meta-scriptRecording Academy Unveils The 2023 Class Of #GRAMMYsNextGen Ambassadors & Advisors |
GRAMMYsNextGen Ambassados and Advisors


Recording Academy Unveils The 2023 Class Of #GRAMMYsNextGen Ambassadors & Advisors

Meet the changemakers supporting the Recording Academy’s efforts to inspire the next generation of musicians and music business professionals.

GRAMMYs/Jan 27, 2023 - 06:43 pm

Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy’s #GRAMMYsNextGen program (previously known as #GRAMMYsNextUp) has announced its latest class of ambassadors and advisors. These changemakers support the Recording Academy’s efforts to inspire the next generation of musicians and music business professionals.

From professional executives, to songwriters, producers and engineers, the 2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen class includes 23 ambassadors and 12 advisors working across fields and genres.

The Recording Academy’s #GRAMMYsNextGen program was intentionally designed to engage the under-40 music community and recognize the best and brightest power players behind the scenes of the music that drives culture today.

As part of the program, all ambassadors and advisors will attend a power brunch during GRAMMY Week to celebrate, connect with their peers in the field and learn more about Recording Academy membership directly from Kelley Purcell, Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations. 

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Executive Ambassadors:

Carl LeGrett (Sr. Director, A&R - Create Music Group)

As Sr. Director of A&R, Carl LeGrett oversees Create Music Group’s Publishing Division which is currently responsible for over $1M in royalty payouts for its artists, producers, and songwriters every month. A 2x Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Power player, he is a recognizable and trusted name within the music industry. In 2022, many of Carl's Create Music Publishing clients contributed to GRAMMY-nominated works including DJ Khaled’s GOD DID, Future’s I NEVER LIKED YOU, Jack Harlow’s Come Home The Kids Miss You and Chris Brown’s BREEZY.

Carter Gregory (VP, A&R – Capitol)

Carter Gregory  began his career as an intern at RX Songs and AAM before working with various songwriters and producers at Milk & Honey. Now Vice President of A&R at Capitol Music Group, his roster includes acts such as FLETCHER, Natalie Jane, Amelia Moore, Duncan Laurence, and more. Most recently, he’s played a critical role in Fletcher’s development which has led her to selling 100k tickets in 2022 and the release of her top 15 Billboard debut album, “Girl Of My Dreams.” He is extremely passionate about representing LGBTQ+ artists and continues to look for ways to uplift and be a voice for the community.

Dylan Bourne (CEO/Founder - Bourne Creatives)

Dylan Bourne is the CEO and Founder of Bourne Creatives, a diversified entertainment and music company that specializes in 360° brand development. With a background of working for elite management companies, labels, and publishers, the Dallas native is uniquely positioned to serve the talent he partners with and manages – including JELEEL!. He empowers clients to establish and maintain thriving businesses through the expert integration of innovative creative and digital strategies.

Dylan Shanks (Founder & CEO - Open Door Management)

Dylan Shanks founded Open Door as a junior at NYU when he first started working with Grammy-nominated artist, Omar Apollo. Since then, he’s guided Omar on multiple world tours (selling over 100k tickets in 2022), stops at every major US festival, 2 Latin GRAMMY nominations, and a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Open Door also works with Latin GRAMMY winning / GRAMMY-nominated producer Teo Halm, multi-platinum producer Callan Wong, Oscar Santander, Jackson Shanks, and Hank K.

Erin Larsen (Manager - Opium)

Since 2008, Erin Larsen has dedicated her career to fostering the careers of artists, developing rising acts into global powerhouses. Throughout her career working at WME, MSG, CAA, and Paradigm, she’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Mary J Blige, Lupe Fiasco, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Trippie Redd and Nipsey Hussle. She currently manages Playboi Carti and works across marketing, release, and merch activities for his independent record label Opium (Destroy Lonely, Ken Carson, Homixide Gang, KP Beatz and Art Dealer).

