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Corona Capital Is Bringing English-Speaking Artists To More Mexican Cities

Courtesy Of Corona Capital

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Corona Capital Is Bringing English-Speaking Artists To More Mexican Cities

The Guadalajara fest, happening on May 11, is hosting the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Chemical Brothers, Dillon Francis, Phoenix, the Goo Goo Dolls at the city's renowned Akron Stadium

GRAMMYs/May 9, 2019 - 10:56 pm

Guadalajara, Mexico might be known as the birthplace of mariachi, but as the second-largest city in the country—after Mexico City—it is a thriving cosmopolitan destination with a modern music scene that draws influence from in and out of the country.

Enter Corona Capital, a festival that believes music should have no boundaries. Through its two events—one taking place in Mexico City, now on its 10th year, and the other in Guadalajara, which is now on its second year—Corona Capital offers a range of acts from electronica and pop to indie and rock. While that lineup formula may sound typical for a music festival, the kicker is that many of the acts who play Corona Capital rarely get a chance to perform in Mexico. But Corona Capital offers them the chance to do it—and for local audiences to enjoy the show.  

"We always try to bring in acts that either have not been in Mexico ever or that haven't been here in a long time," says Ricardo Gomez Senior International Talent Buyer for Mexican promotions company OCESA, promoting Corona Capital. "We don't have any Latin acts, and we do that because we want to desegregate Corona Capital from other festivals in the market ... [we] look at trends and what's happening in the music scene internationally [to bring] the most interesting and fresh project that we think can work in the format of the festival."

Gomez says roughly 80 to 85 percent of international acts that come to the country only play Mexico City, forcing fans in smaller cities to travel to the country's capital from all over or miss out on their favorite artists. 

This year the Guadalajara rendition is bringing the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Chemical Brothers, Dillon Francis, Phoenix, the Goo Goo Dolls and more to its lineup on May 11 at the renowned Akron Stadium, home to Las Chivas soccer team.

Beyond being enticing to locals, the fest's international flare has brought in people from outside of Mexico, too. According to the fest, two percent of festivalgoers are international; the biggest country of origin is the U.S., with California and Texas being the homes to most of the attendants. 

More than just a space to listen to music, the festival wants its attendants to discover new music. It's the reason the fest's campaign includes social media visuals that feature up-and-coming artist recommendations based on established performing artists. For example, one social video features Boy Pablo as a recommendation if you're a fan of Phoenix

The fest is also amping up its culinary chops and adding an exclusive gourmet experience with a scenic view of the city's forest, along with its Capital Gourmet experience in which local chefs highlight their dishes. 

Below, the Recording Academy speaks to Gomez about the festival's background, why Corona Capital is a fest to know, his mindset behind booking Corona's Guadalajara lineup, and more.

Corona Capital began in Mexico City. Why bring one to Guadalajara?

We thought it would be an interesting experiment to try to expand and take this to other cities that maybe don't have these types of lineups. In the past years [there has] been a boom of festivals not in Mexico City, but happening in Monterrey and Guadalajara, especially. And the festivals that are happening in these cities seem to be in line with maybe Vive Latino or in Monterrey, we have Pa'l Norte, which is really really eclectic. So you can have all different type of genres, but for [a] specific alternative rock and international music [festival], there weren't any proposals. So we decided to do Corona Guadalajara to offer that to the market and maybe this is a good experiment to try to expand to other territories as well.

How do you choose which international artists get to become a part of the lineup?

Well, like I mentioned, it's a combination of acts that haven't been in the market or haven't been here in at least a few years so we can have that performance as some sort of value. I really think that overexposing an artist in the market is not a good way to develop them. So we try to wait, at least, a couple of album cycles to bring them into a festival like Corona; some of the acts [were a part of] the lineup we had at Corona Capital in Mexico City last year; some of them had never been here and a lot of them were experiments that we were going try and to see how the audience responds. 

This year we got very, very lucky because the artist that we reached out were available and were within our budget so we have a really interesting and cool combination of acts that are really working out. We're seeing that in sales and actually selling really well. We're selling prices as much as we did last year so we're happy with the results.

Yeah, with a newer artist like Boy Pablo and an established pop act like the Goo Goo Dolls, that's a pretty eclectic lineup.

