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Rapsody Reveals The Influential Black Women Behind Her New Album 'Eve' At ESSENCE Fest

Rapsody

Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy

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Rapsody Reveals The Influential Black Women Behind Her New Album 'Eve' At ESSENCE Fest

"We draw from all of the women in our village," says the GRAMMY-nominated artist discussing the musical lineage of her new project backstage at this year's 25th ESSENCE Festival

GRAMMYs/Jul 7, 2019 - 03:21 am

GRAMMY nominated artist Rapsody knows where she came from. The North Carolina native's new album, Eve, is a celebration of the many artists who have inspired her and paved the way for her career personally and musically.

"To think of it, I'm small pieces of all these women that inspired me," she told us backstage at this weekend's 25th annual ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, after naming influential Black women such as Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, Lauryn Hill, Phylicia Rashād, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Oprah and others as influences and inspirations. 

"When I was growing up, I didn't know who Nina Simone was, I learned who she was for Lauryn Hill, so if I can do that for another little girl," she said, "it continues that legacy, and I think that's important. So that was the whole idea and concept around the album."

Rapsody also talked about her experience of joy, pride and love at her first time at ESSENCE Fest, what Black girl magic means to her and more.

Party With A Purpose: 5 Things To Get Excited For At ESSENCE Fest 2019

 

Remembering Lamont Dozier: 6 Essential Tracks By The Prolific Motown Songwriter
Lamont Dozier in 1969.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Handout

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Remembering Lamont Dozier: 6 Essential Tracks By The Prolific Motown Songwriter

Lamont Dozier helped define the sound of Motown, co-writing, arranging, and producing a string of classic hits with brothers Brian and Eddie Holland. He passed away on Aug. 8 at age 81. GRAMMY.com commemorates his legacy.

GRAMMYs/Aug 10, 2022 - 04:03 pm

Prolific singer-songwriter Lamont Dozier penned hits for the Marvelettes, the Supremes, <a href="Marvin Gaye">Marvin Gaye</a>, Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, the Isley Brothers and many more over his decades-long career. Dozier helped define the signature sound of Motown Records — one which has been covered, sampled, interpolated and used in soundtracks for generations.

Through his musical collaboration with brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, Dozier co-wrote, arranged and produced a string of classic hits in the 1960s. Among his extensive canon are songs like "You Keep Me Hangin' On," "Heat Wave," "I Can't Help Myself," and "Nowhere to Run." Without Dozier's ability to craft catchy hooks and grooves, Motown may have never become the powerhouse label that changed the course of music history. 

Dozier's creative offerings inspired artists across many genres, so when his publicist announced news of his passing at the age of 81, social media was flooded with heartfelt tributes from notable collaborators and admirers of his work, including Brian Wilson, Mitch Hucknall of Simply Red, Paul Stanley of KISS, and singer-songwriter Carole King.


Diana Ross — who first met Dozier in the '60s when he co-wrote 10 No. 1 singles for the Supremes, including "Baby Love" and "Come See About Me" — paid tribute to the late songwriter on Twitter: "He will always be remembered through all the beautiful songs that he wrote for me and the Supremes, and so many other beautiful songs."

Motown Records founder Berry Gordy played a major role in getting Dozier's career off the ground. "Lamont was a brilliant arranger and producer who balanced the talents of the great Eddie and Brian Holland, helping to pull it all together," Gordy said in a statement. "H-D-H, as we called them, gave the Supremes not only their first No. 1 record, ‘Where Did Our Love Go,' but they followed that with multiple No. 1s over the next three years. Unheard of…In the 1960s, their sound became synonymous with the 'Motown Sound.'"

Remembering Lamon Dozier in studio

 (L-R) Diana Ross, Lamont Dozier (at piano), Mary Wilson, Eddie Holland, Florence Ballard (seated) and Brian Holland in the Motown studio circa 1965. | Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Dozier's journey to the top of the charts began in Detroit, where he was born and raised in the Black Bottom district. Raised by a single mother who worked hard to provide for him and his siblings, Dozier was a creative, ambitious kid and a bit of a romantic — he was known as "the love doctor" at his junior high where he sold love letters to classmates. He knew he wanted to make music, so he began writing songs as he figured out his next moves.

