Photo: Getty Images
Melissa Salguero Receives 2018 Music Educator Award
Bronx, N.Y., music educator celebrated for her significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education
The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools. Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students' lives. This year, that special teacher is Salguero.
Salguero has been teaching music at P.S. 48 Elementary School since 2010. Her goal is to foster creativity, curiosity and a strong work ethic in her students through the power of music. Salguero was honored as the Lincoln Center Arts Teacher of the Year in 2013. In 2014, after P.S. 48 suffered a break-in, Salguero was invited to represent the school on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Last year she was a semifinalist for the 2017 Music Educator Award.
"My parents started this love for music for me when I was very little," Salguero said at the GRAMMY In The Schools Live! GRAMMY Week event where she was recognized on Jan. 25. "They bought me this little piano and I learned so many songs on it. And then they bought me a guitar and they kind of supported my musical instrument addiction really. I just kept learning. They let me learn at my own pace — they didn't force me to do anything. And really that developed into such a love for music."
Like many inspirational music teachers, Salguero had a mentor of her own who helped cultivate her love and appreciation for music.
"Miss Bower, she was my fifth-grade teacher all the way from elementary school," said Salguero on her mentor. "I really struggled with school when I was little. I wasn't really confident in myself. I was so shy and I didn't believe I could do anything. … She taught me to believe in myself and it really sparked a passion for helping other people. And now her effect on me is transferring to my students."
On the most important piece of wisdom she wants to pass on to students, she reminds them that not only is practice key, but it's always a rehearsal for a performance.
"You're gonna practice is the way you're gonna perform, that's my motto," said Salguero. "When you're in the practice room and you've got bad posture, that's how you're going to perform. Every time you pick up your instrument is like if you're on the stage. Being a musician is about habits and building that endurance and all the things you need to be successful."
As the 2018 Music Educator Award honoree, Salguero will be in New York City, the host city of the 60th GRAMMY Awards, where she will be recognized during GRAMMY Week, attend the 60th GRAMMY Awards ceremony on Jan. 28 and a range of GRAMMY Museum events. In addition, she will receive a $10,000 honorarium with matching school grants. For Salguero, the chance to be recognized in her home state is especially satisfying.
"This is one of the most epic moments of my life," said Salguero. "My dream was to teach in a city that loved and cherished music. To be honored in New York City as a New York teacher, this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life."
Photo Courtesy of the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum
212 Quarterfinalists Announced For The 2024 Music Educator Award
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum have announced the quarterfinalists for the 2024 Music Educator Award, which recognizes educators who have made a significant contribution and demonstrate a commitment to music education.
Today, the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum have announced a total of 212 music teachers as quarterfinalists for the 2024 Music Educator Award, which recognizes current educators — kindergarten through college across public and private schools — who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The quarterfinalists, who hail from 197 cities, were selected from more than 2,000 initial submitted nominations. In addition to the quarterfinalists, 123 legacy applicants from 2023 will also be eligible to win the Music Educator Award this year.
Semi-finalists for the 2024 Music Educator Award will be announced this September. The ultimate recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2024.
A joint partnership and presentation between the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, the Music Educator Award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers are also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.
Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students' lives. The 10th annual honoree will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, as well as a range of GRAMMY Week events. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. Fifteen semi-finalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.
The matching grants provided to the schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Museum’s Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.
See the full list of the 2024 Music Educator Award quarterfinalists and legacy applicants below:
2024 MUSIC EDUCATOR AWARD QUARTERFINALISTS
|Casie Adams||Martinsburg High School||Martinsburg||West Virginia|
|Bruce Adams||Sam Houston High School||San Antonio||Texas|
|Miguel Aguiar||Southwest High School||San Antonio||Texas|
|Derek Alexander||Orville Bright Elementary School||Chicago||Illinois|
|Dawn Amthor||Wallkill Senior High School||Wallkill||New York|
|Jonathan Anderson||University High School (Volusia)||Orange City||Florida|
