Jonas Brothers with GRAMMY U members
Jonas Brothers Bring Happiness To GRAMMY U SoundChecks In New York
The sibling trio, back in a bigger way than they ever imagined, drew from their collective two decades of industry experience during a Q & A with GRAMMY U students in Manhattan
"Make sure that if you do go into a management position or you work for a label, you do your best to align with the right people who will work as hard as you will work for them. That’s the standard we set with our team. We know how much effort goes into making this whole thing run.” -Nick Jonas
Those words hit the ears of 44 GRAMMY U members gathered to gain insight on the music industry during a SoundChecks event featuring the Jonas Brothers at legendary New York City venue Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Aug. 29.
If it sounds like oddly sage advice for a 26 year old, consider that Nick Jonas made his Broadway debut nearly 20 years ago, and released his first single at the age of 10.
Students from New York University, Pace, Baruch College, Emerson, Northeastern, Fordham, Rider, Stevens, Five Towns, Hofstra and University of New Haven not only watched as Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas stood together at MSG for the first time since August 2008; they also jumped at the invitation from the band to join them onstage for a group photo.
Rubbing elbows with fans, of course, is part and parcel of being one of the most enduring pop acts to skyrocket out of the previous decade.
“It was something that built our career from very early on,” Joe Jonas explains to the Recording Academy backstage, ahead of the SoundChecks event. “Whether we would do meet-and-greets after every club show, in a gymnasium at somebody’s school–we would meet everybody. And those are the fans still coming to see us here at MSG. We’ve seen familiar faces for the last 11 shows we’ve done. We got to know their stories and hear about how the music helped them.”
It’s a strategy that paid off. During a lengthy hiatus that saw the brothers pursue individual projects, being accessible early in their career kept the band etched deeply in their audience’s collective consciousness. Happiness Begins, the first Jonas Brothers studio album in 10 years, debuted atop the Billboard 200 in June. It was the biggest debut from a group in 2019, with, according to Nielsen, a total consumption of 414K units, including 68 million streams. Likewise, inescapable lead single “Sucker” became their first single to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It landed the trio the MTV VMA for Best Pop Video in August, the same month their sprawling Happiness Begins Tour kicked off.
“It definitely wasn’t up to me. I was just the first to raise my hand and say, ‘I’m ready to do this again’,” Nick said to the Recording Academy of the band’s reunion. “Certain benchmarks I’d set out to accomplish on my own, I did. But there was a magic missing from it that I had with my brothers. After a few shows of throwing in a Jonas Brother song here and there, I realized there was still an appetite for it, as well. We’d done enough work as brothers and family that we could do this again, and it could be the healthy version [of the band], which was the most important thing to all of us. Once we had those conversations and began that journey, we all said we were ready to give this another go.”
Later, during the Q & A with GRAMMY U students, Joe planted his tongue in cheek and quipped, “Really it started with Nick–he broke up the band, and then he got the band back together. He gets to take all the credit, really.”
Family healing (and teasing) aside, Nick, Joe and Kevin knew that in order to succeed again with this project, they’d have to mesh the sounds they’d individually explored during their solo endeavors and evolve as a band to an industry landscape that has rapidly changed over the decade since the release of the brothers' previous album.
“It wasn’t until we worked with Ryan Tedder and Greg Kurstin that I think we cracked that code,” Nick explained during the SoundChecks event. “Probably the first song that really broke the ice in a sense was ‘Sucker,’ which Tedder had started with [co-producer] Frank Dukes prior to showing it to us. What he said to us is that he wanted to record it really bad, but didn’t feel like it was right for OneRepublic.”
Nick admitted that they wouldn’t have been as open to recording outside material in the days when they were riding the charts with their own compositions, like “Burnin’ Up.” But this is just one of the industry shifts they've adapted to, along with the advent of streaming, the dominance of social media platforms such as Instagram and uh, the rise in face tattoos–a trend Kevin joked he and his brothers missed out on.
“Way more face tattoos than there were in 2005,” Joe deadpanned to the GRAMMY U crowd. “There’s still time.”
From a fan perspective, perhaps the most significant way their idols have grown is that all three brothers have gotten married. Kevin, so far the only band member to have children, offered up the same advice to those contemplating a career in the music business that he’d give his own kids.
“This year one of my biggest moments is [my daughters] getting to see me play for the first time, so it’s a huge win,” he told the Recording Academy. “Seeing that joy in their eyes, I can understand how a young person would want to do this for themselves. So I would hope that whoever is going into this world knows that it does take hard work, and not just expect it to happen."
Kevin underscored how the Jonas Brothers' long journey took many twists and turns before landing on the iconic MSG stage.
"We played years of New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut and Boston club shows before we ever stepped on a stage that had a real PA," he said. "We grinded it out, and that’s what it is.”
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.