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Poll: Who Would You Vote For Best R&B Album At The 2020 GRAMMYs?

Would it be BJ The Chicago Kid, Anderson .Paak, Ella Mai, PJ Morton or Lucky Daye?

GRAMMYs/Jan 24, 2020 - 04:30 am

It's an exciting time for R&B. While the genre was said to be seeing less of a crossover into the pop landscape during the 2010s, Nielsen reports there is a rising interest in R&B. The genre, along with hip-hop, made 76 percent of the audio-on-demand streaming in the market in 2019. The 2020 GRAMMY nominees for Best R&B album are among the artists adding to the excitement growing in the genre. To whom would you award a GRAMMY if you could vote?

Would it be BJ the Chicago Kid's 1123? BJ told the Recording Academy the album would be a bit different from his past work. "I've always put my life experiences [in my albums], the new stories, just the new chapters of life I've always included into the music," he said. "I think it's always been the best thing for me, so you will see a big difference between 1123 and In My Mind."

Rising star Lucky Daye has come onto the scene strong with Painted, an album that is not afraid of vulnerability. "I'm sensitive, so my album got a whole lot of sensitivity to it," he told the Recording Academy in July. "As a man, that's hard to say. So I always tell people, I tell my homies, I'm like, 'bruh, if you're scared to cry in front of your girl, don't listen to my music in your car." 

PJ Morton's Paul is the "the most honest expression of myself and my art that I've ever made," the singer/songwriter from New Orleans said about the album. Does it deserve the coveted award in your eyes?

But we can't forget about Ella Mai's self-titled album. The much-awaited debut from the English singer included her hit "Boo'd Up," which saw the top of the charts in the U.S. and won Best R&B Song at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards

Or should Anderson .Paak's Ventura be the winner? The album's name pays ode to the county the singer/songwriter is from and features big collabs including Smokey Robinson, Lalah HathawayAndré 3000 and Brandy

So who would it be? Let us know by voting above!

2020 GRAMMY Awards: Complete Nominees List

Genia Press Play Hero
Genia (right) performs for Press Play.

Photo: Courtesy of Genia

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Press Play: Watch Genia Narrate The Pain Of Heartbreak In This Raw Performance Of "Dear Life"

R&B singer Genia offers an acoustic rendition of "Dear Life," one of the singles from her forthcoming mixtape, '4 AM In The Ville,' out April 19 via Def Jam.

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2024 - 05:00 pm

On "Dear Life," R&B singer Genia pens a farewell letter to her lover — while simultaneously reflecting on how the intense saga crumbled her.

"I can't take anymore/ Put my pride aside, thought you could save me," she cries in the first verse. "These days, I don't know what I need/ You destroy me from the inside out/ If I go off the deep end/ You'll be sure not to bring me back."

In this episode of Press Play, watch Genia deliver a stripped-down performance of the vulnerable track alongside her guitarist.

The California native released "Dear Life" on Nov. 10, via Def Jam Recordings. She has also dropped three more singles — "Like That," "Know!," and "Let Me Wander" — leading up to her sophomore mixtape, 4 AM In The Ville, on April 19. 4 AM is a sequel to her debut, 4 PM In The Ville; both projects are inspired by Genia's experience of growing up in Victorville, California.

""[The songs] explore the different stages of grief in a relationship," she revealed in an interview with Urban Magazine. "The second tape is really me touching on falling in love, betrayal, anger, and rape."

Watch the video above to hear Genia's acoustic performance of "Dear Life," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

10 Ways TLC Shaped The Future Of R&B

Taylor Swift AOTY Win Photo
Taylor Swift accepts Album Of The Year at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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2024 GRAMMYs: Taylor Swift Makes GRAMMY History With Fourth Album Of The Year Win For 'Midnights'

'Midnights' earned Taylor Swift her fourth Album Of The Year win at the 2024 GRAMMYs — the most of any artist of all time.

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 04:42 am

Taylor Swift has made GRAMMY history once again.

The pop superstar won the GRAMMY for Album Of The Year for Midnights at the 2024 GRAMMYs, marking her fourth win in the Category — the most Album Of The Year wins of any artist at the GRAMMYs. (She had been tied with Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon.) 

Swift was shocked as she accepted the award, bringing up her producer Jack Antonoff — who had already won the GRAMMY for Producer of the Year — and collaborator Lana Del Rey, who was also nominated for Album Of The Year for Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. She acknowledged both in her acceptance speech, calling Antonoff "a once in a generation producer" and Del Rey "a legacy artist, a legend in her prime right now." 

She continued, "I would love to tell you that this is the best moment of my life, but I feel this happy when I finish a song, or when I crack to code to a bridge I love, or when I'm shortlisting a music video, or when I'm rehearsing with my dancers or my band, or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a show. For me the award is the work. All I wanna do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much, it makes me so happy." 

