meta-scriptChlöe Bailey's Debut Solo Album, 'In Pieces,' Fights Fear With Faith | GRAMMY.com
Chlöe Bailey's Debut Solo Album, 'In Pieces,' Fights Fear With Faith
Chlöe Bailey

Photo: Jack Bridgland 

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Chlöe Bailey's Debut Solo Album, 'In Pieces,' Fights Fear With Faith

Out March 31, 'In Pieces' sees Bailey trust in her creative prowess as a solo act. Bailey penned and co-produced the 14-track album, which shows her more vulnerable side outside of Chloe x Halle.

GRAMMYs/Mar 30, 2023 - 04:17 pm

In the summer of 2020, sister R&B duo Chloe x Halle offered a pandemic-weary world reprieve. Their GRAMMY-nominated album, Ungodly Hour, and singles "Do It" and "Forgive Me" melted away worry; their melodies induced passionate head nods, sing-alongs and solo dance breaks in front of bedroom mirrors. Yet as audiences clamored for Chloe x Halle during lockdown, the sisters found themselves apart from each other for the first time. 

For Chlöe, the newfound solitude presented a daunting amount of time; she was forced to reflect on who she was on her own, and who she wanted to become. This period of introspection gave way to the creation of her debut solo album, In Pieces, which arrives March 31. 

"No matter how small or big the cracks are, if you think about it, all of us are in pieces," Chlöe Bailey tells GRAMMY.com, "but it's how well we choose to let the world see us holding it together, or not."

Yet Bailey did not fall to pieces apart from her sister, nor is she a stranger to the entertainment industry. An actress and singer, Bailey has been a performer since age four — her more recent television credits include "Let It Shine," "Grown-ish" and "Swarm" — and formed Chloe x Halle with her sister at age 13. They have since been nominated for five GRAMMY Awards. The duo’s self-produced 2018 debut album, The Kids Are Alright, welcomed the world to their fresh vocals and harmonies showcasing the beauty of a homegrown synergy. Ungodly Hour solidified both their name and their artistry in a sonically untapped realm of R&B. 

On In Pieces, Bailey dares to trust her total creative prowess and aims to wrap her head around the past three years of tumult. Bailey penned and co-produced her 14-track album, inviting listeners into a more vulnerable side sans her sister.  

Ahead of its release, GRAMMY.com caught up with Chlöe to break down In Pieces' three-year production process. The 24-year-old Los Angeles resident unpacked how she learned when to bear it all, when to listen to herself, and how to trust in her ability to pick herself up after falling apart.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

You mentioned that this solo project, a derivation from Chloe x Halle, started off as a little secret. What spurred the initial thought to begin creating as Chlöe?

Well, I never really had the confidence to pursue the idea until I was kind of left in L.A. Halle was overseas — it was the longest we’d ever been apart from each other — and I was missing her. I was missing music and being on stage and performing, and she was filming for like one to three years as well. 

I didn't feel like myself anymore or who I was with my sister. So I slowly started racking up the courage somewhere, and that's when the idea was formed and birthed.

You’ve been working on In Pieces for three years now. Can you walk me through that?

I think three is a lucky number because even with The Kids Are Alright, it took us three years to create that. So it doesn't ever feel like that amount of time at the moment. 

I use music and therapy in the best way possible. [I've had] a huge range of emotions for these past three years, so I think that's why [In Pieces] feels well-rounded when it comes to the storytelling and my feelings. It puts all of the times where I was feeling my lowest, puts all the times I was feeling my highest, all the times I was feeling insecure. And [creating the album] helped me reflect from all of these different perspectives and time periods of when I felt these things. 

Within those three years, were there any pivotal moments or total scraps that changed the trajectory of the project?

Absolutely. These past two years were the most difficult and mentally challenging years for me. But through that, I have found a lot of strength and so much about myself, and I put that through the music.  

I was able to speak on things in my own way through this process; whether it just touches on surface level or gets down to the nitty gritty, I know what it means. The other day, I was driving while playing the album, and I just broke down crying, and then I started laughing. It just did such a great job of reminding me what I was going through.

What kept you going during those difficult times?

I leaned on my godmom a lot of times. I leaned on music. That was pretty much it. 

And if I didn't have God guiding me through it all, I probably wouldn't be here right now.

Are those highs and lows through the years where the title In Pieces comes from?

Yeah, it's definitely been a journey. I think about how many times we get broken down in life and how we have to put ourselves back together again. No matter how small or big the cracks are, if you think about it, all of us are in pieces, but it's how well we choose to let the world see us holding it together or not.

