meta-scriptRecord Store Recs: Salt Cathedral Talk Favorite Brooklyn Indie Shops & How To Support Artists Of Color | GRAMMY.com
Record Store Recs: Salt Cathedral Talk Favorite Brooklyn Indie Shops & How To Support Artists Of Color

Salt Cathedral

Photo: Courtesy of artist

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Record Store Recs: Salt Cathedral Talk Favorite Brooklyn Indie Shops & How To Support Artists Of Color

"One of the most useful resources to support Black artists directly is Bandcamp," the Colombian electropop duo shared

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2020 - 07:36 pm

With the unprecedented global disruption of 2020, it's important to support the music community however we can. With our series Record Store Recs, GRAMMY.com checks in with vinyl-loving artists to learn more about their favorite record stores and the gems they've found there.

Finding inspiration from tropical, danceable rhythms of their native Colombia, Bogotá-born, Brooklyn-based electropop duo Salt Cathedral create breezy, joyful music that's impossible to not dance to. 

The band, consisting of Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada, first met in the U.S. while attending Berklee College of Music. They first released music as Salt Cathedral in 2013 and were signed to the legendary electronic label Ultra Music in 2018. Their name is a nod to their shared hometown, inspired by the Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá, an underground church built 200 meters underground in a former salt mine in the small town outside of Colombia's capital.

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Preceded by three self-released EPs, their sunny debut album, CARISMA, featuring Ronderos' angelic vocals in both English and Spanish, dropped this May on Ultra Records. Originally slated to play SXSW and other major festivals and shows this year, and without these spaces to share and evolve their new music live, they decided to reimagine the tracks, with the help of some virtual collaborators, on the forthcoming CARISMA remix album. Their latest release, "CAVIAR *isolation mix*," offers a fun taste of the project.

For the latest edition of Record Store Recs, we caught up with the pair to get the scoop on their favorite record stores in New York and some of the gems they've found there. They also share useful tips on how to better support artists and business owners of color.

The Last One: Record Store Recs: Polo & Pan Take Us To Paris' Les Balades Sonores

<iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/843250192&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true"></iframe><div style="font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;"><a href="https://soundcloud.com/saltcathedral" title="Salt Cathedral" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;">Salt Cathedral</a> · <a href="https://soundcloud.com/saltcathedral/caviar-remix" title="CAVIAR reimagined *in isolation*" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;">CAVIAR reimagined *in isolation*</a></div>

Please pick three to five record stores you love. (The links below have online shopping options.)

The Mixtape Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Human Head Records in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Face Records in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

What do you love about these shops? What kind of goodies have you've found there?

Most of our favorite record shops are around where we live (in New York). The first one is The Mixtape Shop. It's in Bed-Stuy and you can find eclectic and new records of every style of music. The place is amazing and it's one of the prettiest record shops we've ever encountered. The curation is very selective, so when you pick a record there, it's because the owners believe in it. We love their Brazilian and African selection.  

Our second favorite record shop is Human Head Records. Overall, it's a great place to find good records but, what's remarkable about them is their Latin section. It's pretty big and you can find records from Fania or Discos Fuentes to a really obscure Cuban santero record. In my experience, I don't very often see record shops with a big Latin section so, for a fan of that kind of music it's great.  

Our final recommendation is Face Records. It's a record shop located in Williamsburg and it has a big selection of Japanese music. If you want to go further with and beyond [Haruomi] Hosono, [Ryuichi] Sakamoto or Yellow Magic Orchestra, this is place to go deep into Japanese music. 

Sun Ra vinyl | Photo: Salt Cathedral

More: Record Store Recs: Öona Dahl Tells Us Her Favorite Places To Find Vinyl In L.A. And Berlin

For at least one of your favorite shops, share a recent record or two you bought there and what you love about the record/artist.

I got Sun Ra's Astro Black (1973) and Mariah's Utakata No Hibi (1983) from The Mixtape Shop. Those two records opened my mind about the possibilities and perspectives of music. With those two records, I realized that you can challenge people's views with music. That's pretty powerful. 