Justin “Meezy” Williams (Owner - Meezy Ent LLC)

Justin “Meezy” Williams’ is founder and owner of Meezy Ent LLC, a promotional company that specializes in marketing, events, music promo, and fundraisers. Meezy originally founded Meezy Ent in his hometown of Stone Mountain, GA as a promotional company for high school and college parties. These parties set the foundation for Slaughter Gang, a joint venture he started with GRAMMY Award-winning artist, 21 Savage, who he also manages.

Krystal Miles (General Manager - APESHIT INC.)

Krystal is general manager of eight-time GRAMMY Award winner Anderson .Paak’s label APESHIT. Miles has been a longtime partner with .Paak, serving on his day-to-day management team. In this role, Miles oversees business development for the label as well as operations of both music and management initiatives.

Lamaar Jaswal (Manager, A&R - SinceThe80s)

Lamaar Jaswal is an A&R professional and artist manager from New York City dedicated to scaling his artists into household names. Some of his clients include SoFaygo (Cactus Jack), Xhulooo (Independent), Bakkwoods (Sony Music Publishing), Wes.t (Sony Music Publishing), & greek (Sparta). Most recently, he’s partnered with SinceThe80’s Barry Hefner to land major deals for SoFaygo – including sync placement in a Lebron James / Beats commercial with "Hell Yeah” and a slew of tour dates with NAV and Trippie Redd.

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Executive Advisors:

Cory Litwin (Founder & CEO - 2wenty 2wenty Music Group)

Cory Litwin is the founder and CEO of 2wenty2wenty Music Group, where he has a roster of over 30 writers, producers, and engineers that touch all genres of music. He gained recognition as a formidable manager after building his client Murda Beatz into a superstar producer.  He’s been featured in notable industry lists like Billboard’s 40 under 40 and Hip-Hop Power Players list, Variety's Top 5 Producer Managers and Hitmaker lists.

Ebonie Ward (CEO - 11th&Co)

Ebonie Ward manages some of today’s leading chart-topping musicians and producers, including rappers Future, Gunna, and Flo Milli, as well as producers Turbo and The Playmaker Production Collective. Her devotion and creative thinking has allowed her to go beyond the invisible ceiling for the success of her clients.

Noah Assad (Co-Founder - Rimas Entertainment)

Noah Assad is CEO & Co-Founder of Rimas Entertainment, the independent record label he founded, and manager of the global recording artists including Bad Bunny and Karol G. Rimas Entertainment boasts a roster that includes leading talents in the Latin Music industry such as Eladio Carrión, Arcángel, Jowell & Randy, and Tommy Torres, among others, as well as emerging artists Mora, Corina Smith, Jotaerre, Lyanno, and Marconi Impara.

Tariq Cherif (Co-Founder/CEO - Rolling Loud)

Tariq Cherif is the co-founder of Rolling Loud, the world’s largest hip-hop festival. In 2021, Cherif and Rolling Loud co-founder Matthew Zingler launched their national touring company, Rolling Loud Presents, with artists like Jack Harlow, Rod Wave, Moneybagg Yo, Trippie Redd, and more. With the 2023 festival season approaching, Cherif is focused on making Rolling Loud a household name, expanding and optimizing their content creation efforts, and continuing to grow Rolling Loud as an international brand with shows spanning the globe.

Tyler Arnold (President - Mercury Records)

Since joining Republic Records in 2014, Tyler Arnold has signed/worked closely with Post Malone, super producer Metro Boomin, Bo Burnham, James Blake, Clairo, Chelsea Cutler and rising talent Jeremy Zucker. The projects he's worked on have sold over 100 million singles and over 100 billion streams. They have also received 9 GRAMMY and 6 Emmy nominations as well as an Academy Award nomination.

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Producer Ambassadors:

ATL Jacob (Producer - Future, Drake, Lil Baby, Kodak Black, Lil Durk)

Best known by his stage name ATL Jacob, 23-year-old Jacob Canady is a rapper and entrepreneur from Atlanta, GA. He began producing music in the 9th grade, and at the age of 17, he had the opportunity to meet hip-hop sensation Future. That meeting quickly earned ATL Jacob a seat as the in-house producer for Future’s record label, Freebandz. He has since produced records for a long list of hip-hop luminaries including Drake, Moneybagg Yo, Kodak Black, Lil Durk, Lil Baby, and many more.