|Christopher Andrews||Hephzibah High School||Hephzibah||Georgia|
|Jeanne Andrews||Pauline J. Petway Elementary School||Vineland||New Jersey|
|Justin Antos||Dwight D. Eisenhower High School||Blue Island||Illinois|
|Javier Arau||New York Jazz Academy||New York||New York|
|Andrea Armour||Christian County Middle School||Hopkinsville||Kentucky|
|Timothy Arnold||Orono High School||Long Lake||Minnesota|
|Shawn Athey||Veterans Memorial High School||Corpus Christi||Texas|
|Elizabeth Baker||Mary Martin Elementary||Weatherford||Texas|
|Jeremy Bartunek||Greenbriar School||Northbrook||Illinois|
|Adem Birson||New York University||New York||New York|
|Benjamen Blasko||Lipscomb University||Nashville||Tennessee|
|Amanda Blevins||Tri-Valley High School||Dresden||Ohio|
|Susan Boddie||Valdosta State University||Valdosta||Georgia|
|Adrain Bonner||Lancaster High School||Lancaster||Texas|
|Cherie Bowe||Pascagoula High School||Pascagoula||Mississippi|
|Andrew Bowerly||Tenino High School||Tenino||Washington|
|George Bradshaw||Dover Area High School||Dover||Pennsylvania|
|Gwendolyn Brazier||Lathrop High School||Fairbanks||Alaska|
|Steve Browne||Nashville Community High School||Nashville||Illinois|
|Matthew Brusseau||Davie County High School||Mocksville||North Carolina|
|Ryan Bulgarelli||Loyalsock Township High School||Williamsport||Pennsylvania|
|Cathryn Burt||East Newton High School||Granby||Missouri|
|James Byrn, Jr.||Maconaquah High School||Bunker Hill||Indiana|
|Mary Catherine Campbell||Seven Pines Elementary||Sandston||Virginia|
|Helen Capehart||Bridgeport High School||Bridgeport||Texas|
|Marcos Carreras||Conservatory of The Arts||Springfield||Massachusetts|
|Michael "Patrick" Carte||Scott High School||Madison||West Virginia|
|Curtis Carver||Harlem High School||Harlem||Georgia|
|Roger Chagnon III||Westfield Academy and Central School||Westfield||New York|
|Kristopher Chandler||Gautier High School||Gautier||Mississippi|
|Jeff Chang||Decatur High School||Federal Way||Washington|
|Krista Clay||West Branch High School||Beloit||Ohio|
|Travis Coakley||William Carey University||Hattiesburg||Mississippi|
|Vanessa Cobb||Montgomery Central High School||Cunningham||Tennessee|
|Mark Collins||John S. Battle High School||Bristol||Virginia|
|Trish Conover||Community Middle School||Plainsboro||New Jersey|
|John Contreras||Pueblo High School||Tucson||Arizona|
|Kyle Cook||Western Branch Middle School||Chesapeake||Virginia|
|Travis Cook||Plymouth Christian Academy||Canton||Michigan|
|Daniel Cook||University of North Texas||Denton||Texas|
|Andrew Cote||Merrimack College||North Andover||Massachusetts|
|Drew Cowell||Belleville East High School||Belleville||Illinois|
|Cory Craig||Benton Intermediate School||Benton||Louisiana|
|Matthew Cunningham||Brockton High School||Brockton||Massachusetts|
|Shannon Curtis||Zimmerman Middle High School||Zimmerman||Minnesota|
|Isaac Daniel||Stax Music Academy||Memphis||Tennessee|
|Jim Daughters||Southeast Missouri State University||Cape Girardeau||Missouri|
|Marci DeAmbrose||Lincoln Southwest High School||Lincoln||Nebraska|
|Jackie Deen||Pottsboro High School||Pottsboro||Texas|
|Matthew Denman||Classen School of Advanced Studies||Oklahoma City||Oklahoma|
|Ryan Diefenderfer||Paradise Valley High School||Phoenix||Arizona|
|Jennifer DiVasto||Pennridge High School||Perkasie||Pennsylvania|
|Antoine Dolberry||P.S. 103x Hector Fontanez||Bronx||New York|
|George Dragoo||Stevens High School||Rapid City||South Dakota|
|Marisa Drake||Patuxent High School||Lusby||Maryland|
|Kathleen Dudley||Andrew Cooke Magnet School||Waukegan||Illinois|
|Jonathan Eising||James Hubert Blake High School||Silver Spring||Maryland|
|Jonathan Eldridge||Weston High School||Weston||Massachusetts|
|Carol Evans||Gwynedd Mercy University||Gwynedd Valley||Pennsylvania|
|Anthony Ferreira||Suffield High||West Suffield||Connecticut|
|Tamara Frazier||North Valleys High School||Reno||Nevada|
|J.D. Frizzell||Briarcrest Christian School||Eads||Tennessee|
|Chesteron Frye||St. Helena College & Career Academy||Greensburg||Louisiana|
|Nicholas Garofalo||Chattahoochee High School||Johns Creek||Georgia|
|Matt Gerry||Salina South Middle School||Salina||Kansas|
|Anna Girling||Sebastopol Attendance Center||Sebastopol||Mississippi|
|Vivian Gonzalez||Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer||Miami||Florida|
|Johnathan Gore||Sandy Run K8 School||Swansea||South Carolina|
|Serena Gorham||Weare Middle School||Weare||New Hampshire|
|Kylie Griffin||Dozier Elementary||Erath||Louisiana|
|Jess Gronberg||Hawkes Bluff Elementary||Davie||Florida|
|Alan Guckian||Manor High School||Manor||Texas|
|Nathaniel Gunter||Greer High School||Greer||South Carolina|
|Amy Hannequin||Bethel Middle School||Bethel||Connecticut|
|Crystal Harding||Ypsilanti Community High School||Ypsilanti||Michigan|
|Diana Harrigan||Bloom High School||Chicago Heights||Illinois|
|Toye Harris||Miami High School||Miami||Oklahoma|
|Chris Hayslette||Bridgeport Middle School||Bridgeport||West Virginia|
|Colette Hebert||Ella Fitzgerald Academy||Yonkers||New York|
|Martha Heise||Seventh Street Elementary School||Oil City||Pennsylvania|
|Jonathan Helmick||Slippery Rock University||Slippery Rock||Pennsylvania|
|Corey Hermens||Grant County High School||Dry Ridge||Kentucky|
|Joel Hill||Velma Jackson High School and Shirley D. Simmons Middle School||Camden||Mississippi|
|Autumn Danielle Hodges||Clarksville- Kraus Middle School||Clarksville||Arkansas|
|Elaine Holmes||Comsewogue High School||Port Jefferson Station||New York|
