How Youth-Run Label Syryn Records Supports Up-And-Coming Artists, Music Industry Hopefuls


How Youth-Run Label Syryn Records Supports Up-And-Coming Artists, Music Industry Hopefuls

Born out of the pandemic, Syryn Records offers young future music professionals real-world experience in the industry — and what they've done with it is impressive.

GRAMMYs/Aug 15, 2022 - 02:49 pm

The COVID-19 lockdown forced many people to get creative with how they connected with each other and interacted with the world. The leaders of Girls Rock Santa Barbara were no different, but they also had a pressing decision to make: Skip their annual sleep-away summer camp for school-aged girls and gender expansive kids, or adapt their programming for the newly all-remote world.

This is how Syryn Records  — a youth-run record label dedicated to supporting young female-identifying and gender expansive artists as they grow their careers in music — was born.

 The label's teen interns built Syryn from scratch, running the label's day-to-day operations while also collaborating on the development of branding, website and social media. 

While the first cohort of Syryn interns released singles from seven artists and contributed to creative assets for those releases, second session interns are signing artists. Twenty-one-year-old Heaven Lee is Syryn's first signed artist, and will release her debut single on the label later this year. The Syryn squad also kept busy creating an online publication called GRL Mag, and doing TikTok reports from concerts.

Now firmly on the other side of lockdown, the spring 2022 cohort of 39 interns hosted the first IRL Syryn event in April: a showcase concert featuring Heaven and other young up-and-coming artists at The Rattle in Los Angeles. The next cohort is to continue to support Heaven, sign another artist or two, and release another compilation album to support even more young artists.

In addition to supporting young artists, Syryn nurtures its interns — some of whom are aspiring artists themselves, while others are into visual art or see themselves on the business side of the industry. The internship offers them real world experience, as well as industry connections through weekly mentorship meetings with female musicians and music industry professionals. The 24 mentors for the spring session included Kate Nash, Megan Mitchell, LATASHÁ and myself, representing music journalism. spoke with three interns — one who is graduating high school, a college student, and a recent college grad — and one adult leader. They share the impact of their experience at Syryn, their visions for themselves as young women in music, and how their hard work has helped the label evolve. 

To start, it'd be great if everyone could introduce themselves and tell me your role at Syryn, and why you signed up to be a part of it.

Blaire Michael: I'm the program mentor and lead at Syryn Records. I help run all of the departments and manage the program, and make sure that everybody feels like they're getting the most out of it… and also just feels seen, and understood and supported.

Marissa McShepard: I am in the art department, and I've really been enjoying working with the team of artists. I chose to apply because I'm a visual artist and I'm into music as well. And I felt "Why not try to get some experience in that field?" since all I've been doing is my major in college, which is business and I don't really enjoy it that much.

Isabella Diaz: I joined Syryn because it's actually what led me to Girls Rock about two years ago. I saw it on Instagram and I was like, "Oh my God, that's so cool." I guess I didn't have the confidence to put in an application. So this year, I was like, "No, I'm going to do it." It's great because it's kind of an entry into the music industry. I'm going into college and will be majoring in entertainment management. I'm on the marketing team.

Sasha-Courtney Hofisi: I am an intern in the art department and I get to work alongside Marisa and some other really dope artists on the art and the aesthetic behind Syryn Records. We're working closely with some of the artists on their upcoming projects, which is dope. I saw [Syryn] on Instagram and am a music industry major and a multidisciplinary artist, primarily a musician. I really wanted the opportunity to explore my job options after college; I think that being in the program has given me a better idea of what my career options can be.

I would love to hear more about how Syryn came together in summer 2020, and the journey from there.

Michael: The last session started in 2020 and it was a pivot, because COVID was happening and everyone was trying to figure out how to stay engaged and supported and part of the community. And so [the staff at Girls Rock Santa Barbara] came up with a couple of different programs, one focused on journalism and another focused on promoting young artists and giving young folks an opportunity to explore the different things you can do to support an artist as a music professional.

The label is now formalized this year, but previously, it was a lot of artists that were just part of the Girls Rock community that brought in a single and the interns came together to help do the art for it and to help with some of the publicity. They created a Syryn Instagram and website. 

We loved how it went and we were like, "Why don't we actually sign artists?" We have all of our interns supporting actual signed artists to the Syryn Record label, and we're exploring a lot of different ways that we can keep building it out.

How do you decide what music to release on the label?