NOVA WAV (Producer - Beyoncé, Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Ariana Grande)

Nova Wav is a GRAMMY–winning producing and songwriting duo composed of Denisia “Blu June” Andrews and Brittany “Chi” Coney. Over the course of their career, Nova Wav have written and produced tracks and albums for artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Ariana Grande, Jay-Z, Saweetie, Nicki Minaj, Teyana Taylor, H.E.R, Kehlani and more. Most recently, the duo co-wrote and co-produced on Beyoncé's “Renaissance” and Jazmine Sullivan's "Pick Up Your Feelings," for which she won a “Best R&B Performance” GRAMMY.

Ojivolta (Producer - Ye, Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes)

Ojivolta is a songwriting and producing duo comprised of Mark Williams and Raul Cubina. They are best known for producing 19 tracks on Ye’s DONDA, “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X, Halsey's "Graveyard", Justin Bieber's "Anyone", Shawn Mendes's "If I Can't Have You", and executive producing Jon Bellion's "The Human Condition" and “Glory Sound Prep.” They have also worked with The Kid Laroi, Jay-Z, Playboi Carti, Baby Keem, Pusha T, Fivio Foreign, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Half Alive, Charlotte Lawrence, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez.

Tay Keith (Producer - Drake, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti, Moneybagg Yo)

Brytavious Keith Chambers, better known by his stage name Tay Keith, is a GRAMMY-nominated record producer from Memphis, Tennessee. He became a hometown hero for producing tracks by popular Memphis rappers like Yo Gotti, Blac Youngsta, Moneybagg Yo, and more. Keith’s biggest hit to date, Travis Scott and Drake’s “SICKO MODE,” peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The multi-platinum release was also nominated for Best Rap Song at the 61st GRAMMY Awards in 2019.

Tejiri Akpoghene (Producer - TEMS, Future, Drake, Oxlade, Walshy Fire)

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Tejiri Akpoghene is a multi-platinum artist, songwriter and producer. Since discovering his talent in music production at the age of 14, he has dedicated himself to developing his craft. He has produced numerous songs for TEMS including the smash hit “Higher.” He most recently co-produced and co-wrote Future, Drake & TEMS’ single “WAIT FOR U,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Producer Advisors:

Carter Lang (Producer)

A multi-instrumentalist producer, Carter Lang co-wrote and produced Post Malone & Swae Lee’s single “Sunflower” which is the most certified RIAA single of all time, at 17x platinum. A core collaborator of SZA, Carter co-wrote and produced 13 tracks of her new album SOS, is credited on 10 songs of SZA’s debut album, CTRL, and "Kiss Me More", which earned a GRAMMY for “Song Of The Year” in 2022. He also executive produced Omar Apollo’s latest album Ivory and has worked with artists such as Rosalía, Chance The Rapper, Camilla Cabello, Lil Nas X, Jhene Aiko, A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, Dominic Fike, Baby Keem, PinkPantheress, Gracie Abrams, and Kali Uchis.

Murda Beatz (Producer - Drake, Polo G, Migos, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott)

Murda Beats is a GRAMMY-winning producer that has worked with some of the most prolific artists of the 2010s and today, including Drake, Travis Scott, Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Migos, and more. Alongside his work with chart-topping artists, Murda has released two solo projects - 2016’s Keep God First, and 2018’s Bless Yo Trap with rapper Smokepurpp, along with most recent single “One Shot” feat. Blxst & Wale.  He also been named one of the Top 5 Writers on the Billboard Songwriters Chart, had the highest selling drum kit on Splice with the “Bandemic” Splice pack, launched a plug-in called “Murda Melodies” on, released two collectible toys with KidRobot, created a meditation playlist on the Headspace app, sold out a “Baby Murda” NFT drop in under 24 hours, and became co-founder of beverage company Psychedelic Water.

Rodney Jerkins (Producer - Destiny's Child, Toni Braxton, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston)

Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins is an internationally recognized producer responsible for over 300 million+ record sales to date. Over the past 30 years, Rodney has produced chart-topping R&B and pop standards by artists such as Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Brandy, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Gwen Stefani, Black Eyed Peas, TLC, The Spice Girls, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, SZA, H.E.R., and countless others.