How do you decide what to share with the world and what to hold in when it comes to songwriting?

Nothing's off limits. If I didn’t go into the studio with that mindset, then I wouldn't properly be able to create because I'd already be putting barriers on my mind. I leave it all out and bear my complete soul. After the fact, when everything's done, and when it comes to sequencing and stuff, that's when I kind of decide what I want to bear or not.

**Okay, so it’s almost like what diary entries do I want to publish?**

Exactly, it’s like your diary being put on display.

As a woman in music, you’ve dealt with some criticism from those who say you should cover up and just let the music speak for itself. How do you feel about these comments? 

I think of all of the greats, and they became great because they were different doing something that people weren't used to. When it comes to me being a woman and hoping to be accepted, that's hard. Especially in this generation, with social media and people expecting you to be this one thing that’s perfect all the time. Society has a huge platform where all of us are up for judgment. 

But I think we just have to stick to our guns and be ourselves, and know that’s what will make the mark on people’s lives and what we'll leave when we leave this earth. 

With so many opinions, it can be tough to know when to listen to others and when to listen to yourself. How do you discern when to listen to who?

For me, I'm learning. I just have to kind of follow my gut and my instinct and what makes me happy. When I begin to create based off of what I think other people will appreciate from me, I get stuck in a creative block. Even when I was creating In Pieces, there was a time I was like, people say they don't want pop music from me, so I started going back to my experimental slow jam roots. Then people were like, "So where's the pop songs? Where's the upbeat stuff?" You definitely can’t please everybody. You just kind of got to do what makes you happy in that moment.

We’ve touched on songwriting, but you’re also known as a producer. What was your production process for this album?

The first six months to a year when I was creating this, I was in my bedroom just making a bunch of beats and doing weird experimental stuff.  Not too many people knew that I wanted to create an album, so it was really almost like my little secret. 

Then as I started branching out and started sessions again, I began working with engineers in the studio instead of me engineering by myself. I felt so free because doing that took the pressure off of me in a way. I no longer had to take on every role and feel like I had to make everything perfect by myself. I worked with some incredible people on this record, and I got used to that freedom.

How did that freedom change your process? 

For a while it was just me writing and I kind of put my production side of things away for a little bit. After doing that for a few months, I almost was scared to pick it back up because I was like, What if I can't make music anymore? Is that part of me gone? So the more time I procrastinated, the more that fear grew. 

What broke you out of that fear?

I think it was realizing that …it wouldn't really feel like me if I wasn't putting my all into it, like I usually would when it came to my production. I needed to feel the Chlöe side to the demos. Yes, I could write songs with other incredible songwriters and have the producers make the beat, but I think what was missing was me. 

It was probably in the last six to eight months of this project’s creation [that] I found  freedom again within production. I found my voice again and that block kind of went away. That's when everything started falling into place.

The visuals for the singles so intricately break down the story and emotions of these songs; it's as if they're in the middle of that relationship-ending fight and crying away a breakup with you right before a newfound confidence blossoms. Can you explain the concept design behind the music videos? 

Well, for "Pray It Away" it was my concept, and with all the other visual little pieces, I have a really great creative team. We were all discussing things like, what does In Pieces really mean? All that I really was building upon was this porcelain doll image that I saved four years ago. And I said, "This is going to be my album cover."

Before I started creating the music, my godmom was like,"I see you in this glass box and breaking out of it."  It's telling the side of being left in pieces and heartbroken and not knowing what will come, but also of putting yourself back together through it all. 

It's also looking at the box that I have put on myself, that people have put on me. Everyone who told me I couldn't do something, everyone who told me that nobody would listen to my music. And I'm not talking about people online — it’s people I know personally. So it's like, breaking all of that.

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5 Takeaways From Halle Bailey’s GRAMMY U Masterclass
Muni Long and Halle Bailey

Photo: Anna Webber/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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5 Takeaways From Halle Bailey’s GRAMMY U Masterclass

"Things change every day," Halle Bailey said during her Masterclass, "but if you find that love for what your passion is then you just stick to that."

GRAMMYs/Feb 4, 2024 - 05:25 pm

Seated among a colorfully-draped stage, it was obvious that six-time GRAMMY nominee Halle Bailey was speaking to her people

The packed room at GRAMMY House in downtown Los Angeles on Feb.2 listened intently as Bailey led a Masterclass for GRAMMY U Members, which was moderated by GRAMMY- winning artist and songwriter Muni Long. The event was presented by Mastercard.

