Photo: Mekael Dawson
How Diane Warren Stepped Out From Behind The Curtain On Her Debut Album 'The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1'
Diane Warren has written hits for GRAMMY winners for decades, but never made an album with her own name on the sleeve. That just changed with 'The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1,' where she's flanked by some seriously famous friends.
Like a bird simply being a bird or a tree being a tree, Diane Warren has an unshakeable understanding of herself—both what she is and isn't. She's not a singer. She doesn't perform live. Rather, Warren writes songs—some of the most successful songs of all time, for artists like Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, and Cher. She harbors no illusions about doing anything else. Nor does she play up the persona of the arteest, getting precious in interviews about "the craft."
That said, what prompted this non-performer to release her first-ever studio album, The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1, with a litany of famous collaborators—ranging from Carlos Santana to John Legend to Ty Dolla $ign? While considering the pantheon of DJs in the music world, the GRAMMY winner and 15-time nominee had a lightbulb moment. "I thought, 'You know what? I'll be DJ Diane and I'll do the songwriter version of that,'" Warren tells GRAMMY.com. As such, she took a crack at a "curated body of work" of self-written songs.
DJ Diane's gambit paid off on the first volume of The Cave Sessions, which was released August 27. (In fact, she's already pondering a Vol. 2.) The wildly diverse and genre-shifting album gets sultry ("She's Fire," with Santana and G-Eazy), ebullient ("Seaside," with Rita Ora, Sofia Reyes, and Reik), and cathartic ("Where Is Your Heart," with John Legend) in equal measure. What ties it all together is Warren's unmistakable songwriting voice—economical, universal, leading with emotion.
As for Santana, it was no problem jumping on "She's Fire" on short notice—despite not previously knowing Warren, not to mention the unconventionality of working with a rapper. To explain this, he evokes the landscapers on riding mowers in his Maui neighborhood. "Behind them, there are 12 to 20 white storks, and they look like angels following them," he tells GRAMMY.com. "I feel like that. I feel like I can mow anybody's lawn—or be in anybody's song—and just show up, and the angels will show up with me."
Ultimately, that's what The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1 sounds like: A master stepping out from behind the curtain with earned confidence—and a battalion of powerful guardians cheering her on. Read on for an in-depth interview with Diane Warren about The Cave Sessions, looking back on her decades-long career, and the one thing she'd change about the music industry.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Can you lay out the foundation of how The Cave Sessions came to be?
The Cave is my writing room, and it's really disgusting. I haven't cleaned it in quite a long time. The idea of doing this record was that I saw so many DJs—Mark Ronson, DJ Khaled, David Guetta—all these guys that do that. I thought, "You know what? I'll be DJ Diane and I'll do the songwriter version of that."
Most songwriters are in one genre; I'm all over the place—I wanted my album to reflect that. I'm still going to do the same thing I normally do where the artist does all the work, but it's a curated body of work. That's what's different.
You've never recorded an album under your name before. Why is that?
I'm a behind-the-scenes person, basically. I'm cool just writing songs for people. That's still what I'm doing on this record. The artists and producers are doing all the work; I happened to write the songs. I just thought it was a cool thing to do to show the diversity in styles in what I do and tie it all together—hopefully with great songs.
It was almost like a microcosm of my career in the various styles I work in—whether it's Latin, whether it's country, whether it's rock, whether it's hip-hop or R&B. I'm everywhere, so I wanted my record to be like that.
What was it about your early development that made you want to remain behind the curtain?
I always just wanted to be a songwriter. I wasn't one of those people where it didn't work out being an artist, or being in a band. I never was an artist, and I never was in a band.
There was no question about what you wanted to do, then.
Yeah, it was never a question of what I wanted to do. I knew from when I was a kid that this is what I aspired to be and wanted to do. I've known it for a while. It's what I do.
Tell me about your collaborators on The Cave Sessions. How did they arrive in your orbit?
We'll start with John Legend and "Where Is Your Heart." I just kept getting frustrated that he kept not using the song. It was such a great song and performance. I kept giving it to other artists and he wanted it back and then wouldn't use it and I'd get it back from him.
Truth be told, nobody sounded as great as John Legend on that song. A couple of other people worked it up, but I was like, "This song needs to get heard. I'm not giving up on it." Anybody who knows me knows that's how I am. I'm a pain in the ass until something's a hit, and then they're like, [Gushing voice] "We love your passion!" But this song, I just felt determined to get it heard.
What do you appreciate about John Legend's musicality at its core?
He's a real artist. He's a great musician. He's a great singer. I had a meeting with him seven or eight years ago. I played him a couple of things that he wasn't that into, and I went, "I wrote this song, and I don't know if it's right for you." That was "Where Is Your Heart," and he literally recorded it the next day. I remember being in the room and being like, "F*, man. This is one of the best things I've ever heard." It was just him and a piano.
That's the thing: When a song's great, you don't need a lot more. It's just his emotion and what he put into that song. So it was frustrating when he kept not using it, but you know what? Now the world gets to hear it.
How did The Cave Sessions continue to grow from there?
When I was thinking about doing this project, I was like, "That song has to be on this!" And then there were a couple of other ones, and it went on and on, and it kept changing. I'm always writing new songs, so I was frustrating my team because I was like, "No, I want this one! But wait, that one's great! We'll do a Vol. II!". I kept doing songs when the album was almost turned in.
