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How Collaboration And A Little Magic Made Blood Orange's 'Negro Swan'

Dev Hynes

Photo: Michael Ostuni/Getty Images

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How Collaboration And A Little Magic Made Blood Orange's 'Negro Swan'

Dev Hynes reveals how he was able to creatively weave his personal stories with so many distinct voices on his new project

GRAMMYs/Sep 6, 2018 - 10:11 pm

The musician and producer Dev Hynes, best-known for his indie electro R&B project, Blood Orange, released Negro Swan on Aug. 24, his fourth LP under that moniker. Not unlike his music career, the album brings together an unexpected group of collaborators which together showcase Hynes' creative vision and unique voice in an organic way.

The third single from the album, "Saint" highlights Hynes' masterful collaboration skills. The song features the voices of four other artists, including the indie-rock band Porches, all of which were recorded in different studios at different times. The music video, like many of his, including for "Jewelry," was directed by the multi-talented (yet impossible to label) artist himself.

Thanks to circumstances even Hynes himself may never know, with perhaps an almost magic text message, Hynes was able to get a dream collaboration on "Hope." The track fits its title, with the one and only Puff Daddy offering hopeful spoken-word messages throughout the song.

"What is it going to take for me not to be afraid to be loved the way, like, I really wanna be loved?…You give me that hope that maybe one day I’ll get over my fears and I’ll receive,” Puff says on the track.

In an interview with Pitchfork, Hynes shares how the collab came together rather serendipitously. "While working on that song, I started doing fake Puff vocals, because I thought it sounded like that to me. And then I was like, 'It’d be kind of cool if it actually was Puff.' So I sent him a text, like, 'I did this track, do you want to do this vocal part?' And he replied, 'Send it.' He sent back his vocals, like, 20 hours later," he shared, almost in awe himself of how it came together.

The second single from the album, "Jewelry," feels like an organic stream of consciousness with distinct parts, a distillation of the album's themes and perhaps the artist's life experiences as a whole. Hynes' said that his label had been on him to get album art, but he had a gut feeling that the right image to represent the album would come from the shoot, and indeed it did. He wanted to work with Kai the Black Angel in the video, and a stunning image of him from the video shoot, wearing angel wings through the streets of New York, became the Negro Swan cover art.

Clearly the artist knows when to trust his intuition and let the art flow naturally. If more evidence of this was needed, one could point to him featuring writer/director/activist Janet Mock as the narrator on the album, offering her insights on the albums themes across many of the tracks. Her voice and perspective offers a deeper cohesion to album, yet Hynes shares that her words were taken from a conversation they had one day in his studio when their paths crossed in New York; he shared his Negro Swan inspiration notebook with her and recorded her thoughts on it.

While Negro Swan has recently created a lot of buzz around Hynes, and for good reason, he is no stranger to the music industry, having spent a lot of time behind-the-scenes writing and producing for a wide range of artists across genres, including GRAMMY winners Kylie Minogue, Solange, Basement Jaxx, and Chemical Brothers on "All Rights Reserved" from their GRAMMY-winning We Are The Night. There must be more than a little magic and a whole lot of creative vision behind what he makes feel almost effortlessly natural.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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