meta-scriptIn Memoriam (2023): The Recording Academy Remembers The Music People We Lost | GRAMMY.com
In Memoriam (2023): The Recording Academy Remembers The Music People We Lost
Tina Turner on stage at Wembley 1990.

Photo: Dave Hogan / Getty Images Archive

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In Memoriam (2023): The Recording Academy Remembers The Music People We Lost

Take a moment to salute the members of the music community we lost in 2022-2024.

GRAMMYs/Feb 9, 2024 - 09:02 pm

Below is a tribute to the luminaries and esteemed professionals from the music community we lost between Dec. 5, 2022, through Jan. 26, 2024.

During the 2024 GRAMMYs broadcast, the Recording Academy's In Memoriam segment featured performances by several masterful musicians. Annie Lennox  was joined by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman to honor Sinéad O’Connor. Stevie Wonder took the stage to pay homage to the legendary Tony Bennett, Jon Batiste honored the "Godfather of Black Music" Clarence Avant and Fantasia Barrino paid tribute to the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner. The performances were set against a video homage of several of the distinguished figures on this list. Every individual who passed away before the publication date has also been respectfully commemorated in the official 2024 GRAMMYs program book.

The Recording Academy offers its profound respect and appreciation for the unique gifts and enduring contributions these individuals have bestowed upon our culture and collective spirit.

Aaron Spears

Abe Stoklasa

Adam Johnstone

Aérea Negrot

Ahmad Jamal

Akbar Golpayegani

Alan Arkin

Alan Copeland

Alan Niederland

Alan Rankine

Alan Warner

Alan Moore Stowell

Alba 'Albita' Eagan

Algy Ward

Alice Parker

Allen Becker

Alton Wade Kelley

Amos Ettinger

Amp Fiddler

Amparo Rubín

Ana Clara Benevides Machado

Anatol Ugorski

André Watts

Andrew Penhallow

Andrew Speight

Andy Rourke

Angela Zilia

Angelo Badalamenti

Angelo Bruschini

Anita Kerr

Anita Pointer

Anne Hart

Annie Nightingale

Anthony Topham

Anthony John Heyes

Anup Ghoshal

April Stevens

Arie Levanon

Arif Cooper

Arthur Ward Eller

Astrud Gilberto

Audie Blaylock

August 08

Axali Doëseb

B. Sasikumar

Barbara Bryne

Barrett Strong

Baxter Black

Beeyar Prasad

Ben Lipitz

Benito Castro

Benjamin Zephaniah

Berit Lindholm

Bernie Marsden

Betta St. John

Betty Price

Beytocan

Bhavani Shankar

Bhavatharini Raja

Big Pokey

Big Scarr

John Nelson "Big John" Trimble Jr.

William "Bill" Castle

Bill Humble

Bill Lee

Bill Mayne

Bill Rice

Bill Saluga

Bill Zehme

Bill Hayes

Billy Smith

Billy White Jr.

Billy "The Kid" Emerson

Bilqees Khanum

Bishop Carlton Pearson

Blair Tindall

Blas Durán

Blayne Tucker

Bob Burwell

Bob Feldman

Bob Jones

Bob Mummert

Bob Nalbandian

Bob Rice

Bob Siggins

Bob "Norton" Thompson

Bobbi Staff

Bobby Caldwell

Bobby Casey

Bobby Eli

Bobby Osborne

Bobby Schiffman

Bonny Beverley

Brad Houser

Brad Thomson

Bram Inscore

Brandon Marcel Williams

Brett Radin

Brian McBride

Brian "Brizz" Gillis

Bridgette Wimberly

Broderick Smith

Bruce Gowers

Bruce Guthro

Brucene Harrison

Bruno Ducol

Buck Trent

Buddy McNeill

Burt Bacharach

C-Knight

C.J. Harris

Calton Coffie

Calton Coffie

Calvin Newton

Canelita Medina

Canisso Canisso

Care Failure

Carl Davis

Carl Pagter

Carl Tovey

Carla Bley

Carlee Ann Vaughn

Carlin Glynn

Carline Smith Wilhite

Carlos Fonseca

Carlos Lyra

Carmen Jara

Carmen Xtravaganza

Carole Cook

Catherine Christer Hennix

Cayle Sain

Cecilia Pantoja Levi

Chabelita Fuentes

Chad Allan

Chaim Topol

Charline Whillhite

Charles Gayle

Charlie Dominici

Charlie Gracie

Charlie Monk

Charlie Robison

Chas Newby

Chick Rains

Chico Novarro

Choi Sung-Bong

Chris Ford

Chris Ledesma

Chris Lee

Chris Peluso

Chris Strachwitz

Christy Dignam

Chuck Flood

Chuck Jackson

Chuck Morris

Charley Morris

Clarence Avant

Clarence Barlow

Claude Kahn

Clay Hart

Cliff Fish

Clifton Oliver

Clint Yeager

Cobi Narita

Coco Lee

Colette Maze

Colin Burgess

Conny Van Dyke

Costa Titch

Craig Burbidge

Craig Hayes

Curtis Fowlkes

Cynthia Haring

Cynthia Weil

Dan Lardner

Daniel Bourgue

Daniel Jones

Daniel Lee Stephen Jones

Danny Kaleikini

Danny Schur

Danny Milhon

Dave Cohen

Dave Dickerson

Dave Roe

Dave Freeman

David Crosby

David Darling

David Del Tredici

David Drozen

David LaFlamme

David Lindley

David McCallum

David Leland

David Soul

David Lumsdaine

David Beckwith

David Jude Jolicoeur

Dedi Graucher

Del Palmer

Denis Badault

Denny Laine

Denyse Plummer

Dev Kohli

Dick Biondi

Dickie Harrell

Dima Nova

Dino Danelli

DJ Casper

DJ Deeon

DJ Dino Calvao

Djalma Corrêa

Don Graham

Don Kissil

Don Mulkey

Don Sebesky

Don Williams

Donnie McKethan

Dorian Kweller

Dr Latozi Madosini Mpahleni

Duane Tabinski

Dusty Street

Dwight Twilley

Ed Ames

Ed Stone

Ed "Beanpole" Efaw

Edino Krieger

Edward Sexton

Edward Walters

Edward "Kidd" Jordan

Elayne Jones

Eliud Treviño

Ellen Fitzhugh

Elliot Goldman

Eloise Wyatt Russo

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

Enrique "Zurdo" Roizner

Eric Boehlert

Eric Shoutin' Sheridan

Eric Moyo

Eric Alan Livingston

Essra Mohawk

Fallece Marilú

Faye Fantarrow

Fito Olivares

Florence Malgoire

Fran La Maina

Francesa Cappucci

Francis Monkman

François Glorieux

Frank Harlow

Frank Kozik

Frank Solivan Sr.

