meta-scriptGary Clark Jr. On His Admiration For Prince: "He's The Best Guitar Player In The World" | GRAMMY.com
Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr.

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Gary Clark Jr. On His Admiration For Prince: "He's The Best Guitar Player In The World"

The GRAMMY-winning "This Land" singer honors his hero at The GRAMMY Salute To Prince, which airs on CBS on April 21

GRAMMYs/Apr 14, 2020 - 11:34 pm

Austin-bred soul-rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. knows exactly who set the bar for epic guitar slaying and true artistry: Prince.

"He's the best, the pinnacle. When I think about true artists and expression, unapologetic and free, Prince is that to me," the GRAMMY winner told us backstage at "Let's Go Crazy: The GRAMMY Salute To Prince."

"As a guitar player, I think he's the best guitar player in the world. I don't think anybody could touch him, and I'll fight you on that. It's just what I want to be, really," the "This Land" singer adds with a smile.

Watch: H.E.R. Celebrates Hero Prince At "Let's Go Crazy" Tribute Show: "It's Gonna Be A Party!"

During the special tribute concert, which airs on CBS next Tues., April 21 (the fourth anniversary of Prince's death), Clark performs "Let's Go Crazy" with H.E.R. and Sign O' the Times deep cut "The Cross."

Tune in to CBS (or stream on CBS All Access) on April 21 from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT to watch Clark pay tribute to his hero, as well as many more powerhouse covers from Prince's musical treasure chest, brought to life by Sheila E., The Revolution, John LegendCommonDave Grohl with the Foo FightersEarth, Wind & Fire, Juanes and other greats.

H.E.R., Alice Cooper, Gary Clark Jr., Yola & More Rock Out With Aerosmith At MusiCares Person Of The Year

Normani in 2023
Normani attends Elle's Women In Hollywood event in 2023.

Photo: MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images

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Breaking Down Normani's Journey To 'Dopamine': How Her Debut Album Showcases Resilience & Star Power

The wait for Normani's first album, 'Dopamine,' is officially over. Upon the album's arrival, reflect on all of the major moments that have happened in the six years since she made her solo debut.

GRAMMYs/Jun 14, 2024 - 09:39 pm

All eyes are on Normani as her long-awaited debut album, Dopamine, arrives to eager fans and critics alike on June 14. It arrives more than six years after Normani made her solo debut post-Fifth Harmony — and though she has released a number of singles since, even her most loyal listeners were bewildered by the delay of her debut project. But the 28-year-old has been strategic in building something timeless.

"I took the time to learn and develop my sound. I wanted to be different and create a body of work that's unique but still fresh and exciting," Normani tells GRAMMY.com. "There were many days of trial and error trying to perfect something that embodies who I am and the type of artist I wanted to be. I always knew that I had to trust myself even when others doubted me and questioned my hunger."

On the highly anticipated Dopamine, Normani's womanhood and artistic breadth effortlessly glides across its 13 tracks. She makes no apologies for her sexier image and music after years of "feeling safe with being seen, but not too seen," as she told Teen Vogue in 2020. That newfound confidence translates into a musical paradise that's a far cry from her Fifth Harmony days. Up until now, the world has only received Normani's talent in snippets here and there; Dopamine finally gives us the full dose.

As you dig into Dopamine, take a look at a complete breakdown of every major moment that's led to Normani's long-awaited debut project.

2018: She Re-Introduced Herself As An R&B Star

A mere month prior to Fifth Harmony's hiatus announcement, a then 21-year-old Normani teamed up with Khalid for her first-ever single as a solo act, "Love Lies." Penned for the Love, Simon soundtrack, the sultry R&B number foreshadowed Normani's imminent success outside of Fifth Harmony; not only did it crack the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it hit No. 1 on both Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 and Radio Songs charts.

At the tail end of 2018, Normani delivered another R&B jam, the hazy, slow-burning duet with 6lack, "Waves," which found success on multiple R&B charts. Though somewhat forgotten compared to "Motivation" and "Wild Side" (more on those later), "Waves" shows off Normani's vocal range as she laments over an on-again, off-again relationship.

2019: She Celebrated A Global Smash & Massive Opening Act Slot

Normani struck gold again in 2019 when she teamed up with Sam Smith for "Dancing With a Stranger," which became the most-played radio song in the world that year, according to Forbes. Sonically speaking, the disco-tinged oasis marked new territory for Normani — and it paid off in a big way as it boasts over a billion Spotify streams and remains her biggest single to date.