In high school, Dozier took a major step toward achieving his music dreams when his interracial doo-wop group, the Romeos, stumbled into a recording contract with a newly formed independent label. The group's single "Fine, Fine Baby" soon caught the attention of Atlantic Records, which bought the song from them. Dozier viewed the sale as a sign of good things to come and promptly dropped out of high school to devote all of his time to making music, much to the dismay of his mother. But the Romeos' success was short-lived — Dozier overplayed his hand during negotiations with Atlantic, abruptly ending the group's collaboration with the label. They disbanded shortly thereafter.  

 After the group split, Dozier set out to earn a living as a solo artist. In 1960, Dozier recorded his first solo project with Anna Records, a label co-founded by Gordy's sister Gwen. He recorded two tracks for the label, a midtempo ballad and a funky B-side called "Popeye." A young Marvin Gaye played drums on "Popeye," which became a regional hit before the label was forced to pull the record because of its references to the trademarked spinach-loving cartoon character.

When Gwen and her husband sold Anna Records to Motown and in 1962, Gordy came a-knockin.' After years of circling each other, Dozier agreed to join Motown as a songwriter/performer and partnered with songwriter Brian Holland to pen tracks for the Contours and the Marvelettes. They soon recruited Holland's brother Eddie, and each H-D-H member had a critical role: Eddie would be the lyricist; Dozier, the idea man who created the lyrical concepts, and Brian would write the music. 

According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, H-D-H composed over 400 songs, 70 top 10 singles, and 40 No. 1 hits for Motown before leaving due to contract disputes in 1972. (The trio has since been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

Though the trio continued working together infrequently under a different moniker, Dozier's focus was on his burgeoning solo career, during which he released 12 albums. While he could not replicate H-D-H's success with his own pursuits, the hitmaker earned accolades for his solo efforts and other collaborations, including an Academy Award nomination and a GRAMMY win for his work on Phil Collins' 1988 song "Two Hearts." 

Alongside his creative pursuits, Dozier was heavily involved in music education throughout his career. The veteran songwriter helped develop the Pop Music Program at USC Thornton School of Music and worked closely with emerging young artists as the school's Artist-in-Residence. "I discovered that I draw a lot of energy and inspiration from working with students who love music and are hungry to learn the craft," he wrote in his 2019 memoir, How Sweet It Is

When he wasn't composing, teaching, or spending time with his family, Dozier held multiple leadership positions within the Recording Academy and left an indelible impression on those who crossed paths with him. "Lamont poured his heart and soul into his craft, shaping the sound of Motown and eternally influencing the art of songwriting," wrote Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr.  "We will remember his natural ability to pen legendary music that connected people across the world." 

"Lamont was a national treasure and wrote some of the most iconic songs of any generation. He was kind, humble and a leader in the Recording Academy family," adds Susan Stewart, Managing Director of the Songwriters & Composers Wing. "Most recently, he served as an Honorary Chair for the Songwriters & Composers Wing, a role that honored his love and respect for his fellow writers. He will be so deeply missed by all of us."

Over his six-decade career, Lamont Dozier helped craft a unique blend of R&B, gospel and pop music that not only defined the Motown Sound but took flight for artists beyond Motor City f. Here are some essential tracks produced, co-written and arranged by the prolific hitmaker.

"How Sweet It Is" - Marvin Gaye

Released in 1964, "How Sweet It Is (to be Loved by you)" was an instant hit for Marvin Gaye, who recorded the song in one take. The love song hit No. 6 on the singles charts and became Gaye's most successful song to date.

The single's success was bittersweet for Dozier, who had intended to record the song for his solo career. "Once Marvin had his hit with [‘How Sweet It Is'], I accepted that an artist career just wasn't in the cards for me," Dozier wrote. "I still wanted it, but I was constantly bombarded with demand for more songs, and more productions for [Motown's] growing roster of artists."

After penning countless tracks for other artists, Dozier was eventually able to make his dream come true — he released a dozen solo albums throughout his career.

