Photo: Philip Harris
Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Jessie Reyez's Best Urban Contemporary Album Nomination Is For Her Parents
Ahead of the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, Jessie Reyez opens up about her Best Urban Contemporary Album nomination for her second EP, 'Being Human In Public'
Being Human In Public, Jessie Reyez says, is about "being untouchable from other people's opinions."
The seven-track EP released in 2018 is a continuation of what she began on 2017's Kiddo: tough, yet vulnerable songwriting featuring strong vocals over R&B beats.
"You ain't scared to fk, but you scared of being lovers/ Why is that, huh?" she calls out in "Fk Being Friends." But the tough-talking Reyez isn't afraid to let her guard down either. We see a softer side to her on "Apple Juice."
"You should know that I'm at your mercy/ I've spent my life searching for you," she sings, demonstrating how even the most walled-off hearts are susceptible to love's power. Reyez's way of navigating matters of the heart as a 20-something has earned her more than 13 million streams a month on Spotify. Her talent has led her to become the "voice to watch out for," and her second EP, Being Human In Public, has nabbed her a 2020 GRAMMY nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Chatting with the Recording Academy ahead of the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, Reyez said that being nominated for an EP feels "unreal." (She joins the likes of H.E.R. in being nominated without having released an official full-length album yet.)
Since gaining traction online in the mid-2010s, Reyez has collaborated with the likes of Calvin Harris, Tory Lanez, Eminem, Normani, 6lack and Sam Smith on the singing and songwriting front (she co-wrote Harris' pop hit "One Kiss" featuring Dua Lipa). But as much as she enjoys writing for others, her focus is on her own artistry, and that includes nurturing her Latina roots.
Born to Colombian parents in Toronto, Canada, Reyez became interested in music thanks to her family. She would sing with her dad in church, her brother played the clarinet and a lot of records were heard around her house. Her father would play cumbia records all the time when she was growing up. In other interviews, she's mentioned the impact Colombian artists like Carlos Vives (who brought Vallenato, a kind of folk music in Colombia to other parts of Latin Americain and beyond) have had on her.
She features her first song in Spanish on her GRAMMY-nominated album. Co-written with GRAMMY-winning Argentine singer/songwriter Claudia Brant, "Sola" touches on the expectations placed on women in relationships.
When asked about what featuring a Spanish-language song on her album means to her, Reyez has a simple answer: "It means I'm being myself. Being me is being Canadian, being Colombian."
Before releasing a Spanish-language song, Reyez incorporated Spanglish in her music effortlessly: "Fk it, remember back when I told ya/ That I'm a loca Colombiana (Yo te lo dije)," she sings on "Fk it."
Outside her album, Reyez has teamed up with big names in Latin music too. Among them are Latin GRAMMY winner Karol G, GRAMMY-nominated heavy-hitter urbano producer Tainy and GRAMMY-nominated bachata/pop singer Romeo Santos.
Amidst the success Latin urban is seeing, Reyez isn't jumping on a trend; she is simply being herself: a leading young Latinx artist showing the mainstream that you can't make an artist choose between one of their identities. She's also an artist who understands that there's power in a platform.
In her song about long-distance love, Reyez touches on the undocumented immigrant experience. "You're still a world away/ And you're still waitin' for your papers/ Been feelin' like the government wants us to break up," she croons. "I feel what you feel when you're far away/ It's been a hundred days/ Since I kissed your face.""
The song's video features images of President Trump along with scenes of ICE separating family members. Reyez is proud to come from immigrant parents and always felt welcome growing up in Canada. "Canada has this really cool way — specifically Toronto — of encouraging you to wave both flags, if you've been born there, like wave your flag and then wave your parent's flag too and be proud of it," she told the Recording Academy in 2018.
Today, Reyez says her nomination is as much for her as it is for her parents. "They have so much to do with who I am. They're responsible for how I was raised," she says. "It's because of them that I am who I am, so of course this is for them."
