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Quarantine Diaries: Morgan Saint Is Cooking Mexican Food, Picnicking In Central Park & Releasing New Music

Morgan Saint

Photo by Car Astor

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Quarantine Diaries: Morgan Saint Is Cooking Mexican Food, Picnicking In Central Park & Releasing New Music

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

GRAMMYs/Sep 3, 2020 - 09:57 pm

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, GRAMMY.com reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, NYC alt-pop performer Morgan Saint shares her Quarantine Diary. Morgan Saint's EP, HELP, and new song "KEEP ON HANGING ON" are out now. 

I’ve been actively trying to create enough change and excitement in my life lately so that the days don’t blur together. I've realized in the thick of spending most of my time at home over the last six months, that I do not function well at all in a routine. Without change of pace and things to look forward to (even if they’re little things), I am super anxious. I love going for long walks and exploring new parts of the city! 
 
Once a week, we like to do a picnic in Central Park, which is sooo nice! 
 
I’ve been cooking a lot, too! Mostly Mexican food. I’m really into creating an atmosphere, so It’s been fun to make every meal feel like I’m eating out. I like to light candles and play music while we’re cooking and eating, and in the evenings we like to eat on the rooftop of our building and watch the sunset. 

 
My most exciting purchase recently has been "hue" lighting for my apartment. It’s so sick. It allows you to set the lights in your house to any color of the rainbow. It’s really cozy at night—it kind of makes me feel like I’m in a club or restaurant, or anywhere other than my apartment! It especially helps to set a vibe when I’m making music. 
 
I recently moved into a new apartment, which has been something exciting! I'm really big into interior design, so I've been spending my extra time making our new space come to life a lil bit. I’ve been building out my studio a bit more and experimenting a lot. I’m really excited to continue to release new music! I feel really lucky to be able to make everything right from my bedroom. Being able to work whenever I feel inspired without relying on anyone else is super important to my creative process. I work best when I can do everything on my own terms. 

 
Although my average day consists of eating, drinking lots of Starbucks iced tea, shooting and editing content, making music and having Zoom meetings, I’ve been breaking up my time by visiting my family outside of the city. They live on the eastern end of Long Island which is beautiful and surrounded by water and open fields. We spend a lot of time on the water and driving around. Outdoor dining has been such a relief. I love trying new things, so we’ve been taking this opportunity to try new restaurants! I’m a big fan of eating outdoors, so I’ve been loving it! 

 
I just released a new EP, and it feels so good to finally have it out! It’s been such a long and difficult journey personally and professionally to make this project and get it out into the world, so I feel grateful and refreshed now that people can finally have a relevant version of me to digest. I’ve really taken the last year to clear any negative or toxic relationships out of my life, and it’s been so liberating to release this new project and continue making new music without anyone or any negative energy in the way! I’m excited to see where the next few months take me :)

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

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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."

Mumu Fresh On What She Learned From Working With The Roots, Rhyming & More

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

ARI

Photo: Nicole Davis

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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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Quarantine Diaries: Joan As Police Woman Is Bike Riding, Book Reading & Strumming D'Angelo

Joan as Police Woman

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Quarantine Diaries: Joan As Police Woman Is Bike Riding, Book Reading & Strumming D'Angelo

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 7, 2020 - 07:21 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, singer/songwriter Joan Wasser of Joan as Police Woman, whose forthcoming covers album, COVER TWO, includes tracks by The Strokes, Prince, Talk Talk, and more, shares her Quarantine Diary.

Thursday, April 2

[10 a.m.-12 p.m.] Went to bed at 4 a.m. last night after getting drawn into working on a song. Put on the kettle to make hot coffee while enjoying an iced coffee I made the day before. Double coffee is my jam. Read the news, which does not do much for my mood. Catch up with a few friends, which does a lot of good for my mood. Glad it goes in this order.

[12 p.m.-2 p.m.] Make steel cut oats with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, a sprinkling of cinnamon and cardamom, and of course, coconut butter to melt on top. If you’re not into coconut butter (sometimes marketed as coconut "manna"), I’d suggest just going for it and getting it (or ordering it) and putting it on your sweet potatoes, your oats, anywhere you’d put butter. I’m not vegan but I do enjoy hearing the tiny scream uttered by a strawberry as I cut into it. 

Contemplate some yoga. Contamplate meditating. Do neither. Resume work on the song I want to finish and send today. I have a home studio and I spend a lot of my time working on music here. The song is a collboration sent to me from Rodrigo D’Erasmo in Milano that will benefit the folks who work behind the scenes in the music touring system in Italy. 

[2 p.m.-4 p.m.] I traded in a guitar for a baritone guitar right before all this craziness hit but hadn’t had the time to get it out until now. I put on some D’Angelo, plugged into my amp and played along as if I were in his band. Micahel Archer, If you’re reading this, I hope you are safe and sound and thank you immensely for all the music you've given us always. 

[4 p.m.-6 p.m.] Bike repair shops have been deemed "necessary," thank goodness, because biking is the primary way I get around and I need a small repair. I hit up my neighborhood shop and they get my bike in and out in 10 minutes, enough time to feel the sun for a moment. 