"Where Did Our Love Go?" - The Supremes

The Supremes' first No. 1 hit charted for 14 weeks, but without Dozier's persistence, the group may have never recorded it. H-D-H had originally penned the track for the Marvelettes, who rejected it, which led Dozier to bring it to Diana Ross and The Supremes, who were also not fans of the sound.

The songwriter was caught between a rock and a hard place: if he couldn't sell the single, the label would make H-D-H absorb the production costs, so giving up was not an option. Luckily for H-D-H,  the Supremes had yet to score a hit single, so they were in no position to pass on the song. Thanks to Dozier's tenacity and Berry Gordy's stamp of approval, the trio gave in and agreed to release the star-making hit that would launch them into the mainstream.

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" - The Supremes

A sound effect from a radio news bulletin inspired the attention-grabbing foundation of this hit song. "I remembered that staccato effect that preceded the news," Dozier wrote. So he employed a guitarist to recreate the news alert on the track. "I thought that would be a cool way for us to sonically say, ‘Hey, pay attention.'" And the world did.

The song topped the charts and inspired new iterations from artists across various genres and generations including Vanilla Fudge, Kim Wilde, Rod Stewart and Reba McEntire.

"I think that's probably one of my favorite songs in our catalog because of the way it has continued to resonate with different people through different versions for different generations over all these years," Dozier wrote.

"Baby I Need Your Loving" - The Four Tops 

What came first: the music or the lyrics? In the case of "Baby, I Need Your Loving," the music came three years before the lyrics.

Dozier and Brian Holland arranged and composed the music for this hit song during a three-hour creative session, but Dozier wouldn't crack the lyrical concept until a year later when the muse deposited a couple of lines into his creative bank: "Baby, I need your love. Got to have all your love." The two iconic lines helped introduce the Four Tops to a wider audience, garnering them their first Top 20 hit. (The song peaked at No. 11.)

"Stop! In the Name of Love" - The Supremes

This classic track was inspired by an argument that Dozier had with a woman he was seeing. "I was trying to defuse the argument, and it came out, ‘Stop in the name of love,'" Dozier told Rolling Stone.

"I was trying to be facetious, but the girl didn't think it was that funny. But then I thought about it, and there was a cash register ringing. The next day I brought it into the guys, and Brian was playing this thing that seemed to fit it, and we had it right off the bat."

"Two Hearts" - Phil Collins

"Phil Collins and I became friends and admirers of one another from the first time we met," Dozier wrote. The songwriting vet partnered with the drummer-turned-solo superstar to produce this track for the 1988 motion picture "Buster," which earned the duo a GRAMMY Award, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award nomination.

This wasn't the first collaboration between Collins and Dozier — the duo had worked on tracks for Eric Clapton's "August" — and it wouldn't be the last. Both Collins and Clapton made guest appearances on Dozier's "Inside Seduction" album. 

Celebrating Olivia Newton-John, "A Beloved Artist And An Inspiration To Many"

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Celebrating Olivia Newton-John, "A Beloved Artist And An Inspiration To Many"
Olivia Newton-John performs at London's Royal Albert Hall in March 2013.

Photo: Neil Lupin/Redferns via Getty Images

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Celebrating Olivia Newton-John, "A Beloved Artist And An Inspiration To Many"

Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away at 73 on Aug. 8. GRAMMY.com commemorates her legacy as an '80s pop icon and an adored movie star.

GRAMMYs/Aug 10, 2022 - 03:19 pm

"Very often the things that you're most afraid of are the things that you really need to just go for," Dame Olivia Newton-John said in a 2021 interview with Today. "It's one of my most successful records, and I never would've dreamt that could've happened."

She was referring to the tremendous success of "Physical," the blockbuster song that made her one of the biggest pop stars of her time and won a GRAMMY for Video of the Year in 1982. 

"Today the lyrics are like a lullaby, don't you reckon? But in those days…," the singer lightheartedly explained of the sexually charged sentiment of the track. "I remember listening to it and going, 'That's a really great song,' and didn't really tune in to what it was about. And then when I recorded it, I started to panic, and I called my manager and said, 'I think I've gone too far with this song. It's just too much.' And he said, 'Well, it's too late love, it's taken off everywhere.'"