Michael: We had a ton of artist applications. We had to narrow it down to those we felt were self-sufficient enough in that they knew how to produce, they knew a little bit about engineering, they already had written some songs and the songs had a really good structure to them. [Essentially], we felt like they were ready to push their music out, so they were at the right part in their journey to link with Syryn Records.

The whole team at Girls Rock Santa Barbara talked about every single intern and every single artist, and chose the folks that we wanted to join us. We have two artists that we're working with right now. We're super excited to work with them.

What does Syryn offer in support of its artists?

Michael: We have four departments: A&R, publicity, marketing and the art department. And they're all kind of working together but separately, building the different pieces. Marketing is talking to the artists about getting an aesthetic together and the brand guidelines, so when they're posting there's consistency. The art department is making art, helping with covers, canvases, all those kinds of things, and also has been helping with our website. The publicity department is putting together press releases, getting ready for when we launch and also reaching out and talking to people about our artists and our program.

McShepard: The art department first started with, again, the aesthetic of Syryn… but we also moved on to looking at the aesthetics of the artists, starting with Heaven and then on to Zoey. [We worked] with other departments,  making sure that our collaboration is smooth. We just finished working with the marketing department to make a good cover for Heaven's single, which was really fun.

Hofisi: We actually got the chance to be put into pairs to collaborate on Heaven's single covers. We've been able to combine our two departments' skills together to be able to create a cohesive project and pitch for the signed artist, so they can have options for their covers and such.

Another really cool feature that all the interns get is that we have a guest mentor come speak to us on Mondays. It's a great way to make connections, but also it's been the easiest way for me to be able to ask as many questions as I want about different careers, and see people across a plethora of… fields within the industry.

Diaz: Like Sasha and Marissa mentioned, we just finished a collaboration between the two departments. I really liked how every single group had a totally different perspective on it, and the ideas that were thrown out there were really cool.

In marketing, we've also been working on getting our social media going. I've been doing a lot of TikToks, like concerts of the week, record of the week, guest mentor of the week, a lot of weekly stuff. We're trying to continue our posting schedule. We were working on some color palettes as well. We want to get a cohesive idea for the artists for when we do start all the releases, so everything can be ready and looking pretty.

I really like Syryn's collage / DIY-style art! Who makes the decisions around the visual elements of the label?

Michael: The art department really does represent the artists interests, but we've had meetings where Heaven comes in. Heaven's met with the marketing department and talked about color schemes and the fonts we're choosing, and we handed those over to the art department. They made so many different versions because then we get to all present them to Heaven.

I think the important part of our record label… has always been that the artist has a ton of creative control. And we want to make sure that we're supporting their vision.

McShepard: Outside of artists' work and artists' aesthetic, we all have some say in what's finalized. For example, we still have to vote on a banner for the website. I think that's great that we all get to have a say because we all put in the work and we all help each idea come to fruition.

Diaz: In marketing, we have these mood boards going and we all get to add to them and see our perspective on it, and then as we keep doing that it becomes more cohesive. When we get the artists in, then we get more ideas and that's [when] we finalize everything. It's a team effort and we really value everyone's opinion. I really like that.

What can you tell me about the label's aesthetic, and how you came to that decision?

Hofisi: At least for our banner and our website upgrade, a huge thing that we talked about is trying to kind of play with, in an age-appropriate way, the Syryn Records title and the mythology and association with siren. So, we wanted to play into a mystical vibe. We were thinking about fairies, and flying cats and a very foresty vibe, like mushrooms and plants, to liven it up and add a little bit more of a magical vibe to it.

We also really wanted to play into the gender expansiveness as well of Syryn Records — not only the fact that it is focused on women empowerment, but also gender inclusion as well. So we have a lot of androgynous mystical creatures like fairies, or elves, stuff like that. That will be included in this next phase of the Syryn Records brand.

McShepard: The only other thing that she didn't mention was just the color palette, again, making sure those colors are inspiring and supporting the vibe that we're going for. And making sure that it is age-appropriate and all-inclusive when it comes to our females and gender expansive folks. We wanted to have some kind of cohesion on that front while still promoting diversity.

Michael: Yeah, we never wanted anyone to look at our brand and feel like they're not included if they are part of our outreach. So trans, non-binary, racial diversity, gender. We wanted to make sure you look at something from us and say, "Oh, I belong here." So how you build your art, how you build your brand can really signal to people "I belong here" or "I don't belong here." So that's important.