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Songwriter Ambassadors:

A1 LaFlare (Songwriter - Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Lizzo, Saweetie)

A1 LaFlare is a Grammy-nominated artist, songwriter, & producer from Atlanta. Her talents have caught the eyes of some of the leading industry players, and since then she has been collaborating with the biggest acts in the music industry.

Dougie F (Songwriter - Travis Scott, Drake, Future, SZA, Jack Harlow)

Dougie F is a songwriter, artist and producer who co-wrote two Billboard Hot 100 No.1 songs in 2022. In 2021, he signed a publishing deal with Warner and Cactus Jack. Since then, he’s been credited alongside Travis Scott, Drake, Future, SZA, Jack Harlow, Giveon and Don Toliver.

Fridayy (Songwriter - DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, Lil Durk, Bryson Tiller)

Fridayy is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Philadelphia, PA . His breakthrough arrived in 2022 as a feature on DJ Khaled’s “GOD DID,” featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend, and Jay-Z. He has also written and produced for Chris Brown’s tenth studio album, Breezy (“Wheels Fall Off” featuring Lil Durk and Capella Gray and “Need You Right Here” featuring Bryson Tiller). As Fridayy evolves as a singer, songwriter, and producer, he continues working with today’s music icons and upcoming stars, including Meek Mill, Lil Baby, and Don Toliver.

Nija (Songwriter - Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga)

Nija Charles is a GRAMMY-nominated songwriter, artist, and record producer. She has earned two no. 1's on Billboard Hot 100 and was featured on Forbes "30 under 30" list.  Her work with artists such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Lady Gaga, Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Chris Brown and Drake has secured her position as a creative powerhouse and tastemaker within the culture.

Tommy Parker (Songwriter)

Tommy Parker is a GRAMMY-nominated, multi-platinum producer and songwriter who has worked with J. Cole, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Janet Jackson, Young Thug, and more. His vocals on J. Cole’s “i n t e r l u d e” helped propel the single to a No. 8 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and he most recently worked on Alicia Keys and the Backstreet Boys’ respective Christmas albums in 2022.

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Songwriter Advisors:

Jozzy (Songwriter - Madonna, Beyoncé, SZA, Mary J. Blige, Latto)

Jozzy is a multi-platinum singer and songwriter, known for penning notable hits for artists like Madonna, Beyoncé, SZA, Summer Walker, Mary J. Blige, Latto and more. The Memphis, TN native first gained notoriety in 2018 for writing the GRAMMY Award- winning single “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Rae Cyrus. In 2022, JOZZY was announced as the first signee to Love Records, an all-R&B label launched by legendary producer and music mogul Sean Combs. She is nominated at the 65th GRAMMY Awards for her work on Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” and Mary J. Blige’s “Good Morning Gorgeous.”

Tommy Brown (Songwriter - Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Travis Scott)

Tommy Brown is a GRAMMY-winning producer who has produced and written tracks for artists including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Jennifer Lopez, The Black Eyed Peas, Selena Gomez, Black Pink, Demi Lovato, Juice Wrld, Chris Brown, Travis Scott, and more. In 2018, Brown teamed up with industry titan Lucian Grainge to create the Champagne Therapy Music Group label under Universal Music Group. Brown also created a team of his own and launched his independent publishing company Champagne Therapy Music Publishing and since then has signed over 20 creatives ranging from singers, songwriters, and producers. Since its launch, CTMP has had multiple Billboard Hot 100 records charted at No. 1, and has scored chart topping songs with Bad Bunny, Ariana Grande, Drake, the Weeknd, BTS, John Legend, and more.

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Engineer Ambassadors:

Angie Randisi (Engineer - Lil Baby, Diddy, Young Thug, Tyga, 42 Dugg)

Angie Randisi is a multi-platinum & GRAMMY-nominated recording/mixing engineer. Angie got her start working at SOTA studios working under Noah “40” Shebib, where she worked across numerous projects within the OVO sound camp. Since then, she has gone on to record and work with artists such as Lil Baby, PartyNextDoor, Diddy, Tyga, Young Thug, 42 Dugg, and more. Angie is currently working on empowering more female engineers, producers and artists in the music industry.