That's why I did the last song, "Sweet," with Jon Batiste and Pentatonix. The album was done, but I loved the song and thought it was an important song for the album. I loved the message of it, as the world was starting to open up. It's such a positive message, so I put that on the album.
A lot of these artists I didn't know. Like, I didn't know Santana, but I knew I wanted him on "She's Fire." I came up with that guitar riff—I usually don't write a guitar riff in a song—but I wrote that little thing at the end of the chorus. I kept hearing Carlos Santana in my head, playing it. I didn't know him, but I sent him the song and he loved it.
And then it was like, "Oh, well, someone's got to sing it!" A friend of mine said, "You've got to work with G-Eazy. He'd be so f*ing perfect for this song. He's known as a rapper, but I bet he could sing this. I bet he'd put some swag on it." You don't have to be a virtuoso singer to sing it; you just have to be vibey. It turned out great. He loved the song. He kind of said "yes" before he even heard it, and then when he heard it, he was really excited.
What's your background with Santana's music? To me, his guitar is a sound you hear very early on as a music fan.
Yeah! I mean, I grew up being a huge Santana fan. All his records were so great. I'm from L.A. and we love Santana here. But, again, I didn't know him. I actually reached out to Narada Michael Walden, who's a friend of mine. He gave me Carlos' manager's number, and I reached out and sent the song to Carlos. He sent me a giant thing of flowers. It was really nice.
I still haven't met him! We've only met on Zoom and text and talking on the phone. It's so funny because, with the pandemic, when everything was under lockdown, my friend Peter Stengaard—who co-produced "She's Fire" with Ish Cano—actually had a place next door to Carlos on Kauai. When I was trying to get him involved with the production, Peter goes "He's my next-door neighbor." Oh my god. How perfect is that? So he literally went next door and did the guitar part.
And then with G-Eazy, these are two totally different artists. And the fun, for me, was putting these two worlds together—that you wouldn't think would be together—and they create a different world. Like this magical combination, you know? I love the two of them on there.
Songs aside, what are your favorite moments on The Cave Sessions?
I have a lot of favorites. I'll tell you one that just blows me away every time I hear it: "Not Prepared For You" by Lauren Jauregui. That performance is spectacular. Something my songs do for people over the years is take them to the next level.
Lauren's from Fifth Harmony, where Camila Cabello and Normani are from. And Ally Brooke, who's also great. With "Not Prepared For You," I wanted it for Lauren. I was in the studio when she did that and I was like, "F. She's so fing good on this song. This song will take her to the next level."
I love everything on the record, or it wouldn't be on the record, to be honest. With each song, there's a moment.
Tell me about the information embedded in these tunes—what you were trying to say that you haven't said in songs in the past.
Well, it wasn't like I was trying to say anything in particular, to be honest. I just wanted to put together an album of great songs with great artists, like Celine [Dion]. I gave Celine something so different than normally I would give her. It wasn't the big ballad. [It was] something more soulful.
And for me, it was a chance to work with someone like Ty Dolla $ign. I worked with Luis Fonsi a long time ago, and it was great to work with him again. I've worked with Rita Ora before. I was nominated for an Oscar with a song called "Grateful" I did for her. But we hadn't done anything since then, and it was kind of fun putting together Rita, Sofia [Reyes], and Reik, who's a Latin group.
I appreciate your intense focus on what you wish to accomplish in life and art. What about your early life made you you, demeanor-wise?
I have no idea. I've just been doing this forever. I love writing songs. It's my life. It's been my life since I was about 11, and I'm older than that now. Now I'm 29—I'm just kidding. This is just what I love and what I do. I'm happy that what I do is what I love.
Every time I write a song, I'm learning something. I just wrote a song that I finished yesterday, actually, in a style I've never written in before. So, that was really fun. I'm always learning.
From your perspective, how has the music industry landscape changed in the decades you've been in this business?
I mean, I'll tell you what's consistent: It's all about the song. I think there are a lot more writers on songs now. The writing-by-committee thing—I'm so not a committee person. I think it's always the power of one person that changes the world. I don't know what 10 people do on a song, to be honest. I know what one person does on my songs, you know?
It's changed a bit, with streaming and all that. But what it all comes down to—it doesn't matter what it is—is either the song's compelling and people want it, or it's not.
Are the pressures different for you today versus when the industry was in a different place?
No. I still put myself under a lot of pressure. I can only speak from my point of view, really. The only pressure for me is pressure to better myself.
What about on the licensing and publishing side? What have you learned over the years that you can share?
I mean, I own my own publishing, which is great. If you can do that, that's always good to do it. Not everybody can, and it takes time to get to that place.
To build up your autonomy?
Yeah. It just worked for me because I'm a self-starter and a go-getter. It's not like I've ever needed a publisher to do what I do. I can't give big life lessons about that. I just know what works for me.
Diane Warren. Photo: Mekael Dawson
When you look back on your entire songbook, what stands out in your mind? Are there any tunes you're particularly proud of?
You know, I'm proud of a lot of them. "'Til It Happens For You," the song I wrote for Gaga. I'm proud of "Because You Loved Me," the one Celine did. I'm proud of all my songs. I'm proud of songs you haven't heard yet. I'm proud of "I Was Here," the song I did with Beyoncé. They're all deep songs.
But then, I love "Seaside," from my album. I'm proud of that. It's like a shot of positivity right now.
It seems like you're not jaded about the process at all.
No! But I don't let it f* with my process at all because this is what I do and this is what I love.
