meta-scriptLightning In A Bottle To Host DGTL LIB Fest Featuring TOKiMONSTA, KAYTRANDA, Four Tet, Tycho & More | GRAMMY.com
TOKiMONSTA

TOKiMONSTA

Photo: Timothy Norris/Getty Images

news

Lightning In A Bottle To Host DGTL LIB Fest Featuring TOKiMONSTA, KAYTRANDA, Four Tet, Tycho & More

Dive into the magic of the SoCal music and arts festival from the safety of your home with visually stunning music livestreams, yoga classes, sourdough baking lessons and more

GRAMMYs/May 20, 2020 - 08:18 pm

Do LaB, the independent event brand behind the beloved Southern California Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) festival, has revealed details for a special Twitch livestream festival this weekend. As this year's festival was set to take place during Memorial Day weekend (May 22-24) but was canceled due coronavirus, DGTL LIB will bring the music, movement, magic and whimsy to fans around the world in its place.

KAYTRANADA, Four Tet, Rinzen, Justin Jay and the Funk Hunters, all of whom were on the lineup for the 2020 event, will perform special livestream sets. Tycho, TOKiMONSTA, Shiba San, CloZee and Beats Antique, all of whom have played past LiBs, will also be part of this weekend's fire musical offering.

Lightning In A Bottle Creators Talk Inclusivity, Creativity & Self-Expression Inside & Outside Music Festivals

Just as the camping fest is always so much more than its musical lineup, DGTL LIB will offer engaging programming including deep house yoga from one of Los Angeles' finest, DJ/producer Marques Wyatt, a sourdough bread baking lesson and a painting with coffee class.

House, techno and bass music favorites Luttrell, Autograf, Glitch Mob, Mr. Carmack, Eli & Fur, Sacha Robotti, Random Rab and others will also bring the beats during the long weekend. The event is created in partnership with female-run boutique design firm Vita Motus, who has created immersive digital stage experiences that select artists will use during the sets to add some visual pizazz to spice up the livestream flurry. Their Unreal Engine technology allows for "set design, lighting design, video mapped content, embedded performances, camera capture and more" to be shared via the Twitch stream.

WATCH LIST: Online Concerts From BTS To COASTCITY To Catch During Coronavirus Quarantine

"Here at Do LaB, we've always been forward thinking and our longtime partnership with Vita Motus has helped us bring our insane visions to life," said Jesse Flemming, President of Do LaB. "We are excited to be pushing the envelope with them again, but this time in the digital world."

To bring a taste of the rest of LiB's engaging programming online, The Compass (educational workshops and talks), ArtClave (interactive and live art spaces), the Learning Kitchen (food!) and Grand Artique stage will all bring offerings this weekend. The Compass will bring more yoga and meditation classes, in addition to Wyatt's groovy one, as well as talks, including "Aliens ExtraTerrestrials" with film producer Alan Steinfeld.

Behind The Board: TOKiMONSTA On Creativity And Finding Common Ground Through Music

Additionally, the Grand Artique will serve up a talent/variety show, live art, improv theater an open mic and more, with the help of wacky musical group the Fungineers

The event is free to stream on Twitch, but will be accepting donations to help raise money to offer refunds to 2020 ticket purchasers who opted out of exchanging them for 2021 passes.

Join DGTL LIB here on Twitch from May 22-24 to discover some magic indoors this weekend. 

Desert Hearts TV: How The San Diego DJ Crew Are Tuning In During The COVID-19 Crisis​

Jungkook
Jungkook performing in New York City in 2023

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for TSX Entertainment

list

New Music Friday: Listen To Songs & Albums From Jungkook, Meghan Trainor, Peggy Gou, & More

Bask in the pre-summer magic with fresh musical offerings from acts as diverse as Ski Mask the Slump God, Kaytranada, Thomas Rhett, and more.

GRAMMYs/Jun 7, 2024 - 03:42 pm

We're still a couple of weeks away from the summer solstice, but the smell of cookouts and chlorine is already in the air. As parts of the country experience summer weather, there's plenty of musical delights ready to soundtrack the start of summer.

From pop to alt-country to rap, this New Music Friday sprouted sounds for listeners of all persuasions. Here's a cross-section of today's songs and albums to check out, from
Peggy Gou's debut album to the latest single from Jungkook.

Meghan Trainor — 'Timeless'

Just a few weeks before Meghan Trainor's breakthrough smash, "All About That Bass," turns 10, the GRAMMY winner rings in the anniversary in major fashion: a brand new album.

Trainor's sixth LP, Timeless, an irresistible split difference between bubblegum pop and woo-wop. Back in March, she released the lead single "Been Like This" with T-Pain; the "Buy U a Drank" star also appears on "Love on Hold."

