Sven Thomas
"Careers In Music" Panel Brings Industry Professionals & Students Together For Discussions On Working In Entertainment
The panelists offered students their stories and best advice for using the skills they are learning now to begin future careers in the music industry
As music continues to evolve and transform before us, so do the ways that we consume it, interact with it and share it. Between streaming and social media, new self-starting opportunities have been created for artists unlike any other before, while also bringing to the table unfamiliar challenges and barriers to entry that come with internet-first culture. Thus, for many students and music lovers, pursuing a career in the music industry is of viable interest and you don’t have to be the next Billie Eilish or Lil Nas X to do so. However, for many young people looking to get their foot in the door, questions like "who do I need to meet?," "what kinds of jobs can I do?" and "where do I really even begin?" still persist.
Yesterday, Jan. 24, the GRAMMY Museum's Clive Davis Theater hosted a series of "Careers in the Music Industry," each focused on moderating the discussion and facilitating Q&A’s between industry professionals and students interested in pursuing careers in music. The day’s first panel featured several artists and industry professionals from Sony/ATV Music Publishing who offered insight into their work and beginner's advice for building a career from the ground up, on your own terms. Panelists included A&R and Business Affairs Assistant Kelsey Reddick, Singer/Songwriter Giveon, "Work" and "10 Bands" GRAMMY-nominated Producer turned Executive Sevn Thomas and Creative Marketing Manager of TV and Film Sync KK Salamin.
The panelists discussed their backgrounds, and how landing where they are in their careers took serious commitment and more often than not, some serious finesse. For each guest, it was their love of music that helped them continue trying to pursue careers in music, even when it may have seemed impossible at times. The first thing you can do for yourself is putting yourself out there, they offered. "You can’t do what we’re doing from the couch," said Salamin. "It’s about staying patient and keeping faith," said Thomas.
Re-emphasizing the importance of patience, hard work and following your own path as an artist, Giveon offered that constantly working on your craft is the best step in building up to your goals. "Success is when preparation meets opportunity… There’s no formula to do this, this and this, and you're an artist. There wasn’t anywhere that I could go get an internship and I would become an artist," he said. "All I could do was work on my craft, get better and two years later here I am signed to Sony.” He continued, explaining that manifesting his own goals as an artist has been one major key in his career development. "Anything you want, no matter if you know how to get to it, just say I will have it."
The sentiment was one that rung thoroughly throughout each panelists response when asked what advice they’d offer to a student, whether pursuing a career in music or otherwise. "Work very hard. Have a focus and go for it relentlessly," offered Thomas. "Everyone’s path is different, it’s never a straight line," said Salamin. "It’s about being persistent… Being absorbed by music, if you love it you will be excited by it every day." Further cosigning the commentary, Reddick added: "There is no ceiling. Speak what you want into existence."
The second panel of the day, moderated by Candace Newman, CEO and Founder of LIVE OUT L!VE, featured a group of women in the industry whose positions and roles spanned the likes of performing artists, managers, philanthropy and live events, including Tour Manager Eboni Gentry, Celebrity Makeup Artist and Live Entertainment Producer Melanesia Hunter, Artist Manager at SAL&CO/Maverick Dina Sahim and Singer/Songwriter Sabrina Lentini.
The panelists offered information about some of the best resources for young women who want to get involved with the music industry both on stage and behind the scenes. Making use of social media is key, they explained, as a tool for reaching out and connecting with support systems throughout the music community. Mentioned by Lentini, the Women’s International Music Network is an anchor in bringing women throughout the industry together for events and opportunities to perform, network and support one another. Further, Newman’s own organization LIVE OUT L!VE is constantly working to create access and opportunity for women in the touring space with events, shows and meetings year-round. For more information, visit the organization’s homepage here.
Be sure to stay tuned to GRAMMY.com throughout the week for your behind-the-scenes pass into 2020 GRAMMY Week events, including the 2020 GRAMMY Awards airing live on CBS tomorrow, Jan. 26, featuring performers Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, Lizzo and more.
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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Take Over The GRAMMY Museum
Hip-hop duo discuss their career beginnings and creating their GRAMMY-nominated album The Heist
Current seven-time GRAMMY nominees Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with their manager Zach Quillen, recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's A Conversation With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, the hip-hop duo and Quillen discussed the beginning of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' career, having creative control over their work and recording their GRAMMY-nominated Album Of The Year, The Heist.
"I met somebody [who] had the same dedication as me, [who] put everything into the music, everything into the craft," said Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore) regarding meeting Lewis. "I wanted a career and Ryan was somebody [who] had the same discipline and sacrificed everything."
"I think it took a little while before it became clear to me who [Macklemore] was going to be," said Lewis. "I think the first indication of that was with the song 'Otherside' from the VS. Redux EP]. … That song … embodied so much. It was a story nobody was telling. … It was just somebody who was dying to be on the mike and to say something."
Seattle-based rapper Macklemore and DJ/producer Lewis have been making music fans take notice since they released their debut EP, 2009's The VS. EP. They followed with VS. Redux, which reached No. 7 on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart. The duo made waves in 2011 with the release of their hit single "Can't Hold Us" featuring Ray Dalton. The next year Macklemore was featured on the cover of XXL Magazine's coveted freshman class issue, and Rolling Stone dubbed the duo an "indie rags-to-riches" success story.
Released in 2012, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' debut studio album, The Heist, reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, propelled by the No. 1 hits "Can't Hold Us" and "Thrift Shop," the latter of which reached multi-platinum status and remained on top of the charts for six weeks. The album garnered a nomination for Album Of The Year and Best Rap Album at the 56th GRAMMY Awards, while "Thrift Shop" earned a nod for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. The duo's Top 20 hit "Same Love" featuring Mary Lambert earned a nomination for Song Of The Year and has been adopted by some as a pro-equality anthem. The duo garnered additional nominations for Best New Artist and Best Music Video for "Can't Hold Us."