What are you jaded about?
Well, I'll tell you one thing: Everything's so data-driven. That's frustrating. Because, to me, the data that matters is: Does it make your heart stop? Does it make the hairs on your arms stand up? Does it make you say, "What the f* was that?" Does it make you sit there and say, [Breathless voice] "What?" That's the data that matters to me. But what are you going to do? That's the world that we live in.
Do you mean streaming numbers, specifically?
I'll give you an example: There's an unnamed artist and his manager works for a major record company. He did an independent release, right? I said, "Why? Your manager works for that major label." He said, "My TikTok numbers aren't high enough." That... just… f. Because this guy's really talented and his records are really good. Yeah, that kind of s is frustrating.
If the Beatles or Prince came out and their TikTok numbers weren't high enough—you know what I mean? It's a strange world with all that. I don't understand that, to be honest. My brain isn't a data brain. I just try to write songs that make you feel something.
Well, you're plucking something from the ether that's spiritual and immaterial. It seems unfair to assign a cold numerical value to it.
I mean, it is a business. I get it. It's the music business.
If you could change one thing about the mechanisms of the music industry, what would it be?
I would make it less about that stuff and more about playing something because you love it. Not putting something on the radio because it has enough TikTok numbers, but because it's a great song and a great artist.
Photo: Emman Montalvan
Jon Batiste's 'World Music Radio': How The GRAMMY Winner Picked Up Signals From The Four Corners Of The Earth
After major wins at the 2022 GRAMMYs — including Album Of The Year — Jon Batiste has raised his antenna high. His latest transmission is a soul-nourishing reminder that we're one human race.
"We are the chosen ones," Jon Batiste announced in the title track to 2021's We Are, which would sweep the following year's GRAMMYs. Now, it's clear who "we" are. And there are no boundaries.
"Love Black folks and white folks," he declares in the exultant "Be Who You Are," from his new album, World Music Radio. The track features the American rapper J.I.D, the ascendant K-poppers NewJeans and the Colombian singer Camilo. "My Asians, my Africans, my Afro-Eurasian, Republican or Democrat."
What should be an obvious stance — that we're one human race, and can dignify and respect each other across our differences — isn't so obvious in 2023.
"It's radical today to love everybody," Batiste told The New York Times in an interview about World Music Radio — out Aug. 18 via Verve Records. "We are in a time that there's more of a pressure to make people into the other, and to dehumanize them in the process.
"But the act of removing a certain baseline of humanity in how we approach living amongst each other, that should be radical," the five-time GRAMMY winner and 14-time nominee continued. "That should be the thing that is disruptive."
Accordingly, World Music Radio is charged with a spirit of true inclusivity; it dismantles the echo chamber. Presented in an airwave-style format like a globetrotting The Who Sell Out, World Music Radio presents a dizzying number of perspectives and styles, from East to West.
This widescreen vantage has always been central to Batiste's art. Even his "solo records" have a jubilant, communal lift.
We Are dealt heavily in the concept of "social music," which directly connects to his roots in New Orleans — whose gumbo of cultural cross-currents changed everything. Plus, his bird's-eye view of Black musical traditions made him a shoo-in to create the music for Disney/Pixar's 2020 film Soul.
The various streams of his career intermingled — and seemed to come to a head — with 2022's American Symphony, which premiered at none other than Carnegie Hall.
For this hyper-ambitious work, Batiste took inspiration the game-changing partnership of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn was a lodestar. "They consistently synthesized cultural lineages through the lens of a pluralistic and noble worldview," he wrote in the program book.
This description applies to Batiste too. During that multitudinous musical presentation, he addressed America's cultural multitudes through a commingling of African diasporic traditions — Caribbean, Brazilian, Yoruba, Haitian, Creole.
Accordingly, it featured everyone from banjoists and steel drummers to Afro-Latin percussionists and Indigenous vocalists and drummers.
World Music Radio emanates from that headspace. It begins with an introduction from our host — a cosmic entity named Billy Bob Bo Bob, transmitting the sounds of Earth to an interstellar radioland.
"He's a D.J., he's a griot, he's a storyteller, he's a unifier, he's a rebel," Batiste told the Times of Billy Bob Bo Bob. He cited the word again: "He's a disrupter."
From there, World Music Radio charges out of the gate with the exultant "Raindance," featuring the South African house duo Native Soul. From there, Batiste funnels his vision through a wildly diverse crew, from Rita Payés ("My Heart") to Kenny G (a saxophone version of "Clair de Lune") to Lil Wayne ("Uneasy").
Back to "Be Who You Are," that aural hug to everybody, no matter their background or station in life. That seemed to be Batiste's dictum to all involved: let your personality fly, and don't sweat the differences.
Because differences aren't merely acceptable. They're at the root of all compelling art, and the only way to move past throttling divisions. If you feel it's time to cast away borders and delineations, Batiste's latest offering is for you: do not adjust your dial.
Photos: Foxxatron; Prince Williams/WireImage; SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; Bob Wolfensen; Francis Specker/CBS via Getty Images; JYP Entertainment; Gus Stewart/Redferns; Matthew James-Wilson; Jim Dyson/Getty Images; Tor Stensola
15 Must-Hear Albums This August: Jon Batiste, Jihyo, The Hives & More
For lovers of rock 'n' roll, K-pop, R&B and blues, August has no shortage of gems. Read on for a list of long-awaited comebacks,exciting debuts and groundbreaking endeavors coming out in August 2023.