What's an upcoming/recent release you have your eyes on picking up and why?

Nothing particularly, but we always check what [London's] Soundway Records is releasing. They have been very instructive to us and we pretty much love everything they had released. 

A growing vinyl collection | Photo: Salt Cathedral

How would you describe your record collection in a few words? When did you first start collecting?

I started collecting just a year ago. I wasn't into collecting at all [before]. I love music and I realized that collecting is one of the many ways to discover new music, from the past or present. I would describe my collection as eclectic; all over the place and driven by curiosity. 

And More: Record Store Recs: Chulita Vinyl Club On The Best Music Stores In L.A., Oakland, Austin & Beyond

What was the first CD and vinyl you remember buying?

My first CD was Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999) and vinyl was Hot Rats by Frank Zappa (1969). 

Learn: How Black Trans Artists Are Fighting To Achieve Racial Justice & Amplify Queer Voices

What can music fans do to better support artists and business owners of color?

One of the most useful resources to support Black artists directly is Bandcamp. There is an incredible site called blackbandcamp.info offering a crowdsourced list of Black artists on the platform, which music fans can search by genre and location. The beauty of Bandcamp really helps you find and buy directly from these artists, making sure that you're not supporting a big corporation or label but the actual musicians. 

This article from Brooklyn Vegan is a great resource to find Black-owned record stores—it doesn't just list the record stores but speaks about their story. And the best way to support Black business owners is to research what is local to you, to your city or your neighborhood. We live in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, for example, and Black-owned restaurants and stores have signs that say so. Pay attention, and make sure that when you have the option, you choose to support a Black-owned business. The times are changing and the Black community needs all our support. Look to support local because small, family-owned and independent businesses need it the most. 

From Aretha Franklin To Public Enemy, Here's How Artists Have Amplified Social Justice Movements Through Music

GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Living Legends: After The Turtles, Flo & Eddie & The Mothers Of Invention, Mark Volman Is 'Happy Forever'
Mark Volman (L: mid-1960s, R: today)

Photos (L-R): David Payne, Blake Wylie

interview

Living Legends: After The Turtles, Flo & Eddie & The Mothers Of Invention, Mark Volman Is 'Happy Forever'

Decades of industry upheaval and a Lewy body dementia diagnosis haven't dampened Mark Volman's spirits: in his new memoir, 'Happy Forever,' the singer looks back on "every little piece of the pie" with pride.

GRAMMYs/Aug 2, 2023 - 02:27 pm

Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music still going strong today. This week, GRAMMY.com spoke with Mark Volman, an original member of the Turtles and one half of Flo & Eddie, who had a memorable stint with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Volman’s reconstituted version of the Turtles is currently on the "Happy Together" tour with other 1960s acts; his new memoir, Happy Forever, is available now.

Most remember the Turtles as straight-laced hitmakers of the mid-'60s, full stop. But breeze through YouTube, and it's abundantly clear: there was manic energy under the hood ready to blow.

Take their TV performance of their signature song "Happy Together" — the one viewed 26 million times. While the band mimes along without incident, Mark Volman prances around, wildly swinging a French horn; it's as if he'd raided the instrument closet, wandered onstage and nobody asked him to leave.

When he locks eyes with lead singer Howard Kaylan — and puts the bell of the horn on Kaylan's head — there seems to be a flash of twisted, kindred recognition between the two men. In another TV performance, Kaylan's dressed like an austere 19th century banker while Volman wears a comically large, polka-dotted bowtie with matching hat.

When surveying the sea of bowl-cutted guitar combos, Frank Zappa — the patron saint of mischief — clearly sensed these guys had a screw loose. Hence, when the Turtles flamed out, Volman and Kaylan's stories were just getting going.

"I think our sense of humor was let loose when we joined Frank's group," Volman tells GRAMMY.com. "The mischief that we caused was terribly exciting."

Volman's out with a new memoir, Happy Forever, where he takes inventory of his deliciously oddball career — first with those high schoolers-turned-hitmakers, then with Kaylan in Zappa's Mothers of Invention, then striking out as the zonked duo Flo and Eddie.

