Photo: Rachel Moore
The Wild Feathers
Quarantine Diaries: The Wild Feathers' Ben Dumas Is Checking Twitter For Good News & Staying In Touch With Friends
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, GRAMMY.com reached out to musicians to see how they were spending their days off the road—hear from the Nashville-based drummer today
As the 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, Ben Dumas, the drummer of Nashville band the Wild Feathers, shares his reflections on quarantine and the pandemic. Their latest album, Medium Rarities, is out now.
They say to take it one day at a time. Seems simple, but how do you take it when it's all just one long day that lasts for weeks? Or months? What if this long, singular day lasts for years or what if that's just how it will always be now?
When I lay in bed in the morning after waking, I try my hardest to resist the urge to open Twitter to check the news; hoping for some kind of positive message from somewhere that will indicate that all this will turn around and end soon. My wife is always out of the bed before me because she is able to do her job from home. I'll get up and make us coffee and something to eat to make myself seem useful. My life normally consists of me making a living touring the country playing music most days and nights of the year, so it's difficult to know what to do (and not feel guilty) stuck at the house nonstop while my wife works her ass off from her computer on our kitchen table that's now her work desk. It's difficult to know how to contribute.
I'll check Twitter again looking for answers, and of course there are none there. I'll set up a makeshift home gym in our living room and we will both do some exercises. I make lunch. I check Twitter—no answers.
It's really important to keep your mind (and heart) occupied. There's an endless tide of worry that will come and go. (Will my parents be okay if they get it? Will I have a job again? Will the world kindly and bravely work together to get through this?) So I spend the afternoons taking the dogs on walks, reading and texting friends and family (and maybe checking Twitter). They all tell me they are hanging in there and doing the best they can. Same here. The friends that live just a few miles away feel as far away as the friends that live on the other side of the country. But it's great hearing from them.
Maybe later on in the evening we will all get on a video group chat and get hammered and laugh about shit. (Maybe someday soon we'll all get hammered together in person and laugh about the times when we had to do it over a video group chat.) They ask about when I'll be touring again and I say my guess is as good as theirs, but I'm hopeful it will be soon. They don't know when they will be back at work either. I'll check Twitter again to see if there's anything new that I need to know. Shockingly, there is not.
Going to the grocery store is the absolute worst. (I feel very confident now that whoever coined the term "avoid it like the plague" was, in fact, living during a plague.) Shuffling through the aisles trying to find decent stuff that hasn't already sold out and trying to dodge all the mask-less open-mouth breathers who don't seem to give a shit about decency and the safety of others.
Say what you will about the legitimacy of this whole thing and crazy socio-political agendas, but you're not helping anyone by railing against compassion for your fellow humans with whom you share this planet. There was a period of time where masks were not as readily available. Stores everywhere were sold out. The first one I wore was one that my wife fashioned out of my favorite Georgia Bulldogs bandana and two elastic hair-ties. I will never forget her putting it on and smiling, being humorously proud of and chuckling at the silly little mask she crafted. She's always my beacon of positivity, an inspirational happy-go-lucky ray of fing sunshine. Seeing her smile underneath it gravely pulled on my heartstrings and cut me with a pang of solemnity at the realization that this is what it has come to—we are going to have to wear these masks in public and we might as well fing try to smile underneath them.
I'm really trying to elevate my cooking game. Incredibly, my wife isn't completely bored with every dish I make for dinner—yet. How many bottles of wine do we have left? Let's have another glass then. I check Twitter to see if there's anything new (Vaccine? Are the numbers good or bad? When will I be able to play music in person for people? How are other countries handling it? Does our government give a shit about us?). There are obviously no answers on Twitter. Nor are there any in the news. Maybe there are no answers to any of those questions anywhere. But eventually you learn that that's OK. The answers you do need are out there if you can let yourself find them, however. The answers are in another glass of wine with your quarantine partner, or yet another beer with the friends on the video chat. The answer is in trying to make the same spinach salad for lunch for the sixth day in a row seem like the culinary event of the year. The answer is on the walk with your dog or by yourself. It's in that smile underneath the mask.
