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Quarantine Diaries: Lindgren And Melanie Fontana Are Hosting An Open House, Cooking Blue Apron & Watching "Cake Wars"

Lindgren and Melanie 

Photo courtesy of Lindgren and Melanie Fontana

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Quarantine Diaries: Lindgren And Melanie Fontana Are Hosting An Open House, Cooking Blue Apron & Watching "Cake Wars"

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/May 19, 2020 - 09:55 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, songwriter/producer Lindgren and his wife, singer/songwriter Melanie Fontana—who collectively have worked with names like BTS, Dua Lipa, Britney Spears, Halsey and more—share their joint Quarantine Diary.

Friday, May 15

[9:32 a.m.]

Lindgren: I get rudely awakened by a hungry cat trying to scratch her way through my bedroom door. Melanie gets up to feed the little monster, so obviously I go back to sleep. I am no use to the world at this ungodly hour. 

Melanie: Hello! I’m up! Throughout these quarantine times, my body has been truly terrible at sleeping. 9:30 a.m. is pretty much the latest my brain will let me go, even if I go to bed at 4 a.m. (which is what I did last night). My cat Vanderbilt is scratching like crazy at our bedroom door. Time to open the can and start the fish factory for her. I get myself a fresh, steamy cup of coffee from our Jura coffee maker. I peek out the back door window to see if it’s sunny; it is! I let Vandy out. She starts pouncing on invisible predators as I sit in the morning’s breezy silence of our backyard.

[11:22 a.m.]

Lindgren: This time the awakening is sweet. I being served fresh coffee with oat milk by my lovely wife who hands me my phone and kisses my forehead. The cat is now snuggly and ready for a nap in my lap while I slowly boot up my brain that apparently still runs on Microsoft Windows 98; slow to start but then very steady and reliable. I check my emails, delete the spam and respond to the ones from the home country (Germany) as they are already on their way home from their offices. Next up is iMessage. (God, I hate group chats.) A looming red double digit number lets me know that I’m fashionably late to a morning plotting party with our manager, Justin Garza. Once I’m all caught up on the ‘DREAMTEAM’ chat group I begrudgingly get out of bed at 11:50 (nobody should have to live like this).

Melanie: I leave my laziness on a poolside lounger to head back inside the house make a fresh cup of coffee for Lindgren. I use my pointer knuckle to gently tap on the bedroom door and I pad barefoot into our still shadowy room to deliver Lin his (late) morning brain fuel. I want bagels. Bad. We have some in the freezer, for sure. 

[1:07 p.m.]

Lindgren: After a second coffee and a pastrami bagel, I finally feel human. Humans go to work, right? But there’s nothing to do just yet... other than... Oh yeah, we’re showing the apartment today! Over the last two weeks we’ve been renovating our newly aquired rental property in Hollywood and today a potential tenant wants to see it. Am I done with everything? Of course not. So I pack my tools, glove and mask up and get in the car. 

Time to "car test" the songs from this week. I’ve been missing this ritual throughout this time of adjusting to this new normal. We play the songs we wrote and produced, judge the writing, arrangement and mix on the car’s Bose system and sing along. "Pull uuuuup!" yells my wife. 

Melanie: Crap. I’m late! I’m supposed to be doing an "account takeover" of my manager’s company’s Instagram account, The Dream Adopters. Wish I was doing something a bit more musical today to show his followers, but eh, guess that’s life! Actually, today is a pretty cool day for some songs we already wrote and produced. We have a double release day! Bonnie x Clyde are releasing a REALLY unique song we worked on called "Atypical." At 9 a.m. Jessica Andrea will be putting out her long-awaiting single "Love Like This," a tune Lindgren, Jess and I poured our hearts into!

We are now at our investment property in Hollywood to give a quick "6-foot-masked-tour" to some potential tenants. I am currently and magically juggling ripping down old light fixtures, answering questions on my takeover, vacuuming and then eventually heading down to the lobby to let in our interested party. Please, lord, don’t try to talk us down in rent price. This place is fking adorable and it's fully furnished with the comfiest and cutest furniture. Honestly, anyone would be lucky to wake up to these breathtaking Runyon Canyon/Downtown views. Someone stop me from renting out my own house so I can live here (like the city kid I am at heart!).

[2:59 p.m.]

Lindgren: Phew, just in time the new clock is hung, the bedroom barn door finally level (my poor German OCD had been tingling since the day I put it up crooked) and all the dust is swept up. Time for the Open House. 