"I cannot believe it has been 10 years since this all started. I have never been more grateful for this life that my incredible Megatronz have gifted me with," Trainor said in a statement — "Megatronz" referring to her rabid fanbase. "This new album and tour are all for them and my beautiful family."

Peggy Gou — 'I Hear You'

I Hear You might be South Korean DJ and singer Peggy Gou's debut album, but she declares it to be much more than that.

"It embodies countless hours of dedication in my journey to create something timeless, and is a testament to the power of listening, to ourselves and to each other," Gou said in a statement

And of the video to "1+1=11," in all of its shadowplay: "By bringing together dance — embodied exploration of space — with colorful shadows, lights, and mirrors, I was able to bring some of the key interests that have long shaped my art into an entirely new context."

If all this resonates with you, I Hear You is — well, a must-hear.

Listen: Leap Into AAPI Month 2024 With A Playlist Featuring Laufey, Diljit Dosanjh, & Peggy Gou

Orville Peck, Diplo & Kylie Minogue — "Midnight Ride"

As Pride Month kicked off, Kylie Minogue brought out two very special guests at Outloud Fest at West Hollywood Pride: her newest collaborators, Orville Peck and Diplo. The trio debuted the slinky, sparkling "Midnight Ride," a winning trifecta of their diverse talent pools.

Just a few days later, the studio version has arrived. In its full-fledged wonder, the track is just as much of a ride on record as it was on stage.

The single is the latest offering from Peck's forthcoming duets album, Stampede; though the full album's release date has yet to be announced, the alt-country star teased the exciting collabs to come with the seven-song Stampede, Vol. 1 on May 10, which featured Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Nathaniel Rateliff and more.

Glass Animals — "A Tear in Space (Airlock)"

On July 19, English indie favorites Glass Animals will declare I Love You So F***ing Much with their fourth album. They previously released the advance single "Creatures in Heaven." "A Tear in Space (Airlock)" arrives from smack in the middle of the forthcoming album.

A celestial, pulsing track replete with delicious production details, "A Tear in Space (Airlock)" marks another evolutionary step for the Oxford-rooted group. Their smash "Heat Waves" might be in the rearview, but they still know how to craft a song for just that.

Read More: Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Glass Animals' Dave Bayley On The Group's Slow Burn To Massive Success With "Heat Waves" — And How It Almost Never Happened

Jungkook — "Never Let Go"

Where would BTS be without its ARMY? It's an unthinkable prospect — and the boy band giants' beloved Jungkook has penned a worthy tribute to the fanbase that made them.

Released for BTS' annual debut anniversary celebration, Festa, "Never Let Go" opens its heart completely. "Without your love, I'm nothing/ You mean more than you know/ And words escape me whenever you're close," he croons. "I tried to put it into words but it don't measure up/ My pen and paper could never do quite enough."

Believe us: the radiant "Never Let Go" is more than enough. "It's the truth, it's the truth," Jungkook concludes. "We got something rеal nothing could break."

Learn more: Breaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet

KAYTRANADA — 'TIMELESS'

The Haitian-Canadian producer, rapper, singer, and DJ born Louis Celestin has produced everyone from Anderson .Paak to Alicia Keys to Victoria Monét, but he's just as compelling when it's his name on the record sleeve.

The two-time GRAMMY winner proves just that with his third album,
TIMELESS. Of course, the producer recruited several collaborators for the project, and the list is a panoply of associates from across his career — not only .Paak, but Childish Gambino, Don Toliver, and more.

Maluma & Blessd — '1 of 1'

"A full production between two Colombian artists had never been done before," rapper and singer Maluma brassily proclaimed in a recent press statement. "If it's the first, it can't be done twice."

He's referring to the (aptly titled) 1 of 1, his new EP with fellow Colombian great Blessd. Co-produced by MadMuscik and the RudeBoyz, this six-pack is a reflection of the clear admiration and respect between the two reggaetón practitioners.

This pre-summer weekend, grab a bestie, hit the road, crank up tunes like "Call Me" and "Goyard/GTA," and let that feeling flow through you, too.

Ski Mask the Slump God — '11th Dimension'

Five years after his last LP, Floridan rap phenom Ski Mask the Slump God returns by taking listeners to the 11th Dimension.

If 11th Dimension's advance singles — the jovial "Ooga Booga!", the propulsive "Headrush" — whetted your thirst, get ready for the other 19 tracks, like head-spinning highlights "By Myself," "KillStreak" and "Him Jung Un."

And while Ski Mask the Slump God takes most of those tracks himself, the album's five features are equally as thrilling: Future and ATL Jacob, Skillibeng, Corbin, and two posthumous duets with late rap stars XXXTentacion and Juice Wrld.

Generally, when an artist has a blast making music, it seeps through the grooves — and Thomas Rhett had an absolute ball making his new album, About A Woman, out Aug. 23.

