Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images
Jon Batiste Kicks Off The GRAMMY Museum's "A New York Evening With…" Series With Revealing Q&A, Intimate Solo Performance
"I feel like everyone here, I'd probably like a lot," Batiste told the gobsmacked and masked audience at Lincoln Center — reminding them that he isn't just a GRAMMY-sweeping musical juggernaut, but a highly present human being.
Jon Batiste has been a household name since 2015, but he's seemingly just now arriving as an honest-to-goodness star.
By the time he took the stage at a small auditorium at Lincoln Center on June 17, he had been up for a scarily long time — beginning with an early appearance on "The Today Show" that morning. Still, Batiste's natural charisma was undimmed. Almost immediately, the beyond-media-trained musician laid waste to the N95-ed audience — and all it took was a quick shimmy and a gleaming grin.
If all Batiste did at the New York Performing Arts Library was smile and dance and wave, it would have amounted to an Instagrammable moment, at the very least. Instead, the house was in for an uncommonly deep Q&A and performance, to kick off the GRAMMY Museum's "A New York Evening With…" series presented by City National Bank and in partnership with the City of New York Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. (It'll run until the end of 2022; click here for more details.)
Speaking with the GRAMMY Museum's Chief Curator and VP of Curatorial Affairs, Jasen Emmons, Batiste held forth about his childhood, family life, and constant potpourri of creative projects — which spans everything from film to TV to Carnegie Hall to lower-key collaborations. Batiste followed it up with an audience Q&A and then a livewire, seemingly improvisatory set on piano and voice, threading his GRAMMY-winning originals with standards germane to Black America.
Jon Batiste speaking with the GRAMMY Museum’s Jasen Emmons. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images
Back to all those projects for a second. How, exactly, does Batiste juggle it all? The words "frontburner" and "backburner" came up several times. His American Symphony, coming up at Carnegie was on the backburner for years until it was on the front. A good-intentioned request from an audience member to work in Broadway? "I've never really decided I want to focus on that on the front burner," he replied. "I think it has to be the right project."
Elsewhere in the hour-long talk, Batiste rhapsodized about his hometown of New Orleans ("We also have this incredible family that is musical, and this incredible city that's musical, and everybody plays"), revealed that he sweats over lyrics ("That's the hardest part, in that it takes the most time") and decried the notion of "world music" ("I want to abolish that, actually").
On top of all that, he recalled meeting Stephen Colbert for the first time and described the philosophy he brought to the Pixar film Soul, which he and other blue-chip jazz musicians like Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington and Aaron Diehl chipped into. "It was a real labor of love to really make it right, make it feel authentic," Batiste said "We really went for it."
Stars at Batiste's level can be inaccessible, an entertainment module more than an approachable person. Batiste is the opposite. The Q&A radiated love for his family, roots, and future friends; his old piano teacher was even in the audience. And the brief set Batiste performed afterward didn't feel predetermined or prepackaged; it felt like a genuine expression in the moment.
Weaving originals like "We Are" and "Cry" with shopworn tunes like "Sinner Man," "St. James Infirmary Blues" and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," Batiste made celestial connections between music's past — which he clearly, deeply understands — and his present. Between tunes, he almost seemed taken aback at what had transpired, like he was observing himself. "I was just playing," he quietly noted at one point. "I like that."
Jon Batiste performing post-Q&A. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images
The piano-and-a-microphone set — which contained material from his 2022 GRAMMYs-sweeping album We Are provided a window into how talented this guy truly is. But at a certain point, it all came back to that born starpower. Perhaps maintaining it means not being thrown off by an early morning, or the fact he couldn't see anyone's full faces. Maybe it means tapping into a shared energy, no matter what.
"I feel like everyone here, I'd probably like a lot," Batiste said before performing his final song of the night, "We Are." And from the sound of the enraptured crowd at Lincoln Center, the answer was clear: back atcha.
Check below for more details on the "A New York Evening With…" series, and keep checking RecordingAcademy.com for more recaps of these intimate, unforgettable East Coast evenings — courtesy of the GRAMMY Museum.
Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Inside Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years Of Hip-Hop At The GRAMMY Museum
"Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop," Jimmy Jam said during the celebratory event Resonance, which honored the legacy of hip-hop at the GRAMMY Museum.