Yeah, I mean we're also trying to speak out to the generation that is now in their 30s and it has that ingredient of nostalgia, which I think is very, very effective in a lineup. You can go and check out [an act] that maybe you remember being a fan of and [then] you can go there and enjoy, like you said, a fresh interesting project from the earlier time slots and spend the whole day and finish with a band like Phoenix, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or The Chemical Brothers, who you listened to 10 years ago.

For some of the people in Mexico, this is the only opportunity to see some of the acts on your lineup. How hard is it for someone in Mexico to see American acts in the country?

Well, I'd say like 80 or 85% of the artist that come to play in Mexico only play Mexico City. That's because it's such a huge difference in the type of market. Mexico City is 25 million people and the next biggest cities are 1.5 million. Festivals are a great opportunity to check out new bands that might not come to Guadalajara or other territories outside Mexico City. It really depends on the act's availability and willingness to develop a market because they're not going to make the same money in Guadalajara or Monterrey that they do in Mexico City, at least for headline shows.

Which of the artists on the lineup haven't been in Mexico before?

 It's the first time for Tops, Boy Pablo, and it's the first time for Kimbra, first time for Christine and The Queens, and it's the first time for Goo Goo Dolls.

How big is the impact of American music in the country?

It's huge. Radio still has a very strong media format in Mexico because of the amount of time people spend in their cars. I was just looking at some numbers from radio in the country and English-speaking radio is the number one-rated radio station in Mexico.

According to Spotify, Mexico City is the streaming capital city of the world, and, as you've mentioned, sometimes it's the only city international acts visit. For people interested in exploring other parts of Mexico, can you tell us what Guadalajara has to offer music-wise, and regionally?

Yeah, Spotify is tricky because sometimes the numbers are deceiving. So maybe an artist will see that Mexico is their number one market in streaming, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they have strong loyal fans there. It has to do with the editorial playlist that they are in, and the type of streaming database in Mexico.

Also, YouTube is really strong because YouTube is free and Spotify has those numbers, but for the premium not a paid subscription. We've seen that in the past. We see that an artist has a huge a streaming number coming from Mexico City but that doesn't necesarily translate to ticket sales.

Now, for the second part of your question. Guadalajara has a very, very cool music and arts scene. There's a lot of acts, like new acts coming out of Guadalajara who are doing really interesting stuff. The food is also great in Guadalajara. You have great restaurants in the city. And it's worth making the trip and coming just to spend the weekend, take advantage that it is just a one-day festival and you can come to the festival Saturday and enjoy the city on Sunday.

For American artists, what makes going to a festival in Mexico different from other parts of the world?

Well, this trend that I'm seeing right now with festivals in the U.S. and in other countries is that some of the headliner budgets are impossible to pay. So I'm seeing that many festivals are trying to make the festival more of an experience. The problem with that is you're going to have lower ticket sales. So I think it boils down to how cheap it can be for Americans to come to Mexico, as opposed to going to Coachella or something like that. Coachella is like really pricey and you can, for the same price that you pay for a general access ticket to Coachella, travel to Mexico and pay for travel, hotels, and also be able to pay for a V.I.P. ticket.  

What else would you like people to know about Corona Capital?

 It's not only about coming and checking out the bands—it's also exploring a country you don't know. We really put a lot attention on the gastronomical experience and the cooling operation. We have this food area called Capital Gourmet, where we invite local restaurants to showcase their dishes so people can have an added value to their experience in not just grab a hotdog, or a burger, or pizza. But really try local ingredients, local restaurants. And there's going to be a ferris wheel and other carnival rides. 

We also have a local market that you can explore with with arts and crafts from the regions around Guadalajara. We will be showcasing street art and a couple of murals during the festival, and there's going to be an [exclusive gourmet experience].

In the future we're expanding to other territories and other cities. We also want to have Corona Capital in, say, Veracruz or Tijuana. We want the festival to have a local essence so that people can still experience the city.

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

Rotimi

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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'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

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."

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Universal language: Why humans need music

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Universal language: Why humans need music

Learn why music is truly a common language that is key to human development and evolution

GRAMMYs/Jul 3, 2017 - 11:51 pm

There's no doubt music finds a way into nearly every moment of our daily lives, whether it's marking milestones such as a first dance at a wedding, the soundtrack to our favorite movie or singing in the shower for fun. In fact, it's hard to imagine times when we are more than an ear-length away from hearing another song.

But why does music mean so much to us? A powerful form of communication that transcends all barriers — music is our common language, but why?