I'm tired of hearing the term "unprecedented times." If that's what this is, then it's time for us to set the new precedent of understanding, sympathy and love. There's something to be said for sacrifice and compassion, and the rest is mundane details that we can engineer into wonder and excitement. And I suppose that's how we will deal with all this—together. Out of all the days we have ever had, today was—one of them? And like my dad always says, tomorrow's just another day.
Sincerely, my fellow reader, whoever you are, thank you for reading. I'm going to check Twitter now.
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
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
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.
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images
Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream
Proceeds from the event will be go toward loans to small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, via Accion Opportunity Fund
This Saturday, June 20, artists including Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and more will come together for Small Business Live, a livestream fundraiser event for small businesses facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proceeds from the livestream will go to Accion Opportunity Fund to support small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.
“Entrepreneurs of color are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia said. “We have to decide what we want our Main Streets to look like when this is over, and we must act decisively to keep small businesses alive and ready to rebuild. This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia and oppression.”
Tune in for Small Business Live Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on smallbiz.live. The site also provides a full schedule of programs and links to watch the livestream on all major digital platforms. To learn more about Accion Opportunity Fund, visit the organization's website.
Photo: Harmony Korine
Iggy Pop Announces New Album, 'Free', Shares Title Track
"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained… I wanted to be free," the Godfather of Punk explained
Today, GRAMMY-nominated punk forbearer Iggy Pop revealed the details for his forthcoming 18th solo studio album, along with its short—at under two minutes—yet spacious title track, "Free." The 10-track LP is due out Sept. 6 and follow's 2016's GRAMMY-nominated Post Pop Depression.
"This is an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice," Pop explains in a press release.
The statement notes jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas and L.A.-based electric guitarist Noveller as the "principal players" collaborating with Pop on this exploratory new project. On "Free," Thomas' horn and Noveller's guitar add layers of depth, somberness and exploration, as Pop's echoing voice cuts through twice to proclaim, "I want to be free."
Pop adds that his last tour left him feeling exhausted but ready for change, and the shifts eventually led him to these new sounds:
"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained. And I felt like I wanted to put on shades, turn my back, and walk away. I wanted to be free. I know that's an illusion, and that freedom is only something you feel, but I have lived my life thus far in the belief that that feeling is all that is worth pursuing; all that you need—not happiness or love necessarily, but the feeling of being free. So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen."
Post Pop Depression earned the former Stooges frontman his second GRAMMY nod, at the 59th GRAMMY Awards for Best Alternative Music Album. It was produced by GRAMMY winner Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and as a tribute of sorts to David Bowie, Pop's longtime friend the producer of his first two solo albums, and was released shortly after Bowie's surprising passing.
As the press release states, "While it follows the highest charting album of Iggy's career, Free has virtually nothing in common sonically with its predecessor—or with any other Iggy Pop album."
DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend take home Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards
DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend, has won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher" at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The single was featured on DJ Khaled's 2019 album Father of Asahd and featured Hussle's vocals and Legend on the piano. DJ Khaled predicted the track would win a GRAMMY.
"I even told him, 'We're going to win a GRAMMY.' Because that's how I feel about my album," DJ Khaled told Billboard. "I really feel like not only is this my biggest, this is very special."
After the release of the song and music video -- which was filmed before Hussle's death in March -- DJ Khaled announced all proceeds from "Higher" will go to Hussle's children.
DJ Khaled and co. beat out fellow category nominees Lil Baby & Gunna ("Drip Too Hard"), Lil Nas X ("Panini"), Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch ("Ballin") and Young Thug featuring J. Cole & Travis Scott ("The London"). Hussle earned a second posthumous award at the 62nd GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle."
Along with Legend and DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to Hussle during the telecast, which concluded with "Higher."
Check out the complete 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees and winners list here.