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Icons Of The Music Industry: Ken Ehrlich (Jan. 14) and A Conversation With Peter Guralnick (Jan. 15).
Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture
The exhibit, opening Dec. 7, will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run" and more
Influential instrumental rock band The Ventures are getting their own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles that will showcase the band's impact on pop culture since the release of their massive hit "Walk, Don't Run" 60 years ago.
The Rock Hall of Fame inductees and Billboard chart-toppers have become especially iconic in the surf-rock world, known for its reverb-loaded guitar sound, for songs like "Wipeout," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run." The Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures exhibit opening Dec. 7 will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run," a Fender Limited Edition Ventures Signature guitars, rare photos and other items from their career spanning six decades and 250 albums.
“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, a founding member of the band, in a statement. "I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being The Ventures. We continue to do that, even today."
Don Wilson, Gerry McGee, Bob Spalding, and Leon Taylor are current band members. On Jan. 9, Taylor's widow and former Fiona Taylor, Ventures associated musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and others will be in conversation with GRAMMY Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman about the band's journey into becoming the most successful instrumental rock band in history at the Clive Davis Theater.
"The Ventures have inspired generations of musicians during their storied six-decade career, motivating many artists to follow in their footsteps and start their own projects," said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum President. "As a music museum, we aim to shine a light on music education, and we applaud the Ventures for earning their honorary title of 'the band that launched a thousand bands.' Many thanks to the Ventures and their families for letting us feature items from this important era in music history."
The exhibit will run Dec. 7–Aug. 3, 2020 at the GRAMMY Museum.
Scott Goldman and Julia Michaels
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Julia Michaels Deconstructs "Issues," Writing Songs | "Required Listening" Podcast
Go inside the bright mind of one of pop's most promising singer/songwriters and learn about her songwriting process, her transition to the spotlight and the three female artists she admires
Julia Michaels' career has soared within the past year. Already a talented songwriter with writing credits such as Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, and Fifth Harmony to her name, Michaels took a leap of faith with the release of her third solo EP, 2017's Nervous System.
Though Michaels has admitted to being nervous about moving to the forefront as an artist in her own right, the gamble paid off. The single "Issues" went gangbusters all the way to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and her EP cracked the Top 50. Plus, the Davenport, Iowa, native scored two nominations for the 60th GRAMMY Awards: Song Of The Year for "Issues" and Best New Artist.
What makes Michaels tick musically, how did she overcome her trepidation and why does she rely on feelings to guide her songwriting?
"It depends on the person. A lot of the times I'll just talk to them [first]," said Michaels regarding collaborating with other artists. "I mean we're all human. We all cry the same. We all bleed the same. So I try to make people feel as comfortable as possible to be able to tell me things, even if the artist that I'm with doesn't write, just having them talk is lyrics in itself. You know, them explaining their day or expressing how they feel. It's like, "That's amazing ... if that's how you're feeling we should write that.'"
As a matter of fact, Michaels told the host of "Required Listening," GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman, that she lets her feelings pilot her songwriting instead of traditional conventions — a process that has yielded gems such as "Issues."
"I'm not that calculated when I write," said Michaels. "I'm all heart when I write so I don't think about the algorithm of a song or the mathematics of a song. I just think, 'This feels good to me,' and just kind of go with that."
When peppered by Goldman with a question about coming into the limelight as a recording artist, Michaels was quick to point out that she has benefitted from plenty of help and encouragement.
"I think a lot of people have helped me get there," said Michaels. "My manager, Beka Tischker, she's been with me for six years. She's always believed in me. … And this year a lot of people have come into my life. I mean even my band — Dan Kanter, who's my guitar player … he's been with me since the beginning of the artist transition. I can't even do it without him at this point. ... There's a lot of people in my life, especially this year, that have made me feel comfortable and confident."
Speaking of confidence, Michaels has taken cues from plenty of her self-assured peers. She cited three artists, in particular, who have inspired her career path.
"I'm not that calculated when I write. I'm all heart." — Julia Michaels
"[Pink is] a bad*," said Michaels. "I love Fiona Apple. I love a lot of artists that are not afraid to say what they want to say. I love artists that write their own music. Laura Marling — she's very much from her point of view, very much whatever she wants to do. And plus her voice is so haunting and beautiful."
"Required Listening" launched on GRAMMY Sunday, Jan. 28, with the first episode featuring an in-depth conversation with GRAMMY winners Imagine Dragons and the second detailing "The Defiant Ones" with Allen Hughes and Jimmy Iovine.
DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend
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DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend take home Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards
DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend, has won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher" at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The single was featured on DJ Khaled's 2019 album Father of Asahd and featured Hussle's vocals and Legend on the piano. DJ Khaled predicted the track would win a GRAMMY.
"I even told him, 'We're going to win a GRAMMY.' Because that's how I feel about my album," DJ Khaled told Billboard. "I really feel like not only is this my biggest, this is very special."
After the release of the song and music video -- which was filmed before Hussle's death in March -- DJ Khaled announced all proceeds from "Higher" will go to Hussle's children.
DJ Khaled and co. beat out fellow category nominees Lil Baby & Gunna ("Drip Too Hard"), Lil Nas X ("Panini"), Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch ("Ballin") and Young Thug featuring J. Cole & Travis Scott ("The London"). Hussle earned a second posthumous award at the 62nd GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle."
Along with Legend and DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to Hussle during the telecast, which concluded with "Higher."
Check out the complete 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees and winners list here.