In a live streamed conversation, Bailey offered a rare insight into her success in music and film — which includes two albums released with her sister Chloe Bailey, her lead role as Ariel in the live version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and the role of Nettie Harris in the remake of The Color Purple. She also discussed balancing her career with her personal life as a brand new first-time mom.

While the Masterclass celebrated Bailey's achievements, it was also a showcase of what Ruby Marchand, the Recording Academy’s Chief Awards & Industry Officer, described as "the future of music." 

Your cultural devotion and impact is something that the Recording Academy deeply cares about and we are here to help you find your careers, find your relationships, find your deepest inspired source that can help guide you," Marchand said before bringing out Bailey and Long. "Believe in yourselves, have the self confidence to take risks to make decisions that are right for you, that are right creatively, musically, and that’s the journey of GRAMMY U." 

The Recording Academy’s President Panos A. Panay then made a special announcement that ensures a more diverse and inclusive future for the nearly 20-year-old GRAMMY U, which currently hosts 6,000 members and 30,000 alumni. GRAMMY U recently expanded its membership eligibility to increase inclusivity beyond college enrollment.

"I know everyone knows the Recording Academy for the GRAMMY Awards, but the mission of the Academy is ultimately about fostering the next generation of creators," he said. "It’s about providing a platform and a way of advocating for what we think is the most important class of citizens, which are the people that are creating these amazing songs and the music and the beats that move all of us."

Both Bailey and Long had incredible advice for attendees to apply to their own lives as early-career creatives. Read on for five of the biggest lessons from the 2024 GRAMMY U Masterclass.

Absorb Greatness & Get Aligned

Long suggested that the audience set an intention to learn as much as possible from the Masterclass. These lessons can be absorbed through osmosis, she noted.

"When you are in the presence of people that you admire and you respect — whether that’s Halle, or myself or whoever — understand that there is a frequency that you have to be aligned with in order to get closer to the beats that you desire," she said. 

Long encouraged attendees at GRAMMY House and on the livestream to "align yourselves with the things that you want to see in your future." The "Hrs & Hrs" singer added that she wanted "to elevate you with my frequency, my intention, my energy."

Family Comes First

Bailey and her sister Chloe first garnered attention at kids singing cover songs on YouTube, which led to being signed to Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment label as Chloe x Halle. They’re working on their third album together and also both have solo projects. At the Masterclass, Bailey emphasized the importance of family and how Chloe helped instill her with confidence.

"I was truly grateful and blessed that I was able to start in this industry with my big sister Chloe, who is my angel, my guide, my protector always," she said. "The beautiful symbolism of having a sister there to guide you through everything in life is that she’s filling me up with courage and joy and me just really believing in myself because that's something that I really needed to work on, and still do a bit today."

The 23-year-old has said she has learned that she can do more than she ever expected, and working with her family was crucial. "Being able to start that way with that anchor is something I was so, so grateful for."

Balance The Personal & Professional  

Bailey recently had her first child, a baby boy named Halo; Long wanted to know what she’s learning now when trying to keep a personal and professional balance.

"I feel like I've reached this new level of maturity," Bailey said. "Especially being a mother now, which is so crazy to say! But I feel Like I've learned how to balance it by shutting the world out. That's the first thing. I have to shut out the opinions of other people when it comes to social media, Twitter, Instagram, I just have to not read anything, I have to turn it off…"

Motherhood has opened a new "can of worms" for Bailey. "You see, really, your heart in your hands in this beautiful being. So I feel like I have such a greater purpose and so much more to do for him, and so much more that I want him to be able to experience," she said. "So it gives me a new motivation and drive and passion for myself, for my family, for my life, for everything."

Find An Anchor In Artistry

Since Bailey’s career was kickstarted by YouTube success, Long asked what advice Bailey has for aspiring artists when it comes to making content and using social media today.

"I would say for anybody who is trying to start out and be in this confusing industry where the world of social media is crazy now — you have so many things to think about as an artist," Bailey said. "What I try to do for myself is block out all of those things and take it back to being in the garage with my pen and pad and writing out my true thoughts and my love for music. That’s what I stand on."

Bailey also encouraged the audience to have a realistic view of their work — something the veil of social media can make challenging.

"All of the glitz and glam is cool in this industry," she added, "but you know when you start working in it, it's very up and down. There’s a lot of 'nos'...but if you anchor yourself with your love for your artistry, that is what matters the most."

Things change every day, Bailey continued, "but if you find that love for what your passion is then you just stick to that. So remain open to being who you are and remembering why you started."

Ignore The Haters

Bailey admitted that mean comments on social media can really hurt and make her pull away, but she has learned to ignore the noise and focus on her music.