Can you tell me about the Syryn artist showcase that happened recently?

Hofisi: I was very, very, very blessed with the showcase. I met one of my best friends, actually, in this internship, in the art department. Basically, we had the idea of wanting to do a show and get the chance to meet each other for the first time. Her birthday was coming up as well, so the timing was really great. We asked Blaire if she had any ideas for venues and she was generous enough to offer to try to help us collaborate with the record label.

The showcase was really, really great. We got to have Heavenheadline the event. We really wanted the event to highlight dope women that are doing amazing things in music, and wanted to showcase their talents. We had a very intimate acoustic vibe to it. It was Venusian themed, and we wanted to bring the outdoors inside, so we had a little grass patch and flowers. There were five acts. It was very, very exciting.

Michael: It's really cool because it was two interns coming together and producing an event for Syryn Records, which is kind of crazy. And we got to keep it fully in-house, Devin [Davis, the Syryn A&R Mentor Lead] and I did the sound for the event. One of our guest mentors is the director of The Rattle, which is a creative space [in Los Feliz in Los Angeles]. It kind of came full circle and was really, really sick. And we had two interns performing and the two artists signed to our label.

So it's a beautiful example of when you bring all these elements together the synergy that can happen and how it can sort of organically uplift your message or your mission without you having to do too much besides putting the right people in the right rooms together.

At this point in time, what does everyone's "dream job" look and feel like? Are you interested in working in the music industry?

Diaz: For me personally, it feels like a pinball; it just bounces around all the time and is never fully set. But now, working anywhere in management or [as] an agent will be cool. Working with a label and working with a group of people has made me realize that I really do like the collaborative aspect, so working for a label — whether it's one of the big corporate names or one of the smaller local ones — seems to be really, really cool.

I would love to be able to work in something that lets me experience my favorite things, which are concerts and music, on a more intimate level and bring those experiences to people. I grew up on these things, and would love to show it to the next generation to be like look at this great world and eventually they can take over.

McShepard: This is a very real question for me right now as I'm about to graduate from college in a week. And I'm hating it because it keeps changing…. I'm thinking I need to be in this corporate job, like I said, I'm [majoring] in business, specifically my focus is in consulting. I do interviews like this with people all the time, and I always love to connect with people and talk to people and that's my favorite part.

I grew up in the theater, I was a scene artist painting-wise, and I also was a dancer and singer. So at this point it is just like, Marissa, what do you want to do with your life? [Chuckles] I've got all these options. Honestly, at this point, my end goal, sooner rather than later, would be to have an art gallery and art therapy brick and mortar kind of place. Because I would love to still be able to connect with people in that way and also get my bag doing my art.

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Remembering Christine McVie Of Fleetwood Mac Through Her GRAMMY Triumphs, From 'Rumours' Onward
Christine McVie in 1969

Photo: Evening Standard / Stringer via Getty Images


Remembering Christine McVie Of Fleetwood Mac Through Her GRAMMY Triumphs, From 'Rumours' Onward

Unflashy and undramatic, McVie's contributions to Fleetwood Mac led to some of their greatest contributions to popular song — with two GRAMMY wins to boot.

GRAMMYs/Dec 2, 2022 - 08:32 pm

In an acclaimed career that spanned more than half a century, Christine McVie staked her claim as one of the most potent singer-songwriters of her generation. A beloved original member of the seminal rock group Fleetwood Mac, with whom she sang, wrote and played keyboard, she and her bandmates catapulted to fame in the early '70s, scoring GRAMMY gold and influencing generations of musicians.

"As a GRAMMY Award winner and 2018 Person of the Year honoree, the Recording Academy has been honored to celebrate Christine McVie and her work with Fleetwood Mac throughout her legendary career," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. stated. In an announcement of her death, the remaining members of Fleetwood Mac mourned her passing by saying "She was truly one-of-a-kind, special, and talented beyond measure."

McVie, who passed away Nov. 30 at 79 after a brief illness, may have not been as flashy, or as dramatic, as fellow Fleetwood Mac members Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. But McVie's contributions to the band led to some of their greatest contributions to popular song, with two GRAMMY wins among seven nominations.

The tour de force that is Rumours is one of the most acclaimed and best-selling albums of all time and an inductee into GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. The masterpiece earned McVie her first GRAMMY (for Album of the Year no less) at the 20th Annual Ceremony in 1978, also earning a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Group.

