Quarantine Diaries: A "Friday" At Home With Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black


Quarantine Diaries: A "Friday" At Home With Rebecca Black

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors

GRAMMYs/Apr 3, 2020 - 07:00 pm

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, "Friday" viral sensation Rebecca Black, who has recently released two brand-new songs, "Self Sabotage" and "Closer," shares her Quarantine Diary—on a Friday.

Friday, March 27

[6:07 a.m.] Good morning! I wake up to a sound that is unfortunately familiar: the screeching, borderline ear-deafening blare of an alarm is now ringing through the house. My mom has a habit of accidentally setting off our home security system when letting the dogs out first thing in the morning. I haven't had the pleasure of hearing such a sound since I moved out after high school, but now that I’m home for the foreseeable future to spend time with family during this quarantine, I might as well get reacquainted. I fall back asleep within a solid 30 seconds.

[7:30 a.m.] Good morning, again! This time the only alarm (kind of) blaring is a little twinkle sound coming from my phone’s alarm. I don’t like to sleep in much because I really enjoy taking my time in the morning rather than feeling rushed (not that I have anywhere to be right now, but still). I find it nice to be able to spend time checking in on the world through my phone, making breakfast in peace and spending snug time with my dog Marlowe. 

Being back home and out of L.A. especially has made me appreciate the silence and serene-ness of mornings. I've realized I’m definitely a creature of habit and love routines, so I spend the next couple of hours getting myself sorted for the day as I normally would, all while dragging my laptop around to the kitchen, just outside the shower, literally wherever I go so I can watch "Tiger King" and multitask. I wish I was kidding but OH MY GOD I am obsessed. Also, no one is around to judge me for this. 

[10:49 a.m.] My mom is a veterinarian, and her work is considered an essential business, so her being off to work keeps things pretty chill around the house. My brother is also home trying to manage college from home now so he keeps to himself for most of the day. I’ve been spending the last hour in my new favorite little sitting spot editing an upcoming video for my YouTube channel. Another thing that has been on my mind has been reconfiguring how I do my YouToube series, "Blacking Out with Rebecca Black," where I would normally have a guest over to my house and get to know more about them that we wouldn’t get to know elsewhere. So now, I’m sorting out logistics to continue filming whilst being able to do so remotely. 

Trying to find the positives in all of this, I have definitely found a new creative energy here at home, with tons more time to myself. I've already started to learn new things about myself and the things I want to create. I've grown up as a child of the internet, and so honestly I have really been turning to my audience and community online to keep me sane. Just being able to hopefully provide some entertainment and uplift those who need it right now feels right to me.

[12:36 p.m.] In the midst of editing, I get a text from my team about doing a concert livestream with Paper magazine later today. I’ve just started doing "At-Home Friday Happy Hour" streams with my own audience on my Instagram Live, so doing this with Paper is an immediate yes! My brain quickly shifts from editing to rehearsing the songs I plan on playing since I've only got a few hours to prep. 

[2:42 p.m.] When I play any instruments live it's usually on my upright piano that sits in my living room at my home, so when I came down to be at home with my family I took my guitar with me that I’ve been learning to play over the past six months. I’m still so new with it and so many things about it feel so different to the piano, but I’ve decided to do a little challenge with myself to play this whole livestream on guitar. So spending a good amount of time nailing these songs down best as I can. My cat is my audience for now, and she’s a brutal critic. 

[4:00 p.m.] Live stream starts now! I play my new songs "Closer," "Self Sabotage," as well as "Do You?" And yes, a little bit of "Friday." Being able to have direct conversations with my audience is something I really only appreciate more and more each day in this state of the world—some of these people and I have at this point essentially grown up together, so seeing familiar names always make me smile. 

[7:37 p.m.] Definitely not taking for granted the fact that I’m able to be home with family and get some good ol’ home-cooked MEALS right now. My mom and I always end the day with a drink and cook something for the fam together. I know she's also been happy to have me home to gossip with at the end of the day and also an extra pair of hands to help cook. The rest of the night is filled with a lot of pet wrangling (we have my dog, a mastiff, a pomeranian and my three-legged cat at home), more editing and me trying to explain the premise of "RuPaul’s Drag Race" to my mom and brother. Quality time!

I’ve come to understand that when we are forced to spend so much time in solitude, and without the usual daily distractions we give ourselves, we are really forced to face how we actually feel about ourselves and the world around us. It can be so daunting at times, but I’m trying to seek comfort in the fact that this time is helping me get to know myself more and more. And it gives me hope to see that as a community I think we are learning how to put our own wants and needs aside in order to help an issue that is much greater than our individual bubbles. I hope we can see some real positive changes for us as a whole when we come out of this. Be kind and patient with yourselves. Sending my love.  

If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit the MusiCares website

Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More



Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

Meek Mill

Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images


Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread

GRAMMYs/Apr 7, 2020 - 05:01 am

Jay-Z and Meek Mill's criminal justice reform organization REFORM has donated roughly 100,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities including in the states of New York, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The organization said it donated 50,000 masks to New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility, 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Correction and 5,000 to Mississippi State Penitentiary. Spin reports that an additional 2,500 masks were sent to a Rikers medical facility. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread.  

"Incarcerated/detained persons live, work, eat, study, and recreate within congregate environments, heightening the potential for COVID-19 to spread once introduced," according to the CDC. Other vulnerabilities include the fact that incarcerated people, for the most part, can't leave and, depending on the size of the facility, space for someone to medically isolate could be limited.

"We need to protect vulnerable people behind bars & GET THEM OUT!" REFORM said in a tweet. The organization sees this as a threat to public health and said on its website that it is working with experts and advocates "to develop a set of common-sense recommendations that would make us all SAFER."