A composer and educator with a lifelong fascination for music, Adam Ockelford has traced our connection with music back to infants and caregivers. Infants are unable to follow words, but they are developmentally primed to trace patterns in sound, such as through the songs a caretaker sings to them. Therefore, understanding music is intuitive for humans, even at a very young age, and it encourages healthy development.

In addition, there may be another evolutionary purpose for music. Music provides a sense of sameness between humans — if you can copy the sounds someone else makes, you must be an ally. This synergy plays a role in human survival because it evokes empathy and understanding, a lesson we still learn from music in today's culture.

"Music is central to the notion of what it is to be human, and spans cultures, continents and centuries," writes Ockelford. "My music, your music, our music can bind us together as families, as tribes and as societies in a way that nothing else can."

Need a playlist? Check out our favorite songs of summer 2017 

WATCH: Lady Gaga And Ariana Grande Team Up For "Rain On Me"

Lady Gaga 

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Haus Laboratories

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WATCH: Lady Gaga And Ariana Grande Team Up For "Rain On Me"

Grande enters the "Stupid Love" singer's futuristic world as the two pop sensations dance together in an out-of-this-planet setting

GRAMMYs/May 22, 2020 - 10:17 pm

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande have come together for "Rain On Me," an optimistic pop track about Gaga's personal experiences off her forthcoming album, Chromatica

"I can feel it on my skin (It's comin' down on me)/ Teardrops on my face (Water like misery)/ Let it wash away my sins (It's coming down on me)," the global pop stars sing together on the chorus. "I'd rather be dry, but at least I'm alive/ Rain on me, rain, rain."

The song is an empowering track about being comfortable with letting tears fall. Gaga revealed the many layers behind the song in an interview with Vulture, sharing that some of the inspiration for it came from her relationship with drinking. "This is about an analog of tears being the rain. And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself," she said. "I’d rather be dry. I’d rather not be drinking, but I haven’t died yet. I’m still alive. Rain on me."

She added that the song also went beyond that. "Okay, I’m going to keep on drinking. This song has many layers," she said. 

Grande enters the "Stupid Love" singer's futuristic world in the video released Friday, May 22, with the two dancing together in an out-of-this-planet setting. The video ends with them in a strong embrace.

Gaga has shared how much the collaboration with Grande means to her and thanked Grande for "reminding me I’m strong."  Before the video's release, she tweeted out a special message to the "Stuck with U" singer. 

"One time I felt like I was crying so much it would never stop. Instead of fighting it, I thought bring it on, I can do hard things. @arianagrande I love you for your strength and friendship. Let’s show them what we’ve got," she tweeted

Grande returned the love with more love, revealing what sharing a track with Gaga means to her.

"one time ..... i met a woman who knew pain the same way i did... who cried as much as i did, drank as much wine as i did, ate as much pasta as i did and who’s heart was bigger than her whole body. she immediately felt like a sister to me," she tweeted. "she then held my hand and invited me into the beautiful world of chromatica and together, we got to express how beautiful and healing it feels to mothafuckinnnn cry ! i hope this makes u all feel as uplifted as it does for us both. i love u @ladygaga , u stunning superwoman !"  

Watch the full video above. Chromatica is set to be released on May 29. 

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2017 NBA Finals: Music lessons from LeBron James, Steph Curry

LeBron James (left) and Steph Curry (right

LeBron James Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com; Steph Curry Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images 

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2017 NBA Finals: Music lessons from LeBron James, Steph Curry

From focused practice to meditation, here's how musicians can look to NBA basketball for inspiration to take their A-game to the next level

GRAMMYs/Jun 2, 2017 - 04:00 am

Basketball excellence will be on the primetime stage as Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers lock horns for the third consecutive year in the 2017 NBA Finals, tipping off on June 1.

Excellence in primetime is no stranger to The Recording Academy. For nearly 60 years, The Academy has celebrated music excellence via the GRAMMY Awards, currently crowning recipients in 84 categories.

On the surface, dribbling a basketball and record production or strumming a guitar couldn't be farther apart. But those looking to transform themselves into a world-class athlete or virtuoso musician can find common ground in the science and methodology of achieving mastery. Indeed, the consummate musician is always in search of knowledge, and one can look to NBA all-stars and hall of fame coaches for a sea of inspiration and ideas.

