The Cranberries Reflect On Their First GRAMMY Nod: "Dolores Would've Been Delighted And Honored"

The Cranberries

Photo credit: Andy Earl


The Cranberries Reflect On Their First GRAMMY Nod: "Dolores Would've Been Delighted And Honored"

While the beloved Irish band's Best Rock Album GRAMMY nod is no doubt a triumph, it is mostly bittersweet, as it arrives approximately two years after the death of their singer, Dolores O'Riordan

GRAMMYs/Jan 9, 2020 - 10:59 pm

This year may mark the first time the Cranberries have been nominated for a GRAMMY (Best Rock Album for 2019's swan song In The End), but the Irish alternative rock figureheads have enjoyed mainstream success ever since their career boom in the mid-'90s, with ubiquitous jangly singles like "Dreams" and "Linger."  

While the band's GRAMMY nod is no doubt a triumph, it is mostly bittersweet, as it arrives after the death of beloved Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan, who passed away in 2018 of accidental drowning due to sedation from alcohol poisoning. After O'Riordan's sudden death, the remaining band members—guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler—teamed up with longtime producer Stephen Street to work on a posthumous album (the aforementioned In The End) comprised of her unfinished demos, which she started working on with Hogan after the band released 2017's orchestral record, Something Else. "It's a tribute to her, the band and our fans for the past 30 years," the Cranberries said in a statement upon receiving the GRAMMY nod. "Being honored with this GRAMMY nomination has made this whole process even more special." 

Special though it may be, the Cranberries' GRAMMY nomination in many ways marks the final lap the band will ever take, with no plans to tour or record any more music without O'Riordan. Drummer Fergal Lawler was kind enough to hop on the phone from his home in Ireland to talk about his feelings around the nomination, how he expects O'Riordan might have felt about it and how he's continuing to deal with the still-ongoing promotional cycle around In The End.  

What was your reaction when you found out The Cranberries had been nominated for Best Rock Album?

Just shocked. It was kind of like, "Oh my God. Yeah. Wow! I can't believe it. We've never been nominated." It was incredible really. It kind of took a while to kind of sink in. But yeah, just, it's an incredible honor really.

Do you remember where you were when you found out? I imagine you were already awake, with the time difference and everything.

Yeah, it was the afternoon. I was in my kitchen just having a coffee and I got a call from our manager when he says, "You heard the news?" And I said, "No, no. Is everything okay?" He said, "Yeah, we just got nominated for the GRAMMYs." "Oh my God! Brilliant."

How did Mike and Noel react when you spoke?

The same. So surprise and delighted, and kind of a little bit of sadness as well. Because Dolores wasn't there to share it with us, so ... But she would have loved that. She would have been delighted with that, so ... We're trying to focus on the positive, and not get too sad about it and just, you know?

I can't even really begin to imagine how complex your feelings must be about this, with the loss of Dolores.

Yeah, we were talking about that kind of saying like, "Oh, she would have loved [being nominated for a GRAMMY]. She would've been so delighted and honored to be nominated even regardless of whether we win or not.

And I know that the actual recording of In The End was not easy.

It's just such a difficult album to do. Initially the first couple of days I was kind of going, "I don't know if we can do this. I don't know if we can possibly get through the whole thing." It was so emotional.

But as we progressed, we kind of said, "Look, we have to do a job. We have a job to do and we have to make these songs as good as possible." We kind of said, "Look, we have to focus on our work and try and push down the emotions little bit, and get the job done. And pay respect to these songs and make them as good as possible." And I think that's what helped get us through it. You know? And then kind of towards the end of the day when Delores would come in to do her vocals, that would hit you again that she wasn't coming in.

And then the last listening back session was hugely emotional. Especially the very last song on In The End was just overpowering. And then we had to go out and do the promotion for it. And that was kind of really hard again because everyone was asking questions about the whole thing, but everyone was really, really nice and sensitive, which was fantastic. So that helped. But it was still very difficult to do.

That’s over a year ago I suppose. So I kind of thought that was the end of it. Let the album kind of live its life. Like you know? And then we went and got nominated for the GRAMMY. It's kind of like, okay, we're going to be doing more interviews and bring it all back up.

I don't know. It's probably healing. It's difficult at the time to do it. It's like therapy or something. It's difficult to sit down and talk to someone about your problems, but then afterwards you feel better. 

I thought about that too… the therapeutic nature of speaking to journalists about the album and now, its GRAMMY nod. But at least in therapy, you don’t have to keep telling the same stories over and over. Has that part been difficult at all?

Yeah, it's been okay. I've only done a small few interviews, so it's not too bad yet. Maybe as I do more it might get a bit more stressful, but I look after myself. I'm 48 years of age. I've been doing this for a while, so I know how to mind myself.

What have you been working on outside of the Cranberries? What is your day-to-day these days?

Day-to-day, I have a small studio beside my house, and I'm doing music for documentaries and short films, things like that. Something I really love, because you don't have to go on tour. You can work from home. And it's something, it's not drums, something different. So it kind of stops me getting bored.

What have Mike and Noel been up to? How often does the group chat these days?

We have like a WhatsApp group, we send messages every few days, just to see how things are doing. There's always something happening regarding the band. Once we finished the promo, we had a break for a while, which is nice. And now with the GRAMMY nomination there's more talks of prolonged doing bits and pieces. But musically I'm not sure what they're doing at the moment. I don't think they're doing much.

Recently you released a 25th anniversary box set of your first album. When In The End celebrates, say, a 10-year anniversary, do you expect that the band will be open to talking about it again?

Probably we'd have to go through older material and do interviews and talk about it. And it's kind of nice to, like, comb through an old photograph album and all the memories just pop in straight away and you're kind of an arm with that time or this time. So it's nice to revisit.

Over the course of the band's history, what are some treasured memories that you regularly revisit?

It's strange, when Dolores passed away, all the memories that came back were the early years when we kind of first started off and were traveling around in a van. And it was just a big adventure because I was 20, I think Mike was only 16 or 17. And we were just basically out of our teens and just having a big adventure traveling around the world, getting to see new countries and just have a ball, really. We had no money. We had like $10 a day I think to survive on. We didn't care. We just seemed to get by and just really enjoy it. Met loads of nice people. They're the kind of ones that last, those kind of memories.

This being your first time at the GRAMMYs, is there anything or anyone you’re most excited to see? Any albums you were fond of that were nominated?

Yeah. I don't know. The albums for me that I love this year were Thom Yorke, Anima, it's incredible. Lana Del Rey. Tool with Fear Inoculum. They're amazing. I saw them for the first time live this year. I couldn't believe it. I was blown away.

Tune in to the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, which are once again hosted by Alicia Keys, on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, and broadcasting live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.


GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.

In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.


Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year


Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

 Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 and will be broadcast live on the Univision Television Network at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. 

"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community.

Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list. 

At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself  but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and the album release of that concert, Juan Gabriel En Vivo Desde El Palacio De Bellas Artes, broke sales records and established his iconic status. 

After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.   

In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.   

Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized. 

For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or

Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Grizzled Mighty perform at Bumbershoot on Sept. 1

Photo: The Recording Academy


Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Alexa Zaske

This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.

The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.

Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."

Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.

Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed. 

Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.

My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.

For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.

(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)

Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images


Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Feb 11, 2019 - 10:58 am

As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.

Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.

"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."

Full Winners List: 61st GRAMMY Awards