Frank Woodard

Frank Ford

Frank Farian

Fred White

Freddie Ross Hancock

Fuzzy Haskins

Gabriele Schnaut

Gangsta Boo

Garry Mapanzure

Garry Lee Rentfro

Gary Hobish

Gary Rossington

Gary Smith

Gary Wright

Gary Young

Gary Noble

Gennady Gladkov

George Brown

George Logan

George Maharis

George Moffett

George Newall

George Portz

George Tickner

George Winston

George Yanok

Georgia Holt

Gerald Fried

Gérard Drouot

Germano Mathias

Glen "Spot" Lockett

Gloria Belle

Gloria Coates

Glynis Johns

Goa Gil

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordy Harmon

Gordy Nichol

Grace Bumbry

Grady Hockett

Graeme Malcolm

Graham Clark

Grand Daddy I.U.

Gregory Brian Wright

Hans Poulsen

Harley Worthington

Harold Childs

Harold Killian

Harold Black

Harry Belafonte

Harry Sheppard

Haydn Gwynne

Heather Dunbar

Heike Matthiesen

Heklina Heklina

Helen Thorington

Henri Duaman

Henry Grossman

Herb Deutsch

Hiroshi "Heath" Morie

Hoppy Hopkins

Horacio Malvicino

Howie Kane

Huey "Piano" Smith

Ian Bairnson

Ian Emes

Ian Tyson

Iasos

Ilanga

Inga Swenson

Ingrid Haebler

Ira Selsky

Irish Grinstead

Irma Capece Minutolo

Irv Lichtman

Isaac "Redd" Holt

Ismaïlia Touré

Ivan "Mamão" Conti

Ivan M. Tribe

J.J. Barnes

Jack Lee

Jack Pruett Jr.

Jack Sonni

Jacqueline Dark

Jaquelyne Ledent-Vilain

Jah Shaka

Jaimie Branch

Jake Marlowe

James Bowman

James Casey

James Harvey IV

James Jorden

James Lewis

James Kottak

James C. "Jimmy" LaRocca

Jamie Reid

Jamie Tiller

Jan Woods

Jane Birkin

Jannis Noya Makrigiannis

Jasmin Stavros

Javier Álvarez Fuentes

Jay Goldberg

Jay Weston

Jay Clayton

Jean Knight

Jeff Beck

Jeff Cook

Jeff Davis

Jeff Heiman

Jeffrey Foskett

Jeno Jandó

Jeremiah Green

Jerry Bradley

Jerry Dodgion

Jerry Fretwell

Jerry Kearns

Jerry Moss

Jerry Samuels

Jerry Springer

Jerry Whitehurst

Jerry Kramer

Jerry Paul Arnold

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jesse McReynolds

Jesus Garber

Jet Black

Jim Boyer

Jim Gordon

Jim Parker

Jim Sharpley

Jim Vienneau

Jim Ladd

Jim Rae

Jimmy Buffett

Jo Mersa Marley

Jo-El Sonnier

Joanna Merlin

João Donato

Joaquin Romaguera

Joaquin "Jocko" Fajardo

Joe Fagin

Joe McGuire

Joey Bogan

John Albert

John Beckingham

John Cirillo

John Deyle

John Giblin

John Gosling

John Kezdy

John Lomax IV

John Marshall

John Miller

John Morris

John Regan

John Waddington

John Cutler

John Alexander

John Andrew Tartaglia

John Watson Algee

Johnny Allon

Johnny Fean

Johnny Ruffo

Jon Fausty

Jon Kennedy

Jordan Blake

José Evangelista

Joseph Koo

Joshua Culbreath

Joshua Madsen

Joss Ackland

Jovit Baldivino

Joy McKean

Joyce Bryant

Juan Carlos Formell

Judy Massey

Julián Figueroa

Julian Sebothane Bahula

Justin Bartlett

Justin Fontaine

K. Neville Garrick

K.J. Joy

Kaija Saariaho

Karaikudi Mani

Karl Berger

Karl Tremblay

Karl F. Dieterichs

Katherine Anderson Schaffner

Kathy Chow

Keiko Okuya Jones

Keith Gattis

Keith Reid

Keith Holzman

Kelly Joe Phelps

Ken Brigham

Ken Fish

Ken Roberts

Ken Calvert

Kendall A. Minter

Kenneth Anger

Kenneth Force

Kenneth Montgomery

Kenneth Riegel

Kent Stax

Kevin Fleming

Kevin Lemons

Kevin "Geordie" Walker

Kihnu Virve

Kim Simmonds

Kirk Arrington

Kirstie Alley

Klee Benally

Kwame Brathwaite

Kyle Jacobs

Ladislav Jásek

Lalo Rodriguez

Lance Reddick

Larry Chance

Larry Morris

Larry Collins

Lasse Wellander

Laura Lynch

Lawrence "Larry" Cohn

Lázaro Valdés

Lee Berk

Lee Purkis

Lee Rauch

Leela Omchery

Lefty SM

Leiji Matsumoto

Len Chandler

Lena McLin

Lenka Hlávková

Leny Andrade

Leo D. Sullivan

Leonard Abrams

Leonard Zinn

Leroy "Black Stalin" Calliste

Les Brown Jr.