While peak summer heat may slow down daily activities, August music releases are keeping 2023’s pace running, with an overflow of music releases for the most varied tastes. There’s long-awaited comebacks and exciting debuts, classic rehashes and groundbreaking endeavors, and — most of all — plenty of exciting sounds to discover.
For the lovers of good ol' rock 'n' roll, this is a busy month: bands like the Hives, Public Image Ltd. and virtual outfit Dethklok make their return after many years in the shadows. In more indie domains, Hozier brings forth his third studio album, Unreal Unearth, and The Band CAMINO is back with their sophomore record, The Dark. In other genres, both R&B singer Victoria Monét and K-pop girl group TWICE’s leader Jihyo will release their debut albums, Jaguar II and Zone, respectively. Meanwhile, Dan Auerbach’s label Easy Eye Sound will issue Tell Everybody!, a compilation of the best stars across all strands of blues.
As there is much more to explore and little time to lose, check below for GRAMMY.com’s guide for the 15 must-hear albums dropping in August 2023.
Neil Young - Chrome Dreams
Release date: Aug. 11
Back in 1977, legendary singer and songwriter Neil Young planned to release Chrome Dreams, though the project was ultimately shelved. However, several bootlegs of the original 12-song acetate circulated around in the past decades, deeming its content as one of Young’s strongests.
Almost 50 years later, Chrome Dreams will finally receive justice with a debut release via Reprise Records. The tracklist is filled with classics recorded between 1974 and 1976, such as "Pocahontas" and "Sedan Delivery," and includes four originals never released on vinyl before. On his official website, the album is described as coming to life "exactly how Young perceives it" and of having a "sense of monumentality about it that conveys a place in history."
Chrome Dreams is the latest in Young’s recent string of archival records, following 2022’s 50th anniversary reissue of 1972’s Harvest, the release of 2001’s shelved album Toast with Crazy Horse, and the fourth installment of his Official Release Series.
The Band CAMINO - The Dark
Release date: Aug. 11
The Band CAMINO will give us another dose of their infectious pop-rock on their sophomore album,The Dark.
Comprising 11 tracks — including singles "Told You So," "Last Man In The World," "See You Later," and "What Am I Missing?" — the album expands on the Nashville-based trio’s thrilling energy and lyrics about the highs and lows of love. "It's no secret we suck together / I tell myself that it's for the better / So why does it keep getting worse?" they wonder in "What Am I Missing?"
In support of the release, The Band CAMINO has also announced a North American tour starting Sept. 14 in Philadelphia, and wrapping it up on Oct. 21 in Nashville.
Public Image Ltd. - End of World
Release date: Aug. 11
Marking their return after eight years, post-punk British band Public Image Ltd. will release their 11th studio album, End of World, next month. The record is dedicated to vocalist and former Sex Pistols member John Lydon’s late wife, Nora Forster, who passed away in April after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
"Nora loved the album, she wouldn’t have wanted us to postpone it or change any of our plans," Lydon said in a statement. Smooth lead single "Hawaii," which works as a love letter to Forster, is "the most personal piece of songwriting and accompanying artwork that John Lydon has ever shared," according to the same statement. But that doesn’t mean PiL’s raucous essence is amiss;l singles "Penge" and "Car Chase" are welcome punches of enthusiasm as only they can deliver.
PiL started working on the album in 2018 during their 40th anniversary tour, but had to pause activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ever since they got back to the studio, the band was hit with a "massive explosion of ideas," according to Lydon. They will embark on an extensive UK and Europe tour this September.
The Hives - The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons
Release date: Aug. 11
It’s been 11 years since the Swedish rockers of the Hives released new material. With their upcoming sixth studio album, The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons, on the horizon, they prove that time only did them favors.
Led by pre-release singles "Bogus Operandi" and "Countdown to Shutdown," The Hives’ electrifying, demanding energy is back for another round. "There’s no maturity or anything like that bulls—, because who the f— wants mature rock’n’roll?" asked frontman Pelle Almqvist in a press release. "Rock’n’roll can’t grow up, it is a perpetual teenager and this album feels exactly like that, which it’s all down to our excitement."
With a title that refers to the supposed death of the band’s mysterious (and never publicly seen) sixth member, manager, and sole songwriter, it also represents a new chapter. What will the Hives do if Randy Fitzsimmons is indeed gone for good? No one knows. But for now, they are focused on making some noise around the world: the band is booked for concerts and festivals all over Europe and the U.S. throughout the rest of the year.
Chief Keef - Almighty So 2
Release date: Aug. 11
After several delays following its announcement in October 2022, Chief Keef’s well-awaited mixtape Almighty So 2 will finally come out on Aug. 11.
A sequel to 2013’s Almighty So, the mixtape features 17 tracks. Two singles have been released so far: "Tony Montana Flow" and "Racks stuffed inna couch." Also a follow-up to Keef’s latest studio album, 2021’s 4NEM, it sees the Chicago rapper continue his prolific run of releases, which includes four studio albums, four EPs, and over 30 mixtapes since his beginnings in 2011.
Last year, Keef announced his new label 43B in partnership with BMG, and his first signing with Atlanta rapper Lil Gnar. He also released an updated version of his debut album Finally Rich, celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Easy Eye Sound - Tell Everybody! (21st Century Juke Joint Blues From Easy Eye Sound)
Release date: Aug. 11
A 12-song compilation uniting legends and rising stars alike across the blues spectrum, Tell Everybody! is Nashville label Easy Eye Sound’s latest tour de force. The compilation was produced by the label’s founder and the Black Keys’ member Dan Auerbach.