"I just ignore, ignore, ignore," Bailey said. "If somebody says something I don’t like, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t listen. I just have to say to myself, ‘Thank you, I respect and appreciate your opinion, but I agree to disagree.’ And I’m going to show you otherwise."

"That’s actually great advice," Long replied. "You not only have to say that, but you have to distance yourself because — what we were talking about in the beginning, leading through osmosis — you can also take on negativity through osmosis as well. So if you allow yourself to continuously be eroded by other people’s perception of who they think you should be versus how you see yourself, that's very dangerous."

After the Masterclass concluded, Bailey surprised the audience with a lovely live performance of "Angel," her first solo single that’s been nominated for Best R&B Song this year. Tune in to the GRAMMY Awards on Sun. Feb. 4 to see if she wins!

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7 Artists From R&B's New Class: Coco Jones, Kiana Ledé, Phabo & More
(Clockwise from left) Ryan Destiny, Coco Jones, Muni Long, Phabo, Kiana Ledé, Chloe Bailey, Jvck James

Photos: Jason Koerner/Getty Images for Netflix; Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Live Nation Urban; Prince Williams/WireImage; Randijah Simmons; Irvin Rivera/Getty Images for YouTube; Jack Bridgland; Mindy Small/FilmMagic

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7 Artists From R&B's New Class: Coco Jones, Kiana Ledé, Phabo & More

R&B has veered away from the jazz and blues that lay at its foundation. These seven artists are paying dust to the tired idea that "R&B is dead" by incorporating elements of hip-hop, alternative, and even electronic music into their sound.

GRAMMYs/Jun 28, 2023 - 05:52 pm

From fighting just to make up, to setting a cheating lover's clothes ablaze, to finding any excuse to mention a crush's name in conversation, good R&B music will make you feel all the emotions.

Of course, the genre is much deeper than make-up-to-breakup anthems and "baby-making music." R&B originated in the 1940s as a catch-all term for Black music, later giving birth to soul music in the '60s and evolving further in the '90s to include a breadth of contemporary influences. Throughout its long history, R&B lyrics and instrumentation have been a source of inspiration and empowerment for Black Americans — with Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" being clear examples.

Since its inception, R&B has veered away from the jazz and blues that lay at its foundation. These days, artists like Jazmine Sullivan, SZA, Ari Lennox, Kehlani, Jhené Aiko, Giveon, and Daniel Caesar rule the genre, but there’s always room for more in the mix. Summer Walker, Victoria Monét, Bryson Tiller, Queen Naija, and a host of others are paying dust to the tired idea that "R&B is dead" by incorporating elements of hip-hop, alternative, and even electronic music into their sound.

And while it may not be your mother’s traditional R&B, it’s worth turning up in embrace of the genre’s ongoing evolution. In honor of Black Music Month, here are seven of R&B’s finest rising stars.

Chloe Bailey

Chloe Bailey is beyond a triple threat — the 24-year-old sings, writes, produces, acts and executes choreography like nobody’s business. She's also one half of the sibling group Chloe x Halle, who came to the fore as Beyoncé’s proteges.

Audiences first met Bailey in the early 2010s when she and younger sister, Halle, started uploading YouTube videos of themselves covering popular songs. Beyoncé saw their version of "Pretty Hurts" and signed the then-teenagers to her management company. Chloe x Halle put out two studio albums — 2018's The Kids Are Alright and 2020's Ungodly Hour — and were nominated for four GRAMMY Awards.

While Halle was in London filming the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Bailey began piecing together the sounds that would eventually become her 2023 debut solo project: In Pieces. "I use music and therapy in the best way possible. [I've had] a huge range of emotions for these past three years, so I think that's why [In Pieces] feels well-rounded when it comes to the storytelling and my feelings," she told GRAMMY.com.

Two years ahead of In Pieces,  Bailey dropped her debut solo single "Have Mercy." The track reached No. 28 on the Hot 100, showing off the songstress’ sexier, more mature side.

Coco Jones

Coco Jones’ dedication to her music seems to be finally paying off after going the independent route for nearly the past decade.

In late March, the former Disney Channel star — who currently stars as the iconic Hilary Banks on Peacock's reboot of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" — celebrated her first-ever Billboard Hot 100 chart entry. Her sultry single "ICU" peaked at No. 63, as well as cracked the top 20 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Earning over five million streams in the U.S. alone, the tune appears on the 25-year-old's debut EP, What I Didn't Tell You, released in 2022.

Now signed with High Standardz and Def Jam Recordings, Jones also linked up with 11-time GRAMMY winner Babyface on "Simple," from the R&B legend’s collaborative LP, Girls’ Night Out.