The singer's star continued shining bright into that summer, when she served as the opener for the North American leg of Ariana Grande's Sweetener Tour. The arena trek marked her first opportunity to show off her performing skills, and further prove her prowess as a solo act.

On the heels of the international success of "Dancing With a Stranger" and touring with Grande, Normani released her first fully solo single, "Motivation." The bubbly track presented a poppier side and offered a fun moment with its Y2K-inspired video, even igniting a viral dance challenge. But it seemingly wasn't indicative of the direction she was headed; at the time, Normani admitted to The Cut that she "didn't feel like it represented" her as an artist.

Still, "Motivation" served as a pivotal moment for Normani. It became a top 20 hit on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart, and she delivered a showstopping performance of the song at the MTV Video Music Awards — which even earned the title of 2019's best performance from Harper's Bazaar.

2020 & 2021: She Teamed Up With Two Of Rap's Biggest Female Stars

The next couple of years saw Normani continue linking up with several of her peers. She first joined forces with Megan Thee Stallion for the anthemic "Diamonds" — which brilliantly samples Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" — off the Birds of Prey soundtrack. Soon after, she teamed up with Megan again — this time, for a jaw-dropping cameo in the video for the chart-topping smash "WAP" with Cardi B.

"WAP" drew criticism for its sexually explicit lyrics (and equally racy video), but the message aligned perfectly with Normani's mission to champion and represent Black women in and outside of the music industry. 

"The 'WAP' video I was really, really excited to be a part of, just because I feel like we're in a time in music where women — and Black women — are really on top, which is something I feel like we haven't seen in a very, very long time," she told Teen Vogue. "Where I come from, we were all about female empowerment. The fact that I could be a part of such a special moment embracing our sexuality, in which I definitely think there's a double standard, [was exciting] to be a part of it."

In 2021, Normani took her turn with Cardi B on another fiery track, "Wild Side," which saw her return to her R&B foundation while also continuing her artistic evolution. From sampling Aaliyah's "One in a Million" to executing the intricate choreography seen in the Tanu Muino-directed video, the '90s-inspired slow jam — which closes out Dopamine — whet fans' appetite and established Normani as a force to be reckoned with in R&B and beyond.

2022: She Traversed Several Different Musical Worlds

Keeping fans on their toes, Normani veered away slightly from her signature R&B sound by incorporating synth-pop into the one-off single "Fair." The mid-tempo track put the spotlight on her vulnerability; the lyrics deal with watching a past lover move on as if you never existed.

"This one is really unique and different for me. Probably not what everyone is expecting," she said in an Instagram story ahead of the release.

A few months later, Normani dove deeper into the dance genre by lending her light and airy vocals to Calvin Harris' "New to You," a collaboration that also featured Tinashe and Offset. But she never strayed too far from her R&B stylings, as she also teamed up with childhood friend Josh Levi for a remix of his song "Don't They" that summer.

2023: She Ushered In A New Era

Though 2023 didn't see any new music from Normani, she made some business moves that indicated she was ready for a reset. That May, Normani parted ways with S10 Entertainment and Brandon Silverstein after signing a new management deal with Brandon Creed and Lydia Asrat — signifying a new chapter and much-needed change in direction. 

"The transition signified a new beginning, filled with hopes of  moving forward and getting things done that were important to me," Normani tells GRAMMY.com. "I was faced with many obstacles over the years, some that you would not believe. But through it all, my faith in God kept me aligned with what I felt was right for me."

A couple months later, Normani launched a partnership with Bose that saw her give a first preview of the assertive Dopamine track "Candy Paint." She also offered some insight to the album delays, which partially stemmed from her parents' health struggles.

"It was hard feeling misunderstood because of the lack of knowledge people had for my circumstances in real-time. I don't even know if I had the energy to explain — my emotional, spiritual and mental endurance was really tested," she explained to Dazed. "When my parents got sick, I didn't have the mental capacity to even try to be creative, but I pushed myself anyway. If it weren't for them, I probably wouldn't have, but I know it's what got them through such a tough time — they needed to see me persevere and push through and continue to move forward."

As she shared with Bose, crafting Dopamine ended up being a creative outlet for Normani and offered a sign of hope for her and her parents during their respective treatments.

