meta-scriptDavid Porter & Made In Memphis Host Recording Academy Rap, R&B & Latin Writers Retreat | GRAMMY.com
David Porter & Made In Memphis Host Recording Academy Rap, R&B & Latin Writers Retreat

David Porter

Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy

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David Porter & Made In Memphis Host Recording Academy Rap, R&B & Latin Writers Retreat

A Memphis music legend opens the doors of his state-of-the-art facility to welcome a wellspring of songwriting talent for three days of creative collaboration

GRAMMYs/Apr 6, 2019 - 02:14 am

Some of the top tunesmiths in contemporary music converged in Memphis, Tenn., last month for three days of camaraderie and collaboration.

The occasion was the second in the Recording Academy's new series of writers' retreats. The first one, held last year in Nashville, sought to stir creative juices by mixing and matching songwriters from the worlds of pop and country music. For the second entry, the participants were drawn from rap, R&B and Latin. This year's group of writers — whose stellar credits include songs for Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, and Luis Fonsi — came together in the city that gave the world B.B. King and Elvis Presley. There they held up for three days at the new state-of-the-art Made in Memphis Entertainment studios and did what they do best — created music.

"The purpose of the retreat is to write, but also to meet fellow creators and build lifelong relationships," said Susan Stewart, the Recording Academy's Senior South Regional Director.

The songwriters on the scene included:

Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy

All in all, this a jaw-dropping collection talent. Hosting them, looking over them almost like a proud mentor, was one of the greatest songwriters in music history, one of the architects of American music, David Porter, who opened Made in Memphis two years ago.

"The great part of this event, that I think really speaks volumes about what can happen when people get together, is just the fact that these are individuals —  in some cases that have never met, let alone worked together — that have come together in a structured kind of environment where they are able to collaborate, come up with ideas, and create a little bit of synergy between an urban hip-hop vibe and a Latin kind of influence," said Porter. "And to have that magic happening in Memphis, where so much of the magic in American music originated from, is a compliment to Memphis."

David Porter is himself made in Memphis, growing up just a few miles away from his studio. As a teenager in the early '60s, he worked across the street from an old movie theater that had been converted into a music studio/record store called Satellite records. A fledgling musician, he began trying to talk his way into the studio and spent many hours at the record store counter with the studio's co-founder, 2007 Trustees Award recipient Estell Axton, learning the finer points of songwriting.

By his early 20s Porter was one of the creative forces behind the studio, redubbed Stax Records. With his songwriting partner Isaac Hayes, Porter penned songs for, most notably, label rainmakers Sam And Dave, including the 1967 GRAMMY-winning "Soul Man." Porter also served as an A&R rep for the label, bringing in acts like the Emotions and the Soul Children.

"Stax is at the core of everything that I do," said Porter. "It was great as a beginning for me, but it also taught me the value of understanding what my [responsibilities to new artists are].

Stax folded in the mid-'70s, and Porter eventually turned his attention to matters outside of music, becoming a prominent businessman in the community. But the legacy of Hayes-Porter continued on. The Blues Brothers and Eurythmics, among many others, covered their songs. And his work took on a whole new life when his songs began to be sampled by R&B and hip-hop producers; a song Porter wrote for the Emotions became the backbone of Mariah Carey's 1993 GRAMMY nomated "Dreamlover," while another he wrote for the Bar-Kays was used in Will Smith's 1999 GRAMMY winner "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."

In 1999 Porter and Hayes received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2005 they were elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

With such a long and distinguished career, Porter could have just sat back and basked in accolades. Just in the weeks following the writers' retreat, he was honored by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra with a concert of his music, he released a new record of instrumental versions of some of his most important songs with stories about their creation, and "Soul Man" was selected for the Library of Congress' National Recording registry.

T-Pain at Made In Memphis during the Recording Academy wrtier retreat
Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy

But seven years ago, at the age of 70, Porter decided to get back in the music business. In 2012 he started The Consortium MMT, a nonprofit to identify, nurture, and mentor emerging talent. The organization's programs include the SoulRight Music Mentorship Program and the Talent Development Complex, where resources include speakers' series, one-on-one artist counseling, and a library of 135 videos Porter has amassed of industry legends and friends like Stevie Wonder and Eddie Levert dispensing career advice.