Bainz (Engineer - Young Thug, Gunna)

Hailing from New Delhi, India, Bainz has become the go to mixer and engineer for Young Thug and his label Young Stoner Life Records. He has engineered and mixed some of the most defining global hip hop hits and worked with some of the most celebrated artists of this generation, including Future, Nipsey Hussle, Estelle, Trippie Redd, Mac Miller, Sia, Juice WRLD, Jay Sean, Prateek Kuhad, Rich The Kid, Eric Nam, Shy Glizzy, Offset, Quavo, Machine Gun Kelly, James Fauntelroy, and more.

Jason “Cheese” Goldberg (Engineer - NBA Youngboy)

Jason “Cheese” Goldberg is the primary engineer to NBA Youngboy. His number one objective has always been to understand the wants and needs of the artist sonically and find a way to bring that vision to life.

Rob Bisel (Engineer - SZA, Kendrick Lamar, Doja Cat, Harry Styles)

Rob Bisel is a GRAMMY-nominated producer, mixer, and engineer based in Los Angeles. He got his start engineering for Rick Rubin at Shangri La Studios, where he worked with a wide range of artists including Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Santana, and more. After his time at Shangri La, Bisel went on to work with SZA and helped craft her album SOS for the last 3 years. Bisel has also received GRAMMY nominations for his engineering / mixing work on Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers and Doja Cat’s Planet Her.

Teezio (Engineer - Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow)

Patrizio “Teezio” Pigliapoco is a 44x platinum, four-time GRAMMY-nominated mix engineer based in Los Angeles, CA. For over a decade, he’s worked with notable artists like Juicy J, Chris Brown, Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow, Gunna, Coi Leroy, and more. Through collaborations with brands like Autotune, PMC, Engineears, and countless others, he’s continued to prioritize educating the next generation of engineers year after year.

2023 #GRAMMYsNextGen Engineer Advisors:

Fabian Marasciullo (Engineer - Lil Wayne)

Fabian Marasciullo has been working in music since the age of 13. In his 25-year career, Fabian has engineered over 400 platinum & gold-certified records, including 3 songs that have amassed diamond status. His work on Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter 3 earned him the 2009 GRAMMY for Best Rap Album.

Josh Gudwin (Engineer - Justin Bieber)

Four-time GRAMMY winner Josh Gudwin has served as Justin Bieber’s go-to producer and engineer for over a decade. Working as Bieber’s vocal producer and engineer since 2010, Gudwin has logged more than two dozen Top 20 hits with Bieber including the No. 1 songs “Despacito (Justin Bieber Remix),” “Love Yourself,” “What Do U Mean,” “Sorry” and “Stuck with You.” He's also worked on recent hits like Kid Laroi’s “Stay” and Dua Lipa’s “Levitating.” Over the course of his time with Bieber, Gudwin organically moved into his position as one of the album producers, composer, A&R and primary mixer for Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe). 

Omar Apollo Embraces Heartbreak On 'God Said No'
Omar Apollo

Photo: Aitor Laspiur


Omar Apollo Embraces Heartbreak And Enters His "Zaddy" Era On 'God Said No'

Alongside producer Teo Halm, Omar Apollo discusses creating 'God Said No' in London, the role of poetry in the writing process, and eventually finding comfort in the record's "proof of pain."

GRAMMYs/Jun 27, 2024 - 01:21 pm

"Honestly, I feel like a zaddy," Omar Apollo says with a roguish grin, "because I'm 6'5" so, like, you can run up in my arms and stay there, you know what I mean?"

As a bonafide R&B sensation and one of the internet’s favorite boyfriends, Apollo is likely used to the labels, attention and online swooning that come with modern fame. But in this instance, there’s a valid reason for asking about his particular brand of "zaddyhood": he’s been turned into a Bratz doll.

In the middle of June, the popular toy company blasted  a video to its nearly 5 million social media followers showing off the singer as a real-life Bratz Boy — the plastic version draped in a long fur coat (shirtless, naturally), with a blinged-out cross necklace and matching silver earrings as he belts out his 2023 single "3 Boys" from a smoke-covered stage.

