meta-script5 Inspirations Behind Don McLean's New Album 'American Boys': Rock 'N' Roll Heroes, George Floyd & Much More | GRAMMY.com
Don McLean performing in 2022
Don McLean performing in 2022

Photo: Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images

list

5 Inspirations Behind Don McLean's New Album 'American Boys': Rock 'N' Roll Heroes, George Floyd & Much More

The four-time GRAMMY-nominated "American Pie" singer/songwriter is back with a kicking new album, 'American Boys.' Here are five people, places and concepts that inspired it.

GRAMMYs/May 21, 2024 - 04:39 pm

"I'm not that smart a guy," Don McLean bluntly informs GRAMMY.com, at the top of a recent interview. (Which is news to this writer, as McLean went on to compellingly expound on everything from George Floyd to the crisis in the Middle East and beyond, for a full hour.)

Rather, "I am a very instinctive person," he contends, over the phone from his home in California's Palm Desert. "I'm a bit of a weirdo in many ways, and the music reflects that."

Surveying his other key songs, McLean says he wrote in "a different style of music for 'Castles in the Air,' and a different style for 'Wonderful Baby,' and a different style for 'Vincent.' Every time, there's a different person in me that comes out."

Indeed, the man we all know for the eight-and-a-half-minute epic "American Pie" — which was nominated for four golden gramophones at the 1973 GRAMMYs — is hardly one-note; his body of work is a kaleidoscope.

Which, naturally, extends to his latest album, American Boys, which dropped May 15. His first album of original material since 2018's Botanical Garden is a cornucopia of subjects, and characters — the "Thunderstorm Girl," the "Stone Cold Gangster," the "Mexicali Gal."

"Instinctive" McLean certainly is, and instinct and inspiration go hand in hand. Here are five inspirations behind American Boys, as stated by the master himself.

America's Rock 'N Roll Innovators

Cleverly looping back to "American Pie," the album's opener, "American Boys," salutes the foundational figures of early rock, who belted "rhythm and blues with a hillbilly soul": Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and "The Fat Man."

If you recall, the far more somber and cryptic "American Pie" grapples with the young deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper in a 1959 plane crash," a tragedy McLean codified as "The Day the Music Died." They truly don't make them like that anymore: what is it about America that produced such game-changing young talent back then?

"I have theories about things. We were a lot closer to the land once," McLean says. "We're living in a very techno, fake, computer-created world now.

"Those boys that I mentioned in that song, whether it was Johnny Cash, or Elvis, or Buddy, or any of them, they were all just one step away from the cotton fields, or the truck they'd be driving," he continues. "They were close to the land, and there's something about the land that produces the music."

Living Out In The Desert

McLean grew up in the Larchmont Woods in New Rochelle, New York — but he eventually picked up sticks and became a desert man.

"I do things for the oddest reasons," McLean says. "But, they're the real reasons, and I can look at myself and say, 'I did what I wanted to do with my life. Nobody told me what to do, ever.'"

What about the desert speaks to him, or flows through this music? It comes back to that sense of authenticity.

"A sense of truth. I must be true," McLean says, in an echo of the American Boys track “Truth and Fame.”  "I'm not interested in society, and I'm not interested in what people expect from me. I'm interested in being true to myself, and to my ideas, and that's all."

Or, to put it more bluntly, "I don't give a f— and I never have."

Femme Fatales, Real Or Imagined

Reciting a verse of the swaggery, swampy, bluesy "Stone Gold Gangster," McLean puts on his best tough-guy, '70s-caper voice: "Dressed like a hoodlum princess/ Carrying a .44 gun/ Comes from down south with a filthy mouth/ Done everything that's been done."

"It's about your female hustler, gangster-type person, and it's a very interesting track that we created," McLean says. "I used a lot of sources for that."

The Murder Of George Floyd

On a totally different note, McLean was deeply rattled — as most of us were — by the 2020 murder of George Floyd, one of the pivotal events of our young decade.

Watching the horrible footage, McLean flashed back to his youth, missing swaths of his school year due to chronic asthma that led to pneumonia. He and his mother even had a system: If he couldn't breathe in the middle of the night, he'd bang the floor with a bat to get her.

"I just heard him calling for his mother. I said, 'Nobody is dangerous who's calling for their mother,'" McLean says. "This was a sad little man who didn't have anything, and now he's just reduced to calling for mom. This song just came right out of me."

