Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
GRAMMY In The Schools Live 2020: Bebe Rexha Performs & Mickey Smith Jr. Named Music Educator Of The Year
The GRAMMY Museum brought students, educators and a special performance by Bebe Rexha together to celebrate music education during GRAMMY Week
There was no lack of energy at the 2020 GRAMMY In The Schools Live event held at the Ebell Theater in Los Angeles on Jan 23.
Hosted by the GRAMMY Museum, GITSL brought students and educators together to celebrate music education during GRAMMY Week. Attended by a crowd of Los Angeles students from all over the county, the event featured both a speech by this year's Music Educator Award recipient, Mickey Smith Jr., covers of today's biggest pop songs by Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum program alumni and a special performance by performer Bebe Rexha.
Speaking exclusively to the Recording Academy, Smith Jr., a middle school band director at Maplewood Middle School in Sulphur, Louisiana, noted that teachers are "the backbone of society." He and nine finalists of the educator award will receive cash honorariums thanks to the GRAMMY Museum and Ford Motor Company Fund.
Smith Jr. also said that educating "is the noblest of professions because it's so giving. These are folks who are not in it for the money, they are not in it for the fame. They are in it to see that the next generation becomes the best generation."
He added that working with students helps him remember what matters. "When I'm around these kids I'm reminded that we all have a gift, we all have a talent, we all have a sound, It's our job to keep on going, discover that sound and share it with others."
Coming to Los Angeles for the first time to receive his award is "beyond anything I could have imagined for myself," he said. "But it feels absolutely amazing and it's amazing because people poured into me when I was a kid." His grandmother bought him his first instrument even though she didn't have a lot to spare. His parents, as well as his community, were also very supportive of him. "So when I stand here today I feel the weight of all those individuals who saw a little something in me."
Bebe Rexha also knows exactly what can happen when someone believes in a young person. Rexha was a part of a program when she was in high school called GRAMMY Career Day at Pace University and ended up meeting Chris Brown and other music executives after winning a songwriting contest. "It really gave me the confidence to do what I'm doing now," she told the Recording Academy.
That night she performed a touching rendition of "Meant To Be" with a band made up of GRAMMY program alumni. "They're so talented and amazing," the singer/songwriter said about the band. Rexha also said that music has really helped her in life and feels like it's important to keep music in schools. "The kids are the future and I think it's really important to get to them so they can hopefully be a better future."
Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Watch: "A History Of L.A. Ska" Panel At The GRAMMY Museum With Reel Big Fish, NOFX & More
Featuring musicians, DJs, curators and more, the multi-part series "A History Of L.A. Ska" explores the genre's deep history in Southern California. The latest installment included members of Hepcat, Ocean 11 and others.
Ska — as any lover of the genre will tell you — is far from dead.
In fact, the genre that burst forth in Jamaica at the time of the nation's independence in the early 1960s (and, crucially, is the musical seed from which reggae grew) is alive and well around the globe. Call it a fourth wave, a revival or a scene of stalwarts, but the horn-heavy, grooving and uptempo music continues to march forward — and the GRAMMY Museum is all-in on the celebration.
For several years, the GRAMMY Museum has hosted "A History Of L.A. Ska" — a discussion and performance series featuring local musicians, DJs, journalists, and others. Panelists reminisce about their early years in ska, working with legends, and the important role Southern California has played in the development of the culture. The most recent panel was held on Nov. 7 (but more on that later).
Although born in Jamaica, ska migrated to the UK in the latter half of the '60s and, the following decade, mixed with burgeoning punk sounds to create the genre's second wave: Two Tone. Bands such as the Specials, Madness and the Selecter struck a chord with local audiences as well as those in Southern California — which saw its first ska band, the Boxboys, debut in 1979. Then by the late ‘80s, California-based bands such as the Untouchables, Fishbone, Hepcat and Let’s Go Bowling were building a distinct scene.
As the ‘90s began, Southern California was the focal point of ska's third wave. Helmed by bands like Reel Big Fish, the Aquabats and, early on, No Doubt, a new generation further enmeshed punk and ska to become faster, catchier and more memeable. While third wave groups of the era came from all corners (see New Jersey's Catch-22, Florida's Less Than Jake and Boston's Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Southern California remained a stronghold for ska music and was buoyed by a strong subculture of mods and non-racist skinheads.
Today, Los Angeles remains a hotbed for a new generation of ska acts — many of which harken back to the sounds of the '60s. Southern California has also played host to ska legends, including Derrick Morgan (whose song "Forward March" became an independence anthem), Pat Kelly, the Pioneers and more.
"When I was first introduced to ska in Southern California, I was blown away by the level of musicianship and the love that these young talents had for the music that I grew up listening to in Jamaica,” shares Junor Francis, a moderator and veteran radio DJ/emcee who co-curates the "A History Of L.A. Ska" series with Eric Kohler. The two also host a video interview series of the same name. [Editor's note: Author Jessica Lipsky has appeared on this series.]