"I did this with a new batch of producers, a lot of different songwriters. This is the funnest album that I've made, I think," he told Backstage Country. "This is a very, very 'me' album. If you liked Tangled Up and Life Changes, Center Point Road, this album is sort of that on steroids."

He's already revealed the first single, "Beautiful as You"; its follow-up, "Gone Country," is a rough-hewn statement of down-home purpose. Every line and lick is true to his dictum that he "got back to the root of why I love to make music and put smiles on faces." 

Let that smile cross your face as you prepare for your summer adventures — and we'll see you on next week's New Music Friday!

On This Day In Music: 2 Live Crew's 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be' Becomes First Album Declared Legally Obscene, Anticipates First Amendment Cases

Tinashe performs at the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Tinashe performs at the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella

list

Love "Nasty"? Get To Know Tinashe With 10 Songs That Show Her Honesty & Artistry

While you wait for Tinashe's new album, 'Quantum Baby,' dig into her impressive catalog of solo hits, and collaborations with the likes of Britney Spears and Ty Dolla $ign.

GRAMMYs/May 31, 2024 - 01:37 pm

Tinashe is a true triple threat, acting, dancing, and dropping banger after banger as a singer. In just under a decade, she’s released six studio albums, went independent in 2019, and has been showered with critical acclaim for her creative freedom. Regardless of major or independent label backing, Tinashe has shown a commitment to her craft, each release remaining at a high caliber.

Quantum Baby, her seventh studio album and part of the BB/ANG3L trilogy — and fourth to be released under her Tinashe Music Inc label — doesn’t have a concrete release date yet but its lead single, "Nasty," is doing a good job of getting people interested. Released in April, the song became an instant hit with Tinashe fans and garnered a wider audience after being used in a viral video. Even fashion brand Marc Jacobs hopped on the trend with a TikTok now viewed more than 2.9M times.

Because of the viral social media posts, streams for "Nasty" have gone through the roof. The song garnered 600k+ streams in a single day on May 22. Not only has "Nasty" become a hit, but it’s pushed many listeners to generate their own version of Tinashe’s "is somebody gonna match my freak?" lyric.

In honor of her latest hit, and ahead of Tinashe's highly-anticipated next album, press play on 10 essential songs from across her discography which showcases her chameleon-like ability to handle various music genres and styles with ease.

"Needs" (BB/ANG3L, 2023)

"Needs," the second single from BB/ANG3L, wastes no time getting straight to the point. When the sultry beat drops, Tinashe purrs about her many talents and offers a few clear directives for her romantic partner. By the end of this 2.5 minute song, there’s no denying it’s her declaration of total sensual independence.

At first glance, the music video’s setting inside a grocery store might seem random. But all it takes is one focused listen to the lyrics to find the connection between the song and its visuals. A grocery store provides its shoppers with a plethora of options and, as the title of the song makes clear, Tinashe isn’t afraid to pick up what wants when she needs.

"I Can See The Future" (333, 2021)

Tinashe’s music generally adopts a first-person perspective; her own thoughts and desires placed in the spotlight. On the bass-heavy R&B track "I Can See The Future," she subtly brings in the emotional perspective of a man she has her eye on. In the pre-chorus, she sings "He said I don't play 'bout what's mine/I'm not a psychic/I can't read your mind/If you with it, don't waste my time."

As Tinashe talk-sings through most of the song, her raspy voice exudes an enviable confidence while selling her partner a vision of love. By the time we get to the bridge, she explicitly responds to his concerns about her potential indifference. "Get ready for love/Get ready for me/I've made up my mind/I want you to myself," she sings, her vocals muffled in certain sections. Could that allude to her unwillingness to commit?

KAYTRANADA - "The Worst In Me" (BUBBA, 2019)

Listening to KAYTRANADA’s music is the equivalent of a perfect summer evening where you get to dance on a rooftop with your friends. Bring in Tinashe’s vocals and you only turn up the volume on these good vibes. That’s exactly what happened when the duo linked up for "The Worst In Me."

The song explores a relationship rife with uncertainties and bruised emotions. In the chorus, Tinashe sings "I want your love" which sounds encouraging enough. But when she slips into a higher register and immediately follows up with "You bring out the worst me," she hammers home how this is no love song.

Despite the somber message burning beneath the beat, KAYTRANADA and Tinashe succeed in getting listeners on their feet. Fans of "The Worst In Me" were excited when it was announced the duo would reunite for KAYTRANADA’s upcoming album, Timeless, out in June 2024.

"Bouncin" (333, 2021)

On "Bouncin," Tinashe explores a familiar topic — her undeniable sex appeal — but does so by tapping into her "divine feminine energy." In addition, she showcases a few different vocal layers, moving from her strong mid-range to a breathy falsetto. Sung high, the lyrics in the first verse are almost undecipherable. Chopped-and-screwed background vocals add an unexpected texture you can’t help but sing with once you know where they’ll come in.