And that's exactly who was there when she found out she was nominated for a GRAMMY. In a video posted to Instagram, Reyez opens the door seemingly just haven woken up and gets greeted by her parents with a huge hug and the news of her nomination. "They're my best friend. They're the people who look out for me the most," she says.
Her nephews also act as a stabilizing force, never letting her head get too big. "Oh Tia, are you saying that you can sing now?" one of them joked after she explained how they could pursue a career in graphic design if they wished (after all, she's making a living from her dreams).
"That's how they keep me grounded," she said laughing about the moment. Although a light-hearted exchange, Reyez takes it as a reminder that she is always working on becoming better. In her words, she's "hella meticulous" about her craft.
Being Human In Public is one manifestation of her drive. But one thing's clear, she wants to reach the top by being herself. That's a major theme behind her album and the reason behind her album title. Being real is something that can be hard to achieve in the age of Instagram when everything and everyone seems so polished. "I don't want to dress up. I don't want to put on makeup. I don't want to be fake nice to anybody, I just want to be myself," she says.
At the moment, she feels in control of her narrative on social media but says that that could change as her career grows. Whatever happens, "Nobody's gonna say [she] didn't give it all," as she declares in "Saint Nobody."
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture
The exhibit, opening Dec. 7, will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run" and more
Influential instrumental rock band The Ventures are getting their own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles that will showcase the band's impact on pop culture since the release of their massive hit "Walk, Don't Run" 60 years ago.
The Rock Hall of Fame inductees and Billboard chart-toppers have become especially iconic in the surf-rock world, known for its reverb-loaded guitar sound, for songs like "Wipeout," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run." The Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures exhibit opening Dec. 7 will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run," a Fender Limited Edition Ventures Signature guitars, rare photos and other items from their career spanning six decades and 250 albums.
“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, a founding member of the band, in a statement. "I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being The Ventures. We continue to do that, even today."
Don Wilson, Gerry McGee, Bob Spalding, and Leon Taylor are current band members. On Jan. 9, Taylor's widow and former Fiona Taylor, Ventures associated musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and others will be in conversation with GRAMMY Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman about the band's journey into becoming the most successful instrumental rock band in history at the Clive Davis Theater.
"The Ventures have inspired generations of musicians during their storied six-decade career, motivating many artists to follow in their footsteps and start their own projects," said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum President. "As a music museum, we aim to shine a light on music education, and we applaud the Ventures for earning their honorary title of 'the band that launched a thousand bands.' Many thanks to the Ventures and their families for letting us feature items from this important era in music history."
The exhibit will run Dec. 7–Aug. 3, 2020 at the GRAMMY Museum.
Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images
Alicia Keys Unveils Dates For New Storytelling Series
The artist will take her upcoming 'More Myself: A Journey' biography on a four-city book tour
After performing her powerhouse piano medley at the 62nd Annual GRAMMYs, R&B superstar, GRAMMY-winning artist and former GRAMMY’s host Alicia Keys has revealed that she will set out on a four-stop book tour next month. The storytelling tour will support her forthcoming book More Myself: A Journey, which is slated for a March 31 release via Flatiron Books and is reported to feature stories and music from the book, told and performed by Alicia and her piano, according to a statement.
Part autobiography, part narrative documentary, Keys' title is dubbed in its description as an "intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression." You can pre-order the title here.
The book tour will kick off with a March 31 Brooklyn stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From there, Keys will visit Atlanta’s Symphony Hall on April 5 and Chicago’s Thalia Hall with Chicago Ideas the following day, April 6. The short-run will culminate on April 7 in Los Angeles at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
Pre-sales for the tour are underway and public on-sale will begin on Friday, March 6 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets for the intimate dates and full release dates and times are available here.
Keys won her first five career awards at the 44th Annual GRAMMYs in 2002. On the night, she received awards in the Best New Artists, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance categories respectively. She has received a total of 29 nominations and 15 GRAMMYs in her career.
This year, Keys will also embark on a world tour in support of Alicia, the artist’s upcoming seventh studio album and the follow up of 2016’s Here, due out March 20 via RCA Records.