Fleetwood Mac's 11th studio album, Rumours was actually McVie's 7th album with the band after making her name in the English blues scene, rising through the ranks as part of the band Chicken Shack, and even releasing a solo album.

In 1971, McVie joined Fleetwood Mac alongside her then-husband John McVie. The potent combination of the McVies, along with Mick Fleetwood, Buckingham and Nicks, catalyzed and detonated into the stratospheric Rumours.

"It's hard to say (what it was like) because we were looking at it from the inside," McVie said about the iconic album earlier this year.  "We were having a blast and it felt incredible to us that we were writing those songs. That's all I can say about it, really."

McVie's coyness may stem from the fact that prior to its production, Christine and John divorced after eight years of marriage. Meanwhile, Buckingham and Nicks were having a tumultuous relationship themselves. 

McVie is credited as sole songwriter on a handful of instant-classic Rumours tracks, all written during a perilous moment. "I thought I was drying up," explained McVie. "I was practically panicking because every time I sat down at a piano, nothing came out. Then, one day,  I just sat down and wrote in the studio, and the four-and-a-half songs of mine on the album are a result of that."

That includes "Don't Stop," an ironically peppy ode considering the turmoil McVie and her bandmates were grappling with at the time. With lyrics that staunchly proclaim "Yesterday's gone!," the song was reportedly written as a plea from Christine to John to move on from their relationship.

"I dare say, if I hadn't joined Fleetwood Mac, we might still be together. I just think it's impossible to work in the band with your spouse," McVie later said. John, meanwhile, was oblivious to the song's message during its production and early acclaim. He revealed in 2015: "I've been playing it for years and it wasn't until somebody told me, 'Chris wrote that about you.' Oh really?"

John was also equally ignorant to the source inspiration of "You Make Loving Fun"; McVie told him the joyful song ("Sweet wonderful you/ You make me happy with the things you do") was about her dog. In reality, it was about an affair with the band's lighting designer.

"It was a therapeutic move," McVie later mused of her lyrical penchant for hiding brutal honesty in plain sight. "The only way we could get this stuff out was to say it, and it came out in a way that was difficult. Imagine trying to sing those songs onstage with the people you're singing them about."

When McVie was asked earlier this year what song she written she was most proud of, it was an easy answer: the Rumours track "Songbird."

"For some peculiar reason, I wrote "Songbird" in half an hour; I've never been able to figure out how I did that," she told People. "I woke up in the middle of the night and the song was there in my brain, chords, lyrics, melody, everything. I played it in my bedroom and didn't have anything to tape it on. So I had to stay awake all night so I wouldn't forget it and I came in the next morning to the studio and had (producer) Ken Callait put it on a 2-track. That was how the song ended up being. I don't know where that came from."

McVie's most recent GRAMMY nominations were for her contributions to The Dance, Fleetwood Mac's 1997 live album that featured her stand-outs from Rumours along with the McVie penned-tracks "Say You Love Me" and "Everywhere."

The album earned McVie and the band GRAMMY nominations for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (for the Lindsay Buckingham-written "The Chain") and  Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (for "Silver Springs," penned by Stevie Nicks). It also landed a nomination for Best Pop Album. It was her final album with the band before a 15-year self-imposed retirement.

In her final years, McVie was a vital member of Fleetwood Mac, including in 2018 when they became the first band honored as MusicCare's Person of the Year.

Speaking to the Recording Academy before the ceremony, Nicks expressed that her initial goal upon joining the group was a humble one: "Christine and I made a pact. We said we will never, ever be treated as a second-class citizen amongst our peers."

Lindsey Buckingham Holds Forth On His New Self-Titled Album, How He Really Feels About Fleetwood Mac Touring Without Him

15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: SZA, Neil Young, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, NCT Dream & More
(L-R): A Boogie wit da Hoodie, SZA, Jacquees, Metro Boomin, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer

Photos (L-R): Joseph Okpako/WireImage; Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic; Prince Williams/Wireimage; Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Justin Combs Events; Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images


15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: SZA, Neil Young, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, NCT Dream & More

Rounding out the year, here are the can't-miss releases and massive new albums dropping in December 2022 from Weezer, Metro Boomin, NOFX, Jacquees, Ab-Soul, and many others.

GRAMMYs/Dec 2, 2022 - 07:20 pm

And just like that, 2022 is almost done — but not before we get another round of must-hear albums. December's slate of releases is set to send the year out on a high note, with something for all tastes.