|Gene Hundley||Swainsboro Middle School||Swainsboro||Georgia|
|Victor Iapalucci||Philip Barbour High School||Philippi||West Virginia|
|Devin James||Salem High School||Conyers||Georgia|
|Heidi Jaye||Daniel Webster Elementary School||New Rochelle||New York|
|Luke Johnson||Ingalls Elementary||Ingalls||Kansas|
|Jamie Jones||Manzano Day School||Albuquerque||New Mexico|
|Tyler Jones||Thompson Middle School||Alabaster||Alabama|
|Daniel Joosten||Edgerton High School||Edgerton||Wisconsin|
|Brett Keith||Northern Bedford County Middle/High School||Loysburg||Pennsylvania|
|Deonte Kennedy||Craigmont High School||Memphis||Tennessee|
|Matthew Kilby||Fort Dorchester HS||North Charleston||South Carolina|
|Lou Kitchner||Bedford Middle School||Westport||Connecticut|
|Michael Kiyoi||San Marcos High School||Santa Barbara||California|
|Kate Klotz||Monarch High School||Louisville||Colorado|
|Heidi Kohler||Clarence Middle School||Clarence||New York|
|Michael Lapomardo||Shrewsbury High School||Shrewsbury||Massachusetts|
|Michael Lee||Jericho Middle School||Jericho||New York|
|Morgan Lentino||Otter Creek Elementary||Elgin||Illinois|
|Joshua Light||Soddy-Daisy HS||Soddy-Daisy||Tennessee|
|Lisa Linde||Newton South High school||Newton||Massachusetts|
|Wes Lowe||The King's Academy||West Palm Beach||Florida|
|Cole Lundquist||Gloucester High School||Gloucester||Massachusetts|
|Robert Mamminga||St. Francis High School||Wheaton||Illinois|
|Peter Manzi||Carlsbad High School||Carlsbad||California|
|Samuel Maran||Lake High School||Millbury||Ohio|
|Jayson Martinez||Arts High School||Newark||New Jersey|
|Kevin McDonald||Wellesley High School||Wellesley||Massachusetts|
|Jill Melchitzky||Northwestern Middle School||Albion||Pennsylvania|
|Larrian Menifee||Ball High School||Galveston||Texas|
|Kimberly Mettert||East Noble Middle School||Kendallville||Indiana|
|Natalie Moore||Sullivan High School||Sullivan||Missouri|
|Mario Morales||Granbury High School||Granbury||Texas|
|Coty Raven Morris||Portland State University||Portland||Oregon|
|Brian Nabors||Shelby High School||Shelby||Ohio|
|Jenny Neff||The University of the Arts||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|Cassandra Nelson||Mountaineer Middle||Morgantown||West Virginia|
|Trevor Nicholas||Senn Arts at Nicholas Senn High School||Chicago||Illinois|
|Adam Nobile||Big Spring High School||Newville||Pennsylvania|
|Sam Noyce||Thomas Jefferson Jr. High School||Kearns||Utah|
|Tim O'Donnell||Ephrata High School||Ephrata||Washington|
|John Panella||Cottondale High School||Cottondale||Florida|
|James Patterson||Kingstree High School||Kingstree||South Carolina|
|Shakia Paylor||City Neighbors High School||Baltimore||Maryland|
|Fernando Penaloza||Savanna High School||Anaheim||California|
|Kathy Perconti||Wayne Central High School||Ontario Center||New York|
|Jordan Peters||Dr. E Alma Flagg School||Newark||New Jersey|
|Catherine Plichta||Theatre Arts Production Company School||Bronx||New York|
|Felix Ponce||Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School||Chicago||Illinois|
|David Pope||Baldwin Wallace University||Berea||Ohio|
|Ær Queen||Braddock Elementary School||Annandale||Virginia|
|Brian Querry||Charles A. Huston Middle School||Lower Burrell||Pennsylvania|
|Rebecca Raber||University of Mary||Bismarck||North Dakota|
|Marc Ratner||Mineola High School||Garden City Park||New York|
|Lance Rauh||Patriot Oaks Academy||St Johns||Florida|
|Hoza Redditt||MSA East Academy||St. Gabriel||Louisiana|
|Heather Rentz||St. Mark Westpark||Cleveland||Ohio|
|Aaron Rex||Mason Middle School||Mason||Ohio|
|Angela Rex||Riverside Middle School||Greer||South Carolina|
|Chris Richard||Rogers Heritage High School||Rogers||Arkansas|
|Sarah Riechers||Thurgood Marshall Elementary School||Manassas||Virginia|
|Stephanie Robertson||Ponchatoula High School||Ponchatoula||Louisiana|
|Bethany Robinson||Noblesville High School||Noblesville||Indiana|
|Keith Robinson||Jefferson Avenue Elementary||Seguin||Texas|
|Alberto Rodriguez||Mount Vernon High School||Alexandria||Virginia|
|Chad Rose||Sheridan High School||Sheridan||Wyoming|
|Stewart Rosen||Walter Reed Middle School||North Hollywood||California|
|Shawn Royer||Marian University||Indianapolis||Indiana|
|Dayshawn Russell||North Iberville Elementary||Rosedale||Louisiana|
|Hannah Ryan||University of Virginia's College at Wise||Wise||Virginia|
|Kyle Ryan||Turkey Hill School||Orange||Connecticut|
|Ashley Sands||Kennedy Secondary School||Fergus Falls||Minnesota|
|Mark Santos||Santa Ana High School||Santa Ana||California|
|Danni Schmitt||Roland Park Elementary/Middle School||Baltimore||Maryland|
|Kevin Schoenbach||Oswego High School||Oswego||Illinois|
|Eric Schultz||Coastal Carolina University||Conway||South Carolina|
|Jessica Schwartz||Denham Springs High School||Denham Springs||Louisiana|
|Josh Settlemyre||R.J. Reynolds High School||Winston-Salem||North Carolina|
|Jason Shiuan||Saratoga High School||Saratoga||California|
|Katie Silcott||Olentangy Shanahan Middle School||Lewis Center||Ohio|
|Kerra Simmons||Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts||Fort Worth||Texas|
|Joani Slawson||Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy||Melbourne||Florida|
|Timothy Patrick Sloan Sr.||Albright Middle School||Houston||Texas|
|Jessie Smith||Yes Prep Public Schools||Houston||Texas|
|Cathryn Smith||Coleman High School||Coleman||Texas|
|Patrick Smith||Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School||New Haven||Connecticut|