"To have Philip Bailey talking about the vocal exercise that he does religiously in order to still be in this business after almost 50 years as a performer, to give your career a life that extends well beyond what people think your potential is, to put all that kind of information together in structured ways, and to pass it on to young folk, that's what the consortium program is about," says Porter.

In 2016, Porter started Made in Memphis Entertainment as platform to showcase some of the talent he was discovering. He hired a staff that included Tony Alexander as president and managing director and Hamilton Hardin as vice president of A&R, and the label also has offices in Los Angeles where they work on licensing their music. Artists currently signed to the label include Porcelan, Matthew Michael and Jessica Ray.

In 2017 Porter opened Made in Memphis Studios in refurbished building downtown mere blocks away from Sun Studio, where Sam Philips discovered Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The $5 million, 16,000-square-foot facility was designed by renowned studio architect Michael Cronin and includes three recording studios and six breakout rooms that made the facility ideally suited for the writers' retreat.

"I get a lot of energy from all this new talent," said Porter. "When you find artists that are passionate about the music, you know that what you worked years to build, what you were so passionate about, will not be lost."

Songwriters Lori McKenna And Anderson East Get Creative Within The Limitations

How The 2024 Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Nominee Celebration Saluted Its Powerhouse Songwriters & Diverse Scene
(L-R): Larkin Poe's Rebecca Lovell, Lainey Wilson, Larkin Poe's Megan Lovell, Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini

Photo: Ed Rode, Getty Images

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How The 2024 Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Nominee Celebration Saluted Its Powerhouse Songwriters & Diverse Scene

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, first-time nominees and longtime members of the Recording Academy Nashville Chapter gathered for a joyful tribute to Music City's family-like culture and talented community.

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2024 - 05:41 pm

Although Nashville has gone through an era of immense growth and transformation in recent years, the city is still home to one of the most closely knit and supportive creative communities in music. That warm, welcoming environment was at the heart of the 2024 Nashville Chapter Nominee Celebration on Jan. 24. 

The star-studded, three-hour event brought rising acts, mainstream hitmakers, legendary songwriters, and more creatives to downtown Nashville to celebrate the Recording Academy's Nashville Chapter 2024 GRAMMYs nominees. This year, the Chapter — whose membership expands to Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina — celebrates 94 nominees across 41 Categories. Several of them celebrated their first nominations this year, including Contemporary Christian singer Blessing Offor.

"I literally squealed and threw my phone across the room because I thought to myself, 'This must be what losing your mind feels like. Did they really say my name twice?'" Offor, who received nominations for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album (My Tribe) and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song ("Believe"), told GRAMMY.com on the red carpet. "And they really did! So it was initially utter disbelief and then a lot of freaking out and calling my friends."

Two-time GRAMMY-winning string band Old Crow Medicine Show earned their third nomination this year, for Best Folk Album for their eighth studio album, Jubilee. Frontman Ketch Secor credits the band's adopted hometown with supplying an environment that helps foster acts trying to craft their own unique sounds and styles.

"Nashville has opened its arms wider than ever before to embrace the folks who aren't mainstream performers and lift them up," he says. "We've found a place here, and by doing so, we've opened the door that much wider so that other artists who don't fit into the mainstream definition of country music can also grab a toehold in Music City."

2024 GRAMMYs: Explore More & Meet The Nominees

Breakout country star Lainey Wilson, another first-time GRAMMY nominee in 2024, also shared her love for the city and the bonds she's built with fellow creatives as they've built their careers in Nashville.

"I've been in Nashville for 13 years, and I've traveled to other places and made music, but this is my family here," Wilson shared. "I could call these people if I was broken down on the side of the road, and they'd come pick me up. I think it's a lot to do with you sharing the same interest, and we all have that deep fire in our soul and love for country music."

Along with a nomination in the Best Country Album category for her fourth album, Bell Bottom Country, the Louisiana-born singer/songwriter is also in the running for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Save Me," her hit collaboration with fellow cross-genre breakout Jelly Roll

The powerful track's success marked a full-circle moment for Wilson, who served as an extra in the Best New Artist nominee's music video years before they became labelmates and duet partners (and back when Jelly Roll was still a rapper).

"He just seemed like a good old country boy and just had a heart of gold," Wilson shares of her first impressions of Jelly Roll. "This song means so much. I'm proud of him and proud to be a strong part of his unique story."