Les Leverett

Les McCann

Leslie Jordan

Lester Sterling

Lewis Largent

Lewis Spartlan

Lewis Pragasam

Lily Afshar

Linda de Suza

Linda Lewis

Lisa Roy

Lisa Marie Presley

Lisandro Meza

Lisl Steiner

Liz Thiels

Lizeta Nikolaou

Lois Curtis Shepherd

Lola Mitchell "Gangta Boo"

Lola Dee

Lord Creator

Lou Deprijck

Loyal Jones

Luis Vasquez

Luke Bell

Lyn McLain

M Daud Kilau

Malini Rajurkar

Mam' Sylvia Mdunyelwa

Manana Doijashvili

Mandla 'Mampintsha' Maphumulo

Manny Martinez

Manuel Göttsching

Manuel Castillo Girón

Marc Roy

Marcel Amont

Marcel Zanini

Marek Kopelent

Margaret Josephine Nisbett

Margie Hunt

Margie Sullivan

María Jímenez

Mariana Sîrbu

Marianne Mantell

Marilyn Johnston Blankenship

Mark Adams

Mark Capps

Mark Howard

Mark James

Mark Kuykendall

Mark Russell

Mark Sheehan

Mark Stewart

Mark Thomas

Mark Nelson

Marlena Shaw

Mars Williams

Marsha Gray Basore

Martha Owen

Martin Duffy

Martin Petzold

Martin Stevens

Mary Weiss

Mary G. Dawson

Mary Jane Thomas

Mary Turner Pattiz

Mason Ruble

Massimo Savić

Matt Alese

Matt Stewart

Maurice Bourgue

Maurice Hines

Max Morath

Maxi Jazz

Mbongeni Ngema

Mbuya Stella Chiweshe

MC Fats

Megan Terry

Melanie Safka

Melvin "Magoo" Barcliff

Menahem Pressler

Merv Shiner

Michael Blackwood

Michael Keith

Michael Kupper

Michael Leon

Michael McGrath

Michael Parkinson

Michael Rhodes

Michael Snow

Michael "Ibo" Cooper

Michael John McGann

Mick Slattery

Mikael Maglieri

Mike Henderson

Mike Reeves

Mike Brown

Mike Taylor

Mike J Rojas

Miki Liukkonen

Mildred Miller

Milo Hrnić

Minneapolis Backyard Punk Show Shooting

Misha K. Hunke

Mo Foster

Mohbad

MoneySign Suede

Monte Cazazza

Moonbin

Myles Goodwyn

Mylon LeFevre

Najah Salam

Nancy Van de Vate

Nashawn (Lotto) Breedlove

Neal Langford

Neela Rampogal

Neil Kulkarni

Neville Garrick

Nicholas Lloyd Webber

Niel Immelman

Nihal Nelson

Niko Everette

Nina Matviienko

Nobuyuki Idei

Nora Forster

Norby Walters

Norm Pattiz

Notis Mavroudis

O.S. Thyagarajan

Oladips

Olga Chorens

Ordy Garrison

Orlando Marin

Óscar Agudelo

Otis Barthoulameu

Otis Redding III

Özkan Ugur

Pacho El Antifeka

Pamela Blair

Pamela Chopra

Pansequito

Pat Bunch

Patricia Burda Janečková

Patrick Emery

Paul Beasley

Paul Cattermole

Paul Desenne

Paul Justman

Paul Prestopino

Paul Woseen

Paxton Whitehead

Pedro Lavirgen

Pedro Messone

Pedro Henrique

Pedro Suárez-Vértiz

Pepe Domingo Castaño

Petch Osathanugrah

Pete Brown

Pete Garner

Peter Austin

Peter Brötzmann

Peter Cooper

Peter Kowalsky

Peter Luboff

Peter McCann

Peter Nero

Peter Solley

Peter Schickele

Phil Quartararo

Phill Niblock

Pilarín Bueno

Pluto Shervington

Polito Vega

Prabha Atre

Pt Vijay Kichlu

Qamar Gula

R.C. Harris

Ralph Gordon

Ramani Ammal

Ramla Beegum

Ramsey Lewis Jr.

Randy Bailey

Randy Meisner

Rashid Khan

Ray Cordeiro

Ray Hildebrand

Ray Pillow

Ray Shulman

Ray Sparks

Raymond Froggatt

Raymond Lumpkin

Red Paden

Reiner Goldberg

Rena Koumioti

Renata Scotto

Renée Geyer

Ricardo Iorio

Ricardo Drue

Richard Davis

Richard Landis

Richard Law

Richard Ross

Richard Gaddes

Rick Froberg

Rick Newman

Rickie May

Rita Hollingsworth

Rita Lee

R.L. Boyce

Rob Laakso

Robbie Bachman

Robbie Robertson

Robert Becerra

Robert Black

Robert Haimer

Robert Hicks

Robert Michaels

Robert H. Precht

Robert W. Smith

Robin Tamang

Rock Brynner

Rodney Hall

Rodriguez

Roger Sprung

Roger Whittaker

Rohana  Jalil

Rolf Harris

Ron Cornett

Ron Haffkine

Ron Hamilton

Ron Spears

Ron S. Peno

Ronnie Turner

Roseline Damian

Roxie Cawood Gibson

Roy Rifkind

Roy Taylor

Royal Blakeman

Royston Ellis

Rudolph Isley

Russell Batiste Jr.

