Photo: Oh Inseo
Global Spin: Katie Delivers An Ethereal Sunset Performance Of "Thinkin Bout You" From Seoul
Korean-born, New Jersey-raised artist KATIE fuses her K-Pop and R&B influences for a performance of "Thinkin Bout You" in this episode of Global Spin.
A South Korea native who immigrated to New Jersey with her family at age 10, KATIE — also known as Katie Kim — straddles genre styles as naturally as she straddles cultural identities.
At every step in her career, KATIE has held an equal claim to her K-pop and R&B influences. Citing soul and R&B greats like Frank Sinatra, Erykah Badu and Aaliyah as influences, KATIE initially planned to study jazz at Berklee College of Music before heading back to Korea in 2014 to compete on the fourth season of "K-pop Star" — which she won.
In this episode of Global Spin, the singer's complex stylistic makeup is on full display with a performance of "Thinkin Bout You," a single from her 2018 breakout EP, LOG. Backed only by a soft electric guitar line, KATIE calls on two powerful elements to help tell her story: Her breathy, lilting soprano, and a backdrop of the Seoul skyline at sunset.
Paired with the performance's brooding visuals, the song's yearning message of unrequited love conjures up a forlorn, moody aesthetic. KATIE is silhouetted against the backdrop of a bustling city, but across the river, she's alone. It's a familiar feeling for the singer, as she has said that she often strives to make music for those who feel lost in the margins.
"Growing up as an Asian American, I never felt like I was American enough. When I went back to Korea, I never felt Korean enough. I want to speak for those who aren't seen as the main characters in their community," she told Nylon in 2018. "I would love if they could relate to my music."
Enjoy KATIE's unique blend of musical and cultural influences in the episode above, and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Global Spin.
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Photo: Tristan Gibbs
Global Spin: ShaSimone Gets Candid About Fame In This Moving Performance Of "Top 5"
Rising British-Ghanaian rapper ShaSimone ruminates the past two years of her musical career in this introspective performance of "Top 5," a track from her debut project, 'Simma Down.'
When British-Ghanaian rapper ShaSimone started posting freestyles on Twitter during the height of the pandemic, she never anticipated the platform would skyrocket her love of music into a career. After a whirlwind two years, ShaSimone went from working as a hairstylist to featuring on fellow British rapper Dave's sophomore album, We're All Alone In This Together, and creating her first EP, Simma Down.
In this episode of Global Spin, ShaSimone performs "Top 5," the intro to her debut project that explores the ups and downs of her newfound fame.
ShaSimone stands in front of a microphone, accompanied by a live band, as she contemplates the lost relationships and the bittersweet satisfaction of achieving her dream. "Pray for better days/ Man, forgettin' that the journey to destination are gonna be some of my best days," she raps at the end of the track.
Though ShaSimone's passion is found within the music, her purpose runs deeper. "I want to inspire girls that look like me. I want to show people that you can be confident, look different from what's out there, and still love yourself," she said in a press release.
Press play on the video above to watch ShaSimone reflect on her journey to stardom in this powerful performance of "Top 5," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Global Spin.
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Photo: Alexander Akande
Global Spin: Watch Cameroonian Singer/Songwriter Andy Allo Perform A Joyous Version Of "Back To Africa"
Joined by the Baka women of Bifolone, Andy Allo is all smiles as she performs an exalting ode to her precious home continent.
Andy Allo is all smiles, holding her acoustic guitar under a small, wooden roof in the verdant climes of South Cameroon. There's no amplification; she has no band. But she does have radiant backing — via the Baka women of Bifolone, who augment her performance with their exultant vocals.
"As long as you're here/ Might as well say/ Don't be afraid/ I'm going away," Allo sings. "The one you knew/ Bid adieu/ Somewhere a long time ago." As the singer/songwriter's rendition of "Back to Africa" picks up steam, so do her accompanists, who lift up this exuberant performance with their claps and counterpoint.
In this episode of Global Spin, watch this feel-good performance straight from South Cameroon. Therein, the throng sing in exultation as they deliver this ode to the precious continent.
Allo already commands a sizable legacy. In her twenties, she was a guitarist and vocalist in Prince's band; the Purple One also co-wrote several songs with Allo and served as executive producer on her second album, Superconductor.
In her thirties, she is one of the two stars of "Upload," a Prime Video series helmed by Greg Daniels from "The Office"; the show returns for its second season on March 11.
Watch Allos' humanistic performance of "Back to Africa" above, and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Global Spin.
Photo: Malwandla Rikhotso
Global Spin: Focalistic Lights Up The Stage With An Electric Performance Of "SJEPA"
South African musician Focalistic offers a (literally) illuminating performance of "SJEPA," an upbeat amapiano track from his latest album, 'Ghetto Gospel.'
If you ask Pretoria musician Focalistic how to define himself, he would say "focalistic-cataclism" — a term his cousin coined that describes a "focused person who's going to change the world and how people view things."
As the budding artist continues to rise in popularity, he's doing just that, spreading awareness about the sphere of South Africa and amapiano music.
In this episode of Global Spin, Focalistic delivers a glowing performance of "SJEPA," the lead single from his latest album, Ghetto Gospel. Stationed center in a dark, empty room, only accompanied by the illumination of pink neon strobes, Focalistic's simplistic staging spotlights the singer's bouncy lyricism and sharp vocal cadence.
Ghetto Gospel is Focalistic's third studio album and collaboration project with fellow Pretoria music duo Mellow & Sleazy, helmed by additional appearances from other leading South African performers, such as Sjava and DBN Gogo.
This era of Focalistic, really, is all about uniting creatives around the continent: "The saying is 'collaboration over competition,' so you'll notice a feature in many of my songs. We're at a point right now with African music where it's about showing the true spirit of Ubuntu," he told GQ in 2022.
Press play on the video above to watch Focalistic's captivating performance of "Sjepa," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com every Tuesday for more new episodes of Global Spin.
Photo: Psycho Moustache
Global Spin: Manal Premieres "7iya," A Wavy New Single From Her Upcoming Second Album
Moroccan singer/songwriter Manal offers a sultry debut performance of her never-before-heard song, "7iya," from her forthcoming studio album.
Moroccan pop singer Manal never expected to have a full-time career as a performer. She balanced her appearance on the Lebanese reality competition series Star Academy with her business and finance studies before eventually pursuing a Master's degree and a Ph.D.
But after a whirlwind few years of posting covers on YouTube and independently releasing music, Manal signed with Sony Music Middle East and skyrocketed to fame with her major label debut single, "Taj," in 2018. She's since released her first album, 360, in 2021, and was featured in the 2022 FIFA World Cup soundtrack.
In this episode of Global Spin, Manal enters her next chapter with a premiere of her newest release, "7iya." Clad in traditional jewelry, she pays homage to her Moroccan heritage as she simultaneously sings in her native language, Arabic. The simplistic set allows Manal's vocals to take center stage as she dances slowly around an empty white room.
"7iya" is the second single from Manal's upcoming second studio album, following the release of "3ari" in March 2022.
"My second album is even more important to me than my first one," she teased in an interview with L'Officiel Arabia. "You're going to be able to get to know another aspect of my personality in this project."
Press play on the video above to watch Manal's exclusive performance of "7iya," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com every Tuesday for more new episodes of Global Spin.
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