Thanks to dwilly’s production, the song has just as much nuance as Tinashe’s explorative vocal performance. A plucky, synth melody brings in a playful video game quality while a ticking sound in the background introduces a sense of urgency. When all put together, these elements transform "Bouncin" into a sonic rollercoaster.

"Save Room For Us" feat. MAKJ (Songs For You, 2019)

With a driving beat and moderate tempo, "Save Room For Us" effortlessly captures the melancholic stage after a breakup we might not have initiated. Before Tinashe gets to the chorus, it becomes obvious she's begging her lover to reconsider their decision.

"I think for a long time I didn’t want people to see a vulnerable side to me because I thought they would think I was weak," Tinashe said about bringing more raw emotion to her music. While it’s true the song has plenty of believable yearning, she proves she’s also the type of pop star who knows how to spin her tales of sadness into a dancefloor anthem.

"Die A Little Bit" feat. Ms Banks (Songs For You, 2019)

"Die A Little Bit" stands out as one of Tinashe’s darkest, most experimental songs to date and depicts L.A.'s tricky social scene. While that may be the official line, the single was also her first as an independent artist and could easily describe her artistic journey/newfound freedom.

"Searching for something in someone without a soul," Tinashe sings on the highly danceable track. "Running in circles 'cause I suck at letting go/ Starting to feel like there's no chance of breaking through/Plenty time wasted, what am I waitin' for?"

"Superlove" (Superlove, 2016)

On "Superlove," Tinashe worked with industry juggernaut producers Tricky Stweart and The-Dream to create a slick and utterly infectious pop/R&B track. By incorporating the best elements of hip-hop subgenre Miami bass, "Superlove" manages to transport you to the past without sounding dated.

"Superlove" is technically included on the tracklisting for Joyride, Tinashe’s third studio album, and was meant to serve as its lead single but was released during a period in her career where her album was perpetually delayed. (Joyride was released almost two years after "Superlove.")

"Superlove" landed at No. 72 on Billboard’s 100 Best Pop Songs of 2016. With its feel-good energy paired with the type of music video that would’ve reigned supreme on MTV’s "TRL" (think attractive people rolling around in the sand and lifeguards performing provocative choreography), this song is a testament to the electrifying pop star Tinashe has always been.

Britney Spears - "Slumber Party" (Glory, 2016)

Tinashe has, multiple times, gone on record saying Britney Spears is one of her idols. In 2016, she was able to live out a childhood fantasy by featuring on a remix of "Slumber Party," a track originally included on Spears’ album, Glory. Over a pop-friendy reggae beat, the track details a night between two lovers.

Tinashe takes over the second verse, and layers in additional vocals and adlibs throughout. While none of the lyrics she sings are updated, she rises to the occasion and goes toe-to-toe with one of pop music’s biggest icons. Tinashe’s timbre, polished yet rich in texture, is perfectly suited for the modern pop soundscape. On "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Tinashe discussed  performing with Spears and how she could feel the star power radiating from the "...Baby One More Time" singer. "You’re that person now, too," Clarkson reassured Tinashe.

Ty Dolla $ign - "Drop That Kitty" feat. Tinashe & Charli XCX (Drop That Kitty, 2015)

At the time "Drop That Kitty" was released, each artist on the track was having their own respective moment. Ty Dolla $ign was gearing up to release his debut album, Charli XCX had the massive success of "Fancy," her duet with Iggy Azalea, and Tinashe had released the third single from her major label debut.

Each has their own distinct energy and bringing them together for the track could have been disastrous, but it was the type of chaos you want to listen to on repeat. Ty’s melodic rapping is tinged with autotune, while Charli chants lyrics. But when Tinashe’s vocals come in on the post-chorus, they’re as sweet as honey. Though the lyrics are fairly surface ("I know you want it all/I'm giving you a show/You like what I'm doin'"), the song continues to be a consummate pre-game banger.

"Pretend" feat. A$AP Rocky (Aquarius, 2014)

Those skills were put on full display with the music video for her debut single, "2 On." While the logical follow up might’ve been another energetic bop, her label chose to release "Pretend" a mid-tempo ballad featuring rapper A$ASP Rocky. But if you’re new to the world of Tinashe, "Pretend" delivers something special.

The song’s theme is relatable as it introduces the different ways people can ignore issues in a relationship or create imagined versions of happiness. Tinashe’s vocal performance, one of her strongest on a slower track, illustrates how she doesn’t need any feature to shine bright.

Chief Keef On Almighty So 2, His Long-Awaited Return To Chicago & Why He's "Better Now Than I Ever Was"

Sofia Ilyas Q&A hero
Sofia Ilyas

Photo: Grace Phillips

interview

Beatport's Sofia Ilyas On Creating A More Equitable & Connected Music Industry

"What I love about the music industry is there are so many gaps, and so many observations you can make and sort of insert yourself in and create something quite special itself," Sofia Ilyas of carving out a career as a music professional.

