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Quarantine Diaries: Yumi Zouma's Christie Simpson Is Practicing Self Care & Playing "Animal Crossing"

Christie Simpson of Yumi Zouma

Photos courtesy of Christie Simpson

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Quarantine Diaries: Yumi Zouma's Christie Simpson Is Practicing Self Care & Playing "Animal Crossing"

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 26, 2020 - 08:12 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, Christie Simpson, lead singer of New Zealand dream-pop outfit Yumi Zouma, who recently relocated to London, shares her Quarantine Diary.

Tuesday, March 24

[9:04 a.m.] Waking up in Hackney. It's a rare sunny day in London. A sliver of sun comes through my window when I roll up the blind—this always makes for a happy start to the day.

I've been enjoying some pretty slow mornings. I think my body has taken on a lot of the anxiety as exhaustion, and combined with this opportunity to rest I'm having more sleep-ins than ever before. But this is the first time in a long time that I don't really have a job... so it's all good, right?

Today we should've been playing a sold-out show at our favorite venue in San Francisco: Rickshaw Stop.

It's bittersweet to think of, but at least I've got a few little things planned out for the day ahead to keep me distracted. 

I ordered an audio interface online last week so I can work on music—that will arrive today at some point. I moved to London less than a month ago, so I'm not exactly set up here yet—it's very weird timing.

My morning ritual has become coffee in bed, with a book (I'm reading "Outline" by Rachel Cusk), sometimes with a face mask. Today I went a step further and did a hair treatment, too. I've heard self-care is important in these times.

[11:14 a.m.] I've started one of those 30-day yoga things (it's good to have a project). I'm on day five today, but already I feel that it's doing me a lot of good whilst cooped up in the house. So from the comfort of my bedroom, I enjoy my daily dose of Yoga by Adriene—she is the master of many a chill and lovely yoga video.

[12:39 p.m.] I make myself some lunch and sit outside in the sun on the AstroTurf of my back yard. I can feel the sun soaking into my skin and my god does it feel good. I stocked up on Pavilion sourdough so every lunch is a treat. I'm trying to eat lots of fruit—I always buy strawberries every time I make a trip to Tesco.

[3:06 p.m.] My audio interface arrived just before 2 p.m., and since then I've been sitting on my bedroom floor working on a track. It's a collab—these times definitely feel ripe to start new relationships and work on collaborations. It feels so nice to have the setup required to properly work on music again. It's so nice to record harmonies with myself again. I got completely caught up in this for a while—for the first time in a long time! I found it really hard to set aside time for music when I was working a day job (as I had been until I left New Zealand) and honestly, it's really nice to know I have so much time free to work on music now.

[4:57 p.m.] After a nice long walk in the sun (as per the one-walk-per-day regulation), I've arrived at Charlie's. Charlie is my bandmate, my only other bandmate living in London—and he's not home, but he's given me his keys for an important mission. The Nintendo Switch is currently sold out pretty much everywhere, but I'm desperate to play the new edition of "Animal Crossing"—so Charlie has very kindly surrendered his Nintendo Switch to me. What a guy, right? In this moment I feel very #blessed. To be walking through a very quiet Shoreditch, streaked with golden evening sun, on such a sacred pilgrimage.

I water his plants (as he's currently staying with Val, his girlfriend) and I'm on my merry way back to Homerton, Nintendo Switch in tow.

[6:35 p.m.] Back home, clean sheets on the bed, bedroom tidied. It's officially "aperitif" hour, which for me lately constitutes a strange but delicious combo of pink gin and grapefruit juice. "Animal Crossing" is downloading. I sweep the floor and put clean pillowcases on the pillows. My flatmate downstairs is making cheese toasties for dinner. Everything feels peaceful, in its right place. It's nothing like the lead-up to a sold-out Yumi Zouma show, but I'm making peace with that now, knowing that we did the right thing to keep people safe and well. It’s not forever, we’ll be back out there, and for now, I’m getting by just fine. 

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.  

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

Meek Mill

Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images

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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

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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Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

J. Cole

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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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.

Watch: J.I.D Talks Lollapalooza Debut, Working With J. Cole & Dreamville, New Music & More

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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Houseparty’s "In The House": Katy Perry, John Legend, Alicia Keys + More

Katy Perry

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

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Houseparty’s "In The House": Katy Perry, John Legend, Alicia Keys + More

The three-day livestream event taking place this weekend (May 15-17) will allow users to view performances and segments while chatting with friends in realtime

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2020 - 12:46 am

Houseparty, the face-to-face social video app, is bringing a star-studded lineup of performances, workouts and cooking lessons to its users, including appearances by Katy Perry, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and more than 40 other celebrities. The event, "In The House," will take place over the course of three days, beginning this weekend on Friday, May 15 and running through Sunday, May 17.

Per Rolling Stone, the event’s programming will see a live performance of Perry’s unreleased track “Daisies,” slated to be released on Friday, May 15, in addition to sets by Legend, Chvrches and others. The program will also feature special cooking lessons on unique recipes provided by Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz and Zooey Deschanel. Alicia Keys will also host a karaoke session and lead a 30 minute at-home workout. The full lineup and event schedule are available here.

Read More: How To Use Music Techniques To Prepare Healthy Food

The three-day event will allow those who tune in to enjoy free performances from the comfort of their homes, and they’ll be able to chat and interact with friends via the app all in real time. In a statement to Variety discussing the program, Houseparty CEO and co-founder Sima Sistani said “We are bringing back appointment viewing… to capture that feeling of sitting on the couch for that special show with your family or friends on a Friday night.”

Houseparty is available to download for free on iOS and Android devices, as well as online where users can tune in to stream the live event. Each segment will air again 12 hours following its original stream for those who may have missed the original broadcasts.

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