|Tony Spano||Culver City High School||Culver City||California|
|Wes Sparkes||Eagleview Middle School||Colorado Springs||Colorado|
|Julian Spires||Meade Middle School||Fort Meade||Maryland|
|Shannon Stem||University Academy||Panama City||Florida|
|Harold Stephan||Stuyvesant High School||New York||New York|
|Cassandra Sulbaran||Braintree High School||Braintree||Massachusetts|
|Lynn Sweet||Mount Anthony Union High School||Bennington||Vermont|
|Agnes Tech||Indian Prairie Elementary School||Crystal Lake||Illinois|
|Chris Toomey||Mineola High School||Garden City Park||New York|
|Tom Torrento||Grosse Pointe North High School||Grosse Pointe Woods||Michigan|
|Jessica Torres||Elmont Memorial Jr. Sr. High School||Elmont||New York|
|Michelle Trinidad||Sacred Heart School||Bronx||New York|
|Alice Tsui||New Bridges Elementary||Brooklyn||New York|
|Jordan Tupper||Episcopal School of Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge||Louisiana|
|Martin Urbach||Harvest Collegiate High School||New York City||New York|
|Johny Vargas||Pueblo High School||Tucson||Arizona|
|Amy Villanova||Canyon Crest Academy||San Diego||California|
|Valerie Vinnard||Webster Elementary||Long Beach||California|
|Kenneth Walker||Ralls High School||Ralls||Texas|
|Kathy Wallace||Willard Elementary||Winchester||Indiana|
|Jennifer Walter||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro||North Carolina|
|John Ware||Stovall Middle School||Houston||Texas|
|Brandon Weeks||North Polk High School||Alleman||Iowa|
|Lisa Werner||St. Bruno Parish School||Dousman||Wisconsin|
|Scott Weyman||Solanco High School||Quarryville||Pennsylvania|
|Elizabeth White||Holcomb RIII||Holcomb||Missouri|
|Tyler Wigglesworth||West Covina High School||West Covina||California|
|Derrick Williams||Vista Heights Middle School||Moreno Valley||California|
|Paula Williams||The Ron Clark Academy||Atlanta||Georgia|
|Sandi Wilson||Franklin School of Innovation||Asheville||North Carolina|
|Matthew Wiltshire||Lewiston High School||Lewiston||Maine|
|Damion Womack||The Montgomery Academy||Montgomery||Alabama|
|Tammy Yi||Chapman University||Orange||California|
|Nicholas Young||Altus High School||Altus||Oklahoma|
|Jason Younts||Samuel V. Champion High School||Boerne||Texas|
|DeAnna Zecchin||Indian River High School||Dagsboro||Delaware|
2024 MUSIC EDUCATOR AWARD LEGACY APPLICANTS
|Phil Aguglia||Kenmore East High School||Tonawanda||New York|
|Heather Akers||Central Middle School||Dover||Delaware|
|Eric Allen||Western Middle School for the Arts||Louisville||Kentucky|
|Calandria Allen||Zachary Community Schools||Zachary||Louisiana|
|Abigail Alwin||Clague Middle School||Ann Arbor Public Schools||Michigan|
|David Amos||Heritage Middle School||Painesville||Ohio|
|Luke Aumann||Appleton North High School||Appleton||Wisconsin|
|Elizabeth Baker||Ilima Intermediate School||Ewa Beach||Hawaiʻi|
|Andre Barnes||Science Park High School||Newark||New Jersey|
|Conesha Barron||Lanier High School||Jackson||Mississippi|
|Lyndra Bastian||Creekside Middle School and Woodstock High School||Woodstock||Illinois|
|William Bennett||Cane Bay High School||Summerville||South Carolina|
|Heather Bice||Ridgeview High School||Orange Park||Florida|
|Charlie Bradberry||Iowa Park High School||Iowa Park||Texas|
|Justin Britt||Kingston Public Schools||Kingston||Oklahoma|
|Shantavia Burchette||East Side High School||Newark||New Jersey|
|John Burn||Homestead High School||Cupertino||California|
|Alexander Busby||Oviedo High School||Oviedo||Florida|
|Aaron Bush||Foxborough High School||Foxborough||Massachusetts|
|Meg Byrne||Pleasant Valley High School||Bettendorf||Iowa|
|Philip Carter||O'Fallon Township High School||O'Fallon||Illinois|
|Elizabeth Carter||Snowden School||Memphis||Tennessee|
|Francis Cathlina||University of Memphis||Memphis||Tennessee|
|Tiffany Chiang||Mark Twain I.S. 239||Brooklyn||New York|
|Ernesta Chicklowski||Roosevelt Elementary||Tampa||Florida|
|Michael Coelho||Ipswich Middle School and Ipswich High School||Ipswich||Massachusetts|
|Christine Cumberledge||Central Junior High School||Euless||Texas|
|Heather Dipasquale||Todd County Middle School||Elkton||Kentucky|
|Jack A. Eaddy, Jr.||Western Carolina University||Cullowhee||North Carolina|
|Dominique Eade||New England Conservatory of Music||Boston||Massachusetts|
|Cuauhtemoc Escobedo||Eckstein Middle School||Seattle||Washington|
|Jasmine Faulkner||Polaris Expeditionary Learning School||Fort Collins||Colorado|
|Daniel James Felton||Tartan High School||Oakdale||Minnesota|
|Nicholas Fernandez||Bentonville Schools||Bentonville||Arkansas|
|Cathryn Fowler||Health Careers High School||San Antonio||Texas|
|Marisa Frank||Explore! Community School||Nashville||Tennessee|
|Jasmine Fripp||KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School||Nashville||Tennessee|
|Jacob Garcia||Tennyson Middle School||Waco||Texas|
|Jorge L. Garcia||Elias Herrera Middle School||Laredo||Texas|
|Tina Gibson||Jefferson County Traditional Middle School||Louisville||Kentucky|
|Alex Gittelman||Haverford Middle School||Havertown||Pennsylvania|
|Guillermo Gonzalez||James A. Garfield High School||Los Angeles||California|
|Mansa Gory||Denzel Washington School of the Arts||Mount Vernon||New York|
|Deanna Grandstaff||Cecil Intermediate School||McDonald||Pennsylvania|
|Amanda Hanzlik||E.O. Smith High School||Storrs||Connecticut|
|Marvin Haywood||John Ehret High School||Marrero||Louisiana|