The video, which was captioned "Zaddy coded," promptly went viral, helped along by an amused Apollo reposting the clip to his own Instagram Story. "It was so funny," he adds. "And it's so accurate; that's literally how my shows go. It made me look so glamorous, I loved it."

The unexpected viral moment came with rather auspicious timing, considering Apollo is prepping for the release of his hotly anticipated sophomore album. God Said No arrives June 28 via Warner Records.

In fact, the star is so busy with the roll-out that, on the afternoon of our interview, he’s FaceTiming from the back of a car. The day prior, he’d filmed the music video for "Done With You," the album’s next single. Now he’s headed to the airport to jet off to Paris, where he’ll be photographed front row at the LOEWE SS25 men’s runway show in between Sabrina Carpenter and Mustafa — the latter of whom is one of the few collaborators featured on God Said No

Apollo’s trusted co-writer and producer, Teo Halm, is also joining the conversation from his home studio in L.A. In between amassing credits for Beyoncé (The Lion King: The Gift), Rosalía and J Balvin (the Latin GRAMMY-winning "Con Altura"), SZA ("Notice Me" and "Open Arms" featuring Travis Scott) and others, the 25-year-old virtuoso behind the boards had teamed up with Apollo on multiple occasions. Notably, the two collabed on "Evergreen (You Didn’t Deserve Me At All)," which helped Apollo score his nomination for Best New Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs

In the wake of that triumph, Apollo doubled down on their creative chemistry by asking Halm to executive produce God Said No. (The producer is also quick to second his pal’s magnetic mystique: "Don't get it twisted, he's zaddy, for sure.") 

Apollo bares his soul like never before across the album’s 14 tracks,  as he processes the bitter end of a two-year relationship with an unnamed paramour. The resulting portrait of heartbreak is a new level of emotional exposure for a singer already known for his unguarded vulnerability and naked candor. (He commissioned artist Doron Langberg to paint a revealing portrait of him for the cover of his 2023 EP Live For Me, and unapologetically included a painting of his erect penis as the back cover of the vinyl release.) 

On lead single "Spite," he’s pulled between longing and resentment in the wake of the break-up over a bouncing guitar riff. Second single "Dispose of Me" finds Apollo heartsick and feeling abandoned as he laments, "It don’t matter if it’s 25 years, 25 months/ It don’t matter if it’s 25 days, it was real love/ We got too much history/ So don’t just dispose of me." 

Elsewhere, the singer offers the stunning admission that "I would’ve married you" on album cut "Life’s Unfair." Then, on the very next song — the bumping, braggadocious "Against Me" — Apollo grapples with the reality that he’s been permanently altered by the love affair while on the prowl for a rebound. "I cannot act like I’m average/ You know that I am the baddest bitch," he proclaims on the opening verse, only to later admit, "I’ve changed so much, but have you heard?/ I can’t move how I used to."

More Omar Apollo News & Videos

Given the personal subject matter filling God Said No — not to mention the amount of acclaim he earned with Ivory — it would be understandable if Apollo felt a degree of pressure or anxiety when it came to crafting his sophomore studio set. But according to the singer, that was entirely not the case.

"I feel like I wouldn’t be able to make art if I felt pressure," he says. "Why would I be nervous about going back and making more music? If anything, I'm more excited and my mind is opened up in a whole other way and I've learned so much."

In order to throw his entire focus into the album’s creation, Apollo invited Halm to join him in London. The duo set up shop in the famous Abbey Road Studios, where the singer often spent 12- to 13-hour days attempting to exorcize his heartbreak fueled by a steady stream of Aperol spritzes and cigarettes.

The change of scenery infused the music with new sonic possibilities, like the kinetic synths and pulsating bass line that set flight to "Less of You." Apollo and Halm agree that the single was directly inspired by London’s unique energy.

"It's so funny because we were out there in London, but we weren't poppin' out at all," the Halm says. "Our London scene was really just, like, studio, food. Omar was a frickin' beast. He was hitting the gym every day…. But it was more like feeding off the culture on a day-to-day basis. Like, literally just on the walk to the studio or something as simple as getting a little coffee. I don't think that song would've happened in L.A."