Besides featuring Auerbach’s own band and solo work, the anthology also holds names like GRAMMY-nominated R.L. Boyce and Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, as well as newcomers like Nat Myers, Moonrisers, and Dan Carter.
Said to draw influences "from acoustic anthems to roiling rock n’ roll" in a press release, Tell Everybody! "continues a commitment to upholding and preserving the blues that sits at the core of Easy Eye Sound’s mission." For a taste of what’s to come, they have shared Robert Finley’s eponymous title track.
Les Imprimés - Rêverie
Release date: Aug. 11
Les Imprimés is a one-man band created by Norwegian singer and songwriter Morten Martens. Blending R&B and soul with a definite modern twist, the project stands as a dreamy refuge to life’s harsh realities.
"It’s soul music, but I don’t exactly have the soul voice," Morten explains on Big Crown Records’ website. "But I do it my own way, in a way that’s mine." Martens’ unique efforts are brought together in his debut album, Rêverie. In the tracklist, a slew of ethereal, captivating singles like "If I" and "Love & Flowers" promise a stirring listening experience, sure to put him on the radar of 2023’s greatests.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You
Release date: Aug. 11
On Will Oldham’s (a.k.a Bonnie "Prince" Billy) Bandcamp page, his forthcoming record Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You is described vaguely as "a tale as old as time," or simply "an album" whose songs are "by and for people together."
Following 2022’s Blind Date Party with Bill Calahan and 2019’s I Made a Place, Keeping Secrets consists of 12 tracks that put Billy "at the nexus of all the kinds of music he can summon, with friends, with family, and community. All roads roll though him. There can be no holding back. A million billion moments are on the line."
The Louisville singer shared two pre-releases as idiosyncratic as the rest of his oeuvre: "Bananas" and "Crazy Blue Bells." Starting September, he will embark on a U.S. tour through November.
Jon Batiste - World Music Radio
Release date: Aug. 18
"World Music Radio is a concept album that takes place in the interstellar regions of the universe," said multihyphenate Jon Batiste on Instagram about his upcoming 7th studio record. "The listener is led through the album by an interstellar traveling griot named Billy Bob Bo Bob, who takes you sonically all around the world at the speed of light."
A follow-up to We Are, his 2021 GRAMMY-winning Album Of The Year, World Music Radio will feature collaborations with stars from all corners of music, including Lana Del Rey, Lil Wayne, and Kenny G. "I created this album with a feeling of liberation in my life and a renewed sense of exploration of my personhood, my craft, and of the world around me unlike anything I ever felt before," Batiste shared further about the 21-track effort.
The album is preceded by lively singles "Calling Your Name," "Drink Water" featuring Jon Bellion and Fireboy DML, and Coca-Cola collaboration "Be Who You Are (Real Magic)," featuring Cat Burns, J.I.D, Camilo, and NewJeans.
Jihyo (TWICE) - Zone
Release date: Aug. 18
Seven years down the road, TWICE — one of the most acclaimed K-pop girl groups in history — have started branching out their skills into solo careers and sub-units. Starting last year, eldest member Nayeon released her EP Im Nayeon, followed by July’s MISAMO (a Japanese sub-unit formed by Mina, Sana, and Momo) and their Masterpiece EP. Now, it’s time for leader and main vocalist Jihyo to show the world her unique colors.
Known for her passionate, energetic performances and a powerful voice, Jihyo’s debut EP, Zone, features lead single "Killin’ Me Good" and six other tracks, including a duet with K-R&B singer Heize. Until the date of release, Jihyo will release a series of spoilers and special contents that will keep fans anticipating the visual and musical direction chosen.
In June, TWICE made history by becoming the first girl group from any country to sell out Los Angeles’ SoFi stadium for their Ready To Be world tour. Still ongoing, the tour includes 38 shows across North America, Asia, Oceania, and Europe.
Hozier - Unreal Unearth
Release date: Aug. 18
Like so many of us during the pandemic lockdown, Irish singer Hozier took the extra time to pick up on his readings, including Dante Alighieri’s epic Inferno. The literary classic ended up inspiring him so much that his upcoming third studio album, Unreal Unearth, is also arranged into "circles" — a concept that Dante used to depict the nine realms of hell in his work.
In an interview with Rolling Stone UK, Hozier explained that "the album can be taken as a collection of songs, but also as a little bit of a journey. It starts with a descent and I’ve arranged the songs according to their themes into nine circles, just playfully reflecting Dante’s nine circles and then an ascent at the end." As for what it sounds like, the singer said it is "quite eclectic" and reflects "something of a retrospective in what the sounds lean into."
Hozier released the EP Eat Your Young in March as a teaser for Unreal Unearth, featuring an eponymous single and tracks "All Things End" and "Through Me (The Flood)" — all of which appear on his forthcoming release. A second single, "Francesca," came out in June. Hozier will embark on a North American, UK, and Europe tour starting September.
Shamir - Homo Anxietatem
Release date: Aug. 18
In a press release, singer/songwriter Shamir revealed that he felt a lot of anxiety during the first quarter of 2020. "I was fresh out the psych ward and had quit smoking weed and cigarettes cold turkey. I spent the first couple months of 2020 knitting this huge baby blue sweater. It’s basically a wearable security blanket that I used to channel all my anxiety into."