"(When my mom was going through chemo) the thing that really kept her going was getting on FaceTime and being like, 'How are the sessions going?' She's always so eager to hear the new records we've been working on," she said. "And then a year later, when my dad ended up being diagnosed, he would say mid treatment, 'I'm ready for you to take over the world.'"

2024: She Completed A Hard-Fought Journey

By the beginning of 2024, even Normani couldn't help but acknowledge how long fans had been waiting for her debut LP. She facetiously launched a website called wheresthedamnalbum.com — but it actually served as the official kickoff to the album campaign.

Two months after she shared the album's title and stunning cover art on the site, Normani delivered the guitar-driven lead single "1:59" arrived, as well as a release date for Dopamine.

Despite a series of false starts and personal challenges, Dopamine is proof that Normani is as resilient as they come — and this project was well worth the wait. Opening tracks "Big Boy" and "Still" flex her swag, whereas Janet Jackson-coded tunes like "All Yours" and "Lights On" (co-written with Victoria Monét) ooze sensual vibes. While the album mostly caters to her R&B foundation, she touches on her dance music dabblings with the house-leaning"Take My Time." 

Dopamine even offered a full-circle moment for Normani, who has cited Brandy as one of her biggest musical inspirations. The R&B trailblazer lends background vocals to "Insomnia," which also features hypnotic production from Stargate

As Normani embraces her close-up, she's keenly aware that the stakes are high, but it's a moment she's been ready for all along.

"I hope [fans] see the passion and the hard work that I have put into creating something so special," she tells GRAMMY.com. "I love my fans and how they have been patiently waiting and supporting me over the years. I hope the wait was worth it for them and they are proud of what we have accomplished together."

8 Ways Aaliyah Empowered A Generation Of Female R&B Stars

Lana Del Rey performing in 2024
Lana Del Rey performs at the 2024 Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona.

Photo: Xavi Torrent/Redferns

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Levels Of Lana: 12 Songs To Explore Lana Del Rey's Career For Every Kind Of Fan

As Lana Del Rey's third album, 'Ultraviolence,' turns 10, build — or expand — your knowledge of the melancholy pop queen's catalog.

GRAMMYs/Jun 13, 2024 - 03:12 pm

When it comes to exploring Lana Del Rey's discography, it can be hard to know where to start. The pop songstress has a sprawling catalog, consisting of nine albums, four EPs, and a handful of other standalone singles.

You could begin with Born To Die, her highly influential major label debut, or its moody follow-up, Ultraviolence, her first to top the Billboard charts and ultimately establish her staying power as an artist. Perhaps you choose to start with her Album Of The Year GRAMMY nominees Norman F—ing Rockwell! or Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.

Or maybe you're an incredibly diehard fan with encyclopedic knowledge who wants to start where it all began, on Rey's first album Lana Del Ray (note the spelling difference), which never saw official physical release and contained just a rough draft of the cultural force Del Rey would become.

Following Del Rey's career is rewarding, but requires some commitment to listen to, and understand, everything she's put out. It can be intimidating to approach an artist with such a robust, varied catalog. You can go with more mainstream pop offerings like her collaborations with Taylor Swift and The Weeknd, or dive into something more inspired by the orchestra like early track "National Anthem." This is true for fans with any amount of exposure to Del Rey, from those just discovering her music to those looking to become an expert.

As Ultraviolence turns 10, GRAMMY.com presents the levels of Lana, a series of jumping off points to explore all the music Del Rey has to offer. Dig into three songs across four different levels of fandom — Beginner, Intermediate, Expert, and Diehard — to further your Lana knowledge. These songs give a peek into various aspects of Del Rey's body of work, and serve as encouragement to continue exploring.

Beginner

"Summertime Sadness," Born to Die (2012)

The Beginner Level of Lana is for those who have heard of Del Rey, but have never sat down with her music before. This makes "Summertime Sadness," her biggest song to date, the perfect place to start.

It's reductive to simply label Del Rey's oeuvre "sad girl music," but for the uninitiated, it's a simple descriptor to start with. "Summertime Sadness" combines the pop production, elements of classical music, and existential despair that is present throughout Del Rey's career. And Cedric Gervais' remix has turned "Summertime Sadness" into a club banger to help her appeal to those who gravitate more to the dance floor.

"Young and Beautiful," The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film (2013)

It speaks to Del Rey's cultural reach and musical vision that a non-album single is one of her most iconic songs. Written for the 2013 The Great Gatsby movie adaptation, "Young and Beautiful" also serves as a helpful thematic introduction to Del Rey.