"While many fans of American third wave ska were introduced to the sound in the 1990s, more casual listeners may not be aware that ska in Southern California dates back four decades," notes Kohler. "To that end, Junor and I have made it our mission to celebrate and highlight the scene’s rich history, vibrancy and uniqueness."
Part four of the series — and the most recent — featured seven panelists representing a broad swath of L.A. ska history: Hepcat drummer Greg Narvas (Hepcat), singer Karina Denike (Dance Hall Crashers, NOFX), keyboardists Matt Parker (the Donkey Show) and Paul Hampton (the Skeletones), DJ and drummer Nina Cole (the Cover Ups), drummer Oliver Charles (Ocean 11, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Gogol Bordello), and multi-instrumentalist Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish, the Littlest Man Band). The panel was moderated by Junor Francis.
The four-part series is available to view on the GRAMMY Museum's website, or you can immerse yourself in the "History Of L.A. Ska" panel by panel below:
Featuring: Greg Lee, Persephone “Queen P” Laird, Joey Altruda, Brian Dixon and Luis Correa
Featuring: Angelo Moore, Chris Murray, Darrin Pfeiffer, Kip Wirtzfeld, Tazy Phyllipz
Featuring: Jerry Miller, Chuck Askerneese, Ivan Wong, Greg Sowders, Norwood Fishe, Greg Lee, Bill Bentley, Howard Paar, Marc Wasserman, Karena Sundaram Marcum, Laurence Fishburn
If the excitement on display during the "History Of L.A. Ska" panel sessions isn't enough to convince you of the genre's staying power, consummate emcee Junor Francis shares words of affirmation:
“After being baptized into this scene and welcomed with open arms, I realized this was absolutely the right place for me!”
Here Are The Nominees For Best Pop Dance Recording At The 2024 GRAMMYs
Take a look at the inaugural list of nominees for Best Pop Dance Recording — one of three new categories at the 2024 GRAMMYs — which features hits from dance legends and pop superstars.
One of three new categories debuting at the 2024 GRAMMYs, Best Pop Dance Recording will be hotly contested in its first year.
The inaugural round of Best Pop Dance Recording nominees features not one, but two David Guetta collaborations ("Baby Don’t Hurt Me" with Anne-Marie and Coi Leray, and "One In A Million" with Bebe Rexha), and the long-awaited reunion of Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding on "Miracle." The new category also features two earworms from Australian pop dance exports: Kylie Minogue’s "Padam Padam" and Troye Sivan’s "Rush."
Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs on Feb. 4, 2024, get to know the five nominees in this newly minted category.
David Guetta, Anne-Marie & Coi Leray -"Baby Don't Hurt Me"
In a year defined by dance producers putting a modern spin on dance music’s past, David Guetta reached back to 1993 to interpolate Haddaway’s dance-pop hit, "What Is Love," for "Baby Don’t Hurt Me." The song is a fitting follow-up to Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s 2022 hit, "I’m Good (Blue)", which winkingly rekindled Eiffel 65’s Eurodance anthem, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)".
"Baby Don’t Hurt Me" brings Haddaway’s irresistible hook into 2023 with distinctive verses from British vocalist Anne-Marie (who memorably joined Marshmello on 2018’s smash "Friends") and fast-rising Boston rapper Coi Leray.
Paired with a video that references ‘90s clubbing and cult movie A Night at the Roxbury, "Baby Don’t Hurt Me" is a familiar sugar rush that plays to the individual strengths of its perhaps unlikely trio.
Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding - "Miracle"
Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding are a dance music dream team, having previously released "I Need Your Love" (2012) and "Outside" (2014). After waiting almost a full decade to reunite, the pair returned in 2023 with their third collaboration, "Miracle."
An out-and-out trance-meets-Eurodance throwback (think inspirations like Robert Miles' "Children"), "Miracle" aims straight for the nostalgic pleasure centers. Harris told Apple Music that he needed Goulding's "angelic" vocal talents, and the British singer skillfully plays off the song's maximal production. Working alongside his longtime studio partner Burns, Harris packs the rave euphoria into a crisp three minutes, right through to the unexpected breakbeat outro.
The non-album single signaled a new phase for Harris, and follows 2022's Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 as well as his ravier experiments as Love Regenerator. In July, Harris returned to the trance sounds of his teen years with "Desire" featuring Sam Smith, proving these faster tempos are not just a passing phase.
Kylie Minogue - "Padam Padam"
Now 16 albums into a glittering career, Kylie Minogue is a true icon of international pop. However, not even the most ardent Kylie fans could've predicted her 2023 glow-up, courtesy of viral sensation "Padam Padam."
The song first came to Minogue in a demo version by Norwegian singer/songwriter Ina Wroldsen and UK producer Lostboy, which immediately caught her ear. "Straightaway, I was in," she recalled to GRAMMY.com, noting that she knew it was "perfect for me."
The first single from the Australian singer's latest album, Tension, the instantly danceable beat and one-word hook of "Padam Padam" inspired countless TikTok videos and memes. "I finally get TikTok. Yes, I've been slow but I finally am there," Minogue admitted upon Tension's release.