The sweater turned into inspiration for indie pop single "Oversized Sweater," off Shamir’s upcoming ninth studio album, Homo Anxietatem. Although the title translates from Latin into "anxious man," the album is meant to depict "what happens when one of the most prolific songwriters of a generation calms down a bit: the search for meaning becomes mundane."
Homo Anxietatem follows 2022’s Heterosexuality, and is also described as a "perfect pop-punk-rock record." On Oct. 2, the Las Vegas singer will play a sole concert in Paris and then hit up the UK for a short tour across 10 cities.
Victoria Monét - Jaguar II
Release date: Aug. 25
Singer Victoria Monét — who became known through her songwriting for artists such as Ariana Grande, BLACKPINK and Fifth Harmony — is releasing her debut studio album, Jaguar II, on Aug. 25. "I feel like I’ve been behind the bushes and in the background, and I think jaguars themselves live in that way," she explained in a Billboard interview. "They find the right moment to attack — and get what they want."
The record is a sequel to her breakthrough 2020 EP Jaguar, diving further into her R&B roots and exploring a variety of sounds that go from dancehall to Southern rap. Some of these influences can be seen in the pre-releases "Smoke" with Lucky Daye, "Party Girls" with Buju Banton, and "On My Mama."
To celebrate the album, Monét has announced a slew of dates across North America starting Sept. 6 in Detroit and ending with two November shows in London.
Dethklok - Dethalbum IV and Metalocalypse - Army of the Doomstar (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Release date: Aug. 22 and Aug. 25
After nearly a decade, the most vicious virtual metal band is back. Dethklok, from Adult Swim’s TV series "Metalocalypse," will release not one, but two full-length albums next month.
The first is Dethalbum IV, the band’s long-awaited fifth studio record, out Aug. 22. Written by "Metalocalypse" creator Brendon Small, it features 11 tracks, including the merciless single "Aortic Desecration."
Three days later comes the official soundtrack to new film Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar’s turn. Also written and directed by Small, the movie boasts a star-studded cast with the likes of King Diamond, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, and Evanescence’s Amy Lee. It will also offer a closing chapter for the show, which was canceled in 2015.
Dethklok will kick off their U.S. tour with Japanese band Babymetal on Aug. 30 in Houston, TX, and cross a slew of cities until the final concert on Oct. 11, in Los Angeles.
Bebel Gilberto - João
Release date: Aug. 25
"More than a tribute to her father, the unforgettable João Gilberto, the album is a visit to Bebel's most fundamental musical memories," says Bebel Gilberto’s website about her upcoming studio album, João.
Also described as a "musical love letter" to the renowned father of bossa nova, who passed away in 2019, the album was produced by pianist Thomas Bartlett, and comprises 11 songs carefully selected by Bebel. Among her choices are classics such as "Ela É Carioca" and "Desafinado," but also "Valsa," a track also known as "(Como São Lindos os Youguis) (Bebel)" and one of João Gilberto’s few compositions dedicated to his daughter.
Bebel shared an emotive first single off the project, "É Preciso Perdoar," and announced tour dates across North America, Asia, the UK, and Europe starting next month.
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Everything We Know About Jon Batiste's New Album 'World Music Radio': Release Date, Full Tracklist, Guest Features & More
Just a year after sweeping wins at the 2022 GRAMMYs, including Album Of The Year, Jon Batiste is back with 'World Music Radio,' a multifarious new album that promises to feel channeled from all corners of terra firma.
Jon Batiste proclaimed in song that "We are the chosen ones," and the Recording Academy was all ears.
The five-time GRAMMY winner and 14-time nominee's blockbuster's 2021 album WE ARE earned six nominations and almost as many wins, totaling 11 placements in categories ranging from jazz to classical to America roots music to visual media.
Now, with his fantastic American Symphony debut at Carnegie Hall under his belt, Batiste is back with a new album — one that seems to be even more ambitious than the wildly dynamic WE ARE.
On Aug. 18, Batiste will drop World Music Radio via Verve/Interscope. The buoyant first single "Calling Your Name" is out now; the album features high-profile guests from Lil Wayne to Lana Del Rey to Kenny G.
"I created this album with a feeling of liberation in my life and a renewed sense of exploration of my personhood, my craft and of the world around me unlike anything I had ever felt before," Batiste said in a statement.
As the summer heats up and World Music Radio draws near, here are a few things we know about Batiste's new dispatch.
World Music Radio Features 21 Songs
The sprawling tracklisting is out now:
01 Hello, Billy Bob
02 Raindance [ft. Native Soul]
03 Be Who You Are [ft. JID, NewJeans and Camilo]
05 My Heart [ft. Rita Payés]
06 Drink Water [ft. Jon Bellion and Fireboy DML]
07 Calling Your Name
08 Clair de Lune [ft. Kenny G]
10 17th Ward Prelude
11 Uneasy [ft. Lil Wayne]
12 Call Now (504-305-8269) [ft. Michael Batiste]
14 Boom for Real
15 Movement 18' (Heroes)
16 Master Power
17 Running Away [ft. Leigh-Anne]
18 Goodbye, Billy Bob
19 White Space
20 Wherever You Are
21 Life Lesson [ft. Lana Del Rey]
Guests Are Everywhere On World Music Radio
We Have A Cover As Well
In the album art for World Music Radio, a tank-topped and beaded Batiste's eyes are closed, lost in the music emitted from a retro-looking radio-headphones combo.