Russell Sherman

Ryan Siew

Ryuichi Sakamoto

Sajid Khan

Sakevi Yokoyama

Sal Piro

Sam Cutler

Sanath Nandasiri

Sandra Butler Truesdale

Sandra Trehub

Sara Tavares

Sarah Schlesinger

Sarah Rice

Scott Johnson

Scott Schinder

Séamus Begley

Sean Martin

Seán Keane

Sebastian Marino

Seóirse Bodley

Seymour Stein

Shahidul Haque Khan

Shane Yellowbird

Shaul Greenglick

Shaun Roberts

Sheila Smith

Sheldon Harnick

Sheldon Reynolds

Shoji Tabuchi

Silent Servant

Silvio Berlusconi

Sinéad O'Connor

Sir David Lumsden

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez

Slim Andrews

Smokey Greene

Soňa  Červená

Spot

Stainslaw Radwan

Stan Hitchcock

Stanley Drucker

Stella Stevens

Stephen Gould

Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Stephen Allen Davis

Steve Harwell

Steve Riley

Steve Skold

Steve Travis

Steve Nelson

Steven Lutvak

Stevie B-Zet

Stuart Margolin

Sudakshina Sarma

Sueli Costa

Sulochana Chavan

Suna Kan

Surinder Shinda

Suzanne Somers

Suzy Frank

Swarup Nayak

Sweet Charles Sherrell

Tamara Milashkina

Tapas Das

Teddy White

Teresa Taylor

Teri Bristol

Terri Nolan

Terry Hall

Terry Kirkman

Terry Thacker

Terry Baucom

Teté Caturla

Thanga Darlong

The 45 King

Theo de Barros

Theresa Reneé Watson

Thom Bell

Thomas Stacy

Thomas H. Lee

Thomasina Winslow

Thotakura Somaraju

Tim Bachman

Tim Stacy

Tim Rogers

Tim Norell

Tina Turner

TJ De Blois

Tohru Okada

Tom Jones

Tom Langdon

Tom Leadon

Tom Verlaine

Tom Whitlock

Tom Wilkerson

Tom Smothers

Tom Mazzetta

Tony Bennett

Tony Coe

Tony McPhee

Tony Oxley

Tony Clarkin

Torben Ulrich

Toru Mitsui

Toto Cutugno

Treat Williams

Treva Chrisco

Trish Williams Warren

Troy Brammer

Tshala Muana

Vakhtang Kikabidze

Valentin Gheorghiu

Van Conner

Varnell Harris Johnson

Victor Pikayzen

Victor Rasgado

Vilayil Faseela

Vince Hill

Violeta Hemsy de Gainza

Virginia Zeani

Vivian Trimble

Vivian Williams

Vivienne Westwood

Walt Groller

Walt Wilson

Walter Aipolani

Walter Arlen

Walter Charles

Walter Cole Darcelle XV

Walter Ulloa

Walter "Wolfman" Washington

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Swinny

Wee Willie Harris

William "DJ Casper" Perry Jr.

Willie Ruff

Willis Spears

Yaacov Bergman

Yehonatan Geffen

Yitzhak Klepter

Yogesh Vaidya

Yotam Haim

Young Capone

Yukihiro Takahashi

Yuri Temirkanov

Yuzo Toyama

Yvonne Přenosilová

Zahara

Zdenek Macal

Zita Carno

2024 GRAMMY Nominees and Winners: See The Full List

Freddy Wexler On Helping Billy Joel "Turn The Lights Back On" — At The 2024 GRAMMYs And Beyond
Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

(L-R) Billy Joel, Freddy Wexler

interview

Freddy Wexler On Helping Billy Joel "Turn The Lights Back On" — At The 2024 GRAMMYs And Beyond

"Part of what was so beautiful for me to see on GRAMMY night was the respect and adoration that people of all ages and from all genres have for Billy Joel," Wexler says of Joel's 2024 GRAMMYs performance of their co-written "Turn The Lights Back On."

GRAMMYs/Feb 26, 2024 - 09:11 pm

They say to not meet your heroes. But when Freddy Wexler — a lifelong Billy Joel fan — did just that, it was as if Joel walked straight out of his record collection.

"I think the truth is none of it is that surprising," the 37-year-old songwriter and producer tells GRAMMY.com. "That's the best part. From his music, I would've thought this is a humble, brilliant everyman who probably walks around with a very grounded perspective, and that's exactly who he is."

That groundedness made possible "Turn the Lights Back On" — the hit comeback single they co-wrote, and Wexler co-produced; Joel performed a resplendent version at the 2024 GRAMMYs with Laufey. Joel hadn't released a pop album since 1993's River of Dreams; for him to return to the throne would take an awfully demonstrative song, true to his life.

"I think it's a very raw, honest, real perspective that is true to Billy," Wexler explains. "I think it's the first time we've heard him acknowledge mistakes and regret in quite this way."

Specifically, Joel's return highlights his regret over spending three decades mostly on the bench, largely absent from the pop scene. As Joel wonders aloud in the stirring, arpeggiated chorus, "Is there still time for forgiveness?"

"Forgiveness" is a curious word. Why would the five-time GRAMMY winner and 23-time nominee possibly need to seek forgiveness? Regardless — as the song goes — he's "tryin' to find the magic/ That we lost somehow." The song's message — an attempt to recapture a lost essence — transcends Joel's personal headspace, connecting with a universal longing and nostalgia.

Read on for an interview with Wexler about the impact of "Turn the Lights Back On," why he thinks Joel took such an extended sabbatical, the prospect of more new music, and much more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

**You did a great interview with Rolling Stone ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs. Now, we're on the other side of it; you got to see how it went down on the telecast, and resonated with the audience and world. What was that like?**

It's why I make music — to hopefully make people feel something. This song has really resonated in such a big way. More than looking at its commercial success on the charts or on radio, which has been awesome to see, the comments on Instagram and YouTube have been the most rewarding part of it.

Why do you think it resonated? Beyond the king picking up his crown again?

I don't think the song is trying to be anything it's not. I think it's a very raw, honest, real perspective that is true to Billy. I think it's the first time we've heard him acknowledge mistakes and regret in quite this way. And to hear him do it in a hopeful way where he's asking, "Is it too late for forgiveness?" is just very moving, I think.

Forgiveness? That's interesting. What would any of us need to forgive him?

He has said in other interviews, "Sometimes people say they have no regrets at the end of their life." And he said, "I don't think that's possible. If you've lived a full life, of course you have regrets." He has said that he has many things he wishes he would've done differently. This is an opportunity to express that.