Take Curry, the reigning NBA MVP for two consecutive seasons, who is lauded as the game's best shooter. Though talent is unquestionably part of the equation, it's serious dedication to his craft that has lifted Curry above the rim. A big believer in repetition, Curry — who reportedly once hit 77 three-pointers in a row in practice — puts up 1,000 shots in practice every week and he goes through an intense 90-minute warm-up routine before each game.

James, a four-time NBA MVP, is noted for spending endless hours working on different shots, including hook shots, layups and jumpers. As outlined in Jennifer Etnier's book, Bring Your "A" Game: A Young Athlete's Guide To Mental Toughness, James repeats shots over and over, noting nuances such as his body position, footwork and release points. In game play, James focuses as the plays unfold and reacts naturally, letting his instincts and subconscious take over as informed by the repetition in his practice.

Just like Curry and James, for musicians looking to up their A-game, the development of an effective practice regimen is seen by many professional musicians as crucial. Rather than noodling incessantly, a musician will benefit from a focused, strategic practice schedule in alignment with their personal music goals.

Within that regimen, whether drilling a new scale or working on a difficult solo passage, the right kind of repetition is key. As outlined by SonicBids, the "mindful" musician uses repetition in a slow, thoughtful and precise manner. For example, when practicing a passage, the "mindless" musician will repeat it until it sounds like all the notes are correct, while the mindful musician spends time repeating the opening phrase to ensure it's letter perfect, and then rinses and repeats. When it comes to performance, the music will flow more naturally from the mindful musician, just like a patented Curry three-pointer.

Similar to the relationship between a music student and music teacher, an NBA coach can provide leadership, insight and directorial guidance to help shape a player. But it's the superlative coach who can take a group of players and usher them from the first-round of the playoffs to the Finals.

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Pat Riley, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, was renowned as a master motivator in presiding over NBA titles with both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. While Riley identified skills as of obvious importance, his coaching code placed a focus on attitude.

"The difference between people who are skillful and merely successful and the ones who win is in attitude," states Riley. "The attitude a person develops is the most important ingredient in determining the level of success. … If you can find people who really want to be a part of a great team, of something significant, to do something for others, for their teammates … then you've got yourself people who are special."

Applying Riley's thoughts to music, a successful band can be seen as a team activity, and a team with the winning attitude is one that will likely rise to the top. Writing for LinkedIn, John Sadler identified how a winning attitude informed by virtues such as respect is the crucial element to a band's success. Some of his helpful tips for instilling positive attitudes among bandmates include showing up on time, coming to rehearsals prepared, listening effectively, and discussing and outlining goals together as a group.

Also a hall of fame coach, Phil Jackson won 11 NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. While stars such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant made outstanding individual contributions, it was Jackson's unique approach to coaching that helped him manage star personalities and ultimately put his teams over the top.

A big proponent of mindfulness and mental strength, Jackson — who earned the nickname the Zen Master — used coaching tactics such as inviting players to meditate, practice in the dark and practice yoga.

"As much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we need to build our mental strength up," Jackson told Oprah Winfrey. "We need to build our mental strength so we can focus, get one point at attention and so we can be in concert with one another in times of need."

Inspired by Jackson's philosophies, future hall of famer Bryant worked with mindfulness expert George Mumford throughout his career. Mumford, who also instructed Jordan, helped instill in Bryant the Zen Master-approved mechanism of meditation to cope with the intense pressure of elite athletic competition.

"I meditate every day," the now-retired Bryant told Winfrey in 2015. "I do it in the mornings and I do it for about 10 or 15 minutes. I think it's important because it sets me up for the rest of the day. … If I don't do it, I feel like I'm constantly chasing the day."

Many articles have outlined how meditation can benefit musicians. Writing for The Guardian, pianist/composer Rolf Hind explained how meditation helped him find new purpose as a musician.

"For me, the practise of meditating … has brought an enormous amount to my life and music-making," wrote Hind. "[I have] a sense of clarity and control, less neurosis about ambitions and 'career,' greater efficiency, awareness and body sense as a pianist. As a composer, I'm more in touch with the sources of my own creativity."

As the saying attributed to the great painter Pablo Picasso goes, "Good artists copy; great artists steal." In the context of music this is not meant to be taken literally, but musicians who borrow ideas and strategies from successful people — in this case, all-star basketball players and hall of fame coaches — will surely take their game to an MVP level.

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