Throughout her writing, Del Rey examines youth, Americana, and the American Dream, and how each of these uniquely American ideals are full of decay and liable to corruption and disappointment. On "Young and Beautiful," she asks if her lover will still care when she's no longer either of those things, and the somber tone indicates the likely answer. This song will introduce fans to Del Rey's penchant for using orchestral backing for her music, and illustrate how intertwined with popular culture she really is. 

"Mariners Apartment Complex," Norman F—ing Rockwell! (2019)

The past two songs have introduced Del Rey's "sad girl" persona, but over the years, she has evolved far past being so easily defined. "Mariners Apartment Complex" is the perfect next step for beginners, opening up the popular perception to her to reveal more of her complexity.

Lyrically, it finds Del Rey pushing back on sorrow being her only emotion. Musically, it's a great introduction to more of the ethereal, synth-filled sound that has come out of her partnership with superproducer Jack Antonoff. And in terms of placing her within the culture, "Mariners Apartment Complex" is the first single from her sixth album Norman F—ing Rockwell!, which earned Del Rey her first Album Of The Year nomination in 2019.

Intermediate

"Brooklyn Baby," Ultraviolence (2014)

At the Intermediate level, it's time to start getting into more of the nuances that Del Rey brings to her writing — and, in turn, how much she's influenced her peers, and how respected she is amongst them.

"Brooklyn Baby" is some of her sharpest writing, equal parts playful needling and affectionate tribute to the snooty New York art scene. One of the most indelible tracks off of Ultraviolence, the song epitomizes the entire record's move towards more rock instrumentation, with a guitar-based sound. It references legendary rock artist Lou Reed, who was slated to appear on the track before his death in late 2013, showing just how highly she's thought of by other artists.

"Love," Lust for Life (2017)

For as much as Del Rey recognizes how fallible many of our culture's ideals are, she's always been a romantic. "Love," the first single from 2017's Lust for Life, is a prime example of this.

The whole album is a big play on her love of classic Hollywood imagery, including the video for "Love," and the song is a dreamy throwback to '50s love songs. If "Mariners Apartment Complex" chides anyone thinking Del Rey can only be sad, "Love" is a full rebuke, as it's one of her most straightforwardly optimistic tracks. Commercially, "Love" was Del Rey's highest-charting feat since Ultraviolence (landing at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100), further establishing that she had longevity. 

"Chemtrails over the Country Club," Chemtrails over the Country Club (2021)

2020 and the pandemic did a number on everyone, radically altering lives and shaking faith in many of the institutions of everyday life. That unmooring is felt on Del Rey's seventh album, Chemtrails over the Country Club, and particularly on its title track.

Del Rey is as sharp as ever in exploring the pulse of American society on the dreamy, disaffected number. "You're in the wind, I'm in the water/ Nobody's son, nobody's daughter" is a breathtaking piece of writing that became a TikTok favorite, illustrating Del Rey's continuing ability to relate to the youth. 

Expert

"F—ed My Way Up To the Top," Ultraviolence (2014)

As we enter the realm of the Expert Lana Del Rey fan, we're firmly out of album singles territory. From here, it's all deep cuts and non-album tracks.

Del Rey has been no stranger to controversy — some warranted, some not. An early knock against her was that the mid-20th century aesthetic and perceived submissiveness in her music was anti-women or anti-feminist, a surface-level reading that in the years since has been largely dispelled. 

The singer has worked to combat it herself on tracks like Ultraviolence's "F—ed My Way Up To the Top," which takes that perceived notion to its extreme. At the same time, it's another in a long line of tracks in which Del Rey has embraced her own sexuality and sensuality as something to be celebrated and claimed, not something to be ashamed of. 

"Art Deco," Honeymoon (2015)

2015's Honeymoon isn't necessarily underappreciated, as it received positive reviews upon release debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, but "Art Deco" isn't likely to appear on many playlists. It should, though, as the track illustrates how much of musical chameleon Del Rey really is, with a sultry, hip-hop inspired rolling beat. 

It treads some familiar territory thematically with trying to find acceptance in night life, but Del Rey is really comfortable here. She shows more of her knowledge of art history by relating the subject of the song to the defining characteristics of the titular art movement, revealing just how much thought she puts into her aesthetic.