I think what's interesting about the song is it has found meaning in various ways with various people and listeners. Some people imagine Billy is singing to former lovers or friends. Other people imagine Billy is singing to his fans asking, "Did I wait too long to record again?" Other people wonder if Billy is singing to the songwriting Gods and muses. Did I wait too long to write again?

In Israel, where the song was number one — or is number one, I haven't checked today — I think the song's taken on the meaning of just wanting things to be normal, wanting hostages to come home and turn the lights back on. So, you never know where a song is going to resonate, but I think that Billy just found his own meaning with it.

You know the discography front to back. What lines can you draw from "Turn the Lights Back On" to past works?

I think it draws on various pieces of his catalog, right? "She's Always a Woman" has a sort of piano arpeggio in the chorus. To me, it feels like a natural progression. It feels like, on the one hand, it's a new song. On the other, it could have come out right after River of Dreams. To me, it just kind of feels natural.

**Back when you spoke with Rolling Stone, you said you couldn't wait to hear "Turn the Lights Back On" at Madison Square Garden. How'd it sound?**

Amazing. Billy is a consummate live performer. I think he's one of the few artists where everything is better live, and everything is always a little bit different each time it's played live.

It's been really cool to watch Billy and the band continue to change and improve the song and the song's dynamics for the show. He told me tonight that tomorrow night in Tampa, I think they're going to try to play with the key of the song, potentially — try it a half a step higher.

Those are the sort of things I think great artists do, right? It's different from being on a certain type of tour where every single song is the same, the set list is the same, the key is the same, the arrangements are the same.

With Billy, there's a lot of feeling and, "Hey, why don't we try it this way? Let's play it a little faster. Let's play it a little slower. Let's try it in a different key." I just think that's super cool. You have to be a really good musician to just do that on the fly.

What have you learned from him that applies to your music making, writ large?

I've learned so much from him. As Olivia Rodrigo said to us at GRAMMY rehearsals, "He's the blueprint when it comes to songwriting."

He has helped raise the bar for me when it comes to melodies and lyrics, but the thing I keep coming back to is he's reminded me that even the greatest artists and songwriters ever sometimes forget how great they are. I think we need to be careful not to give that inner voice and inner critic too much power.

Can you talk about how the music video came to be?

Well, I had a dream that Billy was singing the opening two lines of the song, but it was a 25-year-old version of Billy. It was arresting.

When I woke up, I sort of had the vision for the video, which was one set, an empty venue of some kind, and four Billy Joels. The Billy Joel that really exists today, but then three Billys from three iconic eras where each Billy would seamlessly pick up the song where the other left off.

The idea behind that was to sort of accentuate the question of the song — did I wait too long to turn the lights back on?

And so, to kind of take us through time and through all these years, I teamed up with an amazing co-director, Warren Fu, who's done everything from Dua Lipa to Daft Punk, and an artificial intelligence company called Deep Voodoo to make that vision possible.

What I'm driven by is the opportunity to create conversations, cultural moments, things that make people feel something. What was cool here is as scary as AI is — and I think it is scary in many ways — we were able to give an example of how you can use it in a positive way to execute a creative artistic vision that previously would've been impossible to execute.

Yeah, so I'm pleased with it and I'm thankful that Billy did a video. He didn't have to do one, but he liked the idea of it. He felt it was different, and I think he was moved by it as well.

What do you think is the next step here?

It's been a really rewarding process. And Billy is open-minded, which is really cool for an artist of that level, who's not a new artist by any stretch. To actually be described as being in a place in his life where he's open-minded, means anything is possible. I could tell you that I would love there to be more music.

I'd love to get your honest appraisal. And I know you're not him. But his last pop album was released 31 years ago. In that long interim, what do you think was going on with him, creatively?

Look, I'm not Billy Joel, but I think there were a number of factors going on with him. Somewhere along the way, I think he stopped having fun with music, which is the reason he got into it, or which is a big part of the reason he got into it. When it stopped being fun, I don't think he really wanted to do it anymore.

Another piece to it is that Billy is a perfectionist, and that perfectionism is evident in the caliber of his songwriting. Having always written 100 percent of his songs, Billy at some point probably found that process to be painstaking, to try to hit that bar where he's probably wondering in his head, What would Beethoven think of this? What would Leonard Bernstein think of this?

I think part of what was different here was that, perhaps, there was something liberating about "Turn the Lights Back On" being a seed that was brought to Billy. In this way, he could be a little disconnected from it, where maybe he didn't have to have the self-imposed pressure that he would if it was an idea that he'd been trying to finish for a while.

Ironically, he still made it. Well, there's no "ironically," but I think that's it. There's something to that.

Billy Joel's Biggest Songs: 15 Tracks That Best Showcase The Piano Man's Storytelling And Pop Hooks

GRAMMY U Reps Experience GRAMMY Week Like Never Before Thanks To The Recording Academy & United Airlines
GRAMMY U Reps and staff walk the red carpet at the 2024 GRAMMYs

Photo: Andrew Sankovich

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GRAMMY U Reps Experience GRAMMY Week Like Never Before Thanks To The Recording Academy & United Airlines

United Airlines flew the GRAMMY U Representatives out to L.A. for an unforgettable 2024 GRAMMY Week. The trip provided significant professional development in music, and the Reps savored every moment. Take a look at the GRAMMY U Reps’ inspirational week.

GRAMMYs/Feb 22, 2024 - 10:38 pm

Thanks to United Airlines' partnership with the Recording Academy, the students traveled from all over the country to Los Angeles and met in person for the first time. In past years, GRAMMY U Reps have only been able to attend a few select events in addition to the GRAMMY Awards on Sunday. But because of United Airlines, these National and Chapter Reps were able to experience the music industry’s most exhilarating week.

Come with the GRAMMY U Reps as they experience Music’s Biggest Night, behind-the-scenes tours, and events highlighting various initiatives within the music industry during GRAMMY Week 2024. Learn how to apply to GRAMMY U here.