But it's been far from an easy ride. From the 1980s to the 2010s, the Turtles' business and legal drama was a continuous disaster. After a Turtles-backed copyright suit in 2016 netted $99 million from SiriusXM, Volman was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which progressively — and negatively — impacts mood, reasoning, memory, and more.

But speaking with GRAMMY.com, Volman had a great mental day, and spoke lucidly and candidly about his unpredictable ride through the music industry.

As the "Happy Together" tour with the Cowsills, Gary Puckett, the Classics IV, and other '60s survivors rolls on through North America, read on for the full interview with Volman.

Mark Volman - Happy Forever - Book Front Cover

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Tell me how you realized, Wow, I've lived one hell of a life. This would make a ripping yarn.

Well, quite honestly, I started working on this book 12 years ago, and it feels like it took that long to get it done.

I don't have the kind of discipline to sit and write like that. When I felt like writing, I wrote, and when I didn't, I didn't bother. So, it took a long time to get from one point to another.

But that was what the book was kind of about, getting from one point to another. Having everybody remark about me was maybe a bit arrogant, but I thought you'd get the best look at what I've done by all the people kind of reminiscing about times that we spent.

The facts are out there; you've carved the stories in stone. But what was it emotionally like for you in the mid-1960s, when the Turtles were getting going? Was it a competitive feeling? Was there promise in the air? It just seems like a charged time.

It was a little touch of all of them. There was a feeling of ambiguity, if you kind of look at it.

We didn't really consider chasing the dream of being stars, because we had come out of high school [having] done a couple of records before we did "It Ain't Me Babe." We had already built a fan base out of our high school in Westchester, Los Angeles, California.

We just were really content to have the time that we did have, because things were changing so quickly in terms of leaving folk/rock behind, and shifting gears to how successful pop music was going to be. You really just kind of worried about yourself.

I know we hardly had the time to compete with the groups of that time, because there was a lot of content that needed to be created for radio, for television, and all of the other dimensions that it was taking.

Where do you feel the Turtles fit into the L.A. milieu of the time? You and the Byrds had your breakthrough Dylan covers the same year; you guys even spelled your name with a y.

We were on a small label, so we really didn't have firepower of groups like the Byrds who were with Columbia, groups like the Beach Boys who were on Capitol.

We were on White Whale Records at the time of independence — it would be another couple years until the Beatles would start Apple.

But independent records were hard to figure out, because the competition really wasn't between the groups as much as it was the labels. A group who had a hit that was slow-moving probably was not going to be around competing very much, because there wasn't a lot of money being spent on promotion.

People didn't really have that stuff in their heads like we do today — branding and all the ways that people discover music. We had people who were old guys from record company jobs and they weren't moving towards publicity. They were moving towards how they could make more money.

One of the quickest ways was getting rid of the group that was causing petty problems. When we stepped up and said we wanted to produce ourselves, we wanted to write our own music, we wanted to do all of these things that we saw the Beatles do. That was just not happening on White Whale Records.

Mark Volman - The Turtles - Promo Image 1967

*The Turtles in 1967. Image courtesy of the artist.*

Happy Together and its title track marked an evolutionary step nonetheless.

Happy Together probably sold a lot more records than a lot of other artists, and it was on White Whale Records. I give a lot of credit to the time we spent arranging the record, the time spent putting the vocals all together, making an album that was going to have any kind of airplay.

Not just "Happy Together," but "She'd Rather Be With Me" and albums like [1968's The Turtles Present] The Battle of the Bands. We had probably a lot of things that we could have done if we'd have just maybe hung on, but I think being on the independent record [label] really hurt us.

In the long run, you could say we might have had a few more hits, but looking back now, we had a pretty significant career with "It Ain't Me Babe," "Let Me Be," "You Baby," "She's My Girl." You know what I mean? "Eleanor," "You Showed Me." We had a lot of good hits off.

That was kind of the hangover, was that White Whale. We never left that. I mean, we never could get away. So we just kind of played out our run, and then Howard and I joined Frank Zappa, and that was the start of a whole other part of our life.