The Recording Academy is continuing to honor the legacy of hip-hop, to one of the most popular genres of music in America. Held on Dec. 4 at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles, Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop was presented by the Academy's Black Music Collective and sponsored by City National Bank.
The Resonance event took over the Museum's fourth floor, which is home to the recently unveiled "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit." There, members and leadership from the Academy and BMC, along with musicians and industry professionals, celebrated 50 years of music that has transcended boundaries, inspired advocacy and fostered impactful social change.
Guests were welcomed into the space by an unparalleled collection of artifacts — an ode to the genre through memorabilia and interactive displays showcasing the evolution of hip-hop music and culture. Tupac’s all-white suit — worn in the last video he made — is displayed next to Notorious B.I.G.'s red leather pea jacket worn in the music video for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s "Players Anthem." The impact of the museum’s intentionally curated collection evokes the extended struggle of the Black experience in America, while celebrating its culture, creativity, and endurance against all odds.
The power of connection and representation was emphasized by five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, an R&B songwriter, music producer, and illustrious GRAMMY Museum Board Member. "The idea of 'resonance' struck a chord in me because the mission is unification, amplification and to celebrate Black music. Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop."
"I'm proud to have known my partner Terry Lewis for 50 years. We were raised on hip-hop," he told the crowd. "Hip-hop inspires, it embodies transcendence. Hip-hop advocates and fosters social change, and the cultural significance is astounding."
Jimmy Jam highlighted the integral role of partnerships between the Black Music Collective and sponsor/supporters such as City National Bank and Amazon Music. Such relationships have enabled the third year of the Amazon Music-sponsored Your Future Is Now, a scholarship program.
"We have the opportunity to pour knowledge, resources and many opportunities into the young talent and the young creatives of the future. And that's what we're here to do," he continued.
GRAMMY Museum Board Member and Executive Vice President of City National Bank, Linda Duncombe, who was introduced by Jimmy Jam as "music’s best friend" spoke to the critical work of support.
"We protect and celebrate those who have shared their gift as well as ensure their artistic contributions are accessible for people of all walks of life around the world and for future generations," she said, adding that as a Museum board member, "educating the next generation of artists and teachers is always top of mind. The 'Mixtape Exhibit' really will inspire students to pursue hip hop and the music industry."
Host Lady London, a rapper and songwriter from The Bronx summed up the power of hip-hop and its ability to transcend music. A hyped crowd enthusiastically received her words.
"It's beautiful to see what we have been able to cultivate in such a short amount of time. We are the culture, we have the power to shift the culture and we continue to move mountains," she said. "We are influences in fashion and design and the Black family education, economic empowerment, the arts. We're limitless.
"We have balanced everything and there is nothing that is quite parallel to that," Lady London continued. "I'm so proud to be a part of the culture."
As guests mingled among the exhibits many displays and highlights like original lyric sketches, mixtapes, and an interactive "sonic playground" where guests could interact with recording devices, make 808 beats and record tracks. Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. reflected on the culmination of a year celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
"Hip hop has been a defining force in our culture and it is so important to be able to honor it in this way" he said. "This is the end of a year that started with us celebrating at our GRAMMY Awards show last season."
Los Angeles' DJ Jadaboo — who has performed for Tommy Hilfiger at New York Fashion Week and a slew of celebrity parties and high profile events — set the vibe all night. Her mix spanned all five decades of the genre and beyond, from R&B to hip hop classics by Jay-Z and Drake, stacking much-sampled songs like Curtis Mayfield’s "Pusher Man" into the set.
As the event carried on, Jimmy Jam’s earlier remarks echoed between the museum’s walls. "Look at what's been done in the last 50 years. You see it all around here," he said. "Now take a look at each other and know all that is happening right now… is because we are the people that are gonna continue to carry this on for another 50 years."
The GRAMMY Museum’s "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit" runs through Sept. 4, 2024. "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop" will air Sunday, Dec. 10, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. ET and 8 to 10 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network, and stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Netflix
Inside 'American Symphony': 5 Revelations About The Jon Batiste Documentary
'American Symphony,' a new Netflix documentary about five-time GRAMMY winner Jon Batiste and his wife, author Suleika Jaouad, is an uncommonly intimate and incisive work. At a screening, Batiste and the filmmakers revealed how it came together.