The Ambience Of His Early Years

McLean is a self-professed "fifties guy," which he admits is a clash with modernity. "I know this is a new America. We have all sorts of new things going on, and we've got to adapt or die. Even as politics and culture, in his estimation, are in the pits.

"We are living in a very medieval time, not an intellectual time now." Music, McLean says, has "only gotten cleaner, and cleaner, and cleaner, and cleaner, and now human hands are not clean enough; our colleges are "going to produce a dumb population that is going to produce dumb music, and it's going to produce dumb leaders."

But he can protest in his own, personal way: in his art, he retrieves a fading America. "I Shall Find My Way" and "Resurrection Man" have an ageless, benedictory heft.

"Marley's Song (Save Yourself)" draws from the film A Christmas Carol — ostensibly the famous 1951 version. "It's about seeing a movie, but the movie is really your life," he's said. And "The Gypsy Road" is "a hobo song, in a way."

Clearly, this American boy knows what made him — and how it all flowed into his winning new album.

Living Legends: Van Morrison On New Album 'Moving On Skiffle,' Communing With His Roots & Reconnecting With Audiences

James Blake

James Blake

Photo: Recording Academy

news

James Blake On 'Assume Form' Collabs: "A Dream Come True" | GRAMMY Museum

The GRAMMY-winning "Retrograde" singer talks about his 2019 album and shares who inspired him to pursue a career in music

GRAMMYs/Jan 17, 2020 - 12:08 am

Shortly before GRAMMY winner James Blake treated 300 or so lucky GRAMMY Museum guests to a lively conversation and acoustic piano performance, the British electro-soul artist caught up with the Recording Academy. In our Behind The Scenes conversation, Blake spoke about his empowered 2019 album, Assume Form—which is currently nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 2020 GRAMMYs—and how he chose the epic collaborator list that includes current Best New Artist nominee Rosalía, André 3000, Travis Scott and Moses Sumney.

The "Retrograde" singer also shared who inspired him to pursue a career in music. (Spoiler alert, the answer is really cute.)

Watch our exclusive Behind The Scenes video with Blake below, and read on to learn more about the late-2019 GRAMMY Museum event, including what five songs he performed.

"They're just all some of my favorite artists, so it was a dream come true, really, of a collaborator list," he told us. "I've been lucky enough that some of the people that I listen to also listen to some of my music and were happy to oblige to part of it."

"I think they all brought something really unique and we were on the same wavelength when we were making the music, so it feels natural, it feels kind of organic, and I'm so happy and honored they were able to join it."

Watch: Billie Eilish On Her Long Relationship With The GRAMMY Museum, How Rihanna Shaped Her Fashion Sense & More

Blake also shared how influential his father, the senior James Litherland (Blake was born James Blake Litherland), has been to his own music. Litherland is a life-long musician and played with the late-'60s U.K. rock outfit Colosseum. In 2011, Blake covered and reimagined his father's song "Where to Turn" on "The Wilhelm Scream," featured on his 2011 self-titled debut album.

"Over my career, there's been a running theme of coming into the foreground…with every reveal, comes some kind of risk," Blake told GRAMMY Museum's Artistic Director Scott Goldman, who moderated the event. "If Assume Form was anything, it was not only a version of songwriting clarity but also emotional clarity. It was the most clear I'd felt in a long time, so it was a good time to make an album."

Read: Find Out Who Just Made History With Their GRAMMY Nominations: 2020 GRAMMYs By The Numbers

He also dove a bit more into the album's collaborators, praising André's musicality and his "heady-ass verse" on "Where's The Catch." "His verse is f**king genius and I couldn't have written that." Blake also shared his love of Spanish nu-flamenco queen Rosalía, who brought her otherworldly vocals and fierceness to "Barefoot In The Park," noting that working with her felt super easy and natural.

After the in-depth conversation, Blake made his way over to the piano for a soulful performance that opened with Assume Form's "Are You In Love?" and closed with his "favorite song ever written about a relationship:" Joni Mitchell's "Case Of You," which he covered on his 2011 EP, Enough Thunder. In between those two heartwrenching love songs, he treated fans to "Love Me In Whatever Way," from 2016's The Colour In Anything, "Overgrown," from his 2013 album of the same name, and "Vincent," his 2017 Don McLean cover.

