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Erika Ender On Luis Fonsi, "Despacito" & Songwriting | "Required Listening" Podcast

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Erika Ender On Luis Fonsi, "Despacito" & Songwriting | "Required Listening" Podcast

The Panama native opens up about working with Fonsi on the international smash hit and her own take on writing songs without ego

GRAMMYs/Feb 23, 2018 - 01:10 am

It seems there isn't anything Erika Ender can't do. She's a singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and TV personality.

Listen Now: "Required Listening," Episode 5 With Erika Ender

As a songwriter, the Panama native has written for Latin artists including Chayanne, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Gloria Trevi, Ednita Nazario, and Los Tigres Del Norte, in addition to her own solo works such as her 2017 album, Tatuajes (Tattoos). Also in 2017, she became the youngest inductee in the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Well into the 25th year of her career, Ender is seemingly hitting her stride. Not only did the singer/songwriter take home Song Of The Year at the 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards as a co-writer of the biggest hit of 2017 — Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" — she earned her first GRAMMY nomination for the 60th GRAMMY Awards for Song Of The Year for the remixed version of "Despacito," featuring Justin Bieber.

So what is the real story of how Ender got involved in writing the smash single of 2017 with Fonsi? You'll learn that and more on the latest episode of "Required Listening," the new music podcast by HowStuffWorks and the GRAMMY Museum in partnership with the Recording Academy, hosted by GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman.

"Art is made for sharing, not competing. It's like having a marriage." — Erika Ender

Ender reveals that "Despacito" was born when she visited Fonsi, her friend of 10 years, at his house. As the two were bouncing around song ideas, Fonsi kicked the now-famous line of the song to Ender: "Despacito/Vamos a hacerlo en una playa en Puerto Rico," and she answered with the next line: "Hasta que las olas griten "¡ay, bendito!" And a hit was born.

"[Luis Fonsi is] such a versatile artist. I think it was perfect for him," Ender gushed. "I think it's an amazing job we did together with a guitar at his home studio in a very organic way, not thinking of what was the outcome. Just thinking of putting the best we could in something where we were having fun."

But it's hard for any of us to ignore the outcome of their viral hit. The remix version of the track topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 consecutive weeks, tying Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's supreme reign with their 1995 hit "One Sweet Day" for most time spent atop the iconic chart. It smashed other records as well.

For a Spanish-language song to command such impact on the mainstream charts is an accomplishment that reaches far beyond the ears of billions of listeners.

"In this case, the song is in Spanish and it broke every single record," said Ender. "It has something special that did open a door. … I think that we're in a world that should have less boundaries and that should share more art and more love and I'm really happy to be part of this moment in time."

Ender's belief about a world without boundaries and a deep love for the craft of songwriting and music's ability to move mountains are consistent across her entire creative approach, especially when collaborating with other artists such as Fonsi.

"Art is made for sharing, not competing. It's like having a marriage," Ender said. "Whenever you get married you are looking for the best thing for your family, for your baby. To me, a song is a baby and I have to take care of it, and whomever I am working with has to have that same frequency so we're doing the best thing we can in order for that baby to shine. … I write with my heart, and I have no filters between my heart and my hands when I'm writing a song."

That brings us back to "Despacito," which connected the world in an unprecedented way, both for its songwriters and billions of listeners.

"This song opened the world to all of us," Ender said. "It is a song that has art that can fit any genre. It's from the heart and you can fall in love with it or dance with it or whatever you want to do with it."


Subscribe To "Required Listening" And Listen To The Full Interview At Apple Music

Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

Attention Music Fans: Take The GRAMMY Challenge NOW On KIK And Facebook Messenger

Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

Seattle's Museum Of Pop Culture To Host Pearl Jam Exhibit

Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Photos: WireImage.com

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

Getting The Latest Music News Just Got Easier. Introducing: GRAMMY Bot. Find it On KIK and Facebook Messenger 

Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

Gibson Guitars Names Slash Global Brand Ambassador