Director Matthew Heineman planted his flag with gritty, warts-and-all documentaries about warfare, drug cartels and the devastating impact of the pandemic. As such, the proposition for American Symphony — a beloved musician's journey to his Carnegie Hall debut — might seem like lighter fare.
But as Heineman expertly draws out, this is a whole other kind of battlefield.
From its first scenes, it's abundantly clear this is not just about Batiste's titular, boundary-bulldozing work from 2022. That story is twinned with a different kind of symphony — the one between human beings, loving one another through unimaginable duress. As Batiste labored over this expansive, freighted production, his wife, Between Two Kingdoms memoirist Suleika Jaouad, reckoned with the return of her leukemia.
From Batiste's palpable panic to an (unshown) bed filled with blood, American Symphony is unafraid to stare this tribulation in the eyes, as it follows Batiste's inimitable creative process. Even as it builds to its crescendo, Heineman keeps it bracingly human-level — and the result is a triumph.
A week after American Symphony hit Netflix, Heineman and Batiste sat down with the film's co-producer, Lauren Domino, and moderator Joe McGovern of "The Wrap," at Brooklyn Academy of Music for a post-screening spin through the documentation process. Here are five revelations from the discussion.
Working With Jaouad's Health Was Beyond Delicate
First, it must be said: by Batiste's telling, Jaouad is "doing great" today — in fact, she had to miss the event, as she had just headed to Costa Rica. (In a sweet moment at night's end, Heineman pointed his phone at the audience for a mass shout-out: "We love you, Suleika!")
But when the author was in the throes of her rediagnosis, nothing was certain — and given the pandemic was still in full swing, every precaution had to be taken. "After the bone marrow transplant, she didn't have an immune system," Heineman said. "If she got a cold, she could have died."
As such, "It was very complicated from a producing point of view to navigate the puzzle of Jon's insane life, and then trying to find our way into the hospital, and then back out again, and back in again."
But they pulled it off, in the most concise way possible — which, given the unbelievable amount of footage they got, is something of a miracle.
1,500 Hours Were Filmed For American Symphony
As this writer came across Batiste in various situations, over the last couple of years — including in Las Vegas around the 2022 GRAMMYs, and the American Symphony premiere — a camera crew conspicuously trailed him everywhere he went.
Clearly, it was for something down the pike. And that something accrued an unbelievable 1,500 hours of footage — about 62 straight days. This could have resulted in a nine-hour bonanza, like The Beatles: Get Back. Or even an entire television series.
But to Heineman's credit, he resisted going maximal, and opted for a fundamentally quiet story. In fact, in the lynchpin scene of the film, no words are said at all.
About That Scene…
American Symphony arguably hinges on this scene: Batiste sits alone onstage, at the piano, before a smallish audience. He dedicates his next piece to Jaouad. And then he sits silently for 95 seconds; his microexpressions, breath and hands are poetry. Finally, the notes come.
"It's so easy in documentaries… forcing an essay, or an idea, through dialogue, through words, through voiceover, or through talking heads, or whatever," Heineman said. "[I wanted to] hold that space to allow you all to interpret that moment in your own way."
As Batiste clarified, the concert in question was a totally extemporaneous affair, where Batiste played whatever his antenna picked up.
"There'd be moments where I would even sometimes get up from the piano and leave until something came," he recalls. "And it felt like at that moment, there was a prayer that really needed to be specified and spoken out."
When The Power Went Out At Carnegie, Adrenaline Shot Through The Roof
Another of the most powerful scenes in American Symphony is during the titular performance itself — and, naturally, it's also of Batiste playing piano.
Although it was inconspicuous to the audience during the symphony's world premiere, panic had set in at one point: the power had gone out onstage, rendering the microphones and electronics dead.
Right then, he pauses and spins a melody out of the air, reflecting and refracting sad and sweet footage of their couplehood, which plays out onscreen.