Phabo

Phabo doesn't mind being compared to neo-soul icons D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. Though clearly a student of late ‘90s/early 2000s-adjacent sound, Phabo’s R&B sounds as modern as ever. On his sophomore studio effort, Don't Get Too Cozy, Phabo teamed up with producers Troy Taylor (Boyz II Men, Babyface), Louie Lastic (Kehlani), and Eric Hudson (Nas, Kanye West) for a well-rounded LP that’ll keep new and existing fans wanting more.

"New words, new inflections, new beat patterns [and] new cores. [It’s] more authenticity from the start to the finish," he told Rated R&B about his new music. "I feel like people can look forward to those notes of classic R&B that they grew up listening to and loving as well as the sound that we’re trying to push forward as well."

Upon the 2021 release of his debut studio album, Soulquarius, VICE called then 28-year-old Phabo "R&B's North Star." That might be a lot to live up to, but Phabo seems to be charting the course just fine.

Muni Long

Muni Long may have been nominated for Best New Artist at the 65th GRAMMYs, but the rising star is no stranger to the music industry. With five EPs and three studio albums under her belt, the 34-year-old boasts songwriting credits for big names, including Madonna, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert.

Long has experienced plenty of ups and downs — her 2009 debut album, Jukebox, was met with disappointing sales when she was signed to Capitol Records under her birth name Priscilla Renea. 

Now though, Long is betting on herself as an artist, even launching her own label, Supergiant Records. Not only did Long make history as the first independent female artist to top the R&B Songs chart with her breakout single "Hrs and Hrs" in 2022, but the song’s success later earned her a GRAMMY for Best R&B Performance, as well as a record deal with Def Jam through her label.

"[With ‘Hrs and Hrs’] I can breathe now and can celebrate a little bit," she told GRAMMY.com. "My hand is in every pot as an independent artist… overseeing everything and just making sure that it was authentic. True to me, not allowing other people’s judgments to affect mine."

Kiana Ledé

The spotlight is nothing new for Kiane Ledé. When she was just 14, she won Kidz Bop's KIDZ Star USA talent contest, which led to a deal with RCA Records. Her first single, "Hey Chica" was praised for encouraging "young women to feel beautiful in their own skin."

When RCA dropped Ledé a couple years later, she worked at a gymnastics center and jazz club to make ends meet. Behind the scenes though, she was getting her groove back — her covers of popular songs like Drake's "Hotline Bling" helped her ink a deal with Republic Records.

"Ex," her breakout single off her debut EP, Selfless, skyrocketed to No. 9 on R&B Songs chart in the spring of 2019. But her momentum didn't end there. Months later, Lede's follow-up EP Myself's spawned the single "Bouncin,’" featuring Offset, earning her the No. 30 spot on Billboard's rhythmic airplay chart. 

Following the release of a couple stand-alone singles, including "Easy Breezy," Lede's debut album, Kiki, arrived on the singer’s 23rd birthday. Lead single "Mad at Me" borrows from Outkast's 2000 hit "So Fresh, So Clean." Inspired by her childhood nickname, Kiki debuted at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 and features guest appearances from fellow R&B stars Ari Lennox, 6LACK, and Lucky Daye, to name a few.

Jvck James

From Loose Ends and Sade, to Craig David and Estelle, the music industry has seen its share of Black British artists breathe new life into R&B over the decades. Born and raised in East London, Jvck James' covers of popular songs (most notably Whitney Houston’s "I Have Nothing") on YouTube helped him gain a following. At just 12 years old, he was cast as a young Michael Jackson in the West End production of the "Thriller — Live" musical.

Fast forward 13 years later, and James shows no signs of slowing down. He performed at the Berlin-based live music session known as COLORS and churned out three EPs, 2019’s Detour, 2021’s Joyride, and 2022’s On The Rocks the latter of which birthed "Hennessy Tears," one of his most well-recognized tracks. That same year, Apple Music named the then 28-year-old artist as 2022’s Global Up Next Artist.

Earlier this year, he was also featured on fellow R&B rising star and GRAMMY winner Ambré’s No. 1 hit "I’m Baby" on Billboard's Adult R&B Airplay Chart.

Ryan Destiny

Ryan Destiny may be most recognizable from her roles in Lee Daniels' short-lived musical drama series "Star," as well as season three of "Black-ish" spin-off "Grown-ish," but she’s ready for her music close-up. The 28-year-old multi-hyphenate is carefully crafting her long-awaited debut EP; she’s in no rush to drop it, though she’s hinted it could be released this year.