Although Jessie Jo Dillon has earned multiple GRAMMY nominations throughout her career, this year's celebrations were especially sweet for the accomplished songsmith. For the first time, Dillon is up for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical, alongside her longtime friend and creative collaborator Shane McAnally, who she lovingly calls her "brother".

"When they said [Shane's] name, it was so special because he and Brandy Clark [were some] of the first people that really believed in me," she says, becoming emotional as she recalled the moment the Category's nominees were unveiled. "I don't want to cry, but when I talk about being nominated with [Brandy] for 'Buried' and then alongside him, it just feels so crazy."

Dillon says that sense of connection and shared admiration runs deep within the city's ever-growing crop of musical talent.

"It's just a special community. Things are competitive, but everyone really supports each other. I got so many texts and phone calls. Hillary Lindsey, who is someone I've looked up to forever, called crying and said, 'I'm so proud of you.'"

Dillon is the only woman nominated for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical at the 2024 GRAMMYs. The recognition of her work — which includes writing credits on tracks by Clark, Lori McKenna, and Megan Moroney — feels especially timely. (Clark, a fellow Nashville Chapter member, is nominated six times herself this year, two of which are for "Buried".)

"It feels damn good to represent women in country music because they are rocking right now, and I think it's time they deserve more radio play and recognition," Dillon says. "I'm glad one of us got in there, and I feel lucky it's me."

Dillon and McAnally were the highlighted honorees of the night's program, which simultaneously spotlighted women who are forging their own path in the genre. First up was charismatic sister duo Tigirlily Gold, who paused to share their appreciation for McAnally — a longtime supporter of the pair who helped them ink their deal with Monument Records in 2021 — before singing a harmony-driven version of his Old Dominion's "I Should've Married You," which McAnally co-wrote and co-produced. They followed the tribute with a hit of their own, the playful drinking song "Shoot Tequila," which McAnally also co-produced.

Megan Moroney at the Nashville Chapter Nominees Event 2024

(L-R): Kristian Bush and Megan Moroney | Ed Rode/Getty Images

Though Moroney performed two of her own tracks, both were an ode to Dillon: "Girl in the Mirror," a heartfelt ballad they co-wrote with Matt Jenkins. "Jessie Jo is one of those songwriters that every session is a trauma dump," Moroney laughed before her acoustic rendition of the song. 

The Georgia native — who first made waves in country music with her hit 2022 debut single "Tennessee Orange" — then delivered a poignant performance of brand new single, "No Caller ID," also co-written by Dillon. Moroney's set also celebrated another important character in her Nashville story, GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter/producer Kristian Bush (the producer of her debut album, Lucky), who assisted on guitar.

Along with these captivating performances, attendees enjoyed a spread of Southern-inspired hors d'oeuvres, Ole Smoky Moonshine cocktails, beers courtesy of Yee-Haw Brewing, wine provided by Joyful Heart, and whiskey and bourbon offered by Heaven's Door, as well as the chance to strike a pose in the GRAMMYs photo booth.

The night's final moments offered attendees a chance to connect with friends and heroes, further strengthening the ties that connect the creative minds that proudly call Nashville home.

Country veteran Dierks Bentley, who is up against Wilson and Jelly Roll in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category for his Billy Strings collaboration "High Note," reiterated the dominating message of appreciation and admiration relayed by all of the night's honorees.

"It's a heavy-hitting category, but I'm just proud to be in it," he says. "Nights like tonight bring together the Nashville community and are so important because we get to see our friends both in front of and behind the microphones. It's all really special. I'm happy to be here and proud to represent Nashville when we go out to Los Angeles."

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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A Look Inside The 2023 Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Nominee Celebration, A Tribute To Its Supportive Musical Community
(L-R) Nashville Chapter Senior Executive Director Alicia Warwick, Lori McKenna, Molly Tuttle, Laura Veltz, Hillary Scott, Chapter President Ruby Amanfu

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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A Look Inside The 2023 Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Nominee Celebration, A Tribute To Its Supportive Musical Community

Two weeks before the 2023 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy's Nashville Chapter celebrated its impressive 91 nominees with a slew of energetic performances and happy reunions.

GRAMMYs/Jan 25, 2023 - 12:10 am

If there's one way to sum up the Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy, Chapter President, Ruby Amanfu, says it best: "It's about camaraderie, not competition."