"If you could see my blood pressure spike in the control room," Domino said. Of co-producer Joedan Okun: "We're sitting next to each other, and we're like, 'This is what we have anxiety dreams about, and now it's happening.' This guy is used to shooting in war zones. Jon is a genius, and they're just cool as cucumbers."
Suffice to say, when it turned out their 13 cameras didn't kill the power, the relief was unimaginable. And as Okun correctly observed in the moment, "This is a cinematic wonder."
The Ending Was Almost Much Different
True to Heineman's facility for smiting darlings in the editing stage, he was unafraid to completely change the ending at the eleventh hour — even though that version was, by all accounts, tremendous.
"Jon did his encore, which is what happened in real life… this beautiful rendition of the national anthem," Heineman said. "But it just felt like we weren't paying attention to the rest of the film that we had just made, and we didn't feel the two of them together."
"So, I guess I wanted to have my cake and eat it too," he continued. "To have the culmination of American Symphony, but also the symphony of life that we witnessed over the past year, come together with the two of them walking forward."
Right then, against a velveteen, winter sky, Batiste and Jaouad walk together into the future. Regarding both symphonies, personal and musical, together as one: Bravo.
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!”
Photos: Image from TiVO; Dave Benett/Getty Images for Alexander McQueen; Prince Williams/WireImage; SAMIR HUSSEIN/WIREIMAGE; Arturo Holmes/Getty Images; Image from TiVO; Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Here Are The Song Of The Year Nominees At The 2024 GRAMMYs
The eight nominees for Song Of The Year at the 2024 GRAMMYs are hits from some of music’s biggest names: Lana Del Rey, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Jon Batiste, Taylor Swift, SZA and Dua Lipa.
The Song Of The Year GRAMMY Award honors the best releases in the music business, and the eight nominees for the golden gramophone at the 2024 GRAMMYs come from a variety of established singer/songwriters. From dance anthems to pop bops, ballads and R&B smashes, the nominees for Song Of The Year showcase the breadth of emotions of the past year.
Before tuning into the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, learn more about this year's Song Of The Year nominees below.
"A&W" - Lana Del Rey
Songwriters: Jack Antonoff, Lana Del Rey & Sam Dew
The second single from her ninth studio album, Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, "A&W" is a refreshing addition to Lana Del Rey’s expansive discography.
Another shattered portrait of the American Dream, the seven-minute epic, oscillates from madness to exhaustion, as Del Rey described feeling burned out by being objectified and perceived as an "American whore." What begins as a psychedelic folk ballad erupts into a defiant trap number interpolated with a doo-wop standard by the four-minute mark of the chaotic number.
"I’m a princess, I’m divisive/Ask me why I’m like this/Maybe I just kinda like this," Del Rey anxiously warbles. Later, she expresses her resignation surrounding rape culture: "If I told you that I was raped/ Do you really think that anybody would think/ I didn't ask for it? I didn't ask for it/ I won't testify, I already f—ed up my story."
"Anti-Hero" - Taylor Swift
Songwriters: Jack Antonoff & Taylor Swift
"Anti-Hero" showcased a new side of Taylor Swift — a rare moment where the 33-year-old pop star confronted her flaws in the public eye.
"I really don’t think I’ve delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before," Swift said of the track in an Instagram video. "Not to sound too dark, but, like, I just struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person."
The self-loathing synth-pop anthem — with its cheeky chorus — catapulted "Anti Hero" into virality. With its ubiquitous meaning, the song topped charts and became a staple of pop radio. Now, it’s enjoying the highest praise as a contender for Song Of The Year.
"Butterfly" - Jon Batiste
Songwriters: Jon Batiste & Dan Wilson
Beyond its sound, what makes Jon Batiste’s "Butterfly" so stunning is the story behind it. The touching jazz-soul fusion track is an iteration of the lullabies Batiste penned while his wife Suleika Jaouad was hospitalized during her cancer treatment.
"It’s just such a personal narrative song in relation to my life and what my family has gone through and my wife and all of the things she’s been able to overcome," the 36-year-old GRAMMY winner told PEOPLE.
"Butterfly" is featured on Batiste's latest album, World Music Radio. Like much of his discography, "Butterfly" is inherently uplifting but there’s an underlying yearning for freedom. "Butterfly in the air/ Where you can fly anywhere/ A sight beyond compare," Batiste croons over stripped-down keys.
