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With 'Hrs And Hrs' Of Dedication, Muni Long Is Rising To The Occasion With Love
Muni Long

Credit: Tony Bee @tonybeephoto

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With 'Hrs And Hrs' Of Dedication, Muni Long Is Rising To The Occasion With Love

Priscilla Renea spent years as a prolific pop songwriter until she could reach her own limelight. After introducing herself to the world as Muni Long, the singer's "Hrs and Hrs" became a viral hit, and now platinum seller, dedicated to the power of love.

GRAMMYs/Mar 21, 2022 - 06:33 pm

Born to parents who happen to sing, in her formative years, Priscilla Renea knew she was destined to be a recording artist. The Los Angeles-based musician put in the self-work, and eventually signed to Capitol Records where she released her debut album, Jukebox

Yet Renea's words had the most resonance; as a songwriter, Renea used her pen to generate salable radio-played singles for artists including Kesha, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, and others. In 2019, Renea made a challenging career choice to transition away from recognizability and into a new phase of her life. 

“A lot of people didn't want me to change my name,” Priscilla Renea says over Zoom. “They were like you are [Priscilla Renea], you've built such a reputation and that name holds weight. [But] that was as a songwriter and that was not my ultimate goal.”

The young artist reintroduced herself as Muni Long to the music industry in 2020, steering clear from her past as a creator for others. She even developed her own independent label, Supergiant Records, during the initial stages of the pandemic. 

Muni Long has been building the infrastructure of the creative house in which she can thrive from the ground up, even funding for her own art. The resulting debut EP, Public Displays Of Affection, was released in November 2021 and has been a bursting musical channel for lovers and dreamers. Yet TikTok was the real ignescent digital force that sparked Muni Long’s explosion into the mainstream (and to its now platinum status), bringing "Hrs and Hrs" (pronounced "hours") at the forefront of internet virality.  

The romantic, singalong serenade led to an explosion of loving cyberculture within the app and spurred users to #HrsandHrs in celebration of their partners. Muni Long’s velvety croon was a unifying voice for multiple generations, and re-enforced the power of digital tools to give artists a larger platform. "Hrs and Hrs" went from a few hundred thousand plays on Spotify to over 50 million in just a few months. The single recently surpassed RIAA’s Gold status ranking and is Muni Long’s most-streamed song.

The aftershock of Muni Long’s hit solidified the now, 33-year-old’s ascent towards longevity as a recording artist. With patience and steady fortitude, Muni Long is enduring a soulful metamorphosis to reinvent her art and herself for the promising future that is ahead. Long connected with GRAMMY.com to talk about her philosophies on love, why she redirected her career, and the chartbusting influence of social media.

The loving message behind the chorus definitely re-surged that nostalgic sound in soul music that was needed back then to make a sensational R&B single viral in today’s day and age. How has your life changed since "Hrs and Hrs?"

I definitely get a lot more opportunities now. In the beginning, when I started [my label] Supergiant Records, I was trying to find people to fill the different needs. It was tough because number one, we were at the beginning of a pandemic. We started in January 2020 and it was literally just me and two other people. A year and a half later, now having a giant hit shows me that it is possible. All the ups and downs and people quitting or not having the right energy was worth it. 

All of these things that I was dealing with behind the scenes; it really was kind of difficult for me. [With "Hrs and Hrs"] I can breathe now and can celebrate a little bit. My hand is in every pot as an independent artist… overseeing everything and just making sure that it was authentic. True to me, not allowing other people’s judgments to affect mine. 

August 2019 is when I decided that I was going to change my name and, then January is when I put it into action. I can relax a bit and just enjoy the success. It isn't too good to be true. It's here, it's not going anywhere as long as I continue to be consistent with my creativity, my expression. Be respectful.

I'm just super excited. It's just a really awesome thing to hear people say… [I am] inspirational. I'm 33. I'm singing R&B music, spending my own money and these are all things that people said weren't possible.

TikTok has given many artists and creatives the platform to share their art. I believe it can be perceived as a tool, in light of there being more saturation in the music industry. Living through the early-to-booming digital age of music-making, what has influenced your perspective on the music industry?

I did get discovered on YouTube, so before viral was even a thing before it was even a word…I did have a few things that went viral, but that wasn't what we called it back then. 

I think what the internet has done is allow people to have freedom of expression. The most important thing is, just, I want to express myself freely and I think the more success you have, the more people sort of back off trying to limit you. Yeah, they give you more resources, they give you more space. They even contribute their own resources and relationships to your expression so that you can make the biggest and best thing that you can possibly make. 