I have a very strange sense of humor, so I connect with Flo & Eddie in all your wacko-ness. What was going on psychologically between you and Howard? I'm sure you both had a screw loose — a nutty energy raring to get out during the Turtles years.

That's a very apropos way to describe it. I think our sense of humor was let loose when we joined Frank's group.

I mean, we co-wrote movies with Frank like [1971's] 200 Motels, and we did Carnegie Hall with the Mothers and with Frank. Frank opened the door for us to explore and be involved with a lot of really grown up music.

I say "grown up" because it had guitar changes and singing parts that we created for Frank. We couldn't create those for any other place. You look at "Billy the Mountain" as a piece of music: Frank created some brilliant, fun stuff.

It opened the door to comedy music. Groups like Captain Beefheart grew out of that, and groups that came from Alice Cooper. Self-deprecation was very popular and people enjoyed the stuff we were doing, because it wasn't just traditional three-chord pop music. It had a sense of depravity.

There must have been a kinetic energy in the Mothers of Invention. I imagine you could cut the mischief in the air with a knife.

The mischief that we caused was terribly exciting.

I give a lot of Frank credit about me and Howard, because he really turned us loose. He turned us loose to sing what we could bring to the different songs. It's like "A Small Eternity with Yoko Ono," where Howard drops Yoko into a bag and we're singing.

The songs we were singing that night at the Fillmore [as captured on 1971s Fillmore East – June 1971], I think Frank really said it was OK. It was OK to "just do what you guys do." And that's pretty funny. He thought we were the cat's pajamas.

He was upset that the Mothers of Invention never got into the Hall of Fame. They did, but it was as Frank. Frank just felt that the band he had put together with [drummer] Aynsley Dunbar, me and Howard, [woodwindist and keyboardist] Ian Underwood, it was just a massive band.

Jean-Luc Ponty would come in and play with us. For Howard and I, it was just a remarkable opportunity to sing real music. The Turtles offered us a different type of real music, but it was fairly limited because radio was stuck with two minutes and 35 seconds. We were making [songs] that were whole sides of records with Frank.

Our credibility probably shot way up with Frank. Even today, the people I meet — just hearing you makes me laugh because you're exactly the audience that we wanted.

Mark Volman - Flo & Eddie - Promo Image

*Flo & Eddie in the 1970s. Image courtesy of the artist.*

And how did Flo & Eddie spring out of the Mothers?

Frank got pushed into an orchestra pit in London, and that was a week after the fire went off in Montreux.

There was a lot going on at that point in the music industry for Frank. Frank kind of felt very strongly that he needed to change his karma. I know that might be hard to imagine with Frank, but he actually was feeling really not well about the fire in Montreux which burned the theater completely down.

And for him being pushed into the orchestra a bit where he was unable to tour for at least a year — he had a broken back. He had a broken jaw. I mean, he was a mess.

Flo & Eddie was started because we needed to tour; we needed to make money. And there was no guarantee we were going to be back with Frank. I mean, he was out two years or something like that. So, we just treated it as Let's get to work writing, and we created [1972's] The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie.

As a duo, you and Howard had legs throughout the 1970s.

There was something going on in our heads. When you go back and listen to things like "Keep It Warm," that [was the] side of the record business that we kind of moved to, which became a little bit more challenging for the listener.

I mean, it talks about the war. Twenty years ago we were writing "Keep It Warm" and it was a very untraditional love song — a love for each other, a love for music, just all the things that were brought to that record.

[1976's Moving Targets] became a very popular record around the world. Our autobiographical kind of look at problems going on in the world. It was a challenging record for the time.

So many epochs of culture have occurred since then. What do you remember about navigating the dry spells?

Album number three was Illegal, Immoral and Fattening, and that record was different. It was kind of pointing at the music business and saying how ridiculous it kind of was.

We were singing songs about other artists. We sang a song that we wrote for Marc Bolan. It's a song about rock and roll and how there's a lot of people running around flaunting their sexuality. It was interesting because it was kind of leading us off somewhere.