Then, a plan was hatched: If a video was released depicting Newton-John exercising, then the lyrics could be interpreted in a more G-rated fashion. The scheme worked, and "Physical" shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed there for 10 weeks, making it the single the biggest hit of the 1980s.

But the success of "Physical" was only one impressive chapter of a generation-spanning career, cut short on Aug. 8 when the superstar died at 73 in California. "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer," a statement from her husband, John Easterling, read.

For Newton-John, the numbers speak for themselves: 5 No. 1 hits, 14 gold albums and sales north of 100 million copies. What's more, Olivia Newton-John won four GRAMMYs  and received 12 GRAMMY nominations overall. (In addition to "Physical," she took home trophies for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "I Honestly Love You" in 1975, and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female for "Let Me Be There" in 1974.)

In her wake, Newton-John leaves behind a world of admirers inspired by her fearlessness, talent and longevity. "Since I was 10 years old, I have loved and looked up to Olivia Newton-John. And, I always will," the singer Kylie Minogue wrote on Twitter. Mariah Carey — who was also influenced by Newton-John as a little girl — remembered getting the chance to perform with the star in Australia, calling her "one of the kindest, most generous and lovely people I've ever met."  

"Olivia Newton-John was a beloved artist and an inspiration to many," Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. "Her music both on and off the screen will be forever cherished by our community. She will be missed dearly."

Elton John shared a similar sentiment, calling Newton-John "a beautiful voice and a warm and loving friend," while her Grease co-star John Travolta gushed, "Your impact was incredible." Singer Dionne Warwick said Newton-John simply was "One of the nicest people I had the pleasure of recording and performing with."

In fact, Warwick served as an early inspiration for Newton-John, who cited her along with singers Joan Baez and Nina Simone as a few of the vocal powerhouses she looked up to as a child herself. But while the Britain-born, Australia-raised singer knew she had a passion for performing, she initially did not pursue it professionally. 

"I don't know if wanting to be a performer was a conscious thing," Newton-John explained on 'The Rosie O'Donnell Show' in 1998. "But [as a child] I was always dressing up, and doing shows, and singing and writing songs and poetry all the time… I loved to sing."

A turning point came when she was hanging out in her brother-in-law's coffee shop. "I'd just sit there next to the guy who was singing on stage," she recalled to O'Donnell. "He invited me up one night and I started singing along with him and it kind of went from there." 

She decided to enter a singing contest in her native Australia at just 15 years old, belting out the Broadway classic "Everything's Coming Up Roses" — a performance that helped her not only win the competition, but seal her superstar fate.

Initially, Newton-John cemented an image as a sweet young singer with country twang, making her American TV debut on 'The Dean Martin Show' in 1972. Throughout the '70s, she released hit after hit, many of them heartfelt and melancholy ballads, including 1974's GRAMMY-winning "I Honestly Love You," and 1975's GRAMMY-nominated "Have You Never Been Mellow," all sung with a purity that embodied both her voice and image.

It was an inherent innocence that famed producer Alan Carr noticed. In the late '70s, Carr was sitting on the rights for a long-gestating '50s-set musical, originally intending to cast Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret. At the time, Newton-John had minimal movie-star aspirations, telling the New York Times in 1978, "I wasn't desperately looking for a movie and always felt when things are right they will happen. I'm a fatalist so I just sit back and wait." 

But once Carr met Newton-John at a dinner party thrown by the singer Helen Reddy (of "I Am Woman" fame), he noticed her inherent it-factor, telling the NYT that he was "knocked out" by his then-28 year-old dinner party companion. "I told her immediately she was everything a movie star should be." 

The movie Carr cast Newton-John in was, of course, Grease. In 1978, it became the highest-grossing musical-film ever at the time, and the second-best selling album of the year. The soundtrack was nominated for a GRAMMY for Album of the Year in 1979, with Newton-John's ballad "Hopelessly Devoted to You" also scoring a GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female (it also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song).