"Dance The Night" (From Barbie The Album) - Dua Lipa
Songwriters: Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt
With the release of her pop-funk epic Future Nostalgia during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dua Lipa proved she could master the art of escapism. On "Dance The Night," a thrilling dance-pop number from the star-studded Barbie soundtrack, she channels that same inspiration with a side of glitter and glam.
"Greta said that the whole film was inspired by disco. There’s a lot of very glittery and pop moments in it," the 28-year-old singer said of how the track fits into the movie in an interview with Dazed.
Over a sleek synth, the pop star reflects the unwavering joy Barbie outwardly emanates while she’s crumbling inside: "Even when the tears are flowin' like diamonds on my face/I'll still keep the party goin', not one hair out of place (yes, I can)."
"Flowers" - Miley Cyrus
Songwriters: Miley Cyrus, Gregory Aldae Hein & Michael Pollack
Miley Cyrus has perfected the art of reinventing herself. With the post-breakup number "Flowers," she reclaimed her independence and took a hard turn from gritty rock back into pop music. "I can take myself dancing, yeah/ I can hold my own hand/ Yeah, I can love me better than you can," she belts over a disco-pop beat.
While the 30-year-old musician wouldn’t share if "Flowers" was indeed about her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth, the song became an empowering earworm from a more refined version of the longtime musician.
"The song is a little fake it till you make it," she said of "Flowers" in an interview with British Vogue. "Which I’m a big fan of." It turns out she made it with a nomination for Song Of The Year at the 2024 GRAMMY Awards.
"Kill Bill" - SZA
Songwriters: Rob Bisel, Carter Lang & Solána Rowe
On the psychedelic R&B groove of "Kill Bill," which references the legendary Quentin Tarantino film, SZA dreams up her own unfiltered revenge fantasy. "I might kill my ex / Not the best idea / His new girlfriend's next / How'd I get here?" she ponders over an airy melody.
The song stands out on the R&B singer’s latest album, SOS, for not only its cheeky wordplay but for how visceral she portrayed the devastation of a breakup.
Despite its popularity, the 34-year-old singer initially thought one of the other songs on her 23-track album would have topped the charts. "It's always a song that I don't give a f— about that's just super easy, not the s— that I put so much heart and energy into. 'Kill Bill' was super easy — one take, one night," the singer told Billboard of "Kill Bill’s" success.
"Vampire" - Olivia Rodrigo
Songwriters: Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo
Like her explosive debut "Drivers License," Olivia Rodrigo opted for a swelling power ballad for the lead single of her sophomore album Guts. On "Vampire," the singer/songwriter recalls a parasitic relationship with a swelling power ballad that erupts into a booming guitar breakdown. "Bloodsucker, famef—er/ Bleedin' me dry, like a goddamn vampire," she sings with a bitter lilt.
While many speculated the song was about a toxic relationship, Rodrigo claimed it’s more nuanced than that. "It’s more about my regret and kind of beating myself up for doing something that I knew wasn’t gonna turn out great and kind of just taking ownership of that and dealing with those feelings," she told Sirius XM Hits 1.
Regardless, the 20-year-old artist turned something bitter into something sweet by landing a Song Of The Year nomination.
"What Was I Made For?" [From The Motion Picture "Barbie"] - Billie Eilish
Songwriters: Billie Eilish O'Connell & Finneas O'Connell
Not only was the Barbie movie a massive hit, its soundtrack was, too, thanks to a slew of chart-topping artists including Dua Lipa, HAIM and Sam Smith. So it’s no surprise that Billie Eilish made that list as well, and delivered a gutting ballad that soundtracked one of the most heartbreaking moments of the film.
The wistful single, which arrives at the devastating realization that you’re not real and are instead meant to be consumed, aptly embodies the narrative arc of the box office smash. "Looked so alive, turns out I'm not real/ Just something you paid for/ What was I made for," the 21-year-old musician sings with a heartbreaking lilt.
While writing the sobering number, Eilish tried to embody the essence of the life-sized doll herself. "I was purely inspired by this movie and this character and the way I thought she would feel, and wrote about that," she told Zane Lowe of Apple Music.
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.