|Kristin Howell||Syosset High School||Syosset||New York|
|Emmanuel Hudson||Booker T. Washington High School||Shreveport||Louisiana|
|Karla Hulne||Blair-Taylor Middle/High School||Blair||Wisconsin|
|Mia Ibrahim||Health Opportunities High School||Bronx||New York|
|Luis Ingels||Candor Elementary School||Candor||New York|
|Justin Janer||Pinewood School Middle Campus||Los Altos||California|
|Daryl Jessen||Dakota Valley School||North Sioux City||South Dakota|
|De'Evin Johnson||Duncanville High School||Duncanville||Texas|
|Amir Jones||Harvey High School||Painesville||Ohio|
|Allison Kline||Blue Mountain Area School||Orwigsburg||Pennsylvania|
|Kenneth Kosterman||Rockwall-Heath High School||Heath||Texas|
|Joshua Krohn||Brent Elementary School||Washington||District of Columbia|
|Sarah Labovitz||Arkansas State University||Jonesboro||Arkansas|
|Heather Leppard||Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA)||Los Angeles||California|
|Hope Lewis||Charles O. Dickerson HS||Trumansburg||New York|
|Meredith Lord||Burncoat High School||Worcester||Massachusetts|
|Brendon Lucas||Nyack High School||Nyack||New York|
|Christian Lucas||Mariners Christian School||Costa Mesa||California|
|Alison McCarrey||Romig Middle School||Anchorage||Alaska|
|Angie McDaniel||Forest Creek Elementary||Round Rock||Texas|
|Ashleigh McDaniel Spatz||Burgess Peterson Academy||Atlanta||Georgia|
|Matthew McKagan||Lindero Canyon Middle School||Agoura Hills||California|
|Brian McMath||Northwest Guilford High School||Greensboro||North Carolina|
|Phillip McMullen||Silver Creek Central Schools||Silver Creek||New York|
|Tracy Meldrum||Verrado High School||Buckeye||Arizona|
|Xochilt Melendez Munguia||Gainesville Middle School for the Arts and Sciences||Gainesville||Virginia|
|Kris Milby||Greenup County High School||Greenup||Kentucky|
|Dana Monteiro||Frederick Douglass Academy||New York||New York|
|Shelby Montgomery||George Jenkins High School||Lakeland||Florida|
|David Moore||Inspire Charter Academy||Baton Rouge||Louisiana|
|Ryan Moseley||Appoquinimink High School||Middletown||Delaware|
|David Moss||West Hopkins School||Nebo||Kentucky|
|Deborah Muhlenbruck-Fleischer||Gunderson Middle School||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Vicki Nichols||Grandview Elementary||Grandview||Texas|
|Jeremy Overbeck||Century High School||Bismarck||North Dakota|
|John Pachence||Penn State Abington||Abington||Pennsylvania|
|Jennifer Page||Niles North High School||Skokie||Illinois|
|Matthew Pitts||Robert JC Rice Elementary School||Gilbert||Arizona|
|Courtney Powers||Muhammad Ali School 23||Passaic||New Jersey|
|Natalie Pratt||Brentwood High School||Brentwood||Tennessee|
|William Rank||Oak Prairie Junior High School||Lockport||Illinois|
|Brett Rankin||Wilde Lake High School||Columbia||Maryland|
|Annie Ray||Annandale High School||Annandale||Virginia|
|Tracy Resseguie||Staley High School||Kansas City||Missouri|
|Giovanni Santos||La Sierra University||Riverside||California|
|Ruth Schwartz||Chugiak High School and Mirror Lake Middle School||Chugiak||Alaska|
|Laura Shapovalov||Walden III Middle and High School||Racine||Wisconsin|
|James Sheffer||Medford Memorial Middle School and Haines Sixth Grade Center||Medford||New Jersey|
|Matthew Shephard||Meridian Early College High School||Sanford||Michigan|
|Dylan Sims||York Middle School||York||South Carolina|
|Thomas Slater||Chestnut Oaks Middle School||Sumter||South Carolina|
|Michele Slone||Urbana Elementary and Jr. High School||Urbana||Ohio|
|Tony Small||St. Vincent Pallotti Arts Academy||Laurel||Maryland|
|Andrew Smith||Charlotte Central School||Charlotte||Vermont|
|Wayne Splettstoeszer||Torrington High School||Torrington||Connecticut|
|Elizabeth Steege||Cass High School||Racine||Wisconsin|
|Lawrence Stoffel||California State University, Northridge||Los Angeles||California|
|Tyler Swick||Robert and Sandy Ellis Elementary||Henderson||Nevada|
|Elizabeth Taylor||La Crosse Elementary School||La Crosse||Virginia|
|Cami Tedoldi||Foxborough High School||Foxborough||Massachusetts|
|Kylie Teston||Leonardtown High School||Leonardtown||Maryland|
|Jonathan Todd||Palisades High School||Charlotte||North Carolina|
|Matthew Trevino||Roan Forest Elementary||San Antonio||Texas|
|Alexis True||Thomas Downey High School||Modesto||California|
|Gregory Urban||Dunedin Highland Middle School||Dunedin||Florida|
|Jon Usher||Hidden Springs Elementary||Moreno Valley||California|
|Michael Vasquez||Charles L. Kuentz Jr. Elementary||Helotes||Texas|
|Aaron Vogel||Mountain Ridge High School||Glendale||Arizona|
|Bryen Warfield||Homestead High School||Fort Wayne||Indiana|
|Sarah Wehmeier Aparicio||Waukesha South High School||Waukesha||Wisconsin|
|Christopher White||Hickory Ridge High School||Harrisburg||North Carolina|
|Tammy White||Kiser Middle School||Greensboro||North Carolina|
|Tyron Williams||New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities IV||Far Rockaway||New York|
|Krista Williams||Floretta P. Carson Visual and Performing Arts Academy||Mobile||Alabama|
|Kelly Winovich||Northgate Middle/Senior High School||Pittsburgh||Pennsylvania|
|Hayley Winslow||Snow Canyon Middle School||Saint George||Utah|
Graphic by the GRAMMY Museum
10 Finalists Announced For The 2023 Music Educator Award
A total of 10 music teachers have been selected as finalists for the the 2023 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, which recognizes educators who have made a significant contribution to the music education field.