GRAMMYs/May 7, 2024 - 01:42 pm

Given that Beatport Chief Community Officer Sofia Ilyas has dedicated the last 15 years or so of her life supporting burgeoning artists, subgenres and underrepresented groups, it's somewhat surprising that she grew up in a household without music.

As a teen, a Sony Walkman with a radio and mixtapes featuring the likes of Radiohead were a lifeline to a world Ilyas' family didn't want her to participate in. She was even kept home during school field trips to the National Gallery museum in London, where she's since hosted her Piano Day music and art event, and will soon be curating a room for their 200th anniversary celebration.

Ilyas has had to sacrifice a lot — namely, a relationship with her strict Muslim family — to carve out a career in music, and hers is a story of patience and resilience. After leaving her home in Cardiff, Wales for London to pursue higher education (against her family's wishes), she found solace and connection in live music. She'd hang out around the sound booth and introduce herself and ask questions about how things worked. Slowly but surely, she befriended people that worked at labels and venues, and even artists — Four Tet grew to know her by name after she kept coming back to his shows.

After years of being a part of the London scene as a dedicated fan, at age 30, Ilyas became co-manager of indie record label Erased Tapes, where she helped popularize neoclassical music and one of its purveyors, experimental German pianist Nils Frahm. Alongside Frahm, Ilyas launched Piano Day, where a diverse range of artists help them celebrate the past, present and future of the instrument alongside contemporary dancers and painters.

Now, as the first Chief Community Officer at major dance music platform Beatport, Ilyas is building community within and across disparate global electronic communities. She aims to bring more women and people of color into the mix.

"We're living in a time where people are feeling incredibly lonely and disconnected from community," Ilyas tells GRAMMY.com. "I [want to] facilitate people to come in to hear from each other, especially women, in a room that feels safe to hold discussion."

GRAMMY.com recently caught up with Ilyas for an insightful, engaging conversation on her work to support women and people of color in electronic music, making piano cool, her hopes for a more equitable music industry, and much more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

You recently hosted your Piano Day annual events in Melbourne and London — tell me your vision for Piano Day.

When we launched Piano Day in London with Nils [Frahm], it gave me an excuse to try my own events. I had the artists performing in different corners of the room and a painter in the middle, watching and being inspired. I've always looked at different arts and wondered why they can't also be present in the music world and why we can't support each other across various industries. I've had a contemporary dancer at almost every event I've done in London. Piano Day was my way of having my own event that I could own and really show off my curation. Even with the first event, people were saying the space was beautiful and the curation was so good. I felt really validated.

[For Piano Day,] I always ask artists what they can do that's a little bit different, beyond performing their album or recent EP. I had one artist who had never played piano before, and he made a few mistakes and everyone was applauding him like it's okay. It's really important to me that Piano Day offers something that maybe the audience will never see again and they feel they've experienced something very special. An even bigger extension of that is the lineup that I curate for the National Gallery; coupling a piano player with a dancer who had never met before, and multiple artists only ever played piano maybe three times. I love that the artists have felt safe to trust me and that it's the type of event where they can take a risk.

I'm always looking for acts that are open to trying something a bit different and to be challenged by the fact that it's solo piano predominantly. And to also be inspired by the space, the National Gallery is such a prestigious, iconic venue. It's quite an unusual event because you've got people who've come to see the artists and regular visitors who have just come to see the paintings and they happen to stumble across what's happening. What's even more special for me is the audience is full of children. [I've been wondering] how we can do more music events that kids can come to, because I saw how inspired they were.

You'll be returning to the National Gallery in May to help curate their 200th anniversary event. How are you thinking about everything it stands for while bringing it into the future with music and women and people of color?

I've always had an attachment to the Gallery because there were school trips to it and my parents would never let me go. So for them to email me, "Hey, we've been to a couple of your events, would you like to bring Piano Day to the National Gallery?" I was just overwhelmed and hugely complimented.

I went to each room, sat down and thought about the feelings [it brought up]. I ended up landing on the blue room, it's got a lot of English paintings in it. I liked the idea of English artists against old English paintings, sort of breaking that mold of stiffness and classical looks to be like, this is now the future of London coming into the gallery. We placed the piano right in front of this really famous huge horse painting to really make that statement.

I am very mindful of having a diverse and interesting lineup. I always have one artist that starts the event that is a nod to the traditional kind of way of playing [piano]. It usually evolves to some artists playing the neoclassical sounds and then it moves into more the dance element and vocalist and then it ends on "this is the future" type of thing. I always like having that momentum.

Let's talk about your new record label RISE. What's your vision is with it and who are the artists you're currently working with?

