Love Lockdown: Staff Playlists To Get You Through The COVID-19 Quarantine

Photo by Peter King/Fox Photos/Getty Images


Love Lockdown: Staff Playlists To Get You Through The COVID-19 Quarantine

As we head into another uncertain week, each member of the editorial team has created a quarantine-themed playlist that's helping them make it through the moment

GRAMMYs/Mar 23, 2020 - 10:00 pm

Hello, and welcome to another week of self-isolation. There's no disputing that it's rough out there right now. Each day brings another wave of troubling coronavirus/COVID-19 news, legions of folks are in self-isolation until further notice and the music industry is in a state of flux, with festivals and 2020 tour dates being postponed or outright canceled. 

Through it all, though, music lovers are still finding the light in tough times. The Recording Academy and MusiCares have established a COVID-19 Relief Fund; last week, Bandcamp and numerous record labels gave up their share of profits on music sold through the Bandcamp platform; and countless musicians—from John Legend to Chris Martin to Ben Gibbard—live-streamed their performances.

Today, as we head into another uncertain week, each member of the editorial team has created a quarantine-themed playlist that's helping them make it through the moment. Hopefully, these songs will help you too.

"Use Your Inside Voice" — Rachel Brodsky, Managing Editor

Despite working in the music industry, I've always been a little bit un-rock-n-roll. I prefer early bedtimes, and all things being equal, I'd usually rather be inside on the couch than out at a show. Truly, I can be a little bit of a shut-in on a normal day. But these last couple of weeks have been anything but normal; there's something bizarre about being required to stay in that immediately makes me restless. Now, some people journal to make sense of their feelings—me, I've always turned to playlisting. To describe the present moment, I've got some old standbys (Wilco's "How To Fight Loneliness"; Belle & Sebastian's "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying"), as well as some newer classics (Paramore's "Hard Times," Kacey Musgraves' "Loney Weekend"). It's all topped off with one of my favorite older cuts by the National, who sing some words to live by right now: "Baby, we'll be fine. All we have to do is be brave and be kind." 

"Dial Q For Quarantine," Nate Hertweck, Senior Editor

We’re all feeling different, we’re all feeling the same. What strikes me about social distancing is the range of emotions from excitement at having the time and space to slow down, enjoy little things and catch up on our sleep and our dreams, to the anxiety of the state of the world and, especially, the missed in-person connection with others. In that spirit, "Dial Q For Quarantine" is a head-scratcher, some old favorites stashed in the back of the closet, some new tunes just arrived in the day's mail on the kitchen table... Truth be told, the playlist has about as much rhyme and reason as the current situation it was created in, but perhaps you’ll find something in there that makes you dig deeper. The good news is you should have the time.                                                                                      

"Lunchtime Dance Party," John Ochoa, Editor

As a devoted dance music fan, it pains me to see so many clubs, festivals and venues shutting their doors for what may be an extensive and unknown period of time. But as a concerned and caring human, I am doing my part to help flatten the curve by staying home in self-quarantine and practicing social distancing. For the past two-plus years, I've worked from home, but I totally understand this may be the first time many of you are experiencing this new and sudden change in daily work life. So to help ease the humdrum of isolation, I've put together this funky playlist to soundtrack your Lunchtime Dance Party. Just because the clubs are closed and the dance floors are empty—for now!—doesn't mean you can't get down at your own homemade dance party. When the day gets tough, when work gets busy or when you're just plain bored, fire up this playlist and get to boogieing. Make sure to "Express Yourself" with Diplo, show off your "Fancy Footwork" with Chromeo and always, always, always remember that, like GRiZ says, "It Gets Better."

"Tough Times Tunes," Jennifer Velez, Staff Writer

This playlist is random, much like my music taste. Some songs made it in because they’re what I’ve been listening to since going into essential lockdown. Alejandro Sanz was one of the first artists I saw doing live shows; I felt so touched that I started playing him and haven’t stopped. "Conversations In The Dark" is one of John Legend’s new songs that he played during his live stream. It’s so good. Other songs I discovered while doing home workouts, Flume’s “Let You Know” with Robin Hannibal and London Grammar is one of these. Others are earworms I’ve been listening to lately" Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” I heard at a brewery while on a recent work trip to Mexico in February. It's a reminder of what normal used to be. And other songs, like Modjo’s “Lady- Hear Me Tonight,” never fail to make me feel happy.