Don't forget to tune into the 62nd GRAMMY Awards on Sun., Jan. 26 to find out if Blake will take home the golden gramophone for Best Alternative Music Album. GRAMMY.com and CBS will be your ticket to find out all the winners and watch all the fun on GRAMMY day—see you there!

Lightning In A Bottle 2020 Lineup: James Blake, KAYTRANADA, Doja Cat, Bob Moses, Four Tet, GRiZ & More

news

GRAMMY Rewind: 15th Annual GRAMMY Awards

George Harrison wins Album Of The Year, while Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" takes Record and Song Of The Year against these nominees

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(For a list of 54th GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)

Music's Biggest Night, the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards, will air live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

In the weeks leading up to the telecast, we will take a stroll down music memory lane with GRAMMY Rewind, highlighting the "big four" categories — Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist — from past awards shows. In the process, we'll examine the winners and the nominees who just missed taking home a GRAMMY, while also shining a light on the artists' careers and the eras in which the recordings were born.

Join us as we take an abbreviated journey through the trajectory of pop music from the 1st Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1959 to last year's 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.


15th Annual GRAMMY Awards
March 3, 1973

Album Of The Year
Winner: George Harrison & Friends, The Concert For Bangladesh
Neil Diamond, Moods
Don McLean, American Pie
Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson
Original Broadway Cast, Jesus Christ Superstar

The Concert For Bangladesh, the first major benefit album, took top honors at the 15th Annual GRAMMY Awards. GRAMMYs were presented to Harrison, who organized the project, and to the featured artists, including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, and Klaus Voormann, among others. It was the second award in the category for both Harrison and Starr, following a win for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band five years earlier. Clapton and Dylan would go on to win Album Of The Year on their own in the '90s with Unplugged and Time Out Of Mind, respectively. The Concert…, which was recorded at Madison Square Garden, was the first live album to win the award since Judy Garland's Judy At Carnegie Hall, which was likewise recorded in New York, just one decade earlier.

Jesus Christ Superstar was in the running for the second year in a row, thanks to the release of the original Broadway cast album. The initial concept album had been a finalist in 1971. This was the first Broadway cast album to make the category since Funny Girl in 1964. McLean was nominated for his album American Pie, which spawned the smash title song and the graceful ballad "Vincent." Nilsson was nominated for Nilsson Schmilsson, which contained the hits "Without You" and "Coconut." Diamond was nominated for his album Moods, which spawned the hits "Song Sung Blue" and "Play Me."

Record Of The Year
Winner: Roberta Flack, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
Neil Diamond, "Song Sung Blue"
Don McLean, "American Pie"
Harry Nilsson, "Without You"
Gilbert O'Sullivan, "Alone Again (Naturally)"

For the second year in a row, all five of the category's nominees were No. 1 hits. Flack took Record Of The Year for "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which she had introduced on her 1969 album First Take. The album was just a modest hit until director Clint Eastwood featured the romantic song in his 1971 movie Play Misty For Me. That catapulted both the song and the album to No. 1. McLean's "American Pie," an inspired run through recent American pop culture, was one of the most dissected hits in years. Nilsson's "Without You," an elegant torch ballad written by Tom Evans and Pete Ham of Badfinger, won a GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" was a poignant song about a man at the breaking point. Diamond's "Song Sung Blue" was an irresistible sing-along that had broad appeal. It was the first nomination in this category for all five artists.

Song Of The Year
Winner: Roberta Flack, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
Neil Diamond, "Song Sung Blue"
Don McLean, "American Pie"
Gilbert O'Sullivan, "Alone Again (Naturally)"
Sarah Vaughan, "The Summer Knows"

The Kingston Trio was the first major act to record Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (called "The First Time" on their 1963 album New Frontier). But it took Flack's recording, and its use in the movie Play Misty For Me, for the song to become a hit. MacColl's song wasn't the only nominee that owed its success to a hit film. Michel Legrand conducted "The Summer Knows," which he co-wrote with Marilyn and Alan Bergman, in Summer Of '42. An instrumental version of the song by GRAMMY winner Peter Nero became a hit. Performed by GRAMMY winner Vaughan, the song also nominated for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) award. (The Bergmans would go on to win in this category two years later for another movie theme, "The Way We Were," which they wrote with Marvin Hamlisch.) The other nominees, all of whom appeared in the Record Of The Year category (and all of which were written solely by the artist), were O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)," McLean's "American Pie" and Diamond's "Song Sung Blue."