The goal for me is to be able to freely express myself and inspire people the way that Queen inspired me, the way that Pink inspired me, the way Tina Turner inspired me.

With your EP, Public Displays of Affection reaching high numbers after your virality explosion from "Hrs and Hrs" and making your TV debut on "the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," how are you approaching this chapter of your career?

Just being more mindful. 

I am learning to search myself for answers before I go outside and seek others. No additional approval or validation or help, because if you pay attention you will just make decisions based on the purest intention. Versus making a decision that's going to make things faster for you or bring you the most money…because you're blinded by your ambition. 

Making sure that I stay rooted and grounded and being able to make the purest decisions. Do things for the right reasons and do no harm.

If you could go back in time and tell younger you about the success you would see now, what would you try to echo to your younger self?

Be patient and work on you every day. 

Do something every day to improve your perspective. Forgive people; I do believe that has a huge part to do with success that I'm having my internal work done.

Do you have a dream collaboration?

I want to work with everybody, like I really do. I believe in collaboration. I miss the time when artists would do duets and sing together. Those were amazing moments and it's just all about the intention. 

Nowadays, people just want the money. I do think that sucks a little bit of creativity out. I want to work with everyone literally from Elton John to Beyonce to Kanye West to Teezo Touchdown, who's an incredible new artist on tour with Tyler, The Creator right now. 

Posthumously, even if I could get my hands on some of those sessions with legendary artists.

You have entered your Muni Long era as an identity switch. I feel like the name is suitable for you, considering how abundant your career will certainly be from 2022 and onward. Is there a moment of inspiration behind your artist name change?

I told my husband about what I was reading and he was like, you should pronounce it “money.” My intentions are always coming from within, my decisions come from within. 

What I was reading about was in regards to meditating, reaching nirvana through meditating for hours, sitting in one spot, and the Filipino meaning of magmuni-muni is to think deeply within. 

The translation was very much part of my mantra, my belief system as an individual, just to make sure that all of my decisions and my perspective is self localized and all my choices are. Because that's what I want to do and not because somebody else is telling me that's what I should be doing. I'm doing it from the pure desire in my heart.

What do you do to get yourself in that zone to create?

I'm constantly doing something every day. I love to read. Relaxing; I get enough rest and I don't go in the studio every day. 

There are a lot of artists who go in every day. I was speaking with Ty Dolla $ign. He literally goes in the studio all the time. I don't do that per say, but I will go through beats and maybe find instrumentals that are like stockpile ideas.

Sometimes when I hear a track, I'll make a playlist of things that I miss hearing. Then when I hear tracks, I'll try to create that same energy that I felt in those songs, not necessarily chords and melodies. The essence of the song that makes you feel happy. That song that makes you want to be in love. 

Speaking of your lyric-making process and shrimp and lobsters towers, what would you say is your favorite dish to have on a romantic date with your husband?

I like crab legs. Lobster ravioli. Love seafood obviously.

How has your experiences in music helped inform your personal philosophies on love?

Honestly, I feel like it's the other way around. 

I'm super confident because of my relationship. I had to learn to be a whole person by myself before I could, like, really properly love someone, or just interact in a relationship because it's tough. 

Especially when you have two strong personalities. My husband and I both are very strong personalities. [My music] helped me become a better individual, which in turn affected how I am in the world and my business relationships. 

I don't really care what other people think about me, although we want to, I always treat people fairly and kind. 

Lastly, with you really taking charge of reviving R&B what are you hoping your music does for people who listen?

I hope they are inspired. I hope my music makes them want to do something like pursuing their dreams wherever that may be. 

Hopefully, it just fills a void because I do think there is a wide range of music that I miss anyway and hopefully, I can help fill that.

Amber Mark Opens Up About The 4-Year Journey Of Grief, Growth And Spiritual Awakening That Led To 'Three Dimensions Deep'

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GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.

In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.

 

Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

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Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

 GRAMMY.com

 Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 and will be broadcast live on the Univision Television Network at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. 

"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community.

Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list. 

At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself  but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and the album release of that concert, Juan Gabriel En Vivo Desde El Palacio De Bellas Artes, broke sales records and established his iconic status. 

After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.   

In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.   

Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized. 

For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or ticketing@grammy.com.

Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Grizzled Mighty perform at Bumbershoot on Sept. 1

Photo: The Recording Academy

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Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Alexa Zaske
Seattle

This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.

The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.

Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."

Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.

Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed. 

Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.

My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.

For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.

(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)

Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

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Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs

Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Feb 11, 2019 - 10:58 am

As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.

Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.

"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."

Full Winners List: 61st GRAMMY Awards