I started Rise last year for artists that want help to get to the next level and get the attention of the label they want. I wanted to do a label that was within my bandwidth because I have a full-time job. If there're artists that I can help get from point A to B, then they go on to C, that's a great thing. I have Frank Hopkins on the label, who's an electronic artist, and Kareem Kumar, who's a Black artist who is known for playing in the streets of London. [Kumar] has built an incredibly huge audience on socials that has been a real inspiration to so many youngsters during COVID. They played together for the first time at the National Gallery, where Frank added some really nice ambient sounds and Kareem played the piano.

Too often, labels are quite a stiff experience, they want to assign that artist forever. If there are any artists that want help on press releases, overall branding and PR, that's exactly what RISE is there for. We can help them release some records, sort their online profile and offer guidance to basically uplift the artist so they can get the attention of booking agents, a label etc.

I see the future of labels where they are this sort of incubator-type of model, where they help an artist and the artists can grow into their own team or go off into another label. I envisage more labels existing like mine, where they're helping the artists onto that next level.

What do you think needs to shift for the music industry to be more supportive — financially and otherwise — of artists, particularly young people of color?

One thing that could be great is the labels that are doing well commercially — I'm sure they do this to a certain extent — choose two artists every year for an incubator program and make it more visible. Right now, most labels' A&R is a very closed thing. I think [it would help] if the labels made a very clear way of sending them demos. I know it is difficult because these days, even [people at] labels are so overworked and they don't have time to think about things like this. Maybe a music organization or a body out there could pick this idea up and take it to some of the major labels.

On the live side, [we need] more community spaces where an artist can come by and play regularly to fans and bring their friends and family around. Most venues are so hard to get on the bill, [so there's a need for] smaller 100-capacity-or-so spaces that open the doors more to local artists. We rely on the same names over and over again, whether it's festivals or local clubs, etc.

With your work as Beatport's Chief Community Officer, what are you actively doing to bring in and celebrate more women and people of color in dance music?

I've always been aware of diversity and my color and who I am in the music industry. Especially when I was around all those white male composers who knew everything about production and I knew nothing, that was very daunting. Even things like drinking — I don't drink and the amount of times it feels uncomfortable to be in the music industry. Many people in South Asian communities, especially Pakistani, grew up in a non-drinking culture, and we should have awareness to make those people feel comfortable otherwise they're never going to join the music industry.

What's been incredible is that Robb [McDaniels, Beatport's CEO] and the team have been, "You own it, you do what you believe." In the first few months, I hired a DEI consultant named Vick Bain, who was an amazing mentor for me. I'm a real big believer in experts. I was able to really upskill myself very fast through having her around.

Putting aside diversity, we're living in a time where people are feeling incredibly lonely and disconnected from community. That's why I'm doing panel events with DJ sets with Beatport. I [want to] facilitate people to come in to hear from each other, especially women, in a room that feels safe to hold discussion.

How have you taken it upon yourself to bring more women and artists of color with you along the way, and do you make space and advocate for people?

It's always something that's on the top of my mind because being a South Asian woman in music is already quite difficult at moments. You look around wondering Is there any support for me? And with my journey of having walked away from my family, part of me is already exhausted from that experience and existing in the music industry in an environment that often feels very alien to me.

Just being a woman in a C-Suite position isn't not easy. I've never been in a role where the focus is to champion women and that's why I'm so grateful for Beatport.

Throughout my career, I've always given out a lot of free PR and guidance, and quite often that's been for women. I've always wanted to be available and I'm always happy to give my time. If anyone reads this, and they want to email me and ask me any questions, I'm always really happy to help.

What's some advice you have for young women of color that want to work in the music industry but don't know where to start?

What I love about the music industry is there are so many gaps, and so many observations you can make and sort of insert yourself in and create something quite special itself. Once you start getting to know your local community, [you can get] so much support from others. I made a lot of my friends by going to vinyl markets and going up to my favorite labels and saying hi. When I was trying to work in the music industry and sending a ton of emails, I got nothing in return. But as soon as I started being a bit more active in the live [music] side, I met so many people.

Don't think you need to do it alone. For so many years, I kept what I was experiencing to myself and I would always present this polished person on Instagram. Lately, I've started really opening up more about how I feel. When I turned 43 recently, I posted on Instagram about how I sometimes overwork to avoid [loneliness]. I was surprised by how many people, especially men, messaged me and said I feel that way too. I'm learning to be more vulnerable.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. You just have to get over ego and fear. I can't sugarcoat it; unfortunately, there are [some] people who are going to make you feel really stupid for asking. Lean on your friends and know you're on the right path. Know that we need more women and more diversity in the industry. Look at people that inspire you. When I used to look at Four Tet, I'd be like, Oh my God, an Indian man on stage, that's so cool. So, look for your inspiration points and be vulnerable with your friends, because it is going to be difficult sometimes. And you can definitely email me anytime. [Chuckles.]

What does a more equitable music industry look like to you?