"Dancing On My Own, A.K.A. Self-Quarantine Bops," Ana Monroy Yglesias, Staff Writer

I am a big fan of putting on music you can dance to in your bedroom or living room, especially when I'm trying to psych myself up. In these strange and scary times, everyone is at home more, so I think the need to find joy and dance moves under your own roof is especially important. The obvious starting point for me was putting on solo anthems from two pop queens: Robyn's timeless 2010 hit "Dancing On My Own" and Carly Rae Jepsen's 2018 breakup anthem "Party For One." Bad Bunny also celebrates getting down on your own with "Yo Perreo Solo," or "I dance/grind alone." There are more of my favorite pop queens on here—Christine and the Queens, RosalíaDua LipaGrimes and the incomparable Whitney Houston—bringing big vocals and a range of emotions, not unlike the experience of having the world as we know it turned upside down.

My self-quarantine playlist felt incomplete without Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)." "Home is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there." Before that, after the Weeknd brings us into the "After Hours." there are four songs from electronic acts I love, RÜFÜS DU SOLMaceo PlexLuttrell and Yaeji. The first two songs feel deep, dark and expansive, moving us from the ups and downs of our at-home dance party to deep into nighttime. Yaeji's fun self-care/adulting anthem, sung in Korean and English, brings us into the morning, with the playlist bringing us through the ebbs and flows of a day in quarantine and then into the next and the next one.

One day, this will end, but for now, let's stay safe inside and turn the music up.

"Spaced Out Solitude," Onaje McDowelle, Editorial Intern

When it comes to being stuck inside, finding healthy ways to occupy our bodies and minds is of the utmost importance. But, with time to kill and no access to outside distractions, keeping yourself from going practically insane is far easier said than done. That’s why researchers say music can help. It’s been scientifically supported that music can increase your peace of mind by calming and stimulating the brain, therefore enhancing your mental health and your mind’s functionality. "Cue, Spaced Out Solitude, a curated collection of meditative new releases featuring morale-boosting singles from GRAMMY-winners and nominees the Weeknd, Childish GambinoFlumeTame ImpalaJ Balvin + more." Across genres and moods, it spans the atmospheric ambiance of "Freefall" and "323" to off-center upbeat experiments in “New Jade” and bouncier dance arrangements like “Blanco." Plug in, tune out and remember; even in times of crises, your mental health matters. Shower concerts, bedroom dance parties and solo sing-alongs are highly encouraged.”


Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

Meek Mill

Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images


Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread

GRAMMYs/Apr 7, 2020 - 05:01 am

Jay-Z and Meek Mill's criminal justice reform organization REFORM has donated roughly 100,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities including in the states of New York, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The organization said it donated 50,000 masks to New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility, 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Correction and 5,000 to Mississippi State Penitentiary. Spin reports that an additional 2,500 masks were sent to a Rikers medical facility. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread.  

"Incarcerated/detained persons live, work, eat, study, and recreate within congregate environments, heightening the potential for COVID-19 to spread once introduced," according to the CDC. Other vulnerabilities include the fact that incarcerated people, for the most part, can't leave and, depending on the size of the facility, space for someone to medically isolate could be limited.

"We need to protect vulnerable people behind bars & GET THEM OUT!" REFORM said in a tweet. The organization sees this as a threat to public health and said on its website that it is working with experts and advocates "to develop a set of common-sense recommendations that would make us all SAFER."

They also announced on Twitter that they helped the South Carolina Department of Corrections locate 36,000 masks for their population. 

Across the nation, COVID-19 cases have been popping up in correctional facilities, including North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee

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Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

J. Cole

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images


Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

The second annual music festival from J. Cole's Dreamville Records squad and friends was first postponed from April until August, and will now have to wait until 2021

GRAMMYs/May 19, 2020 - 02:27 am

Dreamville Festival has announced they are canceling their 2020 event due to public safety concerns caused by coronavirus. The second annual edition of the one-day music fest, hosted by J. Cole and his talent-filled Dreamville Records, was originally slated to take place on April 6 at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, N.C., but was rescheduled to Aug. 29 after the pandemic struck the U.S.

Like countless other events that were set to take place this year, it will now have to wait until 2021. Dreamville says all 2020 ticket holders will be receive refunds soon.

Selena XXV - Veinticinco Años Tribute Concert Canceled Due To COVID-19

"After much deliberation and careful monitoring of the current situation, we have decided to cancel Dreamville Festival 2020. Although we originally hoped it would be possible to bring you the festival this August, the ongoing uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has made this timeline no longer possible. This decision has been extremely difficult to make, but the safety of our fans, artists, and staff is always our top priority, and nothing will ever take precedence over your well-being," the organizers wrote in a statement shared across their social channels and on the fest's website.

The message also shared details on refunds, noting that all tickets purchased online will automatically be refunded to the original payment method, beginning this week. Fans who bought physical tickets from official points of purchase can request a refund here.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this. Please stay safe, healthy, and sane so we can reunite with you in 2021," the statement added.