Tuesday: Travel Day

The GRAMMY U group chat was exploding with excited messages as we arrived at the airport early Tuesday morning. Each Rep was about to meet their co-workers — many of whom had only connected virtually — and gain the experience of a lifetime. 

United flew all 14 Reps to Los Angeles with exceptional timing, service, and care — even though we were traveling to work at GRAMMY Week, it felt like we were getting celebrity treatment. Once we touched down in L.A., we ran to the United baggage claim to hug our friends and capture the experience to share with fellow GRAMMY U members.

Philly Rep Tamara Tondreau and Nashville Rep Della Anderson┃GRAMMY U

Philly Rep Tamara Tondreau and Nashville Rep Della Anderson┃GRAMMY U

After grabbing lunch near our hotel in downtown L.A., we made it to the Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Office in Santa Monica for our first in-person team meeting. Sporting new custom GRAMMY U jackets, T-shirts, and hats, we prepared for our signature GRAMMY Week event, a Masterclass with actress/GRAMMY-nominated R&B artist Halle Bailey

Reps were briefed on plans for the week, then took an office tour where we spotted multiple golden gramophones. Since we work remotely year-round, this was our first time getting to see where all the magic happens.

Wednesday: Behind-The-Scenes & Behind The Music

On Wednesday, we were up bright and early to explore the Crypto.com Arena and learn about the behind-the-scenes preparation it takes to host the GRAMMY Awards each year. 

Jody Kolozsvari, Associate Producer of the GRAMMYs and a GRAMMY U alum, guided us around the arena. He also introduced us to the incredible audio, mixing, communications, and production teams as well as Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr

"Walking intoCrypto.com Arena and seeing the GRAMMY stage being built was a very surreal moment," said Sara Hudson, GRAMMY U's New York Chapter Rep. "Meeting so many of the people behind the show and witnessing the hard work that is put into producing the GRAMMY Awards made my passion for working in live music grow even more."

Later that night, Philadelphia Chapter Rep Tamara Tondreau and Los Angeles Chapter Rep Jade Bacon worked as GRAMMY U press at the A Celebration of Craft event, a collaboration between the Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing and Songwriters and Composers Wing. This was the very first time GRAMMY U Reps were invited to this exclusive event; Tamara, a songwriter herself, called this event "unforgettable."

"Since songwriting sparked my interest in the music industry, it was inspiring to be in the room with so many talented creatives," Tamara says. "Networking with professionals who hold multiple roles in the industry encouraged me and reaffirmed my goal of maintaining both business and creative aspects in my career."

Thursday: Fostering Community & Culture

Hosted at GRAMMY House, Thursday morning started with a beautiful luncheon at the inaugural A Celebration of Women in the Mix. This event made space for women in the music industry to gather and support one another, recognizing all of the strides made in a male-dominated field. 

Twelve of the 14 Reps identify as women, and this was a special moment to meet some of the industry leaders that we look up to as role models. Networking with female artists, managers, and producers who are laying the groundwork for our generation was a powerful moment we will never forget.

After delivering the keynote speech, Ty Stiklorius, the founder of management company Friends at Work, spoke with some of the GRAMMY U Reps.

"Having a conversation with such an established female in the music industry was incredibly inspiring," says Memphis Rep. Shannon Conte. "After this moment of mentorship and encouragement, I left the event feeling much more confident in my ability to one day succeed in becoming an artist manager."

Dressing up in our finest suits and gowns, we hit the town to attend the exclusive Black Music Collective’s 2024 Recording Academy Honors event, where legends Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz accepted Global Impact Awards. Sitting in the same room as these superstars was awe-inspiring, and it was an honor to see how the Black community was celebrated during GRAMMY Week.

GRAMMY U Reps Shaneel Young, Jade Bacon, and Chloe Sarmiento hosted interviews for our social media, highlighting the fashion of dozens of high-profile attendees including Adam Blackstone, Jordin Sparks, Flavor Flav, and Erica Campbell as they walked the signature black carpet. The excitement of the press line on the black carpet provided Reps with first-hand experience of what a career in press and publicity could look like. 

GRAMMY U DC Rep Shaneel Young aspires to work in music marketing. "Interviewing some of the most influential people in the industry about my passions: music, fashion, and culture, will be a moment I remember for the rest of my career," she reflects.

Reps at Black Music Collective’s Recording Academy Honors┃GRAMMY U

Reps at Black Music Collective’s Recording Academy Honors┃GRAMMY U

These two spectacular events immersed us in the initiatives the Recording Academy has implemented to celebrate diversity and representation in music, and we are so honored to be a part of the company’s continued mission.

Friday: Work Hard, Play Hard

After months spent planning our signature GRAMMY Week event, the GRAMMY U Masterclass with Halle Bailey, presented by Mastercard, we finally saw the fruits of our labor come to life. This year, we welcomed over 500 attendees in person, with members from every Chapter flying in to experience the event together at GRAMMY House.

GRAMMY U PNW Rep Chloe Sarmiento worked as talent lead and interacted directly with Halle Bailey and her team. "It was incredibly fulfilling to see the event come together on-site in Los Angeles after weeks of working on it from home," Chloe says. "Halle and her team were so great to work with, and I couldn’t have asked for a better speaker for the Masterclass!"

Working with experienced Recording Academy staff onsite further enlightened us about all things event production. From talent handling and partnerships to working radios and managing the stage, we were excited to execute a large-scale event with all of the Reps at GRAMMY House.

After a successful Masterclass, the Reps split up for the evening to conquer even more GRAMMY Week events. Half the group went to the #GRAMMYsNextGen party to spread the word about membership, host a photobooth, and interact with influencers and emerging performers. We met hip-hop duo Flyana Boss, and some of our other celebrity sightings included Laura Marano and Milo Manheim. It was inspiring to see other young professionals who have established themselves in the entertainment industry so early in their careers.

