Photo: Courtesy of Julius Rodriguez
Press Play At Home: Julius Rodriguez Leads A Sprightly Jam Session With His "Blues At The Barn" Performance
Pianist Julius Rodriguez conveys the ambiance of a jazz club — from the comfort of home — with this fast-paced performance of "Blues At The Barn" in this episode of Press Play at Home.
Long before he released his full-length debut album, Let Sound Tell All, in June 2022, New York City-based pianist and multi-instrumentalist Julius Rodriguez was already a hot commodity in the jazz community.
For jazz aficionados, his upbringing is the stuff of modern-day legend: When he was 11 years old, Rodriguez's dad was already driving him from their home in White Plains into the city so that he could play at jam sessions at the West Village jazz club Smalls. Despite being half (or even one-third) the age of his fellow performers, he left a major impression on the crowd, – honing an already well established style that, years later, would earn him acceptance into Julliard. He studied there for over a year, but dropped out to launch his performing career by going on tour with A$AP Rocky.
In this episode of Press Play at Home, Rodriguez' early influences of jamming in small jazz clubs are on full display. His sprightly performance of "Blues At The Barn" evokes a night out in an intimate NYC club, even though the performance was filmed at home in the middle of the day. A drummer and bass player form a classic jazz trio with Rodriguez, who handles the lively main melody on his Yamaha upright piano.
With an impressive resume as a musician at the age of 23, Rodriguez is now introducing himself as an artist in his own right with Let Sound Tell All. "Blues At The Barn" is the first on that nine-track collection, serving as an expertly executed nod to his jazz jam roots.
But Rodriguez isn't tied to classic jazz trio convention in his new album. On the contrary, songs like "Where Grace Abounds" bring gospel influence into the music, and offer narratives that — while still primarily instrumental — are more inspired by the artist's personal history and feelings than they are by established jazz traditions.
Another track, "In Heaven," actually features vocals — courtesy of fellow-NYC-based jazz act Samara Joy — and elaborates further on the gospel background that Rodriguez picked up in church, where he earned a substantial component of his early musical education.
As he rises to jazz fame, Rodriguez is demonstrating a lively, inspired talent within the genre's conventions while also infusing his own personal musical identity and history into the music. Press play above to watch the pianist perform one of Let Sound Tell All's more upbeat tracks, and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Press Play at Home.
Photo: Courtesy of Tish Melton
Press Play: Watch Tish Melton Preview Debut EP With A Stripped-Down Performance Of "Sober"
Indie pop newcomer — and Brandi Carlile's mentee — Tish Melton premieres "Sober," an emotional track from her upcoming EP, 'When We're Older,' out March 1.
Beneath the empty bottles, Tish Melton wants to know if her love is true; to her, drunken confessions of love mean nothing. It's what happens when the party's over and no one is watching — that's when she sees that person at their most authentic.
"You're standing close/ But you're so far away/ Your eyes are closed/ But you see me anyway," Melton sings on the bridge of her emotional track "Sober." "And I swear you told me you love me on the walk home/ If you meant it, I'll never know/ I think we should stay sober."
In this episode of Press Play, the indie pop newcomer premieres "Sober" with a raw and intimate acoustic performance.
"Sober" is an unreleased track from her upcoming first EP, When We're Older, which arrives on March 1. Melton previously released three singles in 2023, "Damage," "The Chase," and "Michelle."
As she prepares her debut project, Melton already has a major supporter in her corner: nine-time GRAMMY winner Brandi Carlile, who has been a mentor to Melton since recognizing her talent at her debut show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
"Tish is so young and so brilliant," Carlile, who produced When We're Older, revealed in a press statement. "Like most lessons in life, I learned this one while I thought I was teaching it. We should guide youth in music, but there is no question that it should lead."
Watch the video above to hear Tish Melton's honest performance of "Sober," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.
Photo: Courtesy of Babygirl
Press Play: Babygirl Deliver An Emotional Performance Of Their Honest Single, "Born With A Broken Heart"
With just their voices and a burning electric guitar, Toronto-based duo Babygirl bring out the melancholy of "Born With A Broken Heart," the lead single from their latest EP, "Be Still My Heart."
Tainted by years of endless sadness, Babygirl frontwoman Kiki Frances fears she might be "Born with a Broken Heart." As she declares in the chorus, "It's almost like I'm built to fall apart."
In this episode of Press Play, Babygirl deliver an acoustic performance of their track, with bandmate Cameron Bright supporting Frances's vocals with a melancholy electric guitar.
"Born with a Broken Heart" is the lead single from Babygirl's latest EP, Be Still My Heart, released earlier this year via Sandlot Records.
"This is one of our favorite pieces of music we've ever made together," they revealed to Broadway World. "A lot of our writing is character-driven or based on some fantasy, and those are personal in a more subconscious way, but this one feels very directly personal."
Watch the video above to view Babygirl's tender performance of "Born with a Broken Heart," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.
Photo: Courtesy of Marley Bleu
Press Play: Marley Bleu Honors An "Unintentional" Love In This Intimate Performance
R&B newcomer Marley Bleu offers a stripped-down performance of "Unintentional," her debut single with Republic Records.
Sometimes love can catch you off guard — and in Marley Bleu's case, she may have found the perfect partner unintentionally.
"'Cause your love is so intentional/ Wrong time, I think I found the right one," the rising R&B star sings in her latest single, "Unintentional." "You're here, don't know where you came from/ What we got is so unintentional."
In this episode of Press Play, the Los Angeles native sings a stripped-down version of "Unintentional," supported by a keyboardist. The pair perform on her living room sofa, emphasizing the track's intimate nature.
"Unintentional," which originally features Pink Sweat$, is Bleu's major label debut under Republic Records. Her next single, "goodmorning," is slated to arrive later this year.
Bleu found her roots in performing from a musical family. Her great-great uncle is the late Chuck Berry, and her father, Al Berry, played bass guitar for industry titans like Nile Rodgers, Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne.
Watch the video above to hear Marley Bleu's live performance of "Unintentional," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.
Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Magnus
Press Play: Gavin Magnus Feels Like A "Psycho" In This Impassioned Performance of His Latest Single
Alternative singer and social media star Gavin Magnus performs "Psycho" from a music studio, accompanied by just an acoustic guitar.
Gavin Magnus knows firsthand what it's like to love someone who only causes you pain — and he narrates the reality of toxic relationships in his swirling new single, "Psycho."
"You were never there for me when I needed you most/ But you would stick around and watch it all go up in smoke," Magnus sings on the second verse. "Burn my bridges down until there's only ashes left/ But the flames, they never rest at all."
In this episode of Press Play, Magnus delivers a performance of "Psycho" from a music studio, stripping down the song with just an acoustic guitar.
Released in September, "Psycho" marks Magnus' debut single under Big Noise Music Group. Earlier this year, he released two more solo tracks, "Exit" and "Lonely."
Along with his work as an artist, Magnus is a prolific content creator with over 6 million subscribers on YouTube and 2 million followers on TikTok. And on Nov. 10, he'll take his music career to the next level with the release of his debut project, Blurry Eyes.
Watch the video above to hear Gavin Magnus' cathartic, acoustic performance of "Psycho," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.