"Fingertips," Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd (2023)

Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is arguably Del Rey's most intimate album, exploring details of her family and their history that fans have only previously seen brief glimpses of. At the same time, it is partially an examination of her own legacy and work, only natural for someone with as much output as Del Rey, let alone her frequent references to death and finality.

Both of these things combine in "Fingertips," a standout track from the album. A nearly six-minute long ballad, it's musically airy while emotionally devastating — and, for a true Del Rey fan, encapsulates so much of her legacy in just one song.

Diehard

"Yayo," Paradise (2012)

For fans in the Diehard level, everything before is old news. This is for fans who want to fully live the Lana life, who have all her albums on vinyl and have carefully built their image and fashion around her.

Speaking of her image, this section starts with "Yayo," an extremely early deep cut. This track originally appeared on Lana Del Ray before being reworked and rereleased on the Paradise EP in 2012. The song leans heavier than most into the '50s imagery and floats along at a dreamy, lilting pace. While not as refined as her later work, "Yayo" is an indicator Del Rey had a solid idea of who she wanted to be as soon as she started.

"Season of the Witch," Non-album Single (2019)

Del Rey has done several covers throughout her career, and quite successfully. Norman F—ing Rockwell! features her cover of Sublime's "Doin' Time," which is one of the highlight tracks from the record. Less known is Del Rey's spooky cover of '60s classic "Season of the Witch." 

Written for the 2019 horror film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the song fits Del Rey's style perfectly. The Americana/flower crown aesthetic of her younger years always leaned witch-adjacent, and Del Rey takes her soft vocals into playfully sinister territory. It's a fun cover, and shows just how many gems Del Rey has in her discography for those fans willing to dig. 

"Say Yes to Heaven," Non-album Single (2023)

"Say Yes to Heaven" was never supposed to be heard. A late cut from Ultraviolence, the track remained buried for years before being leaked in 2016. It lurked on the internet, only known to superfans, before gaining steam with the rise of TikTok and finally seeing an official release in 2023.

The deep cut is peak Del Rey ballad material, a tender love song imploring her partner to accept happiness. It's another rebuke of the idea that she can't be happy, and it gives insight into some of her earlier writing.

As a resurfaced older track, "Say Yes to Heaven" may not necessarily indicate the direction Lana Del Rey is set to go on her forthcoming album, Lasso (especially considering Del Rey has teased she's "going country" for her next release). But it's a beautiful reminder of the affecting narratives and arresting vocals that have made her beloved to so many, no matter the level of fandom.

Songbook: A Guide To Billie Eilish's Musical Ventures & Artistic Ingenuity

Teezo Touchdown performing
Teezo Touchdown

Photo: Astrida Valigorsky/WireImage 

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10 Acts You Can't Miss At Bonnaroo 2024: Four Tet, Teezo Touchdown, Chappell Roan & More

From acts that embody the classic jam band spirit like Joe Russo’s Almost Dead to fan favorites like Idles, read on for 10 must-see sets at Bonnaroo 2024.

GRAMMYs/Jun 10, 2024 - 01:25 pm

Anyone who’s been to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which returns June 13-16 for its 21st edition, will know that the Manchester, Tennessee festival can be a marathon.  

High summer temperatures and humidity, often some rain and mud, and more than 100 artists to navigate over four full days — three of which extend with late-night sets that run until nearly 4 a.m. But, veteran Roo attendees also know that it’s well worth enduring. 

Of the myriad fests held each year, few have the sense of community felt at Bonnaroo. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the majority of the roughly 90,000 attendees are camping, meaning that no matter what happens, they’re all in it together. Or maybe it has to do with the fest’s self-generated “Bonnaroovian code,” which implores festgoers to “radiate positivity” throughout.

During the early aughts, a huge part of the bonding experience arrived during cross-generational legacy artist sets — often classic rock legends or big time jam bands closing out the fest’s final day — including Elton John, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Phish, Widespread Panic and the String Cheese Incident. As primary ticket buyer age demographics shifted, so did the lineups, particularly with regard to headliners, who began leaning more prominently toward pop, hip-hop and EDM. This year’s finale sets feature Pretty Lights (playing two full back-to-back sets on June 13 plus a sunrise set two nights later), Post Malone, Fred again.. and Red Hot Chili Peppers (the one top-line exception as they’re arguably a legacy act at this point). 

