J Balvin Brings Out Wisin Y Yandel & All The Vibras For Historic Lollapalooza Set

J Balvin at Lolla 2019

Photo: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic/Getty Images


J Balvin Brings Out Wisin Y Yandel & All The Vibras For Historic Lollapalooza Set

The Colombian reggaetón champ offered positivity, gratitude, inclusiveness and infectious energy during his headlining show

GRAMMYs/Aug 4, 2019 - 10:06 pm

Four songs into his history-making Lollapalooza headline set last night, J Balvin paused as he finished his Nicky Jam collab, "X," took off his sunglasses and looked out at the massive crowd. "I want to see you guys, I want to see your energy out there," the Colombian Latin GRAMMY winner said, hyping up the already hyped audience.

"It took us 28 years to be on this stage…and I'm so happy and so grateful to be headlining, for the first time a Latino act." His gratitude, along with a level of humbleness typically not reserved for a headline act, was present throughout J Balvin's 75-minute set.

Rocking lime-green hair, Balvin shone brightly onstage, filling Grant Park with his shimmering energy and smooth voice. But it wasn't just about him—Balvin's show was about representing fellow Latinos proudly—including the reggaetoneros that paved the way for him.

As he reflected on the historic moment, he added "From Medellín, Colombia to the world, pa' la vi' Latino (short for para la vida, aka for the Latino life), this is our time. This is our moment. It's our time to make our dreams come true. Like I'm making my dream, you can make your dream too." Based on the echoing cheers and applause alone, it's safe to say the other attendees also found his words, presence and overall performance deeply inspired and ridiculously fun.

As the crowd cheered, he continued through his impressive catalog of massive Spanish-language bops. He went into his perreando-ready "Reggaeton," checked in with the crowd—"How's the energy?"—and followed with "Safari," his 2017 Pharrell Williams-assisted track. Balvin's equally energetic dance crew, who rocked pieces from his Guess x J Balvin Vibras collection and sometimes dressed as clouds and other playful characters from Balvin's colorful FriendsWithYou collab, brought his smooth lyrical flow and his DJ and band's big beats even more life as they tore up the stage.

The crowd fed from and added to the energy of the experience, enjoying every moment, but no one was prepared for the surprise that came next.

"I'm so grateful to be here, gracias...but I wouldn't be here without the reggaeton OGs...that's why we gotta pay homage to the OGs," Balvin said as the music went into N.O.R.E. and Daddy Yankee's 2004 reggaeton classic hit, "Oye Mi Canto." The crowd, of course, got down to the old-school club track as Balvin rapped along.

The energy levels went from a 10 to a 12 as GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY winners Wisin y Yandel took the stage to rap with Balvin for another reggaeton classic, their 2005 debut single, "Rakata." It felt like the most lit Latin music club in your city was popping off, except it was happening on Lollapalooza's main stage, and the songs were being performed by three of the biggest heroes of the first and second waves of the genre. 

Related: Daddy Yankee To Give First-Ever Spanish-Language Performance On The Late Late Show With James Corden

As Wisin Y Yandel left the stage, Balvin ended the epic three-song tribute with Yankee's Latin GRAMMY-nominated 2004 banger, "Gasolina." Balvin closed the tribute with, "Dios bendiga el reggaetón (God bless reggaetón)," a line from his own song "Reggaeton," which in itself is a tribute to the OGs.

He continued the set with more of his own songs and features, including Cardi B's massive GRAMMY-nominated bilingual Hot 100 No. 1 hit with Balvin and Bad Bunny, "I Like It." The song got its own Balvin show-that-feels-like-the-best-Latin-club-night-treatment, opening with the original version of boogaloo song sampled on the track—"I like It Like That," released by Bronx-born Latin jazz artist Pete Rodriguez in 1967—as his squad salsa-danced together.

More: J Balvin & Bad Bunny Drop Surprise Album 'Oasis,' Release Sensual Single "Que Pretendes"

Balvin checked in with the crowd again, asking, "Where are my people from Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico…," celebrating the diverse, lively crowd and the various Latin-culture influences of "I Like It." Cheers erupted from around the crowd as the fans, like Balvin, proudly identified with their Latino roots, as much of the audience grabbed their friends' or lovers' hands and salsa-ed along with the dancers on stage. As the music progressed into the 2018 song, the crowd jumped to the beat. Fireworks shot up from the stage and it was impossible not to feel chills with the power of the moment. The vibras were very real.

As the set neared to a close, the audience was still vibing and grooving hard with Balvin. As he finished 2014's "Ay Vamos"—yes, he's been dropping big bops for awhile now, beginning with his 2013 debut album, La Familia—he announced the next song would be his last and thanked everyone one more time.

The ridiculously catchy extended club cut "Mi Gente" featuring Willy William would wrap the powerful show on a high note. The bouncing track was huge single for Balvin and introduced him to an even bigger fanbase when he dropped the hit in 2017, spawning countless remixes including one bringing on Beyoncé, but somehow it didn't feel like he had missed it earlier during the show.

He asked the crowd to jump with him and to shine their lights, los luzes, together and everyone did. As the song slowed down, you could hear "otra, otra!" (meaning another/one more) echoing through the joyful crowd; they were not ready to end this massive moment. Thankfully, Balvin and his touring DJ/hype-man took "Mi Gente" into an extended, EDM-esque version of it, which they played much earlier during his Coachella 2019 set.

Eventually the last beat dropped—the "Mi Gente" club mix was indeed the last song—and Balvin paused for a final grateful look to all the people that moved with him the whole time. He left the stage but much of the crowd held on the moment a bit longer, yelling "otra!" again. Throughout the show, they danced and cheered for him, his killer music and his big moment, but were also very much celebrating with him and a understood their part in it too; his gente, his "Latino Gang" and everyone who comes together with his music as the catalyst.

Matoma On Playing Lolla 2019: "It's All About Spreading Love & Positivity, That's Why I'm Here"


GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.

In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.


Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year


Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

 Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 and will be broadcast live on the Univision Television Network at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. 

"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community.

Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list. 

At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself  but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and the album release of that concert, Juan Gabriel En Vivo Desde El Palacio De Bellas Artes, broke sales records and established his iconic status. 

After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.   

In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.   

Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized. 

For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or

Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Grizzled Mighty perform at Bumbershoot on Sept. 1

Photo: The Recording Academy


Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Alexa Zaske

This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.

The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.

Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."

Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.

Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed. 

Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.

My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.

For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.

(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)

Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images


Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Feb 11, 2019 - 10:58 am

As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.

Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.

"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."

Full Winners List: 61st GRAMMY Awards