Poetry played a surprisingly vital role in the album’s creation as well, with Apollo littering the studio with collections by "all of the greats," including the likes of Ocean Vuong, Victoria Chang, Philip Larkin, Alan Ginsberg, Mary Oliver and more.

"Could you imagine making films, but never watching a film?" the singer posits, turning his appreciation for the written art form into a metaphor about cinema. "Imagine if I never saw [films by] the greats, the beauty of words and language, and how it's manipulated and how it flows. So I was so inspired." 

Perhaps a natural result of consuming so much poetic prose, Apollo was also led to experiment with his own writing style. While on a day trip with his parents to the Palace of Versailles, he wrote a poem that ultimately became the soaring album highlight "Plane Trees," which sends the singer’s voice to new, shiver-inducing heights. 

"I'd been telling Teo that I wanted to challenge myself vocally and do a power ballad," he says. "But it wasn't coming and we had attempted those songs before. And I was exhausted with writing about love; I was so sick of it. I was like, Argh, I don't want to write anymore songs with this person in my mind." 

Instead, the GRAMMY nominee sat on the palace grounds with his parents, listening to his mom tell stories about her childhood spent in Mexico. He challenged himself to write about the majestic plane tree they were sitting under in order to capture the special moment. 

Back at the studio, Apollo’s dad asked Halm to simply "make a beat" and, soon enough, the singer was setting his poem to music. (Later, Mustafa’s hushed coda perfected the song’s denouement as the final piece of the puzzle.) And if Apollo’s dad is at least partially responsible for how "Plane Trees" turned out, his mom can take some credit for a different song on the album — that’s her voice, recorded beneath the same plane tree, on the outro of delicate closer "Glow." 

Both the artist and the producer ward off any lingering expectations that a happy ending will arrive by the time "Glow" fades to black, however. "The music that we make walks a tightrope of balancing beauty and tragedy," Halm says. "It's always got this optimism in it, but it's never just, like, one-stop shop happy. It's always got this inevitable pain that just life has. 

"You know, even if maybe there wasn't peace in the end for Omar, or if that wasn't his full journey with getting through that pain, I think a lot of people are dealing with broken hearts who it really is going to help," the producer continues. "I can only just hope that the music imparts leaving people with hope."

 Apollo agrees that God Said No contains a "hopeful thread," even if his perspective on the project remains achingly visceral. Did making the album help heal his broken heart? "No," he says with a sad smile on his face. "But it is proof of pain. And it’s a beautiful thing that is immortalized now, forever. 

"One day, I can look back at it and be like, Wow, what a beautiful thing I experienced. But yeah, no, it didn't help me," he says with a laugh. 

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Beyonce 2023 GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Beyoncé at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Beyoncé's Heartfelt Speech For Her Record-Breaking Win In 2023

Relive the night Beyoncé received a gramophone for Best Dance/Electronic Album for 'RENAISSANCE' at the 2023 GRAMMYS — the award that made her the most decorated musician in GRAMMY history.

GRAMMYs/Feb 2, 2024 - 05:12 pm

Six years after her last solo studio album, Beyoncé returned to the music industry with a bang thanks to RENAISSANCE. In homage to her late Uncle Johnny, she created a work of art inspired by the sounds of disco and house that wasn't just culturally impactful — it was history-making.

At the 2023 GRAMMYs, RENAISSANCE won Best Dance/Electronic Album. Marking Beyoncé's 32nd golden gramophone, the win gave the superstar the record for most gramophones won by an individual act.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the historic moment Queen Bey took the stage to accept her record-breaking GRAMMY at the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

"Thank you so much. I'm trying not to be too emotional," Beyoncé said at the start of her acceptance speech. "I'm just trying to receive this night."

With a deep breath, she began to list her praises that included God, her family, and the Recording Academy for their continued support throughout her career. 

"I'd like to thank my Uncle Johnny, who is not here, but he's here in spirit," Beyoncé proclaimed. "I'd like to thank the queer community for your love and inventing this genre."

Watch the video above for Beyoncé's full speech for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind. 