This month heralds much-anticipated returns from R&B innovator SZA, with S.O.S., and rap super-producer Metro Boomin, with the mysterious HEROES & VILLAINS. December's riches also include Bad MFs from West Coast hip-hop supergroup Mount Westmore, indie-rock lifers Weezer dropping SZNZ: Winter and a loaded, possibly final album from punk-rock misfits NOFX. There's also new-generation R&B (RINI’s Ultraviolet EP and Jacquees' Sincerely For You), dark techno (Terence Fixmer's Shifting Signals), soul-baring indie (Sophie Jamieson's Choosing), and much more.

Below, check out a guide to the 15 essential albums dropping just in time for the festive season. — Jack Tregoning

Contributed reporting by Ashlee Mitchell

SZA - S.O.S.

Release date: TBD

Five years after her GRAMMY-nominated debut album, Ctrl, it's about to be SZA season all over again. While details are still pending, the alternative R&B star is expected to drop her second album, S.O.S., this month, following the single "Shirt" and its teaser follow-up, "PSA."

In a revealing Billboard cover story, SZA spoke frankly about the pressure she feels to release the album while navigating the music industry and her fans' expectations. As always with SZA, the music itself speaks volumes, and the darkly seductive "Shirt" (accompanied by a music video co-starring SZA and Academy Award nominee LaKeith Stanfield in a riff on Bonnie and Clyde) suggests S.O.S. will be something to savor. — J.T.

Related: Ari Lennox's Age/Sex/Location Explores Online Dating, Never Settling & Old School Romance

Metro Boomin - HEROES & VILLAINS

Release date: December 2

To prepare fans for his new album, HEROES & VILLAINS, sought-after rap producer Metro Boomin went all-out on a short film starring his collaborators Young Thug and Gunna alongside celebrated actors Morgan Freeman and LaKeith Stanfield. Following that flex, the artist's first solo LP in four years is set to feature a who's who of rap, with an exact tracklist still to be announced.

Metro Boomin's previous album, 2018's Not All Heroes Wear Capes, featured the likes of Travis Scott, 21 Savage and Gucci Mane rapping over the producer's dark, trap-centric beats. This time around, he's keeping his cards close to his chest, slyly sharing a video of the studio sessions on his Instagram with the caption, "When the sequel is even better than the first." All will be revealed on Dec. 2. — J.T.

Related: For The Record: Kendrick Lamar's 'Good Kid, M.A.A.d City' Launched A New Era In Storytelling & West Coast Rap

Neil Young - Harvest (50th Anniversary Edition)

Release date: December 2

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Young's seminal folk-rock album Harvest, released to great acclaim in 1972. Featuring indelible songs like "Heart of Gold," "Old Man" and "The Needle and The Damage Done," Harvest was the best-selling album of that year in the US.

To celebrate the milestone, Young is releasing a special anniversary edition, available in either CD or vinyl box-set. Extras include a new two-hour documentary called Harvest Time, an official release of Young's BBC In Concert performance, and a hardcover book featuring never-before-seen photos and notes by legendary rock photographer Joel Bernstein. Consider this the festive gift for the Neil Young completist in your life. — J.T.

After breaking out with his 2021 debut album, Constellations, RINI returns this month with the seven-track EP, Ultraviolet. The Filipino-Australian R&B talent, who now calls Los Angeles home, pairs his indelible voice with slinky, late-night production that pulls the listener close.

Ahead of Ultraviolet, RINI has released the singles "Haunt Me" and "Selfish," featuring GRAMMY-winning rapper BEAM, which pair his themes of love and longing with gauzy, head-nodding beats. "I want to be able to show the world and myself that I'm growing, not just in music, but as a person," RINI told Uproxx in May. On Ultraviolet, which also features the slick bedroom jams "Something to Feel" and "Your Eyes," that evolution is evident. — J.T.

Related: R&B Isn't Dead: Listen To 51 Songs By Summer Walker, Josh Levi & More Artists Who Are Pushing The Genre Forward

NOFX - Double Album

Release date: December 2

SoCal punk veterans NOFX have always kept up a prolific output, and this month the band returns with their 15th LP, Double Album. Following last year's Single Album, the conveniently titled Double Album features 10 new songs with perfectly NOFX titles like "Punk Rock Cliché" and "Is It Too Soon if Time Is Relative?" Lead single "Darby Crashing Your Party" showcases the band at their hard-riffing, rowdy best, with frontman Fat Mike clearly relishing lyrical volleys like, "A middle-class clown waging lower class war/A Beverly Hillbilly peeled off the floor."