And that was where we went with the autobiographical meanderings of Moving Targets. That's the album where we were transitioning to better music. It was a little bit harder with Bob Ezrin working with us who had produced Alice Cooper. So we went for a harder sell on things.

I think at that point we faced the reality that the public was just not interested, or that it just felt like our record company wasn't interested.

We had a chance to go into radio at that point in time. We signed almost a million-dollar deal for four years with radio, and all we had to do was show up and play old songs.

It wasn't as complete a finish in the heart. It felt like we were missing something that we had really wanted to do, but money always makes you aware of itself every time you get an offer.

Flo & Eddie in 1983

*Flo & Eddie performing in 1983. Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images*

In 1983, you won back the rights to the Turtles name. That must have been a point of redemption.

Yeah. Recently, [there was] that lawsuit that we were involved in with the songwriters, and the publishings, and the songs being a part of what was going on in terms of getting artists paid.

Most of the artists I grew up with didn't understand ownership of master recordings or publishing of master recordings and then performance.

That was always at the root of what we we're trying to wave our hands and say, "Hey, why don't you pay everybody? I mean, they're the ones making the records. Those artists are the people who are writing all the songs. You're already taking money from artists as publishers."

So the beginning of that whole situation that took off was in the 1970s. For our part of the bargain, we wanted to own the recordings because we found a discrepancy of about $600,000 in the White Whale auditing. And we went to an attorney and says, "What do you do here?"

So the lawyer sort of created an industry for us, which was this lawsuit, and it took a long time to clean it up, but we eventually won our name back. They claimed that they owned the name the Turtles. And we knew that that just wasn't true. I mean, we were the Turtles before we were anything else. The Turtles was a part of high school.

Trying to clean that up opened the door to why our songwriting was not being equated financially to us in that 50/50 songwriter publishing. Because the record company claimed they own the publishing on everything, and that was not true.

So what happened from there?

The final thing was performance royalties on records being played on the radio. We were not getting paid for that either because White Whale was such a small company. They couldn't use any of their firepower. They had none. [Our attorney] walked in, filed a $2.5 million lawsuit. That lasted almost seven years.

And then the follow-up to that was the publishing, songwriting ownership. Flo & Eddie for the fact jumped in at the top of all that and said, "Where's our money?" We were part of a group of people, mostly '60s artists probably, who got stuck the way that we did.

There's a whole thing in my book where I talk about what it was like to have a No. 1 record. All the artists from Three Dog Night to the Rascals, talked about how they all got taken advantage, how Morris Levy came along and took music away from Tommy James and the Shondells, all his recordings. He didn't get paid for any of them, and he had to go in.

With our lawsuit victory we were able to begin to commandeer ownership. I think that was probably one of the big things of the '70s and '80s that got us all through was that we were now seeing more and more music coming online, streaming.

We're seeing more money today than ever before. It's a really good thing for the artist who didn't make anything at a certain time.

Mark Volman - Happy Together Tour 2023

*Mark Volman performing on the “Happy Together” tour in 2022. Photo: Bobby Bank via Getty Images*

When you let go of the negativity and look back on your long career, what are you most proud of?

Well, every little piece of the pie, there's just no way you can say without one, we wouldn't have the other.

Without "Happy Together," we wouldn't have had the chance to sing with the Mothers of Invention. I mean, we sang with Bono at Carnegie Hall, with the guys from U2.

Our luck is that we made our connection to producers. Roy Thomas Baker, we sang with Roy on a bunch of records that he was making with so many groups and so many of the artists. Nobody knows we sang "Hungry Heart" with Bruce Springsteen. "Hungry Heart" got him into the top 10. We laughingly said something like, "Without us you wouldn't have anything."

When we did "Bang a Gong (Get it On)," the T. Rex record, I asked Marc Bolan, "Are we going to get paid for it?" And he said no.

Oh, god.

In the end result, the circle was way unbroken. That's why there's a real tenderness for the time spent in the music industry.

At the same time I got involved with Howard, we did radio in New York at WXRK. We were working with Shadoe Stevens and Dr. Demento and all of these great radio personalities that taught us about radio.