[4:37 p.m.]

Lindgren: Jessica Andrea texts "Come Outside." We step outside to find our masked friend on the front lawn and an ice cold six pack of Mango White Claw on the porch. Time to celebrate the upcoming release of "Love Like This," a song the three of us wrote for her project. It’s gorgeous. I hope it does well. Six feet apart and fully masked, we chat about potential promo moves and boys. Ain’t no hang with Jess without boy talk. ;-)

Melanie: Back home from Hollywood and JESSICA ANDREA IS A QUEEN. She just stopped over to drop off a $100 The Palm Coffee Bar gift card as well as a box of mango White Claws. Now that’s how we like to celebrate release days, baby! Jess, Lindgren and I sit six feet apart on my front lawn to talk a bit of "release strategy" in regards to "Love Like This" coming out in like... four hours. The song is really dreamy. It’s a pop experience. I hope it does as well as I think it will! Masks on, we continue to chat about how quarantine can be such a bummer for artists, who can no longer just head out there and do live performance promo for the foreseeable future. We speculate for a while over how it’s going to be even in the near future. Who friggin knows.

[6:48 p.m.]

Lindgren: Time to be the music power couple for a bit. So we make some Daily Harvest smoothies and head into our respective studios to finish up some work. Melanie works on a track from our friends Daytrip and I go over notes from the band Public on a song we’ve been fine-tuning. With this magnifiscent weather outside it’s hard not to leave the studio patio door open and give the good people of Burbank a free concert. But I must resist the urge. 

Melanie: Lindgren heads into our A Room studio to wrap up editing vocals on a song he’s been feverishly poring over these last few days with the band Public (signed to Island) and I head into the B Room studio to melodyne vocals on an unfinished song I started working on with Daytrip last week. They always send me such unrivaled, inspiring tracks, I have to make sure what I send back to them is up to par. I love this song. It’s called "Blame Me."

[8:30 p.m.]

Lindgren: It’s been a couple minutes since Daytrip’s 808 bass made the wall between our studios shake. That can only mean one of two things: Melanie is either petting Vanderbilt or has started cooking. Damn, I’m hungry. Blue Apron’s orange glazed meat Chinese balls are on the menu. 

Melanie: Lindgren and I live for our Blue Apron meal cooking kits. Tonight, orange glazed meatballs is on the menu. Holy crap. Sandiest head of bok choy I have ever seen. Washing this thing for at least two minutes before I can even think of prepping it. Other than writing songs and home-renovation/interior design, cooking is my third passion. As I’m thin-slicing three large freshly washed carrots, I start to miss the cooking classes that Lindgren had got me for Christmas a couple years ago. Those were fun. We should do that again! On a serious note, I always dream of owning a small, very well decorated café that serves small plates, coffee, wine and beer. Goals, am I right?! 

[9:52 p.m.]

Melanie: We crash Jess Andrea’s Instagram live. There were talks of Shia Lebouf and new songs on the way.

[10:50 p.m.] 

Lindgren: Time for a quiet walk through the neighborhood. Wow, I don’t even need a sweater tonight. Nice job, California. Oops, how did we make it all the way down to Whole Foods on Olive? Shall we turn around? "I miss Vanderbilt," says Melanie. Homeward then!

Melanie: Taking long, late-night walks is a newfound happy addition to our life. Somehow, floating atop a lively conversation about real estate and industry politics, we walk all the way to Whole Foods on Olive Ave. How the hell did we get all the way over here???

[11:57 p.m.]

Melanie: Laying on our massively oversized, gray tweed couch. This thing could tame a wild boar, I’m convinced. Time for reruns of "Cake Wars"! Sometimes you just have to watch something silly to stop the gears in your brain from turning so rapidly. I have to put my phone down now, because if I look at this screen for too long, I’ll be up wired till 6 a.m.! Goodnight, you weird and beautiful world. 

[1:30 a.m.]

Lindgren: After "Penny Dreadful" and a couple "Cake Wars" reruns, Melanie and Vanderbilt—my cats, as I endearingly call them—have succumbed to the sleep-inducing gravity of our couch. Time to switch over to "The West Wing."

[3:45 a.m.]

Lindgren: The edible is hitting like a truck. What did Josh say? What did CJ do? I can’t follow anymore. I wake Melanie up with a kiss on the forehead and whisper "bedtime."

"Good night, Veebee," she says to the snoring ball of cuteness. 

All photos courtesy of Lindgren And Melanie Fontana

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.

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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