Mastercard surprised us with an entire seated table at the exclusive MusiCares Person Of The Year Gala honoring Jon Bon Jovi. It was an outstanding evening honoring the rock icon and the many ways he has given back to the music community. Following a live auction, Brandy Clark, Lainey Wilson, Jelly Roll, Shania Twain, and others performed some of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits — Bon Jovi even graced the stage with Bruce Springsteen for a special rendition of "Who Says You Can’t Go Home." 

The Reps were incredibly grateful to United and Mastercard for granting us the opportunity to witness these exclusive live performances. To see the music community come together to honor a legend while giving back and furthering the mission of MusiCares is a heartwarming aspect of the music industry we don’t get to witness every day.

Reps with Sabrina Carpenter at the Person of the Year Gala┃GRAMMY U

Reps with Sabrina Carpenter at the Person of the Year Gala┃GRAMMY U

GRAMMY U Chicago Rep Rachel Owen was one of the lucky attendees able to watch the thrilling performances while mingling in the crowd with other musicians like Sabrina Carpenter and David Archuleta.

"To even be in the same room as Shania Twain is an honor, she’s timeless and more exquisite than I could've even imagined," Owen says. "To see her perform live to Jon Bon Jovi is the type of moment you just never take for granted."

Saturday: Divide & Conquer

Saturday was jam-packed with events. Back again at GRAMMY House, a group of Reps attended the Best New Artist Spotlight, where nominees discussed their breakthrough years and what it means to be considered a "new artist." From upstarts Ice Spice and Gracie Abrams to the long musical journey of Victoria Monét, The War and Treaty, and Jelly Roll, these diverse perspectives all stressed that each person has a unique career timeline and reminded us as students to practice perseverance and patience as we navigate this industry. 

Various Reps continued at GRAMMY House, some working as press at the #GRAMMYsNextGen Ambassador Power Brunch and the first-ever Academy Proud event, celebrating LGBTQIA+ voices.

A handful of us worked as GRAMMY U press at the Special Merit Awards ceremony and subsequent celebration. Being a part of these exclusive events and witnessing historic moments like the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards was truly impactful. We interviewed nominees at the celebration, including boygenius engineer Owen Lantz (the supergroup would win their first three GRAMMYs the very next day.)

Hundreds of nominees attended the Special Merit Awards and Celebration, proudly displaying their blue medallions and glowing as they took their official GRAMMY nominee photos; the hopeful and energetic spirit of the event fueled our drive to succeed in this industry even more.

Sunday: And The GRAMMY Goes To…

Sunday morning was the day everyone had all been waiting for: the 66th GRAMMY Awards! After getting our glam on, the GRAMMY U Reps got to walk the red carpet for the first time ever. We took tons of photos and videos to commemorate this special moment and share our experience with friends and family.

While most of the Reps were posing on the carpet, Pierson, Jasmine, Rachel, and Chloe had the honor of being trophy presenters during the GRAMMY Premiere Ceremony. This was the first time GRAMMY U Reps from across the country were given the honor of being up close and personal during artists' career-defining moments.

Reps on the GRAMMYs Red Carpet┃Andrew Sankovich

Reps on the GRAMMYs Red Carpet┃Andrew Sankovich 

Moving into Crypto.com Arena to be seated for the telecast portion of the evening, the GRAMMY U Reps were ecstatic to watch the ceremony in person. As legends like Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Tracy Chapman, and Stevie Wonder blazed on stage, all the Reps were singing and dancing along, thrilled to be a part of Music’s Biggest Night. Phenomenal performances from nominees SZA, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, and Luke Combs were equally captivating. 

Witnessing the live telecast after experiencing so much behind-the-scenes production exemplified how rewarding the music industry can be, and how prestigious winning a GRAMMY truly is. The quiet suspense before a winner was announced and the roars that followed created a rollercoaster of emotions that took our breath away.

Immediately afterward, we were off to enjoy the official GRAMMYs After-Party  — and not even the constant showers could not rain on our parade. The Reps hit the dancefloor as soon as NE-YO took the stage, and hearing "Time of Our Lives" felt especially relatable. 

As we headed back home on our United flights, we reflected on an exhilarating GRAMMY Week. Not only were we able to be part of exclusive events, but we also interacted with artists, learned from experts, and grew exponentially. Experiencing these moments with the other Reps brought our team closer, while meeting members and peers showed the expansive community GRAMMY U is cultivating. 

Because of United, we witnessed all the Recording Academy does for the music industry. After GRAMMY Week, we feel more inspired and empowered than ever to lead the next generation of the music industry.

With additional reporting from Pierson Livingston.

2024 GRAMMYs: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

South African Singer Tyla Won The Inaugural Best African Music Performance Category At The 2024 GRAMMYs. What Does It Mean For African Music On The Global Stage?
Tyla with her golden gramophone

Photo: Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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South African Singer Tyla Won The Inaugural Best African Music Performance Category At The 2024 GRAMMYs. What Does It Mean For African Music On The Global Stage?

While Afrobeats and amapiano are certainly crossing over in America, Tyla’s win reflects how Western influence is often necessary for African music to transcend the continent. Is "Water" what African music needs to blossom?

GRAMMYs/Feb 12, 2024 - 10:43 pm

As the first recipient of the inaugural Best African Music Performance GRAMMY Award, South African songstress Tyla has officially etched her name into history. At the 2024 GRAMMYs, the 22-year-old's amapiano-infused Afro pop hit "Water" beat out several long-established names in African music.

While Tyla's success on Music's Biggest Night stresses the Recording Academy's continued efforts to showcase diverse African music, her victory is more of a one-armed hug rather than a full, legs-off-the-ground embrace of African music. 

This is chiefly because "Water" was successful and marketable for its use of Western pop influences. While Afrobeats and amapiano are certainly crossing over in America, bestowing a golden gramophone upon an artist whose work reflects familiar sounds is a curious step forward for African music. Still, Tyla's win may foster a greater embrace of the African sound, and the virality and pervasiveness of "Water" propelled the Johannesburg-born singer/songwriter to unheard of heights. 