Best New Artist
Winner: America
Harry Chapin
Eagles
Loggins And Messina
John Prine

America topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972 with "A Horse With No Name." The Eagles and Loggins And Messina also had Top 10 hits with "Witchy Woman" and "Your Mama Don't Dance," respectively. Though America won this award, the Eagles took the GRAMMY for Record Of The Year five years later with "Hotel California." Chapin's "Taxi" was only a moderate hit, but the story of the song was so compelling and distinctive that it made an impression on GRAMMY voters. The final nominee was singer/songwriter Prine, who released two critically hailed albums, John Prine and Diamonds In The Rough, in the eligibility period.

Come back to GRAMMY.com Jan. 17 as we revisit the 20th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Meanwhile, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Facebook and Twitter for updates and breaking GRAMMY news.

 

 

Koe Wetzel Press Photo 2024
Koe Wetzel

Photo: Jody Domingue

interview

Koe Wetzel On How New Album '9 Lives' Helped Him Tap Into His Feelings

After establishing himself as an outlaw country act, Koe Wetzel wanted to dig deeper with his fifth studio album. The buzzy star details how new collaborators and unintentional therapy helped him show a new side of his artistry.

GRAMMYs/Jul 23, 2024 - 06:37 pm

The word "rabid" may often be tossed around in conversations about fan bases, but Koe Wetzel's die-hard followers truly deserve the distinction. A quick search of the Texas-born singer/songwriter's fans reveals videos of Wetzel breaking up audience fights, arguments over featured vocalists and many, many Koe-inspired tattoos.

So, what is it about the 32-year-old country star that gets people so riled up? For starters, Wetzel, like Zach Bryan or Cody Jinks, is an outsider in the genre. He found his footing and honed his unorthodox sound — which defies traditional genre conventions to include influences from hard rock and hip-hop — as part of the Texas music scene rather than on Nashville's Music Row, the genre's commercial epicenter. Wetzel debuted in 2015 with Out on Parole, an album released under the name Koe Wetzel and the Konvicts. That record and its follow-up, 2016's Noise Complaint, made Wetzel a star on the college touring circuit, and by the time 2019's Harold Saul High was released, he was charting on Billboard while fielding management and label offers.

Wetzel's rough-and-tumble persona is another draw. He's outlaw country in his music and in life, with the Feb. 28 date of his 2016 arrest for public intoxication now known as "Koe Wetzel Day." He's known for working hard and partying harder — though, as he tells GRAMMY.com, he hopes to soften that image with his new album 9 Lives, out now.

As Wetzel puts it, at the heart of his gritty, irreverent persona is "just a goofball" who "probably should" go to therapy more often. Accordingly, his songwriting on 9 Lives is his most vulnerable to date, mingling meditations on fame and mental health with party anthems and hardscrabble tales of life on the road. Produced by Gabe Simon (Noah Kahan, Lana Del Rey), the record takes the gritty, rough-hewn country rock of Wetzel's earlier releases and lets it breathe a bit, adding touches of pop and roots to his grunge-leaning, hip-hop inspired beginnings.

Highlights on the record include the gritty and groovy title track and "Bar Song," a hypnotically infectious ode to a wild night out; "Leigh" shows off Wetzel's comedic side, as he playfully laments falling for "girls with names ending in Leigh." He also includes two drastically different covers: "Depression & Obsession" by late rapper XXXTentacion, and "Reconsider" by Keith Gattis, a country singer/songwriter who died in 2023 — further proof that Wetzel is anything but your typical country artist. 

On the album's July 19 release, Wetzel chatted with GRAMMY.com about his switch-up with 9 Lives, from recruiting a new producer to covering a rap song and more.

It's rare to speak to an artist on an album release day, so I'd love to hear how your day is going and what the feedback from your fans has felt like so far.

I'm just glad that everybody's taken [the album] in the way I wanted them to, you know? I didn't know how people were going to react to it, because it is a little bit different from the sound that we put out before. But the reaction has been great. I think people are getting a little bit more of a feel for the stuff that we put out in our earlier years. 

Your fan base is so passionate, and it seems like they are also really open to you taking risks and hearing new sounds from you. Does that resonate with you?