I ride fast and hard down to the water's edge and take in a view of the East River from Brooklyn. There are a few people out getting their de-stress walks but it is mostly deserted on the usually packed streets.

[6 p.m.-8 p.m.] Practice Bach piano invention no. 4 in Dm very, very, very slowly. I never studied piano but I’m trying to hone some skills. Realize I’m ravenous. Eat chicken stew with wild mushrooms I made in the slow cooker yesterday. It’s always better the second day.

[8 p.m.-10 p.m.] Get on a zoom chat with a bunch of women friends on both coasts. We basically shoot the sh*t and make each other laugh. 

Afterwards I still feel like I ate a school bus so I give into yoga. I feel great afterwards. This photo proves I have a foot. 

[10 p.m.-12 a.m.] Record a podcast for Stereo Embers in anticipation of my new release on May 1, a second record of covers, inventively named COVER TWO. Continue to work on music (it’s a theme).

[12 a.m.-2 p.m.] Tell myself I should think about bed. Ignore myself and confinue to work on music. 

[2 a.m.-4 a.m.] Force myself into bed where I have many books to choose from. This is what I’m reading presently, depending on my mood. Finally I listen to Nick Hakim’s new song, "Qadir," and am taken by its beauty and grace. Good night. 

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

Quarantine Diaries: L.A. Pop Luminary Katelyn Tarver On Quarantining With Siblings, IN-N-OUT Burger & White Wine

Katelyn Tarver

Photo courtesy of Katelyn Tarver

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Quarantine Diaries: L.A. Pop Luminary Katelyn Tarver On Quarantining With Siblings, IN-N-OUT Burger & White Wine

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/Mar 24, 2020 - 09:49 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, L.A. indie-pop performer/actress Katelyn Tarver, who many might recognize as Jo Taylor on Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush," Natalie ABC's "No Ordinary Family" and Mercedes on ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," shares her Quarantine Diary.

Friday, March 20

8 a.m.–10 a.m.: Normally I wake up around 8:30 a.m. every day, but this quarantine has me SLEEPING IN. So this block of time I was…. asleep. 

10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Finally drag myself out of bed and make some coffee and food. My sister and brother live in town and are both hanging at my place. We decided to all quarantine together, because without each other, we will lose our minds. Some call it unhealthy co-dependence, we just call it normal sibling relationship! 

12 p.m.–1 p.m.: My sister and I decided to do a workout. Our friend Sam is a fitness instructor and thankfully, has decided to lead workout classes over Instagram live for the time being. Honestly, I might end up working out more during this quarantine than I do in my normal life, but still to be seen… (probably not). 

1 p.m.–4 p.m.: Feeling pretty accomplished after that workout. That’s the thing with quarantine. Literally doing anything besides sitting on the couch feels like a massive feat. I decide that I’m going to do an instagram live at 4 p.m. to announce my new single. Before then I need to make some food, and I all the sudden have a craving for a chicken quesadilla? You don’t question things during this time, you just move forward. I cooked a quesadilla and as usual, it took me longer than expected, so now it’s like 3:30 and I gotta figure out where I’m doing this live! 

4 p.m.–6 p.m.: Instagram live, baby! This was actually really fun. Got to bring a few fans in to chat and announced that I have a new single coming out, which is always scary and exciting! I also had to laugh at the timing. I've had a plan to put this song out for a few months, and coincidentally the song is called "Feel Bad." Who knew how applicable it would end up being!!!

Around 5 p.m. I decide that it’s time for a glass of wine. Yes, that is ice cubes in white wine. It’s called CLASS and SOPHISTICATION. 

6 p.m.–8 p.m.: We decide to learn how to play "Pluto Projector" by Rex Orange County. I take the lyrics and chords on the wall in front of me. My brother is on guitar. I remember how much I love this song, and as cheesy as it sounds, how much music makes me feel better. I would’ve been getting ready to play at the House Of Blues in Dallas had this not all happened and I’ve been really bummed about the tour getting postponed since I got the news. I know everyone is dealing with setbacks and canceled plans right now, so that makes it a little easier. But I'm still letting myself be sad if I need to be. The truth is, I hadn't been on a tour like that in so long, and I was really, really looking forward to it. But... there's literally nothing I can do.

That’s a lot of what this quarantine has been for me so far. Fighting between being sad and upset and trying to release it and accept the reality of what’s happening. Working on it…

8 p.m.–11 p.m.: My sister volunteered to go get us In-N-Out Burger for dinner, which we all got really excited about. Then we called up some friends and planned a virtual game night playing QuipLash over Google Hangouts. It took some strategy to figure out the logistics of being able to play that virtually, but once we got it, we laughed for three hours straight. 

11:30 p.m.: Going to bed. Tomorrow is Saturday. I remember that I made an appointment to do my taxes at 5 p.m. (it was supposed to be in person but now will be over the phone) and I haven’t done any of the paperwork I was supposed to do to be ready for it. Somehow just have not found the time!!! Some things never change! Good luck to everyone out there during this weird, disorienting time. We’ll get through it!!!!!

If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, visit: https://www.grammy.com/MusiCares/CoronavirusReliefFund

If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit: musicares.org.