In the above Instagram post, Batiste shares a lengthier statement about how World Music Radio is designed to "open your heart and stretch your mind, expanding your vision of popular art," as well as "re-examine and redefine terms like world music as they exist in the culture."
Jon Bellion And Ryan Linn Executive Produced It
Well, along with Batiste, that is. Jon Bellion has been nominated for two GRAMMYs — Album Of The Year, for his work on Lizzo's Special and Justin Bieber's Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe). As for Ryan Lynn, he was the co-executive producer on WE ARE as well.
Keep watching this space as more information on World Music Radio comes through!
Photo: Nick Spanos
Living Legends: Belinda Carlisle On L.A. Punk And Why People Need Pop Music Now More Than Ever
The Go-Go’s frontwoman is still living life on her own terms. In the midst of a national tour, Carlisle spoke to GRAMMY.com about coming up in SoCal's punk scene, working with Diane Warren, and developing confidence.
Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music still going strong today. This week, GRAMMY.com spoke with Belinda Carlisle, singer of the groundbreaking rock group the Go-Go's and a solo act. Carlisle is currently on tour, supporting a new EP, Kismet.
Belinda Carlisle first fell in love with music when she was about 10 years old. Her family lived in the L.A area, and Carlisle would wile away the hours listening to records by the Beach Boys, the Animals, and Cat Stevens. Fast forward four years and Carlisle was a full-blown angsty adolescent, prone to skipping school and seeing what trouble she and her friends could get into. Though she managed to graduate high school, she bounced from job to job after, ultimately (and fortunately) leaving home around 19 to pursue music, thanks in part to a few nudges from Lorna Doom, bassist for foundational punk band the Germs, who she’d met in high school.
Carlisle’s stint in the Germs was quick and dirty thanks to a bad case of mono, but she bounced back with aplomb, teaming up with a few friends, to form the group that would become the Go-Go’s. The group’s 1981 debut LP, Beauty And The Beat, hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts — the first record by an all-female rock ‘n’ roll band to do so. Two more hit records followed, with singles like "Our Lips Are Sealed," "We Got The Beat," and "Head Over Heels" helping The Go-Go’s cement their place in the pantheon of popular music.
The Go-Go’s broke up in 1985 and Carlisle set out on a solo career. She snatched early success with singles like "Mad About You" and "In My Wildest Dreams,"but really hit it big with her second solo effort, 1987’s Heaven On Earth. That album's power pop production, boldly infectious title track and the Diane Warren-penned "I Get Weak" earned Carlisle a GRAMMY nomination. (The Go-Go’s also got one, for Best New Artist in 1982.)
Carlisle’s relationship with music has been on an interesting trajectory ever since. Her four pop records were tepidly received in the States and her two most recent solo full-lengths — 2007’s Voila and 2017’s Wilder Shoes — contained only French standards and Sikh chants, respectively.
But on her new EP, Kismet, Carlisle is re-entering the pop space. A collaboration of sorts with Diane Warren, who penned all of the record’s tracks, Kismet is joyful and modern, with lead single "Big, Big Love" landing atop the charts for the UK’s Radio 2. It’s a welcome surprise for Carlisle, who’s currently out on the road doing live dates, including stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York.
GRAMMY.com spoke to Carlisle about her new record, her thoughts on the future of the Go-Gos, and why she thinks people need pop music now more than ever.
It’s been reported that this record is called Kismet in part because it came out of a chance encounter your son had with Diane Warren at a coffee shop. What really made you want to get back into the studio and release this record?
The songs. It’s as simple as that. I wasn't really planning to go back into the studio before, because I didn't really think that it would happen. Great songs usually go to artists that are already in the charts or younger artists, you know? And when I got the call, I was "Do I really want to do this?"
It's a big commitment. But I felt like I needed to give it a chance, at least, and when I heard the songs, that's really what got me excited to do another English-language pop project in the vein of my older albums.
And it’s doing well! You’ve got the No. 1 single on the Radio 2 charts!
It's totally unexpected. It's so weird.
I had no expectations but I knew it was a really good project, and really good solid pop songs. My attitude has always been, I had a blast doing it, I know it's good work, the fans will love it, and we'll see what happens. And I've been totally surprised that, in countries around the world including the U.S., it has debuted in the top five.
Tell us about your relationship with Diane Warren. Do you think a song like "Big Big Love" would work for anyone, or do you two just really just get each other?
Diane and I clicked when we first met. Through the years, we’ve run into each other on occasion, but when this whole thing started happening and I went to the studio to start working with her, it was like… you know how with certain friends you can just pick up where you left off and there's no feeling uncomfortable, no weirdness, and no getting to know each other? It’s like that.
I have a really good sense of myself. She has a really good sense of my voice. Weirdly enough, I loved every song that she presented to me. I mean, I'm normally very fussy. I don't just want to sing anything for the sake of doing it.I have to absolutely love it both lyrically and melodically, so it's tough.
How was that sense of self that you have changed over the years? Do you see yourself differently now than you did in ‘87? Or even in ‘97?
I was really insecure in the mid-‘80s when I embarked on my solo career. I was really lucky to work with [Producer] Rick Nowels on Heaven On Earth, because I was kind of like his muse and he took me under his wing. And it just so happened that I loved his songwriting and Ellen Shipley’s and Diane’s, so I was lucky in that way but I still was insecure about my voice and insecure in a lot of different ways.