[Frank] had a record company called Bizarre/Straight Records. And there we were messing around with Frank in the studio making records, doing a movie, 200 Motels.

It's been a lifelong [journey], but I just say to all the folks, "I hope we didn't let you down." Sometimes Turtles fans, Flo & Eddie fans, there's a little part of me that thought, what if we'd have just stayed inthat pop music thing? Where would we be today?

I probably would be like Michael Jackson. Oh, make sure there's a comma after that: "and he laughed."

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9 Artist-Hosted Podcasts You Should Check Out Now: Sam Smith, David Guetta, Norah Jones & More
Dua Lipa performs in Sydney, Australia in November 2022.

Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images

list

9 Artist-Hosted Podcasts You Should Check Out Now: Sam Smith, David Guetta, Norah Jones & More

From Dua Lipa to Joe Budden, some of music's biggest names have added "podcast host" to their impressive resumes. Grab your headphones and take a listen to nine of the most insightful and creative shows led by artists.

GRAMMYs/May 30, 2023 - 06:13 pm

As podcasts have become increasingly popular among listeners, they've also become a preferred playground for music makers to express themselves — and in turn, show a new side of their artistry.

Whether it's hours-long interviews courtesy of early adopter Questlove, breezy conversations with a musical accompaniment by Norah Jones, or a vital history lesson from Sam Smith, podcasts are allowing artists to further connect with their fans. And though there's already a disparate array of musician-led shows out there, it's seemingly just the beginning of a new podcast wave.

Below, get to know nine of the most interesting artist-hosted podcasts available.

Norah Jones is Playing Along

A relatively new addition to the podcast sphere, Norah Jones is Playing Along is exactly what it sounds like. Hosted by the "Come Away With Me" crooner, the show features Jones jamming on a piano with a cadre of her musician friends and colleagues. The show's guest list is similarly varied, with recent episodes including memorable conversations with indie folk artist Andrew Bird, country singer-songwriter Lukas Nelson and jazz virtuoso and Robert Glasper all of whom took viewers on a musical journey through their catalogs and beyond.

Broken Record with Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell

Known as music's wise sage, legendary music producer Rick Rubin showcases his zen energy and insatiable passion for music on this informative podcast, which he hosts alongside  journalist-author Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam and producer Justin Richmond. Much like Rubin's list of collaborators — which has ranged from everyone including Johnny Cash, Adele and Rage Against the Machine — the show zig-zags between insightful interviews with a range of music's most accomplished names, including Giles Martin, Feist, Usher, The Edge, Aaron Dessner, and Babyface.

Dua Lipa: At Your Service

Aside from her GRAMMY-winning music career, pop icon Dua Lipa has a bubbling entrepreneurial streak in the form of Service 95, a multi-platform lifestyle brand which includes a newsletter and special events. It also produces the popular podcast At Your Service, on which Lipa interviews a diverse range of personalities including musicians (collaborators Charli XCX and Elton John), cultural luminaries (Dita Von Teese) and activists (Brandon Wolf) for laidback conversations about their respective careers.

Questlove Supreme

Amid his roles as a founding member of the Roots, bandleader on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," a prolific filmmaker and a best-selling author, Questlove adds podcast host to his rich cultural tapestry with Questlove Supreme. The show prides itself on loose, intimate and in-depth conversations with a who's who of music's luminaires, whether a multi-hour, emotional chat with Mariah Carey, an insightful conversation with trumpet legend Herb Alpert, or icons ranging from the late Wayne Shorter to Bruce Springsteen and manager Shep Gordon.

Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware

British songstress Jessie Ware teams up with her mother, Lennie, on this effervescent podcast, which showcases the "Free Yourself" singer munching on a delicious home cooked meal while having a conversation that's equally scrumptious. Whether the two are having pink salmon with Pink, eggplant pie with Shania Twain or spinach pie and florentines with Kim Petras, it all makes for an extremely listenable (and hunger-inducing) spin on the medium.

Flea's This Little Light

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David Guetta: The Podcast

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The Joe Budden Podcast

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out GRAMMY.com's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."

Moniquea

Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.

L'Impératrice

L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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