That was exactly the feeling that resonated on Jan. 18, when Chapter members came together for the Nashville Chapter Nominee Celebration, honoring its 2023 GRAMMYs nominees. The three-hour event featured hors d'oeuvres (including hot chicken biscuits, a Nashville staple, and perhaps the largest charcuterie board you'll ever see), an open bar with signature cocktails from GRAMMYs sponsor Grey Goose, a red carpet, a photo booth, and performances from GRAMMY-winning Chapter members — and, of course, plenty of camaraderie.

"Nashville is really excellent at loving itself, in a lovely way. Supporting itself, and being proud of each other," Laura Veltz, one of the inaugural nominees in the new Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical category, told GRAMMY.com on the red carpet. "Everyone's coming with me, because this is validating us as a community."

Love and respect was abundant as attendees mingled — so much so that it was hard to tell who were the celebrators and who were the celebratees (well, other than silver gramophone pins that nominees sported). But it's quite possible that almost everyone in the room was nominated, because the Nashville Chapter boasts 91 nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs. 

As Amanfu noted before performers took the stage, the Nashville Chapter is the leader in 2023 GRAMMY nominations in the Americana, Bluegrass, Gospel, Contemporary Christian, and Country Fields; the Chapter also received nominations in all four General Field categories, as well as a wide array of categories from Best Contemporary Blues Album to Best Metal Performance.

The Chapter's diversity was celebrated with performances from rising pop singer/songwriter Morgxn, rap multihyphenate Derek Minor, spoken word artists S-Wrap and Minton Sparks, renowned bassist/songwriter Tommy Sims, country singer/songwriter Maggie Rose, banjo star Alison Brown, and Charles Kelley of country trio Lady A.

Each performer delivered covers of previous GRAMMY-winning and -nominated tunes, including Song Of The Year winners like Lorde's "Royals," Adele's "Rollin' in the Deep" and Eric Clapton's "Change the World" — the latter of which was co-written by Sims. (Musicians Tyler Cain, Rob Cureton, Jon Lucas, and Marcus Perry served as the backing band; three-time GRAMMY-winning producer Shannon Sanders emceed the event.)

Even those who are nominees couldn't help but salute other artists, including hitmaking songwriters Liz Rose and Lori McKenna, who walked the red carpet together. Each of them are nominated for a Taylor Swift song this year, Rose for Song Of The Year nominee "All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (The Short Film)," and McKenna for Best Country Song nominee "I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor's Version) [From the Vault]."

Rose touted Swift's efforts in creating a new world around the fan-favorite track — which also featured a short film that is nominated for Best Music Video — as well as her ability as a writer. "She's one of the biggest artists in the world, but she's also one of the best songwriters that ever lived, and we will always say that," Rose says. "For her to be recognized as a songwriter in the country category and overall is huge."

McKenna particularly loved the country recognition, as it's only Swift's second nomination in the Country Field since she transitioned to pop in 2014. (Swift was nominated for Best Country Song in 2018 for Little Big Town's "Better Man," which she wrote herself.) 

"I was just kind of honored that the country community understood that she's part of our genre, she's part of our world," McKenna says. "We're always going to love our Taylor Swift, and she's always going to love us."

Read More: A Look At The Nominees For Song Of The Year At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards

Country veteran Bill Anderson was celebrating his first nomination as an artist, Best American Roots Performance for his song "Someday It'll All Make Sense (Bluegrass Version)" with Dolly Parton. Though Parton couldn't be there to toast with him, Anderson says she did send him a note upon their nomination, and she was top of mind as he discussed the honor. 

"If her name hadn't been attached to this, I probably wouldn't have this nomination," he says. "So thank you, Dolly, wherever you are."

The love for one another even rang true on stage, as Charles Kelley gave a congratulatory shout-out to his Lady A bandmate Hillary Scott — whom he referred to as "my family" — before closing out the event with a rendition of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." This year, Scott is nominated alongside two male artists that aren't her bandmates, but are good friends, Christian pop duo FOR KING & COUNTRY. (Their collaboration "For God Is With Us" is nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.)

Once the performances finished, several attendees stuck around — taking photos together, congratulating each other and giving each other hugs. After all, it's all about the camaraderie, not the competition. 

The Official 2023 GRAMMYs Playlist Is Here: Listen To 115 Songs By Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar & More

A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out GRAMMY.com's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."

Moniquea

Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.

L'Impératrice

L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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