Despite not being backed by major-label budgets — she’s signed to November Yellow, Destiny’s music video for "How Many" racked up over 770,000 views within the past six months on YouTube.

While the future R&B princess’ latest release "Lie Like That" didn’t receive the video treatment, it’s a total earworm that showcases her saucy alter-ego with bold lyrics like "You need me/I don’t need you, you’re so sad" and "When it comes to the horse, I'm high on the bitch/Look down on a bitch."

By the sounds of it, the Detroit native is more than ready to leave her mark on R&B and beyond.

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15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: Metallica, Yaeji, Daniel Caesar, Hunter Hayes & More
(Clockwise from left) Jessie Ware, Metallica's Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield, Daniel Caesar, IVE, Yaeji, Rae Sremmurd, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park

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15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: Metallica, Yaeji, Daniel Caesar, Hunter Hayes & More

From highly-anticipated returns to can't-miss debut releases, check out 15 albums dropping this April from Linkin Park, IVE, Rae Sremmurd, and many more.

GRAMMYs/Apr 3, 2023 - 01:36 pm

Between the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Coachella and a release calendar stacked with fresh debuts and long-awaited returns, this April makes for an exciting time for music lovers.

This month sees Everything but the Girl's first album since 1999, as well as milestone freshman releases from IVE and Yaeji. Hard rock legends Metallica blend punk with heavy metal on 72 Seasons, and Illenium introduces a host of rock subgenres to his EDM catalog. Y La Bamba and Daniel Caesar bear the honesty and confusion of heartbreak, while Bebe Rexha and NF look toward a more promising future. 

From country jams to pop divas, GRAMMY.com delivers a guide to 15 essential albums dropping in April 2023.

Daniel Caesar - NEVER ENOUGH

Release date: April 7

With three critically acclaimed albums and a hit collaboration with Justin Bieber under his belt, a soulful rendition of Kanye West's "Street Lights" and his own passionate love ballads, Daniel Caesar has solidified his place as one of R&B's key players. 

Caesar's first studio album in nearly four years, NEVER ENOUGH, features introspective heartbreak singles "Do You Like Me?" and "Let Me Go," each of which meld blues and R&B. Caesar will commence the Almost Enough: The Intimate Sessions tour through North America on April 6 to highlight the new music.

Yaeji - With A Hammer

Release date: April 7

After a successful slew of festival appearances, mixtapes, EPs and even a merch drop on Animal Crossing, house DJ Yaeji is opening a new chapter of childlike exuberance. Her debut studio album, With A Hammer, features collaborations with fellow rising EDM artists Loraine James, Enayet, K Wata, and Nourished By Time and will dovetail with a North American tour later this month.

In an interview with Pitchfork, Yaeji explained that she curated a 111-page booklet to contextualize the release. The With A Hammer booklet details a fictional journey tinged with magical wizard dogs and conscious hammers, which she loosely references in the music video for the album’s second single, "Done (Let’s Get It)." Yaeji refers to the story as her inner "spunky kid who has just awakened and is trying to scream."  

Rae Sremmurd - SREMM4LIFE

Release date: April 7

In the mid-2010’s, Rae Sremmurd’s "No Flex Zone," "No Type" and "Swang" dominated radio stations and streaming platforms. The Mississippi-based hip-hop duo' "Black Beatles" had similar resonance, becoming the theme song for 2016's viral mannequin challenge and inspired Nicki Minaj's flirty remix, "Black Barbies."  

There has been no news of a comeback since 2018's SR3MM, while frequent solo endeavors from Swae Lee made a fourth release seem unimaginable. On March 9, the pair unexpectedly announced that the wait was finally over: Rae Sremmurd has finally reunited for their fourth album, SREMM4LIFE, leading with the cheeky single, "Tanisha (Pump That)."

Linkin Park - Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition)

Release date: April 7

Revisit the magic of Linkin Park's Meteora with a repackaged 20th Anniversary Edition. The group's sophomore album features some of the best-selling tracks in the band's discography, including the quadruple-platinum, GRAMMY-winning "Numb" and the Billboard Modern Rock chart-topping "Faint."

The revamped version includes six unreleased songs from the Meteora archives, most notably "Lost," which showcases the vocals of late frontman Chester Bennington. In a press statement, guitarist and vocalist Mike Shinoda said, "Finding this track was like finding a favorite photo you had forgotten you'd taken, like it was waiting for the right moment to reveal itself. For years, fans have been asking us to release something with Chester's voice, and I'm thrilled we've been able to make that happen in such a special way."

