Making The Perfect Playlist With GRAMMY U Members

Photo: Photofusion/Universal Images Group/Getty Images


Making The Perfect Playlist With GRAMMY U Members

From setting the mood to choosing the right artists, we ask college students around the country how they create their perfect playlist

GRAMMYs/Nov 1, 2018 - 08:19 pm

Making the perfect playlist is an art. The mood has to be right, the songs have to flow and the name has to encapsulate it all. After all, a playlist is the soundtrack before a test, during a gym session or a on cross-country trip. Song to song, it needs to keep you in the moment.

But what makes a perfect playlist? How to pick from so many artists to capture one kind of feeling? It's clear music streaming companies have also put some thought into how to make the perfect playlist. As Spotify puts it, "Playlists are no longer just simple collections of songs. They’ve grown to become cultural epicenters, complete with their own communities."

As a group who engages with music the most, we asked some GRAMMY U members from different colleges across the country to figure out what constitutes a good playlist and how they put it all together.

"Playlists are able to tell the world what collection of music defines your reality," Chicago GRAMMY U Representative, Becca Zagorski, shares. "This becomes an artistic expression because it promotes expression through self-reflection for the creator and intrigue and discovery from the listener."

For Becca, it's all about capturing a mood. Her "Fallish" playlist mood is a mix of pop hits and more obscure tracks that fit her theme. From Travis Scott's "SICKO MODE" to Parquet Courts' "Tenderness," her playlist captures her own personal musical touch for songs with mass appeal at the time that she can eventually look back nostalgically.  

"I create a playlist for each season that has songs that fit the mood of the time period combined with current popular songs," she said. "That way when I go back and listen to those playlists, I can reminisce on the music that encapsulated that period of time in my life."

Florida GRAMMY U Rep Melanie McGrath uses artists from the past and present in her playlist, {h o w t o b e a woman}, to make a soundtrack that inspires her to be better in the present and future. Songs on her playlist include Maggie Rogers' "Alaska," Lorde's "Greenlight" and girl band The Aces' "Stuck."

"It’s a playlist full of indie women artists who inspire me to be the best version of myself!" says Melanie. "Anytime I find an indie pop/folk/electronic song that makes me feel empowered as a young woman and a young songwriter, I add it."

To create her perfect playlist, GRAMMY U Rep Tristin from New Orleans, La., whose playlist includes everything from Kurt Vile's "Pretty Pimpin" to Fleetwood Mac's classic "Rhiannon," envisions herself in the mood she wants to capture.

"Once I got into that frame of mind, I was able to create what I feel like matched the mood and the setting of that scene, which for me is filled with folk, indie and alternative music," Tristin says. "In order to make it more of an artistic expression, you have to really know what type of feeling you want the playlist to convey."

Whatever your goal, combining nostalgic songs with current viral favorites or bringing together specific artists before and during your time, or by focusing your thoughts on the feeling you want to create, your perfect playlist can be something that is truly only yours.

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More



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'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

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."

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY


Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


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

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

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.

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs



Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

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