A total of 10 music teachers have been announced as finalists for the 2023 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum. The finalists, who come from 10 cities across eight states, were selected from more than 1,205 initial nominations, which were submitted from 47 states. Semifinalists were announced in October and quarterfinalists were announced in June.
The annual Music Educator Award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2023, which takes place ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards.
Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students' lives. The final honoree will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school's music program. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining 15 semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.
The Music Educator Award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators; teachers are also able to nominate themselves. Nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.
The matching grants provided to the schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Museum's Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.
Nominations for the 2024 Music Educator Award are now open.
See the full list of the 2023 Music Educator Award finalists below:
|Phil Aguglia||Kenmore East High School||Tonawanda||New York|
|Ernesta Chicklowski||Roosevelt Elementary||Tampa||Florida|
|Pamela Dawson||DeSoto High School||DeSoto||Texas|
|Antoine Dolberry||P.S. 103 Hector Fontanez School||Bronx||New York|
|Jack A. Eaddy, Jr.||Western Carolina University||Cullowhee||North Carolina|
|Marisa Frank||Explore! Community School||Nashville||Tennessee|
|Trevor Nicholas||Senn Arts at Nicholas Senn High School||Chicago||Illinois|
|Matthew Shephard||Meridian Early College High School||Sanford||Michigan|
|Tony Small||Pallotti Arts Academy||Laurel||Maryland|
|Alice Tsui||New Bridges Elementary||Brooklyn||New York|
Photo: Rachel Kupfer
A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.
It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.
Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.
Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.
In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.
Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.
There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out GRAMMY.com's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.
Say She She
Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.
While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."
Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.
Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.
Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.
Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.
L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.
During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.
Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.
Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.
Photo: Steven Sebring
Living Legends: Billy Idol On Survival, Revival & Breaking Out Of The Cage
"One foot in the past and one foot into the future," Billy Idol says, describing his decade-spanning career in rock. "We’ve got the best of all possible worlds because that has been the modus operandi of Billy Idol."
Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music still going strong today. This week, GRAMMY.com spoke with Billy Idol about his latest EP, Cage, and continuing to rock through decades of changing tastes.
Billy Idol is a true rock 'n' roll survivor who has persevered through cultural shifts and personal struggles. While some may think of Idol solely for "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding," the singer's musical influences span genres and many of his tunes are less turbo-charged than his '80s hits would belie.
Idol first made a splash in the latter half of the '70s with the British punk band Generation X. In the '80s, he went on to a solo career combining rock, pop, and punk into a distinct sound that transformed him and his musical partner, guitarist Steve Stevens, into icons. They have racked up multiple GRAMMY nominations, in addition to one gold, one double platinum, and four platinum albums thanks to hits like "Cradle Of Love," "Flesh For Fantasy," and "Eyes Without A Face."
But, unlike many legacy artists, Idol is anything but a relic. Billy continues to produce vital Idol music by collaborating with producers and songwriters — including Miley Cyrus — who share his forward-thinking vision. He will play a five-show Vegas residency in November, and filmmaker Jonas Akerlund is working on a documentary about Idol’s life.
His latest release is Cage, the second in a trilogy of annual four-song EPs. The title track is a classic Billy Idol banger expressing the desire to free himself from personal constraints and live a better life. Other tracks on Cage incorporate metallic riffing and funky R&B grooves.
Idol continues to reckon with his demons — they both grappled with addiction during the '80s — and the singer is open about those struggles on the record and the page. (Idol's 2014 memoir Dancing With Myself, details a 1990 motorcycle accident that nearly claimed a leg, and how becoming a father steered him to reject hard drugs. "Bitter Taste," from his last EP, The Roadside, reflects on surviving the accident.)
Although Idol and Stevens split in the late '80s — the skilled guitarist fronted Steve Stevens & The Atomic Playboys, and collaborated with Michael Jackson, Rick Ocasek, Vince Neil, and Harold Faltermeyer (on the GRAMMY-winning "Top Gun Anthem") — their common history and shared musical bond has been undeniable. The duo reunited in 2001 for an episode of "VH1 Storytellers" and have been back in the saddle for two decades. Their union remains one of the strongest collaborations in rock 'n roll history.
While there is recognizable personnel and a distinguishable sound throughout a lot of his work, Billy Idol has always pushed himself to try different things. Idol discusses his musical journey, his desire to constantly move forward, and the strong connection that he shares with Stevens.
Steve has said that you like to mix up a variety of styles, yet everyone assumes you're the "Rebel Yell"/"White Wedding" guy. But if they really listen to your catalog, it's vastly different.