Of course, there are plenty of performers amongst the lineup’s incredibly diverse undercard that still embody the classic jam band spirit, and even more newcomers or rising stars that encompass a mind boggling range of musical styles. Read on to get the inside line on 10 must-see artists who fall into the latter category. 

Say She She

If you’re angling to find a dance party to get your blood pumping on the first day of the fest, look no further than Brooklyn-based Say She She. Fronted by three women — Piya Malik (formerly of Chicano Batman), Sabrina Mileo Cunningham and Nya Gazelle Brown — Say She She produce flawless harmonies over what they describe as “discodelic soul.”

At their core, they sound like Nile Rogers and Chic, who they’ve candidly owned as chief influences (to the point where Rogers reached out to personally give them a nod). There’s sometimes bits of ABBA vibes sprinkled in, but all that said, their sound is hardly a rip-off. The music certainly pays tribute to classic disco, but with elements of 90s R&B and neo-soul, it comes across as fresh, unfiltered and — on the strength of three voices harnessing incredible range — capable of moving in countless other sonic directions. They’re two albums in (sophomore full-length Silver was released last year) and already garnering shining reviews; now’s the time to catch an act in a small tent before they assuredly graduate to bigger stages.

Read more: Say She She's Big Year: How The NYC Disco Funk Group Made Sure The World Wouldn't Forget Them 

Abby Holliday

Indie rock is a fine general description for the music of singer/songwriter Abby Holliday, but it’s difficult to put her style in one box. Sure, a lot of the music on her 2023 sophomore album I’M OK NO I’M NOT sounds quite a bit like boygenius, but it dares to go further. Holliday incorporates unexpected elements like autotune vocals, which often resonate like Bon Iver and at other times more closely resemble the hooks from popular hip-hop songs.

Amid the gentle melodies and distinctly emotional lyrics are bursts of heaviness and exuberant energy, which in all likelihood will translate to a magnetic set to help kick off the Roo roster on June 14. One can only imagine how triumphant it might feel to play an essentially hometown fest of this magnitude (Holliday is based in Nashville, about an hour’s drive west). It’s almost a sure bet it will be a milestone moment worth witnessing.  

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

The first Bonnaroo in 2002 was headlined by Trey Anastasio, moe. and Widespread Panic (among others), and slowly but surely, Bonnaroo has veered away from those jam band-heavy roots. But there’s always something in the mix harkening back to those origins, and this year it’s unmistakably Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.

The five-piece group was conceived in 2013 by its namesake drummer / singer along with another jam rock veteran, Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and has since established itself as one of the foremost Grateful Dead tribute bands (they play other tunes, but the Dead are the main focus). The last Grateful Dead-oriented performance at Roo was Dead and Company’s back-to-back double sets in 2016, so if you’re looking to experience some long-awaited old school Roo vibes among the fest’s veteran fans, make sure to pop by JRAD’s show on June 14. 

Gary Clark Jr.

With the March release of latest album JPEG raw, Austin, Texas-bred guitar hero and four-time GRAMMY winner Gary Clark Jr. seems intent on breaking out of the blues mold — a common blanket description for his catalog spanning nearly two decades. On his fourth full-length, he delves deep into hip-hop, classic R&B (notably with a feature from living legend Stevie Wonder on “What About the Children”) and even traditional African music. If you’ve listened closely to Clark’s music all along, you’d know that he’s always incorporated a slew of styles, but his recent recordings represent the most overt effort to exude his sonic diversity.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years — which will doubtless be on full display during his Bonnaroo appearance — is Clark’s penchant for superb shredding. You already know this if you’ve seen him live, and for all the newcomers, get ready for your jaw to drop for the duration of his hour-long set on June 14.

Read more: Gary Clark, Jr. On 'JPEG RAW': How A Lockdown Jam Session, Bagpipes & Musical Manipulation Led To His Most Eclectic Album Yet

Cage the Elephant

Kentucky-bred outfit Cage the Elephant delivers one of the most riveting rock shows around. With his Iggy Pop-esque antics — never not running and writhing from end to end and often standing atop the audience — frontman Matt Shultz’s stage presence alone is enough to rile up thousands of fest fans at any time of day.

That’s been the standard since they put out their 2008 self-titled debut, and based on the decidedly anthemic indie-rock sonics of just-released sixth full-length Neon Pill (plus the fact that they’ll be only a little more than a month into touring and imbued with a fresh burst of boisterousness), there’s every chance the band’s June 15 main stage set will manifest as an explosive Roo moment not-to-be-missed. 