Watch: J.I.D Talks Lollapalooza Debut, Working With J. Cole & Dreamville, New Music & More

According to Pitchfork, the debut Dreamville fest also faced unforeseen setbacks; it was originally set for Sept. 15, 2018 at Dorothea Dix Park but was pushed to April 6, 2019, due to Hurricane Florence. The 2019 event featured performances from Dreamville head Cole and labelmates J.I.D, BAS and Ari Lennox, as well as SZA, Big Sean, 21 Savage, 6LACK, Rapsody, Nelly and other heavy-hitters in hip-hop and R&B.

No artists have been revealed yet for the second edition of the fest.

The Dreamville squad earned their first two collective GRAMMY nominations at the most recent 62nd GRAMMY Awards; for Best Rap Album for the collaborative Revenge Of The Dreamers III and Best Rap Performance for one of its singles, "Down Bad." Cole earned a total of five nods, including for his work on that project, and took him his first GRAMMY win for his feature on 21 Savage's "A Lot."

Dreamville's Lute Drops New Single And Video, "GED (Gettin Every Dolla)"

Houseparty’s "In The House": Katy Perry, John Legend, Alicia Keys + More

Katy Perry

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images


Houseparty’s "In The House": Katy Perry, John Legend, Alicia Keys + More

The three-day livestream event taking place this weekend (May 15-17) will allow users to view performances and segments while chatting with friends in realtime

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2020 - 12:46 am

Houseparty, the face-to-face social video app, is bringing a star-studded lineup of performances, workouts and cooking lessons to its users, including appearances by Katy Perry, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and more than 40 other celebrities. The event, "In The House," will take place over the course of three days, beginning this weekend on Friday, May 15 and running through Sunday, May 17.

Per Rolling Stone, the event’s programming will see a live performance of Perry’s unreleased track “Daisies,” slated to be released on Friday, May 15, in addition to sets by Legend, Chvrches and others. The program will also feature special cooking lessons on unique recipes provided by Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz and Zooey Deschanel. Alicia Keys will also host a karaoke session and lead a 30 minute at-home workout. The full lineup and event schedule are available here.

Read More: How To Use Music Techniques To Prepare Healthy Food

The three-day event will allow those who tune in to enjoy free performances from the comfort of their homes, and they’ll be able to chat and interact with friends via the app all in real time. In a statement to Variety discussing the program, Houseparty CEO and co-founder Sima Sistani said “We are bringing back appointment viewing… to capture that feeling of sitting on the couch for that special show with your family or friends on a Friday night.”

Houseparty is available to download for free on iOS and Android devices, as well as online where users can tune in to stream the live event. Each segment will air again 12 hours following its original stream for those who may have missed the original broadcasts.

John Legend Performs “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Apple Music Launches $50 Million COVID-19 Royalty Fund For Indie Labels

Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images


Apple Music Launches $50 Million COVID-19 Royalty Fund For Indie Labels

The streaming giant is looking to create stability via advanced payments for independent labels and artists during times of uncertainty

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2020 - 12:18 am

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to propose a ripple effect of financial woes and future questions for artists, musicians and the music industry altogether, Apple Music is taking major strides to offer a semblance of relief.

On Tuesday, the streaming platform officially announced the launch of a $50 million advance royalty fund, set in place to ensure that independent labels and their artists can continue operating and getting paid during this time.

In a letter issued to various independent labels, obtained by Rolling Stone, the streaming giant wrote "These are difficult times for the music industry globally. Livelihoods are at risk, with multiple sources of income that our industry relies on vanishing overnight. Apple has a deep, decades-long history with music, and we are proud to be in close partnership with the best labels and artists in the world. We want to help."

The statement continues, "Today Apple Music is announcing the creation of a $50 million-plus fund available as advances on future royalties to independent labels, to help them pay artists and maintain operations."

According to stipulations, labels with existing distribution deals on the platform who are earning a minimum of $10,000 in Apple Music royalties quarterly are eligible for royalty advances. To receive an advance, labels will need to accept the agreement and be under Apple Music’s latest distribution deal by a May 8, 11:59 p.m. PDT deadline.

In recent events, social distancing and quarantining measures have caused a series of tour and festival cancellations, music release pushbacks and streaming activity has effectively declined. With its new initiative, Apple Music looks to support often overlooked independent artists and labels whose wellbeing doesn’t necessarily depend on the security of major label or industry backing. Advanced royalty payments will help sustain stability for those artists, even while things are rocky.

For more information on how you can directly support musicians and artist communities during the COVID-19 crisis, visit MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund and consider donating here.

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