"Water" hit No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs and Hip-Hop/R&B charts, and became the first African song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 since 1968. The track peaked at No. 7, making Tyla the highest-charting African female solo musician in Billboard history. The "Water" dance challenge on TikTok further pushed the track into the global sphere, and the song has been featured in over 1.5 million videos.

The widespread appeal of "Water" is a culmination of elements, notably a fusion of Western pop with subtler amapiano influences. The song melds sleek American R&B and pop compositions with the log drums and piano trails synonymous with the South African amapiano genre. 

Read more: 10 African GRAMMY Winners Through The Years: From Miriam Makeba To Angélique Kidjo & Burna Boy

Indeed, most musical genres (regardless of continent of origin) draw inspiration from and contribute back to each other. The resulting music transcends regional boundaries and appeals globally — and Tyla's "Water" is proof of this resonance. Yet it also reflects how a major Western influence is often necessary for African music to transcend the continent. 

The Recording Academy's new Category was designed to highlight "strong elements of African cultural significance," said Shawn Thwaites, Recording Academy Awards Project Manager and author of the Category. In describing eligibility for the Best African Music Performance Category, Thwaites noted that songs must feature "a stylistic intention, song structure, lyrical content and/or musical representation found in Africa and the African diaspora." 

Still, when it comes to recognizing lesser known genres — from South Africa's gqom to Tanzania’s singeli and Ghana’s asakaa — the global audience still has a long way to go.

"We need to go deeper and in more detail within different genres of music. We know there are multiple different types of music — hundreds of genres, in fact — coming from Africa and from all 54 countries on the continent," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told GRAMMY.com after his three trips to the vibrant continent. "I'd love to see us be able to honor even more music from Africa and other areas of the world."

Thwaites hopes that celebrating the diversity of African music will also lead to greater cultural exchange. Eventually, this could lead to "more collaborations between artists of different genres and more artist relations between labels and executives in America," he said. 

But for this progression to happen correctly, there has to be a cultural education about the music within the continent and it's something Ghazi Shami, CEO/Founder of Empire Records, Distribution and Publishing — who consulted with the Recording Academy on the new Category — is looking forward to watching develop. 

"I think we'll see expanded categories in African music in the years to come, but this is a great start toward recognizing the merits and impact of African music," he told GRAMMY.com prior to the ceremony. 

Tyla's GRAMMY win is an exceptional achievement — particularly so for a young African woman. Popular African music has often been skewed towards male artists. At the 2023 GRAMMYs, Tems became the only female solo artist currently living in Nigeria to win a GRAMMY. (Sade, who was born in Nigeria, has won four GRAMMYs but lives in the U.K.)

A similar trend is observed in South Africa, where Miriam Makeba was both Africa's first GRAMMY winner and the country's solo female vocalist to win prior to Tyla. 

Tyla's win is a beacon to other young female performers in Africa — including fellow Category nominee Ayra Starr and singer/songwriter and producer Bloody Civilian — proving that female artists can and will be recognized, regardless of their country of origin. It also demonstrates how the distance between African artists and international prestige has been shortened, thus furthering the likelihood of artistic innovation.

Her win is also notable in a Category stacked with Nigerian artists. Of the five nominated works, "Water" is the only one not created by an artist of Nigerian descent or currently living in Nigeria. (Though South African producer Musa Keys is featured on Davido's nominated "UNAVAILABLE.") Although South Africa has a lengthy history at the GRAMMY Awards, Tyla is proof the world is listening to what her country has to offer. 

While her fellow nominees — Starr, Burna Boy, Davido, ASAKE & Olamide  — and artists such as Wizkid have also shouldered the responsibility for the globalization of popular African music, there is still a long road ahead. 

Tyla’s win holds significant promise for African music as pop music. While "Water" certainly has noticeable South African elements, its Western appeal may partially lay in its use of familiar sounds. For Africa to truly win, the world has to embrace African music for what it is, and not for what it's trying to be. 

Big First Wins At The 2024 GRAMMYs: Karol G, Lainey Wilson, Victoria Monét & More

How The Latin GRAMMYS Brought Latin Music Excellence To The 2024 GRAMMYs
Peso Pluma attends the 2024 GRAMMYs

Photo:  Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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How The Latin GRAMMYS Brought Latin Music Excellence To The 2024 GRAMMYs

Latin music was celebrated throughout GRAMMY Week and on Music's Biggest Night. Read on for the many ways Latin music excellence was showcased at the 204 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Feb 9, 2024 - 09:56 pm

The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs may have occurred months ago and thousands of miles away, but the leading lights in Latin music also shined at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. From historic wins and meaningful nominations, to electric performances and interesting installations, Latin music excellence was everywhere. 

In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMYs in 2024, the exclusive GRAMMY House — the site of multiple GRAMMY Week events — included a significant installation dedicated to the Biggest Night In Latin Music.

The cylindrical display showcased some of the biggest moments in Latin GRAMMY history, including images, facts, and even a real Latin GRAMMY award. 

The celebration of Latin music continued throughout GRAMMY Week, with several Latin GRAMMY-winning artists also winning on the GRAMMY stage. Among the major moments at the 2024 GRAMMYs, Karol G won her first golden gramophone for her 2023 LP Mañana Será Bonito. "This is my first time at GRAMMYs, and this is my first time holding my own GRAMMY," the Colombian songstress exclaimed during her acceptance speech. 

Música Mexicana star Peso Pluma also took home his first GRAMMY; his album GÉNESIS won in the Best Música Mexicana Album (Including Tejano) Category.

Premiere Ceremony presenter Natalia Lafourcade — whose Todas Las Flores won big at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs — also took home the GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album. She tied in the Category with Juanes

Premiere Ceremony performer Gabby Moreno also took home a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Pop Album for her album X Mí (Vol. 1)

Beyond the stage, Latin artists graced the red carpet and the nominations list. For example, producer and songwriter Edgar Barrera was the only Latino nominated in the Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical Category.

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