Teezo Touchdown

Hailing from the small, unsuspecting East Texas city of Beaumont, rapper, singer/songwriter and producer Teezo Touchdown (born Aaron Lashane Thomas) only launched his professional career eight years ago. But within the past four years, he’s become a household name among contemporary rappers. His 2023 debut album How Do You Sleep at Night? notably featured 10-time GRAMMY nominee Janelle Monáe; in the years preceding, he’d already collaborated with Travis Scott, Tyler, the Creator, and Lil Yachty. He performed to his largest audience as a guest at this year’s Coachella during Doja Cat’s headlining sets to perform their single “MASC.”

Yet, his impressive set of credentials isn’t the main reason you should include him on your Bonnaroo schedule. He’s an enigmatic performer: sporting his signature wig of nails and flower bouquet-enshrouded microphone, he switches seamlessly from sharp raps to ear worm singing. There’s never a lapse in his on-stage energy, assurance that his early evening set on June 15 will provide a surefire pick-me-up to help push through the remainder of the marathon fest.

Read more: Teezo Touchdown, Tiana Major9 & More Were In Bloom At The 2024 GRAMMYs Emerging Artist Showcase 

Jake Wesley Rogers

Jake Wesley Rogers has come a tremendously long way from his first spotlight at age 15 on "America’s Got Talent" in 2012 (where he was eliminated). He supported Kesha on her Only Love Tour in 2023, and now he’s opening the main stage on the final day of Bonnaroo. 

The Missouri native’s rise to budding star, built upon four EPs and a handful of standalone singles, is well deserved. On stage, Rogers absolutely belts a soulful, goosebumps-inducing tenor, and he performs with all the glamorous energy of a young Elton John (even sporting similarly flamboyant sunglasses and climbing atop his piano while banging on the keys). Muster the energy to get on the field early after three days, or you might regret missing a pivotal moment for an artist who’s likely on his way to fest headliner status.

Read more: Tour Diary: See Jake Wesley Rogers' Favorite Photos & Memories From Touring With Panic! At The Disco 

Idles

For the past decade or so, post-punk has seen a significant resurgence, and on the surface it may appear that England’s Idles are one of the bands leading the charge, but they’ve staunchly rejected the descriptor. Vocalist Joe Talbot said it directly in a recent interview with British daily newspaper the Times: “We’re not a punk band.”

There’s ample evidence of that on their fifth album, 2023’s Tangk, which delves into new sonic territory with songs like “Dancer,” where the band mixed in elements of art-pop via collaboration with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and Nancy Whang. Backtrack to third album Ultra Mono (released in 2020 at the height of the pandemic) and you’ll hear that they were already veering away from the punk rock mold with distinct elements of hip-hop and other styles on songs like “Grounds.”

All that said, their shows resonate with the in-your-face energy of punk rock, yet they stand out significantly among other bands of the genre by exuding an overwhelmingly positive, unifying spirit. Many fans have described their show as something akin to church, and with the group at the top of their game and at a festival that already historically proliferates such a mindset, their Bonnaroo appearance on June 15 is certain to be one for the books. 

Read more: IDLES Chatter With Joe Talbot: How The British Rockers Get Personal, Political & Festival Filthy 

Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan is having a major moment. The 26-year-old electro-pop singer/songwriter (real name: Kayleigh Rose Amstutz) immediately became a viral sensation when she dropped her song “Die Young” on YouTube at age 17. Now — after releasing debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess (a nod to her Missouri origins) in 2023 and opening for Olivia Rodrigo on her Guts World Tour earlier this year — she’s become one of the most anticipated artists at 2024 festivals nationwide.

Roan, which Amstutz equates to a sex-positive drag persona, performs with supreme professionalism, and her ability to deliver pristine vocals while exhibiting unerring athleticism (high kicks aplenty) proliferates non-stop audience engagement. Her fans are diehards who belt out every word, and with a relatively small platform at Bonnaroo in a tent on June 16, she’s sure to draw one of the most overflowing audiences of the weekend. If you wanna get anywhere close to the stage (and you should), make sure to arrive early.

Read more: Chappell Roan's Big Year: The 'Midwest Princess' Examines How She Became A Pop "Feminomenon" 

Four Tet

It’s almost a disservice that electronic musician/producer Four Tet is slated for a late afternoon/early evening set at Bonnaroo, a couple of hours before sunset. His hypnotic and experimental yet highly danceable compositions lend themselves to a late-night performance packed with spellbinding lights cutting through the darkness to illuminate the pulsating crowd. 