In a statement announcing the new album, Fat Mike revealed the songs were recorded at the same time as Single Album, then finished off later. "I think it's a very enjoyable album, and maybe our funniest," he added. It could also be NOFX's parting gift — responding to a fan’s Instagram comment, Fat Mike announced that 2023 will be the band's "last year" after an "amazing run." — J.T.

Related: 5 Women Essential To Punk: Exene Cervenka, Poly Styrene, Alice Bag, Kathleen Hanna & The Linda Lindas

Terence Fixmer - Shifting Signals

Release date: December 2

French producer Terence Fixmer has been one of the most intriguing figures in the electronic music scene for well over a decade. Over six past solo albums, numerous EPs and standalone releases, Fixmer has perfected a dark, gritty sound that melds techno with the looser industrial spirit of electronic body music (EBM).

Fixmer's seventh album, Shifting Signals, continues in that vein while allowing for new textures to creep in. "On each album I aim for something different but I retain the core sound, which is always there and often dark and melancholic," the producer wrote in a statement. "Sometimes the balance tips slightly and on this album, I'm striving to be freer and open myself up more to melody."

That openness to different modes is showcased on the atmospheric, piano-led "Synthetic Minds," which evokes a John Carpenter film score, while fellow singles "Corne de Brume" and "No Latitude for Errors" are built for heady techno dance floors. — J.T.

Related: Going Underground: House DJ Claude VonStroke On Making Soul Decisions & Keeping Electronic Music Grimy

Sophie Jamieson - Choosing

Release date: December 2

On her debut album, Choosing, London-based singer-songwriter Sophie Jamieson doesn't shy from difficult or uncomfortable emotions. Lead single, "Sink" lays bare her push-pull relationship with alcohol over a lulling bed of piano and drums. That theme of emotional vulnerability carries through the LP's 11 songs, which foreground Jamieson's enchanting voice and plain-spoken lyrics.

"The title of this album is so important," Jamieson wrote in a statement. "Without it, this might sound like another record about self-destruction and pain, but at heart, it's about hope, and finding strength. It's about finding the light at the end of the tunnel and crawling towards it." Choosing arrives via Bella Union, the tastemaking label led by Simon Raymonde, formerly of Scottish dream pop band Cocteau Twins. — J.T.

Related: Hear The 2022 Nominees For Best Alternative Music Performance At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards

White Lung - Premonition

Release date: December 2

Canadian punk rockers White Lung weren't expecting to take six years to follow up 2016's celebrated Paradise. As the story goes, the band got together in their hometown of Vancouver in 2017, expecting to rip out their final album before parting ways. In the studio, frontwoman Mish Barber-Way discovered she was pregnant with her first child — which, along with a global pandemic and another child, put the album plans on ice.

Fast forward to 2022, and White Lung's fifth and final album, Premonition, is finally here. With all that extra time to marinate, Premonition is a thrilling return from the trio, mining deeper themes with the same raucous, kick-down-the-door energy that fans expect. The album opens furiously with "Hysteric", and also features the singles "Date Night" and "Tomorrow," which match Barber-Way's impassioned vocals with muscular punk-rock riffing.

"We felt like this record was the right endpoint and we are happy the songs will finally be released," the band wrote in a statement. — J.T.

Related: Like Turnstile And Code Orange? 10 More Bands Expanding The Boundaries Of Hardcore

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie - Me vs. Myself

Release date: December 9

New York's A Boogie wit da Hoodie has been steadily hyping the release of his fourth album, Me Vs Myself, throughout 2022. Originally scheduled for November, the album will drop this month, right in time for A Boogie's hometown album launch at the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Me Vs Myself was preceded by a pair of singles, "Take Shots," featuring Tory Lanez, and "Ballin," which both showcase the rapper's supremely confident flow and wavy beats. While the full tracklist is not yet confirmed, A Boogie's previous album, ARTIST 2.0, covered the R&B and rap spectrum with guests like Summer Walker, Khalid, Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert, without pulling focus from the main star. The rapper has already lined up dates for the Me Vs Myself tour stretching into 2023, so it's a great time to bet on A Boogie. — J.T.