Yeah, for sure. It's not that they were getting used to the same sound we had been putting out for the last couple of records, but I felt like they were wanting something a little different than the country rock stuff. And I think with this record, we give them that. We're giving them  something that they haven't heard from me before. 

Take me back to the early days of plotting this record. What got the ball rolling for you?

Well, we really didn't go into it expecting it to be a full record. We hadn't put out music in a while, so we went into it with [the goal of] get[ting] a couple singles out, just to get stuff going for a record, possibly, in the future. I hadn't put out my music in almost two years at that point. And so, the idea was to go in and write some newer stuff. I knew the direction that I wanted it to go — a little bit softer, more honest, vulnerable route. 

We got in [the studio] with Gabe Simon and Amy Allen and Carrie K and Sam Harris in El Paso, and we were there for, I think, two or three days. We wrote four songs: "Damn Near Normal," "Sweet Dreams" and a couple other tunes. We kind of sat back and looked at everything, and it all came really easy for us. 

We looked back like, "All right, man, this sounds great. We should do it again." So, we hooked back up in Nashville at RCA, and we knocked out a couple more. I think we did four or five more songs in a couple of days there. Before we knew it, we're like, "Man, we got a whole record in there." It wasn't planned at all.

It must feel good to go in without any major expectations and come out of the studio with music that fits your vision.

Yeah, for sure. Gabe Simon — he really brought that out. It was my first time working with him. It was kind of scary, going in to write and work with somebody that you've never met before and being so open and honest with them. He pulled out everything that made all those songs [right for] the record.

It sounds like the two of you have a special creative partnership. What do you think it is about your work with Gabe that made him the right fit for the record?

One thing is just us coming from two different worlds. I'm a Texas guy, and he's coming from Nashville. It's just those two worlds colliding, pretty much. And he really cared about me and cared about my life, — things that are going on in my life instead of just being about the music. He cares about my well-being. We're friends now, and he'll hit me up on any given day and ask, "How you doing? How you feeling?" It has nothing to do with music. That's the type of dude Gabe is. 

I think that played a big part in this record. Of course, he cared about the music, but he also wanted everybody to understand the stories that were being told. 

You mentioned earlier that you get into more vulnerable territory on this record. What was it like for you to open up in that way in your music?

Honestly, it was kind of freeing. I don't go to therapy as much as I probably should. And I've said this a couple of times, that when I first met Gabe and Amy and all them, they all sat me down and picked my brain, just trying to get song ideas and [figure out] which way I wanted to go with the record. I always say that was my first real therapy session. And it was total strangers. 

I don't talk about my feelings and stuff as much as I probably should, so whenever I get to write this music and play this music, that's pretty much how I express how I feel.

On the other end of the spectrum, you're great at incorporating humor into your songwriting. On this record, I'm particularly thinking about "Leigh," which is just so clever. What role does humor play in your writing process?

I'm a goofball. [With] my persona, people want to think I'm just this hardass, kind of outlaw dude, but I'm really just a goofball. I like to have a lot of fun. I like my records to have a lot of fun. So throwing in songs like that to keep people on their toes, you know, it's just to let them know it's not always so serious. It's a lot of fun and games. 

We had a lot of fun making that song. At first, it kind of started off as a joke, and then we kind of sat back like, "Holy s—, this is pretty good. This is a fun song." We can't wait to play that one.

The two cover songs on the record fit so well, even though they are from drastically different artists, XXXTentacion and Keith Gattis. How did you choose those, and what made them fit the rest of 9 Lives?

Keith Gattis, I didn't really get to know him or do a deep dive into his music while he was alive. He passed away last year. And Charlie Robison was one of my favorite Texas artists growing up. They passed away pretty close to each other last year. 

Once I figured out that Keith wrote a lot of Charlie's songs, I really dug into his music a lot more… Something inside me was just like, "Yo, you gotta cut this song." I feel like it rounded out the record. We just tried to do it as much justice as possible. 

[It was] kind of the same with "Depression & Obsession." XX is one of my favorite underground rappers. I love that era of music. I love what he did. He was another artist that was gone too soon. There's no telling what more we could have gotten from him. So, I wanted to do it justice and give a nod to them by putting those songs on the record.

You have Jessie Murph joining you on "High Road." How did the two of you connect?