NF - Hope

Release date: April 7

Rapper NF is a silent star, quietly creeping onto the scene in late 2017 with his hit single, "Let You Down." Despite pulling over a billion streams on a single song, most people tend to overlook the existence of the artist born Nathan Feuerstein. In fact, he prefers it that way. NF's music was never about fame, but a place to lay out his battles with OCD and grapple with the resulting trauma of his upbringing.

On his upcoming project, HOPE, NF turns a new leaf, welcoming fans to indulge in a more optimistic view of the future. As he acknowledges the happiness he’s found in his wife and children on the album's titular single: "I'm a prime example of what happens when you choose to not accept defeat and face your demons." 

IVE - I’ve IVE

Release date: April 10

After stepping into the K-pop landscape in December 2021, IVE quickly became one of the industry's leading fourth generation girl groups. Tracks "Love Dive" (2022) and the viral Gloria Gaynor-sampling "After Like" (2022) ruled Korea's music charts, simultaneously receiving acclaim in the United States as one of the best K-pop songs of 2022 by NME and Teen Vogue. With such skyrocketing success, it's an understatement to say the anticipation for IVE's first studio album, I've IVE, is high.

I've IVE is a culmination of the confident IVE ethos, as their company, Starship Entertainment, described in a press release. To celebrate the release of their long-awaited album, IVE will begin the second leg of their Asia tour, The Prom Queens, this June.

Metallica - 72 Seasons

Release date: April 14

Fans have eagerly anticipated the heavy metal legends’ return since March 2019, when bassist Robert Trujillo teased the start of their eleventh studio album. Kicking off their new album is the guitar-heavy, punk-influenced "Lux Æterna." Following "Lux Æterna" are two more classic heavy metal tracks, "Screaming Suicide" and "If Darkness Had a Son."

In support of 72 Seasons, Metallica will embark on a North American tour  with support from Architects, Mammoth WVH, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Ice Nine Kills, Pantera, and Greta Van Fleet. Each city will see Metallica in a two-night performance containing two completely different setlists and opening acts.

Hunter Hayes - Red Sky

Release date: April 21

Knowing that the hazy turquoise of Hunter HayesWild Blue would be his final major label studio release, his seventh full-length album, Red Sky, becomes all the more symbolic. 

Red skies often signify change — a fitting title and visual as Hayes comes into himself as a fully independent artist. "This project is about the adventure of finding yourself," Hayes said on Instagram after unveiling two pop-country singles, "Sober" and "Someone Will." "Lyrically, it's for anyone who needs a reminder of how unique your fire inside is and how much the world needs more you in it." 

Hayes will begin his Red Sky Tour on May 6 in San Diego, culminating in Denver on June 3. 

Easy Star All Stars - Ziggy Stardub

Release date: April 21

New York-via-Jamaica reggae collective Easy Star All-Stars are known for their addicting interpretations of music’s most renowned albums: They’ve conquered the BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Next on their list is David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, now titled Ziggy Stardub, out on Easy Star Records. The album will feature guest appearances from Macy Gray, Steel Pulse, Alex Lifeson of Rush, Fishbone, Vernon Reid of Living Colour, and more. The first glimpse into the cosmic world of reggae Ziggy Stardust is "Starman," a charismatic take on Bowie’s single of the same name.

Jethro Tull - RökFlöte

Release date: April 21

On RökFlöte, prog rock pioneers Jethro Tull offer their own take on Norse mythology, specifically the apocalyptic tale of Ragnarök. The band's 23rd album launches with the release of "Ginnungagap," a flute-led rock tune inspired by the god Ymir. 

According to their press release, RökFlöte will largely be an instrumental homage to the group's incorporation of the flute. Throughout, Ian Anderson and co. will explore the storyline of "the characters and roles of some of the principal gods of the old Norse paganism."

Everything but the Girl - Fuse

Release date: April 21

It was an entirely different century the last time we saw Everything but the Girl. Since the release of Temperamental in 1999, the duo behind the sophisti-pop band got married to each other, published memoirs, and worked on solo efforts. Fuse holds Everything but the Girl in a modern context, exploring topics of love and anxiety.

Chatting with the New York Times, EBTG's Tracey Horn credits quarantine boredom for sparking the idea of reuniting as a duo. "We were confronted with the decision that a lot of people were confronted with: what are we going to do now? Are we going back to what we were doing? Or, is this the start of something new?"

Bebe Rexha - BEBE

Release date: April 28

In 2018, Bebe Rexha's contemplative Expectations narrated negative self-talk, heartbreak, and instability.  With the release of her 2022 chart-topper, "Blue (I'm Good)," and the lead single from her forthcoming self-titled album, Rexha reveals that she's settled into a happier place. No longer tied down to broken relationships or burdened by depression, Rexha just wants to have fun — and it shows on "Heart What It Wants." 