Yeah, that's right. With someone like Steve Stevens, and then back in the day Keith Forsey producing... [Before that] Generation X actually did move around inside punk rock. We didn't stay doing just the Ramones two-minute music. We actually did a seven-minute song. [Laughs]. We did always mix things up.
Then when I got into my solo career, that was the fun of it. With someone like Steve, I knew what he could do. I could see whatever we needed to do, we could nail it. The world was my oyster musically.
"Cage" is a classic-sounding Billy Idol rocker, then "Running From The Ghost" is almost metal, like what the Devil's Playground album was like back in the mid-2000s. "Miss Nobody" comes out of nowhere with this pop/R&B flavor. What inspired that?
We really hadn't done anything like that since something like "Flesh For Fantasy" [which] had a bit of an R&B thing about it. Back in the early days of Billy Idol, "Hot In The City" and "Mony Mony" had girls [singing] on the backgrounds.
We always had a bit of R&B really, so it was actually fun to revisit that. We just hadn't done anything really quite like that for a long time. That was one of the reasons to work with someone like Sam Hollander [for the song "Rita Hayworth"] on The Roadside. We knew we could go [with him] into an R&B world, and he's a great songwriter and producer. That's the fun of music really, trying out these things and seeing if you can make them stick.
I listen to new music by veteran artists and debate that with some people. I'm sure you have those fans that want their nostalgia, and then there are some people who will embrace the newer stuff. Do you find it’s a challenge to reach people with new songs?
Obviously, what we're looking for is, how do we somehow have one foot in the past and one foot into the future? We’ve got the best of all possible worlds because that has been the modus operandi of Billy Idol.
You want to do things that are true to you, and you don't just want to try and do things that you're seeing there in the charts today. I think that we're achieving it with things like "Running From The Ghost" and "Cage" on this new EP. I think we’re managing to do both in a way.
Obviously, "Running From The Ghost" is about addiction, all the stuff that you went through, and in "Cage" you’re talking about freeing yourself from a lot of personal shackles. Was there any one moment in your life that made you really thought I have to not let this weigh me down anymore?
I mean, things like the motorcycle accident I had, that was a bit of a wake up call way back. It was 32 years ago. But there were things like that, years ago, that gradually made me think about what I was doing with my life. I didn't want to ruin it, really. I didn't want to throw it away, and it made [me] be less cavalier.
I had to say to myself, about the drugs and stuff, that I've been there and I've done it. There’s no point in carrying on doing it. You couldn't get any higher. You didn't want to throw your life away casually, and I was close to doing that. It took me a bit of time, but then gradually I was able to get control of myself to a certain extent [with] drugs and everything. And I think Steve's done the same thing. We're on a similar path really, which has been great because we're in the same boat in terms of lyrics and stuff.
So a lot of things like that were wake up calls. Even having grandchildren and just watching my daughter enlarging her family and everything; it just makes you really positive about things and want to show a positive side to how you're feeling, about where you're going. We've lived with the demons so long, we've found a way to live with them. We found a way to be at peace with our demons, in a way. Maybe not completely, but certainly to where we’re enjoying what we do and excited about it.
[When writing] "Running From The Ghost" it was easy to go, what was the ghost for us? At one point, we were very drug addicted in the '80s. And Steve in particular is super sober [now]. I mean, I still vape pot and stuff. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but it’s incredible. All I want to be able to do is have a couple of glasses of wine at a restaurant or something. I can do that now.
I think working with people that are super talented, you just feel confident. That is a big reason why you open up and express yourself more because you feel comfortable with what's around you.
Did you watch Danny Boyle's recent Sex Pistols mini-series?
I did, yes.
You had a couple of cameos; well, an actor who portrayed you did. How did you react to it? How accurate do you think it was in portraying that particular time period?
I love Jonesy’s book, I thought his book was incredible. It's probably one of the best bio books really. It was incredible and so open. I was looking forward to that a lot.
It was as if [the show] kind of stayed with Steve [Jones’ memoir] about halfway through, and then departed from it. [John] Lydon, for instance, was never someone I ever saw acting out; he's more like that today. I never saw him do something like jump up in the room and run around going crazy. The only time I saw him ever do that was when they signed the recording deal with Virgin in front of Buckingham Palace. Whereas Sid Vicious was always acting out; he was always doing something in a horrible way or shouting at someone. I don't remember John being like that. I remember him being much more introverted.
But then I watched interviews with some of the actors about coming to grips with the parts they were playing. And they were saying, we knew punk rock happened but just didn't know any of the details. So I thought well, there you go. If ["Pistol" is] informing a lot of people who wouldn't know anything about punk rock, maybe that's what's good about it.
Maybe down the road John Lydon will get the chance to do John's version of the Pistols story. Maybe someone will go a lot deeper into it and it won't be so surface. But maybe you needed this just to get people back in the flow.
We had punk and metal over here in the States, but it feels like England it was legitimately more dangerous. British society was much more rigid.
It never went [as] mega in America. It went big in England. It exploded when the Pistols did that interview with [TV host Bill] Grundy, that lorry truck driver put his boot through his own TV, and all the national papers had "the filth and the fury" [headlines].
We went from being unknown to being known overnight. We waited a year, Generation X. We even told them [record labels] no for nine months to a year. Every record company wanted their own punk rock group. So it went really mega in England, and it affected the whole country – the style, the fashions, everything. I mean, the Ramones were massive in England. Devo had a No. 1 song [in England] with "Satisfaction" in '77. Actually, Devo was as big as or bigger than the Pistols.
You were ahead of the pop-punk thing that happened in the late '90s, and a lot of it became tongue-in-cheek by then. It didn't have the same sense of rebelliousness as the original movement. It was more pop.