The 66th GRAMMY Awards were already a big night for Swift before her Album Of The Year victory. Midnights won Best Pop Vocal Album earlier in the telecast, marking her 13th win; as Swifties know, 13 is Swift's lucky number because of her Dec. 13 birthday.

And at the 2024 GRAMMYs, it was her lucky number indeed: along with making history, Swift used her first win to announce a brand-new album. Swift will release her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, on April 19.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

GRAMMY nominee Coco Jones
Coco Jones

Photo: Courtesy Coco Jones

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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Coco Jones On Her Breakthrough Year, Turning Rejection Into Purpose & Learning From Babyface

Coco Jones is nominated across five categories at the 2024 GRAMMYs, including Best New Artist and Best R&B Album for her EP, 'What I Didn't Tell You.' The first-time nominee discussed her hit, "ICU," working with legends and the power of representation.

GRAMMYs/Jan 8, 2024 - 02:23 pm

Coco Jones is feeling more inspired than ever following a year of exciting surprises and breakthroughs. In 2023, the 25-year-old budding star celebrated her first Billboard Hot 100 entry thanks to her platinum-selling "ICU" single, embarked on her first headlining tour, and earned her first GRAMMY nominations.

"Being a GRAMMY-nominated artist changes everything. It's such a different creative mindset when the world says, 'You're good, we like what you do,'" Jones tells GRAMMY.com. "It's like a gold star. It makes you want to work harder, it makes you wanna continue to impress, and it makes you impressed with yourself, too."

Jones is nominated across five categories at the 2024 GRAMMYs: Her 2022 EP What I Didn't Tell You is up for Best R&B Album and its "ICU" will compete for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. Her feature on Babyface's "Simple" has received a nod for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Jones is also up for the coveted golden gramophone for Best New Artist.

In recent years, her vocal prowess has received praise from SZA, Janet Jackson, and Beyoncé, but anyone who's even remotely familiar with Jones' story knows that her newfound success is anything but overnight. Jones first found success at age 14, when she starred in the 2012 Disney movie musical Let It Shine. The Tennessee native faced colorism early on, which she addressed in a 2020 YouTube video that went viral.

"I always wanted that representation that my dreams were possible growing up," she shares. "I definitely was not based in reality of what the entertainment industry is. It's tough and it's challenging and sometimes it isn't fair and that is not what I was prepared for as a kid."

During the pandemic, Jones secured a spot in "Bel-Air" (Peacock's reimagining of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") as the spoiled yet beloved Hilary Banks, but she never let go of her love of  music. Following her 2014 departure from Hollywood Records, Jones released music independently, including the ominous "Hollyweird" and "Depressed"; when Def Jam approached her in the summer of 2021, she was ready for her close-up.

Fast forward to present, and Jones is gearing up for one of the most pivotal nights of her blossoming career. But perhaps the most precious thing she's collected along the way is self-assurance. "I'm learning that I have to believe in my creative choices and that I shouldn't second guess what I feel because it does well," she says with a laugh.

Of her recent success, Jones says the back-to-back accolades shocked her, but like a true artist, she's already thinking ahead and manifesting an exciting first for 2024: "I want my debut album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart."

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, Jones discusses the power of representation for dark-skinned Black women, why her mother is her biggest inspiration, and how joining forces with Babyface created momentum in her career.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

After finding out that you received five GRAMMY nominations, you posted an Instagram video showing you and your mother reveling in the excitement of it all. Tell me more about that moment and your mother's role in this journey.

I'm one of four children and my mom owned multiple businesses, but she made us all feel loved and supported while also being a boss. Watching her navigate the entertainment industry — which she had no prior experience with — was very inspiring. She took every challenge head-on and still managed to make time with all of her kids. 

She's always been a visionary, so I think for her, it's like, This is exactly what we worked for. The end goal is to be award-winning, to be show-stopping, to be classic, to be timeless. That's what she saw for me even when I was a little girl on stage singing Aretha Franklin.

There were times when it was hard for me to see what she saw in me, especially when you're dealing with the rejection that is the music industry. But she always knows the right thing to say to keep me going and to keep my faith. So, when it wasn't like how it is now, she was the entire team. She did anything she could to help me progress.

You retweeted a meet-and-greet with a fan, who donned your merch from 2018, which seemed to take you by surprise. It seems like your 2023 breakthrough was a win for not just yourself, but for those early supporters as well.

I would definitely say it's a win for my fans and my supporters, but also for young Black women who look like me and have big dreams and just want to see what they are dreaming about is possible. I know that I inspire so many young Black women — they tell me almost every day that seeing me win helps them believe in themselves winning.

My goal is to continue to break those barriers down for young Black women so that it's not such a surprise when we succeed.

In a 2022 interview, you said you wanted to experience the highs of being an entertainer and being on stage "even if it meant a lot of lows." Many creatives feel that way. Do you have any advice for struggling artists who feel like no one's paying attention?