They also announced on Twitter that they helped the South Carolina Department of Corrections locate 36,000 masks for their population. 

Across the nation, COVID-19 cases have been popping up in correctional facilities, including North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee

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Quarantine Diaries: ARI Is Cuddling With Her Cat, Making Her Own Tea & Preparing For Her Debut 'IDIOT GRL' EP Release


Photo: Nicole Davis


Quarantine Diaries: ARI Is Cuddling With Her Cat, Making Her Own Tea & Preparing For Her Debut 'IDIOT GRL' EP Release

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors

GRAMMYs/Aug 12, 2020 - 02:59 am

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, rising singer/songwriter ARI shares her quarantine diary. ARI's debut IDIOT GRL EP is out Aug. 14.

[9:40 a.m.] A late start to the day. I just woke up to my cat Malakai licking my face and snuggling under my chin, desperate for cuddles. I reluctantly gave in before diving into my morning routine, which starts by going through all of the daily news on my Snapchat feed to see what’s going on in the world.

[11 a.m.] Just out of the shower and into the kitchen for the usual: tea and avocado toast. I don’t typically like tea or coffee, but I had this amazing tea from Starbucks once and fell in love with it. I ended up finding the recipe and making it myself, and to be honest, I like my version better. Once I boil the kettle, I start part two of my morning “meditation”: watching one of my favourite shows while I respond to emails. With the IDIOT GRL EP coming out next week, I can tell you there are a TON of emails. I turned on "Gilmore Girls" (my guilty pleasure) and opened up my laptop to go through my calendar.

[1:45 p.m.] Recording session time. Zoom calls have become my everyday life. It’s crazy to think that this time last year, you could actually be in a room with people. Now the most social interaction I get is virtually. On the positive side, I get to set up my little home studio from the comfort of my own bed and I find the sessions to be really productive with no outside distractions.

[3:30 p.m.] Malakai is meowing at my door. As I try to sing over him, eventually I can’t ignore his cute little voice. We take a quick break and I have a little playtime with him. I can hear my song playing in the living room—it still weirds me out hearing myself. My guess is my roommate aka my manager is sending off final approval for the “IDIOT GRL” music video, which comes out the same day as the EP. Super excited for everyone to finally see it!

[6:00 p.m.] Time for dinner. It may just be my favourite part of the day. During my session, my roommate cooked us some delicious pasta. We eat dinner together every night, which is really nice. Usually, after dinner, we wind down and watch TV, but we decided to try doing an arts and crafts project tonight. I watched this TikTok video of a DIY way to make music plaques. You take a screenshot of a song on Spotify and use a marker to trace out the name of the song, artist, play button, etc. Once that’s done, you simply add the album artwork of your choice, frame it, and voila! I thought it would be a cool idea to make a wall of each of the songs off of my EP.

[9:00 p.m.] After an eventful day, I decided to go watch a drive-in Maple Leafs game (wearing a mask, of course). My sister works for the TSN network and started hosting drive-in game nights to promote the network and social distancing events. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest hockey fan, but I’ll never pass up an opportunity to spend time with my family.

[11:30 p.m.] I finally get home and hop straight into bed. I feel like I haven’t spent much time on Instagram today, so figured I’d open it up before getting some shuteye. I launched the pre-save link for the EP today and told my followers that I would DM anyone who pre-saved it and sent me a screenshot. I always love getting to interact with my fans and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to see how excited people are for my debut EP. It’s a great feeling to end the day with.

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Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

J. Cole

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images


Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

The second annual music festival from J. Cole's Dreamville Records squad and friends was first postponed from April until August, and will now have to wait until 2021

GRAMMYs/May 19, 2020 - 02:27 am

Dreamville Festival has announced they are canceling their 2020 event due to public safety concerns caused by coronavirus. The second annual edition of the one-day music fest, hosted by J. Cole and his talent-filled Dreamville Records, was originally slated to take place on April 6 at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, N.C., but was rescheduled to Aug. 29 after the pandemic struck the U.S.

Like countless other events that were set to take place this year, it will now have to wait until 2021. Dreamville says all 2020 ticket holders will be receive refunds soon.

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"After much deliberation and careful monitoring of the current situation, we have decided to cancel Dreamville Festival 2020. Although we originally hoped it would be possible to bring you the festival this August, the ongoing uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has made this timeline no longer possible. This decision has been extremely difficult to make, but the safety of our fans, artists, and staff is always our top priority, and nothing will ever take precedence over your well-being," the organizers wrote in a statement shared across their social channels and on the fest's website.

The message also shared details on refunds, noting that all tickets purchased online will automatically be refunded to the original payment method, beginning this week. Fans who bought physical tickets from official points of purchase can request a refund here.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this. Please stay safe, healthy, and sane so we can reunite with you in 2021," the statement added.

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According to Pitchfork, the debut Dreamville fest also faced unforeseen setbacks; it was originally set for Sept. 15, 2018 at Dorothea Dix Park but was pushed to April 6, 2019, due to Hurricane Florence. The 2019 event featured performances from Dreamville head Cole and labelmates J.I.D, BAS and Ari Lennox, as well as SZA, Big Sean, 21 Savage, 6LACK, Rapsody, Nelly and other heavy-hitters in hip-hop and R&B.

No artists have been revealed yet for the second edition of the fest.

The Dreamville squad earned their first two collective GRAMMY nominations at the most recent 62nd GRAMMY Awards; for Best Rap Album for the collaborative Revenge Of The Dreamers III and Best Rap Performance for one of its singles, "Down Bad." Cole earned a total of five nods, including for his work on that project, and took him his first GRAMMY win for his feature on 21 Savage's "A Lot."

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