Ron Perry with Columbia, he signed her a couple years ago. When we signed with Columbia, he asked if I'd heard of Jessie Murph. I wasn't familiar with her at the time. Then I looked her up and instantly became a fan. She's a f—ing superstar. Her voice is amazing. 

We talked about having a duet on this record, but I couldn't find a singer that I wanted to have on the record. But it was kind of easy because Jessie worked with Columbia and, like I said, I was a huge fan. So, we hit her up. We let her put her own spin on it, and she absolutely crushed it. 

You're certainly busy enough, with a new record out and a tour coming up. What else are you looking forward to in the second half of 2024?

More new music. We're already trying to get more new music going. We've got a lot of songs that are still in the vault that probably should have made the record but it just didn't feel right at the time. I can't really say a whole lot, but we've got a lot of songs in the vault and I'm still writing. So, once the tour's over with, we're hoping to put on some new music pretty quick.

Latest News & Exclusive Videos

A graphic promoting the Recording Academy's GRAMMY GO educational service. The words "GRAMMY GO," "Only on Coursera," "Music Production Specialization" appear in bright neon green against a dark green background.
GRAMMY GO's new specialization "Crafting Award-Worthy Songs" is now open

Graphic Courtesy of the Recording Academy

news

The New GRAMMY GO Music Production Course Is Now Open: Featuring GRAMMY Winners Hit-Boy, CIRKUT, Judith Sherman & More

Enrollment is now open for GRAMMY GO's new specialization, "Music Production: Crafting Award-Worthy Songs," featuring appearances by GRAMMY winners and nominees. Learn music production and creative strategies from today's industry leaders.

GRAMMYs/Jul 23, 2024 - 04:12 pm

The Recording Academy continues its mission to empower music's next generation with the launch of its second specialization in the GRAMMY GO platform: "Music Production: Crafting Award-Worthy Songs."

This new course, a partnership between the Recording Academy and leading online learning platform Coursera, aims to bolster the technological and audio skills of music producers of all levels. The course, taught by Howard University professor and GRAMMY nominee Carolyn Malachi, features appearances by three-time GRAMMY winner and rap icon Hit-Boy, chart-topping and GRAMMY-winning producer/songwriter CIRKUT, artist and celebrity vocal coach Stevie Mackey, five-time GRAMMY nominee and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., and 15-time GRAMMY winner Judith Sherman.

Enrollment for "Music Production: Crafting Award-Worthy Songs" is open now.

Mixing a unique blend of theory and practice, the course teaches music creators of all levels the advanced skills and tools to develop the mindset and confidence of an experienced producer and produce songs of the highest industry standards across all genres. Explore the wide-ranging roles of a music producer, develop critical listening and analysis skills, and master the technical aspects to create music and compositions that cut through the noise. The course's applied learning approach allows learners to sharpen their pre-production skills, utilize Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) effectively, and produce vocals, instrumentals and samples collaboratively. Through critical listening exercises and discussions, learners will refine their abilities to deliver professional-quality demos.

To celebrate the launch, the Recording Academy will host an Instagram Live session today (Tuesday, July 23) at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET with Harvey Mason jr. and Stevie Mackey. The session will include a discussion on the evolving role of music producers, strategies for working with artists, key elements of top-notch productions, common mixing mistakes, and tips for keeping the creative process fresh. Enrollment details for the course will also be shared during the live session.

Read more: How The Recording Academy's GRAMMY GO Is Building A Global Online Learning Community & Elevating The Creative Class

Building on the success of its first specialization, "Building Your Audience for Music Professionals," GRAMMY GO continues to offer industry-focused education tailored for emerging and established music creators and professionals alike. The innovative platform provides learners with real-time insights from leading music industry figures, ensuring the content remains practical and up to date. GRAMMY GO will also serve as an essential tool in the Recording Academy's global expansion into Africa and the Middle East, empowering music creators through enhanced training, bridging knowledge gaps, and fostering connections within the global music community.

Launched in April in partnership with Coursera, GRAMMY GO is the Recording Academy's first creator-to-creator platform, offering innovative courses tailored for both emerging and established music professionals. The initiative accelerates the Academy's global mission and reinforces its commitment to music education, providing a seamless bridge between all Academy initiatives.

Learn more about GRAMMY GO and the "Music Production: Crafting Award-Worthy Songs" and "Building Your Audience for Music Professionals" specializations.

More Music Education News & Initiatives