Bebe is a celebration, a requiem to the nights spent crying that led to her current bliss. Most importantly, it's an opportunity to connect with her supporters. "I want to see my fans in person. I want to play the deeper cuts, feel the energy of my fans," Rexha told Elite Daily in November.

Y La Bamba - Lucha

Release date: April 28

Latin indie alternative band Y La Bamba's Lucha has been a long time in the making, starting development right before the outbreak of COVID-19. Eventually, Lucha grew into a collection of stories of queerness, Chicanx identity, and loneliness prompted by the isolation of the pandemic. 

The album's lead single, "Dibujos de Mi Alma," chronicles the ambivalent feeling of loving someone but also recognizing it's time to move on. As lead vocalist Luz Elena Mendoza croons in Spanish, "Although it hurts, you will find/ The traces of another will give you affection." If "Dibujos" is any indication, the rest of Lucha's vulnerable yet relatable tracks will pull at your heartstrings.

Jessie Ware - That! Feels Good!

Release date: April 28

Fresh off Harry Styles' Love On Tour, Jessie Ware returns with her fifth studio album, That! Feels Good! The lead single, "Free Yourself," confirms that the singer is not leaving the disco present on her previous What's Your Pleasure? just yet.

In a press release, Ware explained that the album’s second single, "Pearls" was heavily influenced by disco divas Donna Summer, Evelyn "Champagne'' King, Teena Marie, and Chaka Khan. The album is a reflection of her growth, she continued. "That! Feels Good! stems from over 10 years of understanding who I am, and who I enjoy being as an artist and the thrill of performance."

Illenium - ILLENIUM

Release date: April 28

You probably know Illenium from his dance-pop tracks and remixes, including collaborations from the Chainsmokers, Khalid, Tori Kelly, and most recently, a rendition of Taylor Swift's Midnights' single, "Anti-Hero." But on his upcoming self-titled album, the EDM heavyweight is charting new territory.

With assistance from Jxdn, Travis Barker, Avril Lavigne, All Time Low, Motionless in White, and others, Illenium will be crossing over into rock sub-genres, ranging from emo rap to heavy metal. If you're a lover of EDM-pop fusion, don't worry too much — this album still holds Illenium's signature sound in his tracks with MAX, Nina Nesbitt, JVKE, and Skylar Grey.

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GRAMMY Style Edit: Stylist Zerina Akers Reflects On Her "Timeless" GRAMMY Looks For Beyoncé, Jazmine Sullivan & Chloe X Halle
Zerina Akers

Photo: Edwig Henson

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GRAMMY Style Edit: Stylist Zerina Akers Reflects On Her "Timeless" GRAMMY Looks For Beyoncé, Jazmine Sullivan & Chloe X Halle

In this episode of GRAMMY Style Edit, Zerina Akers revisits her recently styled looks at the GRAMMYs, including Beyoncé's outfit for her history-making night in 2021 and Jazmine Sullivan's suit for her first GRAMMY win in 2022.

GRAMMYs/Feb 2, 2023 - 09:21 pm

For award-winning stylist and costume designer Zerina Akers, fashion is the purest way to express our ideal selves — and she gets to help superstars like Beyoncé do just that.

In this episode of GRAMMY Style Edit, Akers breaks down a few of her styled looks in recent GRAMMY history. She's the mastermind behind Beyoncé's iconic black leather and gold ensemble from the 2021 GRAMMY Awards, a look Akers describes as a "refreshing take on fashion" to coincide with the singer's historical winning moment

Akers has served as the R&B diva's personal stylist since 2014, and attributes her knack for creating memorable style moments — especially for performances, her personal favorite thing to style — to "the School of Beyonce." (She was the costume designer for Beyoncé's GRAMMY-winning film Black Is King, which won Akers an Emmy in 2021.) 

In her everyday life, Akers defines her style as androgynous, with an added eclectic twist on wardrobe basics. She utilizes this approach in her work with Jazmine Sullivan, who Akers styled in a tribal-print black leather suit at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, and Chloe x Halle, who wore sleek, structural black gowns during their 2019 GRAMMY performance.

"GRAMMY styling, specifically, is always so special," Akers says. "It's important for me to approach it with a timeless sensibility. Will this stand the test of time? Will these images, in 20 years, still be fab?"

Press play on this video to learn more about Zerina Akers' genius behind some of her most recent GRAMMY looks, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Style Edit.

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