Related: Meet The 2022 Nominees For Best Rap Album At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards

Mount Westmore - Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort

Release date: December 9

When living legends Snoop Dogg, E-40, Too Short and Ice Cube formed the supergroup Mount Westmore, West Coast rap heads took notice. After several hints that a collaborative album was coming, Mount Westmore made the surprise decision to release their debut, Bad MFs, exclusively as an NFT via the blockchain-based platform Gala Music.

The album arrives on streaming services this month under a new title, Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort, featuring additional songs not included on the NFT version. A spirit of loose fun and ride-or-die friendship carries through all the singles released so far, including the swaggering "Bad MFs" and the bass-heavy, light-hearted "Big Subwoofer." As Snoop put it to HotNewHipHop, "You bring the legends of the West Coast together, something great will always happen." — J.T.

Related: Take The Power Back: How Rage Against The Machine's Debut LP Created Rap-Rock With A Message

Leland Whitty - Anyhow

Release date: December 9

Best known as a member of Toronto-based jazz ensemble BADBADNOTGOOD, Leland Whitty is a true multi-instrumentalist. On his seven-track solo release, Anyhow, Whitty oversaw all production and composition, moving deftly between guitar, synthesizer, woodwinds and strings.

Following his scores for indie films Disappearance at Clifton Hill and Learn to Swim, Whitty was inspired to combine cinematic composition with rock and jazz instrumentation in his own project. Lead single "Awake" perfectly strikes that balance with twinkling keys, mournful strings and an insistent drum beat, while follow-up "Glass Moon" conjures a similarly beguiling mood. Members of BADBADNOTGOOD and Whitty's musician brother also joined the studio sessions, making Anyhow a family affair. — J.T.

Related: Robert Glasper & Terrace Martin On Removing Their Egos And Creating Their GRAMMY-Nominated Collaboration Dinner Party: Dessert

Jacquees - Sincerely For You

Release date: December 16

On "Say Yea", the sultry bedroom anthem he dropped back in May, Jacquees croons, "Girl, you overdue for some romantic s—." That simple line is something of a mission statement for the R&B casanova, whose third album, Sincerely For You, drops this month.

The LP features "Say Yea" alongside 16 more R&B jams, including singles "Tipsy," which captures the singer's blurry plea to a lover, and the smoothly boastful "Still That." Elsewhere, Sincerely For You offers up guest turns from Future (who also executive produced the album), 21 Savage and Tory Lanez, plus the R&B dream team of 6lack and Summer Walker on "Tell Me It's Over." On his socials, Jacquees dedicated the album to "everybody who been there for me along the way" and promised to deliver only "real R&B." — J.T.

Related: Durand Bernarr's 'Wanderlust': The R&B Singer Explains Why He's "Constantly In A State Of Arriving"

Ab-Soul - Herbert

Release date: December 16

Six hard-won years after his last album, the divisive, conspiracy theory-heavy Do What Thou Wilt., Ab-Soul has found his drive again. The rapper from Carson, California returns this month with a deeply personal album that shares his birth name, Herbert.

Ab-Soul's new outlook was previewed in lead single "Do Better," which reckons with the scars of his past and looks to the future with powerful clarity. The next single, "Gang'Nem," featuring Houston rapper FRE$H and produced by fellow Top Dawg Entertainment mainstay Sounwave, also revisits his upbringing and pays respect to L.A. street culture over a woozy, hard-hitting beat.

For fans of Ab-Soul's dense lyrical style and gravelly flow, Herbert is an eagerly-anticipated return to the rap limelight. — J.T.

Related: From "Rap Sh!t" To "Pistol" And "Treme": 8 Must-See TV Series For Music Lovers


Release date: December 19

NCT Dream, the youngest sub-group of Neo Culture Technology (NCT), has seen exponential growth since they rebranded as a fixed unit in 2020. The septet is set to release a winter special EP called Candy on Dec. 19. The mini-album's six tracks, include lead single "Candy," which was originally performed by H.O.T. in 1996. The album will be the first holiday release for any NCT sub-group, following a slew of successful releases from NCT Dream this year.

The group released their second studio album, Glitch, in March 2022, followed by their repackaged Beatbox in May. Their first feature film, NCT Dream The Movie: In a Dream, released worldwide on Nov. 30 and Dec. 3 and documents the opening days of their tour in Seoul. The group will finish their tour in Japan by February 2023. — Ashlee Mitchell

Related: K-Pop Icon B.I Isn't Afraid To Explore Growth And Freedom On 'Love Or Loved Pt. 1'

Weezer - SZNZ: Winter

Release date: December 21

This has been a remarkably good year to be a Weezer fan. Always pleasingly prolific, in 2022 the band decided to release a four-EP series under the name SZNZ, each timed to coincide with a new season.

