:NEXT With Alex Ritchie: The Musical Triple Threat On Her New EP, Drawing Inspiration From Imagine Dragons & More

Alex Ritchie


:NEXT With Alex Ritchie: The Musical Triple Threat On Her New EP, Drawing Inspiration From Imagine Dragons & More

The emerging artist, songwriter and producer opens up about her path to success, the release of '404' and more in the premiere episode of :NEXT, the Recording Academy's new digital series on the future of the music industry

GRAMMYs/Oct 29, 2019 - 12:14 am

Every success story starts somewhere. Los Angeles' Alex Ritchie counts her breakout moment as being asked to perform at a women's rock night at Hollywood's famous Whisky a Go Go after the booking agent heard something special in her rough, homemade recordings on her MySpace page. Over a decade later, Ritchie has worked in a variety of music industry roles with several creative heavyweights, has released her debut EP, 404, and is now the subject of the premier episode of :NEXT, the Recording Academy's new short-run digital series featuring the future of the music industry.

The triple-threat artist, songwriter and producer has cultivated her passion for music from joining GRAMMY U, the Recording Academy's music industry college student resource network, to the Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMYNext program for future music industry leaders, to her return her artist beginnings with the release of her brand new EP earlier this year. But her musical dreams didn't always seem so within reach.

“I’m the only musician in my family, and I came from a family of humble means; so even though I had conviction in what I wanted from a young age, it wasn’t “realistic,” Ritchie said. "I’d seen my parents suffer from the economy crash in 2008 and, realistically speaking, pursuing something like entertainment was so risky. I couldn’t afford to fail. We couldn’t afford to dream like that. BUT I had unrealistic dreams anyway, and after my first gig at the Whisky I knew that was it.”

After her Sunset Strip debut, Ritchie got to work, honing her self-taught skills in the studio, joining GRAMMY U while in New York and, after moving back to L.A., working her way into collaborations with the likes of Harvey Mason Jr., Gizzle, Snipe Young, Keith Hetrick, Steve “Steve B” Baughman, David Kim, and Lee Major, to name a few. Ritchie also became the youngest sitting member on two Recording Academy L.A. Chapter committees, earned a full scholarship from Westlake Studios & Electronic Music Magazine to attend Westlake’s new Crē•8 Music Academy for music production, and built relationshisp and become recognized by mega-brands such as Delta and Fender. 

Working all over the page to develop her blossoming career, Ritchie names her musical influences as, well, everything, noting a specific interest in new music. But one influence that sticks out is GRAMMY-winning pop/rock band Imagine Dragons.

"Imagine Dragons has consistently put forth music that pushed boundaries. They're produced by Alex Da Kid, who's my idol producer," she said. "I really always wanted to marinade my roots from singer/songwriter and '90s rock music to what's going on currently, and I thought they did that perfectly with Evolve. It just made me want to step up my game and  really push boundaries and be super free and creative with any of the music I'm working on."

Ritchie poured this freedom and creativity into her new EP, 404, which dropped in May of 2019 and featured collaborations with up-and-coming talents, including The Wildcardz, Snipe Young, and Australia's Nick De La Hoyde. With a strong foundation from her time in GRAMMY U and a supportive network through GRAMMYNext already in place, Ritchie is ready to share her unique personal background and musical talents with a wider audience. She credits her hard work with the Recording Academy's developmental programs helped her find her voice as an artist, hope as a young person in the music industry and the confidence to step out from behind-the-scenes in pursuit of her artistic dreams.

"To be honest, I really milked the opportunities given through GRAMMY U. It opened so many doors to create relationships with a lot of the right people, and also gave me a chance to meet many heroes and listen to their stories about coming up in music. It was a program that gave me hope, especially when it felt the odds were stacked against me. I’m a mixed-race, predominantly Asian-looking LGBTQ+ artist," she said. "When I started music, that combination wasn’t considered ‘commercial;’ in fact, it was more of a hindrance than a help.  I’ve definitely always been the underdog in the race, and was often advised to stay behind the scenes as a songwriter/producer.  Hearing a lot of those comments from industry people really got to me, so the GRAMMY U sessions really made me feel like it was all still possible.”

With her debut EP out now, Ritchie is currently focused on pitching new music for film and media projects, a world she's already gained valuable experience in by working under music supervisor and mentor Tracy McKnight as an assistant music consultant on projects including Disney’s Wrinkle In Time and Hulu’s Obey Giant. As she continues to amass a diverse mix of experience in the music industry, Ritchie is primed to carry the torch for her generation of future music industry leaders, leading a pack of her peers from GRAMMY U to GRAMMY Award hopefuls. 

"The best part about being a 'Nexter' was that I got a whole new family, and It's given me a network of peers that I trust and constantly seek counsil from and work with on the daily," said Ritchie. "They're all killing it right now in their own respective positions. So It gave me that awesome network outside of the family I already had at the Recording Academy. I'm super thankful to know all of them."

Check out Alex's episode of :NEXT above and stay tuned for new editions of the three-part, short-run digital series rolling out each Monday.

:NEXT To Feature The Future Of The Music Industry

Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

Seattle's Museum Of Pop Culture To Host Pearl Jam Exhibit

Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards


Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour


Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images


Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.


RELATED: How Rosalia Is Reinventing What It Means To Be A Global Pop Star

"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

2019 Music Festival Preview: Noise Pop, Coachella, Ultra & More

Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Taylor Swift

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19/Getty Images


Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Following dates in Europe and South America, Swift will land in the U.S. for Lover Fest East and West, where the pop star will open Los Angeles' brand new stadium

GRAMMYs/Sep 18, 2019 - 02:38 am

Taylor Swift  will be spreading the love in support of her hit album 2020, but it may or may not be in a city near you. The GRAMMY winner announced plans for her summer 2020 tour in support of her seventh studio album, including two shows each in Foxborough, Mass. and Los Angeles for Lover Fest East and West respectively as the only four U.S. dates announced so far.

The tour kicks off in Belgium on June 20 and hits festivals in seven European countries before heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 then heading to U.S. Swift will then present Lover Fest West with back-to-back Los Angeles July 25 and 26 at the newly named SoFi Stadium. The concerts will serve as the grand opening of the much-anticipated NFL venue. The tour will wrap a double header at Gillette Stadiuim in Foxborough July 31 and Aug 1

"The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic," she tweeted. "I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West!" 

Lover was released Aug. 23 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Her sold-out tour for her previous album, 2017's Reputation, was the highest grossing U.S. tour ever, breaking her own record.

Tickets for the new dates go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Oct. 17.