You can make it this thing where you feel like you're running out of time, or you can make it feel like you're adjusting to time. Time is whatever you decide it is.

There were so many obstacles I didn't understand, but hindsight is 20/20. I needed the lessons that I learned, I needed the self-reliance, I needed the optimism and the faith. So, I think it was all very growing but still tough not knowing what was going to happen, not knowing if I was going to have that life-changing job, that life-changing song. 

I'm just grateful to God for protecting me through all the confusion and for not giving up. I had enough support around me and enough doors to open even though they felt far and few between to keep me sustained and pursuing this dream, even though I was pursuing it without any guarantees.

What I Didn't Tell You isn't the first EP you released, but it's the one that made you a first-time GRAMMY nominee. What was different this time around?

I was very supported; when Def Jam approached me, they seemed so understanding of my vision that I couldn't help but feel like we were already a team. They helped me put the pieces together. Before this, I was just on my own or it was me and my mom, so I felt more supported with this EP release. My label understands me and what I want to be, and there's no pushback against who I am and what I can naturally do. It's all about enhancing. 

As part of R&B's new class, what do you want to bring to the genre?

More uptempo! I want to be able to sing my heart out but make a bop that you wanna dance to. I love how Whitney Houston would do that with some of her songs like "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "How Will I Know."

Your breakthrough single, "ICU," is up for Best R&B Song, but what lesser-known song off What I Didn't Tell You (Deluxe) would you nominate in the same category if you could?

"Fallin'" because it's a sensual song, and I feel like it sits in a really cool, pretty place in my voice. It also tells a good story of the chaos that my life is while also starting to fall for somebody.

In 2022, you joined forces with R&B legend Babyface for his collaborative Girls Night Out project. Your "Simple" duet with him is nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Do you think collaborating with Babyface acted as a precursor for the incredible year you had?

When I learned Babyface wanted me on his album, I was beside myself. He was really one of the first legends to give me that stamp of approval. I definitely think the recognition I got from him was like a turning point in what was next for my life. The world started to notice around that time. 

When I interviewed Babyface soon after the release of Girls Night Out, he talked about doing his homework to better understand the differences in today's R&B. That was surprising to hear, because he's clearly an expert at writing hit songs but not above learning from others. What did you learn from his mentorship?

I just learned that you can be a legend and you can still be open to ideas, open to new talents, and open to suggestions. Just stay open to what’s new, who's new, and why they're doing well, and that's what will keep you legendary. 

I'm a big fan of studying music, so I will continue to be a student. Creating music and studying music are two different things to me. I study it and then I feel creative, so I think it's about separating them because sometimes if you're creating while studying, you just end up repeating exactly what somebody's doing and that doesn't feel authentic. It's more about getting inspired and then creating.

My love for music and being a creative is what keeps me going because it's not always fun, it's not always easy. Sometimes it's about business, sometimes it's about pushing past your exhaustion. I don't think I would do that, not for this long, if I didn't love the payoff of being a creative. 

How will you celebrate if you win a GRAMMY?

I haven't thought about how I'm gonna celebrate. I think my favorite type of celebrations are intimate. They're with people who are in the mud with me — my family, my team. I would probably just want to have a great dinner and think about how far we've come and what's next.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Karol G poses with awards during the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 in Seville, Spain
Karol G poses with awards during the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 in Seville, Spain

Photo: Courtesy of The Latin Recording Academy/Borja B. Hojas, Getty Images © 2023

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2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Karol G Wins Album Of The Year For 'Mañana Será Bonito'

Karol G won the Latin GRAMMY for Album Of The Year for 'Mañana Será Bonito' at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Nov 17, 2023 - 12:57 am

Karol G won the Latin GRAMMY for Album Of The Year for Mañana Será Bonito at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

Pablo Alborán's La Cu4rta Hoja, Paula Arenas' A Ciegas, Camilo's De Adentro Pa Afuera, Andrés Cepeda's Décimo Cuarto, Juanes' Vida Cotidiana, Natalia Lafourcade's De Todas Las Flores, Ricky Martin's Play, Fito Paez's Eadda9223, and Carlos Vives' Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así were the other nominees in the category.

Karol G first made a splash by cross-pollinating reggaeton and Latin trap; these days, she has eyes on an entire country: her native Colombia.

Musical powerhouse, reggaetonera and general bichota, Karol G is one major reason why all eyes are on Colombia. After establishing herself as a hit-making star in the adjoining worlds of reggaeton and Latin trap, she is clearly enjoying her success and savoring the moment.

As its sunshine-and-rainbows-festooned cover suggests, Mañana Será Bonito was one of 2023's most irresistible albums — it radiates verve, panache and sexuality. Not only that: it’s filled with inspired features by the likes of Romeo Santos, Shakira, Carla Morrison, and Sean Paul. Mañana Será Bonito debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 200, making it the first all-Spanish language album by a female artist to hold that impressive distinction.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.