Following Spring, Summer and Autumn editions, SZNZ: Winter arrives just in time for peak coziness. While the complete tracklist is not yet known, Weezer performed the EP in full for an intimate crowd at the Troubadour in Los Angeles (using their favored alias Goat Punishment), with new highlights including "I Want A Dog" and "The One That Got Away."

While frontman Rivers Cuomo has described SZNZ: Winter as having a sad vibe that suits snowed-in days, you can always count on Weezer to cut the melancholy with some power-pop verve. — J.T.

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GRAMMY Rewind: Dua Lipa Champions Happiness As She Accepts Her GRAMMY For Best Pop Vocal Album In 2021
Dua Lipa at the 2021 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images


GRAMMY Rewind: Dua Lipa Champions Happiness As She Accepts Her GRAMMY For Best Pop Vocal Album In 2021

As Dua Lipa held her new GRAMMY, she reflected on how "jaded" she felt before putting out 'Future Nostalgia' — and how the album taught her the importance of happiness.

GRAMMYs/Dec 2, 2022 - 06:00 pm

Three-time GRAMMY-winner Dua Lipa already had two golden gramophones to her name going into the 2021 GRAMMYs. But her third win — and her first for Best Pop Vocal Album — may have been the happiest of them all.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the special moment when Dua Lipa took the stage to claim her trophy for her album, Future Nostalgia. The second studio album of the singer's career, Future Nostalgia earned her six nominations, including the coveted Album Of The Year as well as Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for lead single "Don't Start Now."

As she held her new trophy, Lipa reflected on what she's learned through the process of making Future Nostalgia, making special mention of the power of happiness, and putting out happy music.

"I felt really jaded at the end of my last album, where I felt like I only had to make sad music to feel like it mattered," she explained. "And I'm just so grateful and so honored, because happiness is something that we all deserve, and it's something that we all need in our lives."

The singer also threw a spotlight on her fans, team and co-writers during her time onstage. "This means so much," she concluded, adding a shout-out to her family and friends who were watching from home. "I love you, thank you."

Press play on the video above to watch Dua Lipa's complete acceptance speech at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, and keep checking back to every Friday for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind. 

Get To Know The 2022 Nominees For Best Pop Duo/Group Performance At The 2023 GRAMMYs

Listen To's Outlaw Country Playlist: 32 Songs From Honky Tonk Heroes Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard & More
Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson perform in 1988

Photo: Beth Gwinn/Getty Images


Listen To's Outlaw Country Playlist: 32 Songs From Honky Tonk Heroes Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard & More

Ahead of the GRAMMY Museum's Dec. 5 event previewing the new documentary 'They Called Us Outlaws,' listen to a 32-song playlist of outlaw country greats.

GRAMMYs/Dec 2, 2022 - 05:19 pm

Outlaw: a noun meaning someone unconventional, rebellious, or active outside the law.

In the mid-1970s, journalist Hazel Smith, country’s self-described "mother hen," coined the term "outlaw music" to describe artists like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings that did not fit the Music Row mold. These renegades rejected the norms — replacing saccharine sounds with storied songs. 

Long before this country subgenre had a name, Hank Williams ("I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry"), Johnny Cash ("Folsom Prison Blues'')  and Merle Haggard ("Mama Tried") were the original outlaws. In the early 1970s, Nelson's Shotgun Willie further forged the style of outlaw country.

Nashville initially ignored them. But, in 1976, after the compilation Wanted! The Outlaws became the first country album certified platinum, these outsiders earned industry respect. Today, the music endures. SiriusXM has a station devoted to these misfits. And a new six-part docuseries — They Called Us Outlaws: Cosmic Cowboys, Honky Tonk Heroes and the Rise of Renegade Troubadours (narrated by Jack Ingram) — will debut in 2023. 

The GRAMMY Museum will hold an event on Dec. 5 to preview part of this new 12-hour documentary. Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett will lead a discussion with the filmmakers, and the evening will feature performances from Tyler Childers, John R. Miller and Abby Hamilton, Shooter Jennings and Jesse Daniel. 

Get in the outlaw spirit by pressing play on the Spotify Playlist below, or listen on the Recording Academy's Pandora, Apple Music and Amazon Music stations.