But no matter how massive her movie stardom — whether in Grease or the 1980 cult-fantasy film Xanadu — Newton-John never let her Hollywood success overtake her recording career. Though her onscreen roles did help usher in a new image: In a few short years, she went from playing the innocent '50s schoolgirl Sandy to a sultry pop star in the form of "Physical," a groundbreaking song in both the nature of its salacious lyrics and trailblazing music video (which would become a hallmark of her fame in the 1980s). 

Along the way, Newton-John also transformed into the confident performer she dreamed of being when she was a child. "In the old days, I was just too nervous to have a good time. It may not have shown, but leading up to when I went out on stage, it was always very nerve-wracking," she told Entertainment Weekly in 2008. "Now I really enjoy it. I guess [that's the result of] experience and aging. Nothing much more can happen, so this one's gonna have fun! Let go, right? Let go and enjoy yourself."

Newton-John released 26 albums throughout her five-decade run, releasing her final solo LP in 2008 and three collaborative projects in the 2010s: Christmas albums with Travolta and Australian star John Farnham in 2012 and 2016, respectively, and an uplifting project with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky in 2016. 

In later years, Newton-John would become a passionate advocate for cancer awareness and research, as she battled the disease on numerous occasions since 1992. She also launched her own successful charity, the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund.

Above all of her career achievements, it was her artistry as a singer that she held in the highest regard. "I [consider myself] a singer who acts," she said in 2015. "I just enjoy it. Singing is a part of me. Music is a part of who I am. I can't do this forever, so I am enjoying every minute that I can still do it."

Joni Mitchell's Performance At Newport Folk 2022 Was Monumental. But Let's Not Forget Paul Simon Singing "The Sound of Silence."

Relive The Music, Fashion & Excitement Of Outside Lands 2022 In This Photo Gallery
The Linda Lindas perform at Outside Lands on Saturday.

Photo: Alive Coverage

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Relive The Music, Fashion & Excitement Of Outside Lands 2022 In This Photo Gallery

Experience a taste of Outside Lands 2022 with this photo gallery and get lost in the musical woods of Golden Gate Park.

GRAMMYs/Aug 9, 2022 - 07:46 pm

Over 200,000 people attended the annual Outside Lands music and arts festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Aug. 5-7. Over three days and on six stages, attendees — many of whom donned ‘90s and early aughts-inspired attire or their colorful festival best — were treated to a wide variety of dance music, rap, rock and indie acts.

The festival featured headliners 
SZAGreen Day, Post Malone and Kali Uchis, in addition to dozens of DJs, artists and bands. In addition to music, Outside Lands offered extensive food and drink options (a nod to San Francisco’s wide-ranging culinary scene), as well as a cannabis marketplace and consumption area. 

In the below photo gallery, revisit Outside Lands 2022 if you were there — and if you weren't, enjoy the sights of San Francisco and keep your ear to the ground for next year’s lineup.

10 Moments From Outside Lands 2022: Kim Petras Covers Kate Bush, Larry June Gets Healthy & An Illegal Afterparty

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ReImagined At Home: Netta Gives MC Hammer's '90s Classic "U Can't Touch This" A Modern-Day Makeover
Netta

Photo: Courtesy of Netta

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ReImagined At Home: Netta Gives MC Hammer's '90s Classic "U Can't Touch This" A Modern-Day Makeover

MC Hammer's GRAMMY-winning hit "U Can't Touch This" gets a playful update in this imaginative homage from pop singer/songwriter Netta.

GRAMMYs/Aug 9, 2022 - 05:03 pm

Born in January 1993, singer/songwriter and looping artist Netta wasn't even alive when MC Hammer released his classic "U Can't Touch This" in 1990.

But in this episode of ReImagined at Home, Netta puts her signature stamp on a cover performance of "U Can't Touch This," paying homage to the original with an equally joyful — and colorfully revamped — rendition that's brimming with her own infectious personality. 

Atop a bed made of netting, Netta sits suspended some 10 or 15 feet in the air, her microphone suspended from the ceiling and BOSS tabletop looper at her feet. With a big smile on her face, she adds layer after layer of melody and harmony to create a lush, danceable and modern track that's still recognizable as "U Can't Touch This."