Minogue also celebrated the queer community and Gen Z's embrace of her runaway hit. "I hope to continue having fun with that," she added. "It was really organic. I don't think you can force that. It happened and I loved every second of it."
Bebe Rexha & David Guetta - "One In A Million"
Ever since co-writing Eminem and Rihanna's "The Monster" in 2013, Brooklyn-born Bebe Rexha has mastered the art of collaboration. Over a prolific decade, including three albums of her own, the pop singer/songwriter has teamed up with a diverse range of artists, including Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, Florida Georgia Line and Dolly Parton, to feature on her songs.
In the pop dance world, French hitmaker David Guetta is Rexha's most reliable collaborator. After striking gold on 2022's "I'm Good (Blue)" — which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the top of 2023 — the pair returned with a new standalone single, "One In A Million."
With a piano line that evokes Guetta's own "When Love Takes Over," "One In A Million" channels the giddy feeling of new love over a racing beat. The song arrived in a typically whirlwind year of collaborations for Guetta, who also mined the past alongside Jason Derulo, Oliver Tree and Zara Larsson.
Troye Sivan - "Rush"
After a long wait between solo releases, Australian pop chameleon Troye Sivan boldly announced a new era with "Rush." Released at the height of summer as the lead single from Sivan's third album, Something To Give Each Other, "Rush" instantly hit its mark as a celebration of queer pleasure-seeking. In a statement, Sivan described the single as an accumulation of "all of my experiences from a chapter where I feel confident, free and liberated."
The song's lusty bassline, exultant piano-house keys and chanted chorus perfectly play off Sivan's falsetto, creating a heady mood of dance floor abandon. (Fittingly, the Berlin-shot music video is a parade of sweaty bodies in motion.) A ready-made anthem, "Rush" set the stage perfectly for the assured and life-affirming Something To Give Each Other, leaving no doubt that Sivan is thriving in 2023.
The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy's Voting Membership.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo Courtesy of the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum
25 Semifinalists Announced For The 2024 Music Educator Award
Twenty-five music teachers, from 25 cities across 17 states, have been announced as semifinalists for the 2024 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum. One ultimate recipient will be honored during GRAMMY Week 2024.
Twenty-five music teachers have today been announced as semifinalists for the Music Educator Award, an annual award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, that supports and celebrates music education and music educators across the U.S. The 25 semifinalists, who hail from 25 cities across 17 states, were selected from a pool of more than 2,000 initial nominations from across all 50 U.S. states. Finalists will be announced in December, and the ultimate recipient of the 2024 Music Educator Award will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2024, days ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs.
Nominations for the 2025 Music Educator Award are now open.
Presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, the Music Educator Award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The Award is open to current U.S. music teachers. Anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators — while teachers are also able to nominate themselves; nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.
Each year, the recipient of the Music Educator Award, selected from 10 finalists, receives a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school's music program. The nine additional finalists receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining 15 semifinalists, among the group announced today, will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.
The Music Educator Award program, including honorariums, is made possible by the generosity and support of the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.
The full list of the 2024 Music Educator Award semifinalists is as follows:
|Dawn Amthor||Wallkill Senior High School||Wallkill||New York|
|Jeremy Bartunek||Greenbriar School||Northbrook||Illinois|
|William Bennett||Cane Bay High School||Summerville||South Carolina|
|Meg Byrne||Pleasant Valley High School||Bettendorf||Iowa|
|Ernesta Chicklowski||Roosevelt Elementary||Tampa||Florida|
|Michael Coelho||Ipswich Middle and High School||Ipswich||Massachusetts|
|Drew Cowell||Belleville East High School||Belleville||Illinois|
|Marci DeAmbrose||Lincoln Southwest High School||Lincoln||Nebraska|
|Antoine Dolberry||P.S. 103x Hector Fontanez||Bronx||New York|
|Jasmine Fripp||KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School||Nashville||Tennessee|
|J.D. Frizzell||Briarcrest Christian School||Eads||Tennessee|
|Amanda Hanzlik||E.O. Smith High School||Storrs||Connecticut|
|Michael Lapomardo||Shrewsbury High School||Shrewsbury||Massachusetts|
|Ashleigh McDaniel Spatz||Rising Starr Middle School||Fayetteville||Georgia|
|Kevin McDonald||Wellesley High School||Wellesley||Massachusetts|
|Coty Raven Morris||Portland State University||Portland||Oregon|
|Trevor Nicholas||Senn Arts at Nicholas Senn High School||Chicago||Illinois|
|Vicki Nichols||Grandview Elementary||Grandview||Texas|
|Annie Ray||Annandale High School||Annandale||Virginia|
|Bethany Robinson||Noblesville High School||Noblesville||Indiana|
|Danni Schmitt||Roland Park Elementary/Middle School||Baltimore||Maryland|
|Kevin Schoenbach||Oswego High School||Oswego||Illinois|
|Matthew Shephard||Meridian Early College High School||Sanford||Michigan|
|Alice Tsui||New Bridges Elementary||Brooklyn||New York|
|Tammy Yi||Chapman University||Orange||California|
Learn more about the Music Educator Award and apply to the 2025 Music Educator Award program now.