It had become a style. There was a famous book in England called Revolt Into Style — and that's what had happened, a revolt that turned into style which then they were able to duplicate in their own way. Even recently, Billie Joe [Armstrong] did his own version of "Gimme Some Truth," the Lennon song we covered way back in 1977.
When we initially were making [punk] music, it hadn't become accepted yet. It was still dangerous and turned into a style that people were used to. We were still breaking barriers.
You have a band called Generation Sex with Steve Jones and Paul Cook. I assume you all have an easier time playing Pistols and Gen X songs together now and not worrying about getting spit on like back in the '70s?
Yeah, definitely. When I got to America I told the group I was putting it together, "No one spits at the audience."
We had five years of being spat on [in the UK], and it was revolting. And they spat at you if they liked you. If they didn't like it they smashed your gear up. One night, I remember I saw blood on my T-shirt, and I think Joe Strummer got meningitis when spit went in his mouth.
You had to go through a lot to become successful, it wasn't like you just kind of got up there and did a couple of gigs. I don't think some young rock bands really get that today.
With punk going so mega in England, we definitely got a leg up. We still had a lot of work to get where we got to, and rightly so because you find out that you need to do that. A lot of groups in the old days would be together three to five years before they ever made a record, and that time is really important. In a way, what was great about punk rock for me was it was very much a learning period. I really learned a lot [about] recording music and being in a group and even writing songs.
Then when I came to America, it was a flow, really. I also really started to know what I wanted Billy Idol to be. It took me a little bit, but I kind of knew what I wanted Billy Idol to be. And even that took a while to let it marinate.
You and Miley Cyrus have developed a good working relationship in the last several years. How do you think her fans have responded to you, and your fans have responded to her?
I think they're into it. It's more the record company that she had didn't really get "Night Crawling"— it was one of the best songs on Plastic Hearts, and I don't think they understood that. They wanted to go with Dua Lipa, they wanted to go with the modern, young acts, and I don't think they realized that that song was resonating with her fans. Which is a shame really because, with Andrew Watt producing, it's a hit song.
But at the same time, I enjoyed doing it. It came out really good and it's very Billy Idol. In fact, I think it’s more Billy Idol than Miley Cyrus. I think it shows you where Andrew Watt was. He was excited about doing a Billy Idol track. She's fun to work with. She’s a really great person and she works at her singing — I watched her rehearsing for the Super Bowl performance she gave. She rehearsed all Saturday morning, all Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning and it was that afternoon. I have to admire her fortitude. She really cares.
I remember when you went on "Viva La Bam" back in 2005 and decided to give Bam Margera’s Lamborghini a new sunroof by taking a power saw to it. Did he own that car? Was that a rental?
I think it was his car.
Did he get over it later on?
He loved it. [Laughs] He’s got a wacky sense of humor. He’s fantastic, actually. I’m really sorry to see what he's been going through just lately. He's going through a lot, and I wish him the best. He's a fantastic person, and it's a shame that he's struggling so much with his addictions. I know what it's like. It's not easy.
Musically, what is the synergy like with you guys during the past 10 years, doing Kings and Queens of the Underground and this new stuff? What is your working relationship like now in this more sober, older, mature version of you two as opposed to what it was like back in the '80s?
In lots of ways it’s not so different because we always wrote the songs together, we always talked about what we're going to do together. It was just that we were getting high at the same time.We're just not getting [that way now] but we're doing all the same things.
We're still talking about things, still [planning] things:What are we going to do next? How are we going to find new people to work with? We want to find new producers. Let's be a little bit more timely about putting stuff out.That part of our relationship is the same, you know what I mean? That never got affected. We just happened to be overloading in the '80s.
The relationship’s… matured and it's carrying on being fruitful, and I think that's pretty amazing. Really, most people don't get to this place. Usually, they hate each other by now. [Laughs] We also give each other space. We're not stopping each other doing things outside of what we’re working on together. All of that enables us to carry on working together. I love and admire him. I respect him. He's been fantastic. I mean, just standing there on stage with him is always a treat. And he’s got an immensely great sense of humor. I think that's another reason why we can hang together after all this time because we've got the sense of humor to enable us to go forward.
There's a lot of fan reaction videos online, and I noticed a lot of younger women like "Rebel Yell" because, unlike a lot of other '80s alpha male rock tunes, you're talking about satisfying your lover.
It was about my girlfriend at the time, Perri Lister. It was about how great I thought she was, how much I was in love with her, and how great women are, how powerful they are.
It was a bit of a feminist anthem in a weird way. It was all about how relationships can free you and add a lot to your life. It was a cry of love, nothing to do with the Civil War or anything like that. Perri was a big part of my life, a big part of being Billy Idol. I wanted to write about it. I'm glad that's the effect.
Is there something you hope people get out of the songs you've been doing over the last 10 years? Do you find yourself putting out a message that keeps repeating?
Well, I suppose, if anything, is that you can come to terms with your life, you can keep a hold of it. You can work your dreams into reality in a way and, look, a million years later, still be enjoying it.
The only reason I'm singing about getting out of the cage is because I kicked out of the cage years ago. I joined Generation X when I said to my parents, "I'm leaving university, and I'm joining a punk rock group." And they didn't even know what a punk rock group was. Years ago, I’d write things for myself that put me on this path, so that maybe in 2022 I could sing something like "Cage" and be owning this territory and really having a good time. This is the life I wanted.
The original UK punk movement challenged societal norms. Despite all the craziness going on throughout the world, it seems like a lot of modern rock bands are afraid to do what you guys were doing. Do you think we'll see a shift in that?
Yeah. Art usually reacts to things, so I would think eventually there will be a massive reaction to the pop music that’s taken over — the middle of the road music, and then this kind of right wing politics. There will be a massive reaction if there's not already one. I don’t know where it will come from exactly. You never know who's gonna do [it].