I think as I've gotten older — and especially after I got sober like 18 years ago — it’s gotten a bit better. I thought, Okay, this is really what I'm meant to be doing and obviously, I'm good at what I do. It may not be the best voice but it's distinctive. And I’ve been really working on my voice and not taking it for granted, too.
I just think overall now I have confidence that I didn't have when I was younger, and even when I was younger and successful.
I wanted to ask about the Go-Go’s being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago. You were quoted after the fact saying that you didn’t think the experience would be that amazing but that, in reality, it really was. Tell me what you meant, and why it meant so much to you all in that moment.
Of course, it's great to get recognition. What we did was amazing. There's no doubt about that. I don't really care about awards, but it's the whole thing about how when you actually get an award, it's pretty cool. It feels really good.
That night was a great way to cement the legacy of the band and the hard work that we put into it for 40-odd years. I don't think I've ever felt such an enormous wave of love for the band. It really kind of took me aback, actually. I knew that people liked us, but this was like this amazing, energetic sort of wave. And of course you’re performing in front of your peers and people like Paul McCartney, which was, in the end, even more amazing than I expected.
You've known Diane Warren for almost 40 years. You've known the women in the Go-Go's for longer than that? How have your relationships changed in that time?
There are very complicated dynamics in a band full of five women that have been together for that long, for sure. But I think that when we all were sitting at the Sundance festival, when the documentary [about The Go-Go’s] was being premiered… Some people didn't look up to the band as ground breakers or whatever, but when we saw what we did on the big screen, it was like, wow, we did that.
When you see it kind of encapsulated in the story that was told really well and that captured the essence of the band, I think it made all of us have a new respect for each other. Maybe through the years, we might have taken each other for granted, but that changed seeing that documentary.
It's family. It's not even friends or colleagues. We know each other like the back of our hand. We might not see each other for years and years but whenever we get back into the rehearsal studio, it’s like riding a bike. We pick up where you left off.
The same goes with Diane. You pick up where you left off, and not just work-wise but friendship wise. She's not a good friend, but she's still a friend and we just really gel. Even if she wasn't the greatest living songwriter at this moment, I would still probably have her as a friend because I like her a lot as a person.
Let’s talk about your time coming up in the L.A. punk scene in the late ‘70s. It is sort of staggering to think all that was happening around the same time Laurel Canyon was still churning and Fleetwood Mac was releasing Rumours. Talk to me about what it was like to be with the Germs and in that scene at that time. Sometimes, the actual group of people who start something like that can be very small, but in the end it turns out to be so significant.
In retrospect, everything around the world was different. London was angry and political and New York was sort of dark and junky. Detroit was hardcore working class. But in L.A. and in Southern California, there wasn't a whole lot to be angry about really in the late ‘70s.
It was kind of a sparkle. I don't know how to put it into words, because it was an energy that was very much about art. That was a big part of the punk scene. It was kind of sparkly, somehow, and that was probably because of the magic that California had back then.
I was one of the original punks. I met Darby [Crash] and Pat [Smear, of the Germs] trying to get Freddie Mercury's autograph at the Beverly Hilton back in 1977. That was at the very beginning of the punk scene and the Germs did the very first punk show or one of the very first punk shows in L.A. at a horrifying theater on Holloway Drive in West Hollywood. It's not there anymore but we knew that it was something special.
It exploded really fast. It was 50 kids then all of a sudden it was 500 kids and then 5,000 kids. There were beach punks, Hollywood punks, Valley punks… There was an energy in the air. Everything was so exciting. I lived in this punk rock crash pad called Disgraceland that’s kind of infamous — but I remember saying, "It's so lucky that we can realize this in the moment and know that we're part of something that is really special." Those kinds of movements don't come along very often and we were there at the very beginning. It was an incredible, incredible experience.
And to have the fortitude and foresight to say, "I don't play an instrument, but I'm going to figure it out and we're going to put something together." I mean, the Go-Go’s really happened pretty fast, from inception to No. 1.
Well, we were kids and, of course, it was the American dream where anything is possible. We were prime examples of that. Everybody was in a band, really, because the scene was so small, but not everybody was that good. We didn't have to be good.
That was part of the beauty of the punk scene is that we didn't really have to be musicians. We could learn as we went along, and that's what we did. We were lucky to have gotten a lot of guitar lessons and vocal lessons along the way from other bands, too.
Are you still in touch with Pat Smear?
Yes, because Pat and I were in our first band together so when [Smear’s current band] the Foo Fighters got into inducted into the Rock Hall, the Go-Go’s were the same year, so we had a conversation on the phone, like, "Isn't it weird to go from the Germs to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?" It was very sweet and funny.
How do you define your musical style at this point? If you had to say put Belinda Carlisle in a subsection of music, what would it be?
Sort of anthemic, melodic pop, I think. Maybe romantic pop songs with complicated melodies? There's a little bit of sadness in a lot of my songs and especially in my earlier catalog, but, really, I guess I would just say "good solid pop songs," which people may write off, but they're really important.
I just did a big tour in the UK that was sold out every night. In the UK, 20 years ago, I was doing little clubs where maybe 20 people would show up because I really had some serious issues going on, but now I’m doing these big shows? And so when I was doing this tour that was packed with people, I just realized that people need pop music. It brings joy to people. People can escape, and especially in this world right now, that’s really, really important.