Toward the tail end of her performance, Netta also tips her hat to another aspect of the song's history, singing "She's a very kinky girl" over the beat. That's a line from Rick James' "Super Freak," which is prominently sampled in MC Hammer's original recording of "U Can't Touch This." (When "U Can't Touch This" won the GRAMMY for Best Rhythm & Blues Song in 1991, both MC Hammer and James took home trophies. The song also won Best Solo Rap Performance.)

As a star who first rose to fame when she won the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 — repping her home country of Israel — Netta is no stranger to cover performances. During her stint on HaKokhav HaBa, Israel's televised national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, she won fans over with cover performances of artists like Kesha, the Spice Girls and David Guetta.

Since winning the big contest with her own original song, "Toy," Netta has been steadily mounting her personality-packed, harmony-laden, signature brand of electropop. She'll continue to build that vision with her next song, "Playground Politica," set for release on August 31. 

In the meantime, press play on the video above to watch Netta's spin on "U Can't Touch This," and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of ReImagined at Home. 

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Meet DOMi & JD Beck, The First Signees To Anderson .Paak's New Label, APESHIT
DOMi & JD Beck

Photo: Tehillah De Castro

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Meet DOMi & JD Beck, The First Signees To Anderson .Paak's New Label, APESHIT

The first musicians to sign to Anderson .Paak’s new label are taking both the jazz and hip-hop worlds by storm with their stylistic diversity. At 22 and 19, they're also among a new generation of jazz lovers.

GRAMMYs/Aug 9, 2022 - 04:09 pm

The Jazz Age is almost a century gone, yet a new generation of jazz virtuosos are proving that the genre is as relevant as ever.

DOMi & JD BECK's debut album, NOT TiGHT, is a rapid fire coalescence of keys and drums that is both studied and incredibly contemporary. At 22 and 19, respectively, Domitille Degalle (keys) and Beck (drums) are bringing a distinct Gen Z attitude and awareness into the world of jazz and its environs. 

"We just do what we do and we have fun doing it," the band tells GRAMMY.com via email. 

The two have been playing together since 2018. In that time, they've served as a backing band for Thundercat (with an occasional guest appearance from Ariana Grande) and have performed on sessions for celebrated instrument manufacturers like Nord and Zildjian. Now, Domi and Beck are the first signees to Anderson .Paak’s new label, APESHIT, an imprint of the paragon jazz outfit Blue Note.

Such endorsements demonstrate the duo's stylistic diversity — an uncanny ability to hop between J Dilla-esque grooves (Beck spent many years practicing Dilla beats) and bebop-velocity runs at unconventional meters like 7/8, even when vocalists like Mac Demarco and .Paak are singing.

Reaching this adept point took a journey for Domi and Beck, both individually and side-by-side. That journey began for both at a very young age.

Domi was born in Metz, France and by age five was studying music at Conservatoire Régional du Grand Nancy. She then went on to Conservatoire de Paris followed by Berklee College of Music in Boston where she graduated in 2020. Domi first began playing drums at the age 2 before switching to keys at 3 years old.

"I would love to be crazy on drums. But I guess I don’t need to anymore, since I have JD!" she tells GRAMMY.com.

Beck also started lessons around the age of five, enrolling in various music programs throughout his preteen years around his hometown of Dallas. By 10, Beck was playing with Cleon Edwards of Erykah Badu’s band, and Robert "Sput" Searight of Snarky Puppy was his mentor.

Around the same time, Searight discovered Domi via social media videos filmed by her peers at Berklee (some of which now have hundreds of thousands of views). In 2018, Searight invited her and Beck to play a jam session at the NAMM show in Anaheim. 

The musical bond was there from the start, and soon after Domi joined Beck in Dallas to play Badu’s birthday followed by a few days of jamming. Of course, those jams were posted to Instagram, and with their sudden and massive increase in followers (one of which was Anderson .Paak) they became DOMi & JD Beck.