Tune into the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4, airing live on the CBS Television Network (8-11:30 p.m. LIVE ET/5-8:30 p.m. LIVE PT) and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on-demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

A Timeline Of Beyoncé's GRAMMY Moments, From Her First Win With Destiny's Child to Making History With 'Renaissance'

Lizzo GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Lizzo at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


GRAMMY Rewind: Lizzo Thanks Prince For His Influence After "About Damn Time" Wins Record Of The Year In 2023

Watch Lizzo describe how Prince’s empowering sound led her to “dedicate my life to positive music” during her Record Of The Year acceptance speech for “About Damn Time” at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2024 - 06:00 pm

Since the start of her career, four-time GRAMMY winner Lizzo has been making music that radiates positive energy. Her Record Of The Year win for "About Damn Time" at the 2023 GRAMMYs proved that being true to yourself and kind to one another always wins.

Travel back to revisit the moment Lizzo won her award in the coveted category in this episode of GRAMMY Rewind. 

"Um, huh?" Lizzo exclaimed at the start of her acceptance speech. "Let me tell you something. Me and Adele are having a good time, just enjoying ourselves and rooting for our friends. So, this is an amazing night. This is so unexpected."

Lizzo kicked off her GRAMMY acceptance speech by acknowledging Prince's influence on her sound. "When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music," she said. "This was at a time when positive music and feel-good music wasn't mainstream at that point and I felt very misunderstood. I felt on the outside looking in. But I stayed true to myself because I wanted to make the world a better place so I had to be that change."

As tracks like "Good as Hell" and "Truth Hurts" scaled the charts, she noticed more body positivity and self-love anthems from other artists. "I'm just so proud to be a part of it," she cheered.

Most importantly, Lizzo credited staying true to herself despite the pushback for her win. "I promise that you will attract people in your life who believe in you and support you," she said in front of a tearful audience that included Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in standing ovation, before giving a shout-out to her team, family, partner and producers on the record, Blake Slatkin and Ricky Reed

Watch the video above for Lizzo's complete acceptance speech for Record Of The Year at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind, and be sure to tune into the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4, airing live on the CBS Television Network (8-11:30 p.m. LIVE ET/5-8:30 p.m. LIVE PT) and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on-demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

10 Must-See Moments From The 2023 GRAMMYs

Harry Styles AOTY GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Harry Styles at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur


GRAMMY Rewind: Harry Styles Celebrates His Fellow Nominees (And His Biggest Fan) After Album Of The Year Win In 2023

Revisit the moment Harry Styles accepted the most coveted award of the evening for 'Harry's House' and offered a heartfelt nod to his competitors — Beyoncé, Adele, Lizzo, Coldplay and more.

GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2024 - 06:00 pm

After a wildly successful debut and sophomore record, you'd think it was impossible for Harry Styles to top himself. Yet, his third album, Harry's House, proved to be his most prolific yet.

The critically acclaimed project first birthed Styles' record-breaking, chart-topping single, "As It Was," then landed three more top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Late Night Talking," "Music for a Sushi Restaurant" and "Matilda." The album and "As It Was" scored Styles six nominations at the 2023 GRAMMYs — and helped the star top off his massive Harry's House era with an Album Of The Year win.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit Styles' big moment from last year's ceremony, which was made even more special by his superfan, Reina Lafantaisie. Host Trevor Noah (who will return as emcee for the 2024 GRAMMYs) handed the mic to Lafantaisie to announce Styles as the winner, and the two shared a celebratory hug before Styles took the mic.

"I've been so, so inspired by every artist in this category," said Styles, who was up against other industry titans like Beyoncé, Adele, Lizzo and Coldplay. "On nights like tonight, it's important for us to remember that there is no such thing as 'best' in music. I don't think any of us sit in the studio, making decisions based on what will get us [an award]."

Watch the video above to see Harry Styles' complete acceptance speech alongside his collaborators Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson. Check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind, and be sure to tune into the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4, airing live on the CBS Television Network (8 -11:30 p.m. LIVE ET/5-8:30 p.m. LIVE PT) and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

Here Are The Album Of The Year Nominees At The 2024 GRAMMYs