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NJOMZA Talks Gov Ball High, Transcending Genres, Friendship With Mac Miller & More

NJOMZA at Gov Ball 2019

Photo: Nate Hertweck/Recording Academy

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NJOMZA Talks Gov Ball High, Transcending Genres, Friendship With Mac Miller & More

"We're definitely living in a genre-less world and I think that's the most beautiful thing," the and "Thank U, Next" and "7 rings" co-writer tells the Recording Academy

GRAMMYs/Jun 2, 2019 - 04:46 am

L.A.-based rising artist NJOMZA, born Njomza Vitia to Albanian parents, was signed by the late Mac Miller to his REMember label when she was just 17. She released her debut EP, sad for you, on his label in 2017, and maintained a close friendship with the GRAMMY-nominated rapper.

She put out a second EP, dedicated to self-love, Vacation, on Nov. 9, 2018, and was part of the super-team of writers on Ariana Grande's recent massive No. 1 hits, "Thank U, Next" and "7 rings"—you can catch her in girl squad in the latter video. It's been a great year for the young singer/songwriter, but she's just getting started.

The Recording Academy caught up with the colorful NJOMZA after her debut performance at Governors Ball yesterday to learn more about how it went, where the inspiration from her bright fashion sense comes, how she remembers the late Miller, and more.

Tell me a little bit about your Governors Ball experience, about your set at the dive bar stage. How did it go?

So sick. I had so much fun. This is my first time at Governors Ball and I'm literally high off of the adrenaline rush that I've had all day. It's been amazing.

You posted recently about being kinda hunkered down in your studio. I love the story about your neighbor going, “Look, you gotta keep it down, but it sounds good."

Yeah, thank you, yeah, literally. She was like, "Can you stop? But I like your music." Yeah I've been in the studio locked in, in Laurel Canyon right now just trying to soak up all the vibes from the rock legends that were once there.

Have you seen the movie Echo in the Canyon yet?

Not yet. I need to see that.

You've said you don't want to lock into a style. Do you feel like we're living in a genre-less world?

I think we're definitely living in a genre-less world and I think that's the most beautiful thing. I don't think we should have boundaries when it comes to anything. I mean, there should be boundaries for certain things obviously, but when it comes to creative freedom and just expressing yourself I think we should be free in that sense so definitely genre less world right now.

What are your influences when it comes to fashion?

I'm really just love color and just being vibrant and kinda loud with it, you know? Just being brave with my style, but I'm really influenced by '90s style and era; Lizzie McGuire type. All that stuff.

Love Lizzie McGuire. Man. Didn't expect a Lizzie McGuire reference.

Dude, so fire. That whole era was so sick. They were wearing the wildest clothes. Like, tank tops over tee-shirts and stuff, you know? It was crazy.

Honestly, I think it's the hair. I feel like Lizzie McGuire right now.

You're killing it.

Or like Lisa Left-Eye or something.

I have to ask you about these Ariana Grande tracks because it's such a game changer for you as a songwriter. How do you get a co-write those two huge songs?

Well Ariana and I are friends so we just kinda linked up to hang out and then I ended up in the studio with her and the other girls that were working on the project and then it just happened. It's crazy, and now it's all over the world. It's insane.

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you are missed.

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And if you're comfortable talking about it, I want to ask you about Mac Miller as well.

Yeah.

What are some of the things that you keep closest with you about him? Also, if you feel like talking it, the importance of mental health as an artist.

I would say that there would be no NJOMZA without Mac Miller. He's just helped me in so many ways creatively. Just getting my name out there, and just supporting me in every way, form possible. One of my best friends, one of the most amazing people I've ever met. Just blessed to have been able to know him, and I try to just focus on that.

When it comes to mental health, I think people do need to kinda step out of their heads a little bit and realize that we're all going through the same things, and just be there for each other as much as possible and don't be afraid to talk to each other, you know?

One more question, for fun. You're from Chicago right? What's your go to when you go back there?

Well my mom's cooking for sure. My mom cooking Albanian food every day. I'm Albanian, so getting to eat that. Also, you just have all the options. You have like Giordano's pizza and Lou Malnati's. You got all the deep dish. That's not the healthiest, and then Portillo's is fire. Honestly, anywhere you go it's gonna be rich and amazing, but probably not the best for your tummy if you're, you know, trying to keep it tight.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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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.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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

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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

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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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.

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