Well, that's a big question. I think [it would involve] everyone being more conscious. Whether it's a booking agent or a label looking to sign someone, if everyone is thinking around diversity and consciously looking and making their spaces more open to women. I always think about open doors. How can everyone open their doors more while considering the space people are entering into. It's one thing opening your door but it's another thing if that person enters a space and doesn't feel safe.

For me, a place where everyone's consciously thinking about this, and it isn't just on the organization or a few artists or someone like me in my role to try and figure it out. I think if everyone was conscious of it, things would just happen more seamlessly.

How LP Giobbi & Femme House Are Making Space For Women In Dance Music: "If You Really Want To Make A Change, It Can Be Done"

(Clockwise) Nina Kraviz, Shygirl, TOKiMONSTA, Annie Nightingale, Aluna
(Clockwise) Nina Kraviz, Shygirl, TOKiMONSTA, Annie Nightingale, Aluna.

Photos: Victor Boyko/Getty Images for MAX&CO; Jo Hale/Redferns; Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix; Peter Stone/Mirrorpix via Getty Images; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

list

5 Women Essential To Electronic Music: TOKiMONSTA, Shygirl, Nina Kraviz & More

In celebration of Women's History Month, read on for five women working as DJs, producers, organizers and broadcasters whose contributions have shaped the dance and electronic space.

GRAMMYs/Mar 7, 2024 - 02:30 pm

A dance floor just isn’t the same without a bustling crowd of attendees bobbing to the beat. Nor would electronic music be electronic music without its culture-shifting women.

Women are effecting change while commanding dance floors, a duality inherent to the experience of being a woman in electronic music. Although women are becoming more visible across the genre — gracing the covers of editorial playlists, starting labels, and topping lineups — most do not operate in the limelight. Many, like some of the changemakers underscored below, work tirelessly behind the scenes toward a more equitable future. 

The women on this list span generations and creative roles, but are unified by their propulsive contributions to the electronic space. By persisting against the status quo and excelling at their respective crafts, they have and will continue to expand what’s possible for women in electronic music. 

To honor Women’s History Month, GRAMMY.com highlights some of the many needle-moving women in electronic music, as well as one rising talent, working as DJs, producers, organizers, and broadcasters.

Annie Nightingale

Radio Broadcaster & Television Presenter

"This is the woman who changed the face and sound of British TV and radio broadcasting forever. You can’t underestimate it," fellow BBC Radio 1 broadcaster, Annie Mac, wrote in an Instagram post honoring the life and legacy of the late Annie Nightingale. Nightingale died on Jan. 11, 2024, at her home in London. She was 83.

There is nothing hyperbolic about Mac’s characterization of Nightingale. After beginning her career as a journalist, Nightingale went on to have an enduring impact on the airwaves and was a pioneering presence in radio and television broadcasting. In addition to becoming BBC Radio 1’s first woman presenter, Nightingale, who joined the station in 1970, was also its longest-serving host. She maintains the Guinness Book of Records’ world record for the"Longest Career as a Radio Presenter (Female). Nightingale notably also co-hosted BBC’s weekly TV show, "The Old Grey Whistle Test." 

Across her six decades in broadcasting, Nightingale became both a trailblazer and, later, an emblem of what was possible for women in the industry. A celebrated tastemaker who took her talents to the decks, DJing festivals around the world, Nightingale paved the way for the following generations of women broadcasters and radio DJs while famously turning listeners on to releases running the gamut of genres: punk, grime, acid house, and everything in between. In 2021, she established an eponymous scholarship (“The Annie Nightingale Presents Scholarship”) to empower women and non-binary DJs in electronic music. The three recipients selected annually are featured in a special edition of “Annie Nightingale Presents” on Radio 1.

“Ever since I began, I have wanted to help other young broadcasters passionate about music to achieve their dreams on the airwaves, and now we at Radio 1 are to put that on a proper footing,” Nightingale said at the time of the scholarship’s foundation.

Beyond broadcasting and DJing, Nightingale also embraced the written word. She published three memoirs, Chase the Fade (1981), Wicked Speed (1999), and Hey Hi Hello (2020). 

TOKiMONSTA

DJ/Producer

That women in the dance/electronic industry face a disproportionate amount of adversity compared to their male counterparts is no secret. These hurdles are hard enough to clear without a rare and serious cerebrovascular condition that significantly increases one’s risk for sudden aneurysm or stroke. But in 2015, TOKiMONSTA confronted both. Her sobering diagnosis — Moyamoya disease — necessitated not one, but two brain surgeries. The interventions left her unable to talk, write, or understand speech and music. 

Yet three months later, after slow and steady strides to recovery, TOKiMONSTA took the stage in Indio Valley to play to a crowd of 15,000 at Coachella 2016.