But grabbing and keeping the internet’s attention in the present era requires more than sheer talent. That’s where their short and sometimes vulgar meme-ready sense of humor comes in, and it touches everything from their social media to their website. 

Each song from NOT TiGHT has its own post on Instagram with a visual animation from their whimsically colored photoshoot, and within each caption lives some dank-meme content. In the post for track 14, entitled "SNiFF," they share that the original title was "u can sniff my butt." The post for "TAKE A CHANCE" with .Paak only gets the caption "bunch of s—."

Domi and Beck’s website expands upon this jejune approach with a narrative that is equal parts confusing, intriguing and hilarious. 

Apparently, Domi is a saxophone prodigy and the only living theoretical physicist. Beck is a sheep investigator who has devoted his life to smooth jazz, and together they hosted bodybuilding masterclasses on TikTok back in 2018. 

It’s not difficult to discern the intentional inaccuracies among these statements, but every word is authentic to Domi and Beck’s uproarious give-and-take.  

"Most music isn’t about music anymore. It’s just used as a tool for money and selling bulls—. Hopefully we can help change that," the band says. "It’s also fun reading all the social media debates arguing into which genre or style we should be categorized! It’s very entertaining."

If people are arguing about their music on social media, the internet generation is clearly on board. The album feeds those genre-debates with its wide-ranging aural palette. 

Much of NOT TiGHT is pure instrumentalism, demonstrating the high-speed chemistry that Domi and Beck have shared for years. On "SPACE MOUNTAiN," it feels as if the two are trying to literally trade off sixteenth-note hits of drums and and keys. It's a classic call-and-response format, performed at the fastest and most micro level possible.

With .Paak and Blue Note on their team, Domi and Beck also enjoy collaborators such as jazz legend Herbie Hancock — a standout entry whose 60-year age difference is inconsequential on "MOON." Domi clearly doesn’t mind passing off some piano-time to Hancock, and the three maintain an uptempo barrage of rhythms and beats that will have jazz students and veterans  transcribing for years to come.

The elevated status of their guest artists doesn’t prevent a musical equilibrium from taking form;  the features evoke the feeling of a hang. "Just vibes" as people their age might say on social media.

Rather, Domi and Beck create space for the vocalists, using their experience serving as a rhythm section for Thundercat to implement restraint without sacrificing sophistication. While Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes harbor completely different styles of flow, they align on "PiLOT." The veterans  take direction from Domi and Beck, providing their lyrical input to the duo’s sonic vision.

That dynamic shifts slightly when it’s .Paak’s turn to sing and rap. In those moments it feels more like .Paak is a member of the group as opposed to a featured artist, which makes sense given the hands-on approach he’s taken with Domi, Beck and NOT TiGHT.

 .Paak directed the music video for "TAKE A CHANCE", which the three of them performed live together on "Jimmy Kimmel." .Paak also gave them songwriting credits on the roll-bounce funk tune "Skate" for his GRAMMY-winning project with Bruno Mars, Silk Sonic, the bones of which were an instrumental from Domi and Beck.

"He really believes in us, which is the coolest s— ever," Beck told Okayplayer in August of 2022.

Domi and Beck first met .Paak (whom they refer to as "Andy") in 2019 when they were playing a gig as a part of Thundercat’s band in New Orleans. The three of them remained connected and before long they were working together on NOT TiGHT.

Throughout the process working with .Paak, Domi and Beck never felt discouraged from being authentic in their music and personalities.

"We never dealt with pressure from Andy or the label," they say. "The only pressure we really dealt with was fans always commenting and messaging us, 'Release the album or I will come to your house and murder your family,' but that motivated us to work as much as possible and stay on track."

One hundred years after the Jazz Age the passion for this music remains. Death threats over social media may be Gen Z’s way of expressing it, but  Domi and Beck know the best way to respond is to give even more authentic love to the music:

"We’ll always try to write the best song that we possibly can. If it’s going to be impossible to play live, well,s—; we’ll try."

10 Must-Hear New Albums In August 2022: Demi Lovato, TWICE, Calvin Harris, YoungBoy Never Broke Again & More

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