On the other hand, he boasts a legendary reputation for live sets, plus a prolific catalog that spans more than 20 years and 12 studio albums, including this year’s Three. As a whole, it's a discography that can cater to not only electronica fanatics, hip-hop heads (note his many collaborations with Madlib) and experimental enthusiasts. To boot, there’s potential for some special moments during his appearance on June 16. Four Tet has previously played alongside the final night’s headliner Fred again.., so the potential for that guest spot alone might make it even more worth it to prioritize his performance. 

Music Festivals 2024 Guide: Lineups & Dates For Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo & Much More 

 

Sabrina Carpenter
Sabrina Carpenter performing in 2024

Photo: Joseph Okpako/WireImage via Getty Images

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Sabrina Carpenter Releases New Single "Please Please Please": Everything We Know About Her New Album 'Short N' Sweet'

Sabrina Carpenter and her boyfriend are Bonnie and Clyde-style outlaws in the new video for "Please Please Please." Here's what we know about the album it belongs to, 'Short N' Sweet' — out Aug. 23.

GRAMMYs/Jun 7, 2024 - 05:27 pm

When Sabrina Carpenter announced her new album, Short n' Sweet, earlier this week, she also dangled a special treat in front of fans. "I also have a surprise coming for you on thursday night," she announced in an Instagram post, "so keep an eye out!!"

The surprise was a video for her new single, "Please Please Please," starring her boyfriend, Barry Keoghan. Directed by Bardia Zeinali, the clip is a high-octane rendering of Carpenter and Keoghan as a pair of bona fide outlaws, whose relationship rides a rollercoaster of criminality and incarceration.

The slinky track follows her viral hit "Espresso" from last spring — itself the lead single from Short n' Sweet. As the YouTube comments pour forth, flecked with adjectives like "obsessed" and "iconic," here's everything GRAMMY.com could dredge up about the forthcoming LP.

Short N' Sweet Will Be Released Aug. 23

Carpenter's been mum on many of the details of Short n' Sweet, but she did allow that the Jack Antonoff and Julian Bunetta-produced, 36-minute album willl be released Aug. 23.

"This project is quite special to me and i hope it'll be something special to you too," she wrote on said Instagram post; it's practically destined to soundtrack the dog days of summer as they fade to fall.

The Album Will Hop Between Genres

Speaking to Maya Hawke — who herself just released her third album, Chaos Angel in Interview Magazine, Carpenter discussed the contents of her next offering.

"I feel a lot freer and more excited about what I'm making now because I've realized that genre isn't necessarily the most important thing. It's about honesty and authenticity and whatever you gravitate towards," she stated. "There were a lot of genres in my last album, and I like to think I'll continue that throughout writing music."

Read more: Sabrina Carpenter's Big Year: The Pop Songstress Gushes On The Eras Tour, Her Christmas EP & More

The Title Is A Reference To Her Height

Speaking to Cosmopolitan about her opening slot on Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, Carpenter called performing those sets "a tall order."

"This is not even to sound like a pick-me, like when girls are like, 'I'm so small, I can't reach the top shelf' — I'm literally five feet tall," she said mirthfully. "So sometimes when I'm on that stage, it feels so huge that I just have to be larger than life in some capacity."

She's worked her height (or lack thereof) into the promotional machine behind
Short n' Sweet: billboards the country over say things like, "When I say I hate short people, Sabrina Carpenter is NEVER included."

We Have The Album Cover

On the cover of Short n' Sweet, the sunkissed singer looks over her shoulder with a kiss mark on her shoulder, against a striking azure sky, her blonde hair hanging down.

The Eras Tour Harkened A New One

As mentioned, Carpenter got the opening gig of a lifetime — warming up the Eras Tour across America, Australia and Asia. Speaking with Cosmo, she revealed the tour wasn't an end to itself, but a launching pad to new adventures.

Read more: Behind The Scenes Of The Eras Tour: Taylor Swift's Opening Acts Unveil The Magic Of The Sensational Concert

"I'm starting to feel like I've outgrown the songs I'm singing [on The Eras Tour]," she explained, "which is always an exciting feeling because I think that means the next chapter is right around the corner." Behold: that chapter is now.

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