A beacon of both tenacity and invention, the name TOKiMONSTA bespeaks a laundry list of culture-shifting accomplishments in the electronic space. She was notably the first woman to sign to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, where her first album, Midnight Menu, debuted in 2010. In 2019, she earned her first-ever GRAMMY nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album — the first Asian American producer to be nominated in the Category.

Over the years, achievement has gone hand-in-hand with advocacy for TOKiMONSTA. The Korean American electronic experimentalist has been vocal about gender inequities in the music business and was profiled in the 2020 documentary Underplayed. Directed by Stacey Lee, the production focused on dance music’s pervasive and persistent gender imbalances through women DJ/producers’ first-hand accounts of inequality. 

Nina Kraviz

DJ/Producer & Label Head

Equal parts crate digger, disruptor, and needle mover, Nina Kraviz is writing history for women in electronic music in real time. The Siberian dentist-turned-DJ-producer, whose discography dates back to 2007 (her first 12’, "Amok," was released via Greg Wilson’s B77 label), isn’t just one of the first names to break in the global techno scene — she’s also one of the first women in techno to become a headline act. 

Kraviz’s toes have touched some of electronic music’s most venerated stages, ranging from Tomorrowland to Gashouder to Pacha Ibiza, not to mention places off the genre’s beaten path. Her 2018 headline stint at the base of the Great Wall of China is a flashpoint of her rich history of propulsive contributions to the electronic space, and one as anomalous as her ever-off-the-cuff sets. Live, the avant-gardist blends techno, acid, psytrance, experimental, and house in blistering, maximalist fashion, slipping in releases from her own imprint, трип ("Trip"), along the way. 

Kraviz has spearheaded the subversive label since 2014, where she’s deftly blurred the lines between emergent and established talent across its tally of releases. In 2017, she launched Galaxiid, an experimental sublabel of трип, an endeavor that has further substantiated her status as one of electronic music’s finest and most eccentric selectors. 

Aluna

Singer/Songwriter, DJ/Producer & Label Head 

After making an early name for herself as one-half of the electronic duo AlunaGeorge, Aluna Francis, known mononymously as Aluna, has compellingly charted her course as a solo act since 2020. As she’s sung, song written, and DJ/produced her way to prominence, the Wales-born triple-threat continues to demonstrate her artistic ability while re-emphasizing electronic’s Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ roots, flourishing amid her own creative renaissance.

In 2020, Aluna penned an open letter addressing the lack of diversity and pervasive inequality in the dance/electronic ecosystem. Following a lack of true change, Aluna has tirelessly extended her hand to acts from underrepresented groups in an effort to diversify the white, heteronormative dance/electronic industry. Near the end of 2023, in partnership with EMPIRE, Aluna founded Noir Fever to "feed the future of Black Dance Music." The label will broadly embrace Black dance music, with an emphasis on female and LGBTQIA+ artists. 

"Every time I found myself on one of those dry, outdated festival lineups or playlists with no other Black women, I’d ask myself, what would have to change for this to not happen again?How can I create a sustainable pathway and not just an opportunity for tokenism?" Aluna shared in a series of tweets announcing Noir Fever last November. "It was obvious to me that a label would give me the opportunity to do that and ultimately ensure the hottest new Black Dance Music is being supported." 

Shygirl

Singer/Songwriter, Rapper, DJ/Producer

In one breath, she’s opening for Beyoncé on the Renaissance World Tour. In another, she’s toplining a glossy club hit. In yet another, she’s cerebrally delivering bars with both control and cadence. Shygirl’s wheelhouse is a multidimensional kaleidoscope of artistic abilities: she can sing, she can write songs, she can rap, and she can DJ/produce. Simply put, there’s not much that the vanguard of experimental electronic music in the making can’t do. 

The 30-year-old multi-hyphenate, studied under Sega Bodega, Arca, and the late SOPHIE. She expertly flits between hyperpop, grime, industrial hip-hop, electronica, and R&B, among other styles, on her gamut-running releases. But Shygirl does so with idiosyncrasy and flair — two traits that define her approach and distinguish her singular sound. Even Rihanna has taken notice — Shygirl’s 2016 single alongside Bodega, "Want More," soundtracked one of Fenty Beauty’s advertisements in 2019.

Shygirl's Club Shy EP landed on Feb. 16; she helms a party series of the same name that started in East London and has since stopped by Los Angeles, Brazil, Chicago, and New York. 

Though Shygirl no longer runs the label arm of NUXXE, the hybrid club collective/record label she co-founded made waves following its establishment in 2016. In addition to releasing Shygirl’s first single ("Want More"), NUXXE pushed out other trajectory-solidifying productions, including her debut EP, Cruel Practice, while empowering her with a fluency in label operations that will serve her well as she increasingly expands her electronic footprint. 

 5 Women Essential To Rap: Cardi B, Lil' Kim, MC Lyte, Sylvia Robinson & Tierra Whack