meta-script"Rise Up New York!" COVID-19 Relief Benefit To Feature Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Tina Fey, Bon Jovi & Many More | GRAMMY.com
Mariah Carey in 2019

Mariah Carey

Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

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"Rise Up New York!" COVID-19 Relief Benefit To Feature Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Tina Fey, Bon Jovi & Many More

Tina Fey is hosting the star-studded May 11 TV special raising money for the most in-need New Yorkers during the coronavirus crisis

GRAMMYs/May 5, 2020 - 12:47 am

On Mon. May 11, famous New Yorkers will gather together virtually to share music, jokes and stories to support their most in-need neighbors on behalf of local non-profit Robin Hood's COVID-19 Relief Fund. "Rise Up New York!," an hour-long fundraising special, will be hosted by Tina Fey and feature performances from GRAMMY-winning legends Bon JoviBilly JoelMariah Carey and Sting. Jennifer Lopez, Barbra Streisand, Ben Platt, Bette Midler, Idina Menzel, Trevor Noah and many more are also slated to appear on the show.

More performers will be revealed, but iconic director Spike Lee, actors Chris Rock, Christopher Jackson, Robert De Niro and Jake Gyllenhaal, along with NY Giants Super Bowl champs Eli Manning Michael Strahan, will also make cameos. N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and N.Y.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as some of the city's brave frontline workers, will also speak.

More Benefits: Tommy Shaw of Styx & Ed Roland Of Collective Soul: Legacy Lounge Livestream To Benefit MusiCares

According to their website, Robin Hood is the biggest poverty-fighting organization in N.Y.C., working with over 250 local non-profits that support food, housing, education, legal services, work opportunities and more. Their COVID-19 Relief Fund was created to ensure that the city's most vulnerable can survive the harrowing pandemic, with 100% of donations going directly to the orgs working on the frontlines, as overhead costs are paid by board members.

With "Rise Up New York!," which is co-hosted by iHeartMedia, Robin Hood is aiming to raise $10 million for the fund. They are asking for $10 donation from individuals and hoping to get at least 1 million out of over 8.5 million New Yorkers on board.

And Another One: Fonseca, Juanes, Maluma & More Team Up For Colombia Cuida Colombia Benefit Livestream

"New York City is at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has created a whole new set of challenges for the millions of New Yorkers who already struggled to make ends meet," Robin Hood CEO Wes Moore said in a statement. "This is a moment where we must all come together and rise up together as a community in support of our neighbors and in support of one another."

The show will air on Mon., May 11 at 7 p.m. ET on all local TV stations, iHeartMedia and Entercom broadcast radio stations, News 12, Spectrum News NY1, SiriusXM and nationally on CNBC.

The Loog Fest Livestream Is Here To Get Your Kids Playing Guitar & Staying Creative During Quarantine

GRAMMY U NYC Conference flier

Photo: GRAMMY U

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What To Expect At The 2024 GRAMMY U Conference In NYC

On April 20, music’s next generation will be in New York City for the 2024 GRAMMY U Conference, presented by Amazon Music. Read on for everything you need to know about the day of career-driven discussions with Broadway icons and pop stars.

GRAMMYs/Apr 12, 2024 - 03:56 pm

Shaneel Young contributed to this article

It’s been an unparalleled year of programming for GRAMMY U. 

Lainey Wilson and Greta Van Fleet connected with crowds at the 2023 Fall Summit in Nashville; Halle Bailey and Muni Long shared wisdom with the world during GRAMMY Week in Los Angeles at the GRAMMY U Masterclass. Now, music’s next generation of creative professionals will head to New York City for the 2024 GRAMMY U Conference presented by Amazon Music.  

This year it's all about show biz, and music has a hand in every part of the entertainment industry. Featuring a star-studded lineup of guests, the GRAMMY U Conference will dive deep into how your favorite musical performances on television are created, and offer insight into music careers on Broadway. 

GRAMMY U members will be able to learn all about the live performance industry through educational panels, a speed networking session, and even a performance workshop. You won’t want to miss what the big names have to say: GRAMMY, Tony, and Emmy Award winners Ben Platt will be the conference's keynote speaker, and Billy Porter (also a GRAMMY, Emmy, and Tony Award winner)O will work up close and personal with young talent, and Remi Wolf is going to talk about the music of late night shows. 

The action begins Friday, April 19 at the Chelsea Music Hall. Members from all over the country will gather for the GRAMMY U Showcase, where five GRAMMY U contest winners will perform original music. Catch a set by Jawan and stay for Infinity Song’s closing set.

Below, GRAMMY.com has gathered all of the information you need to get excited for the massive event.

GRAMMY U Welcomes Amazon Music

GRAMMY U has officially welcomed Amazon Music as a cornerstone partner. To kick off what will be an instrumental relationship, Amazon Music is proudly bringing their knowledge to the table as a presenter of the 2024 GRAMMY U Conference. Mastercard will also be returning as a participating sponsor for the event. GRAMMY U will kick off the conference with remarks from Ruby Marchand, Chief Awards and Industry Officer, Recording Academy;, Amazon Music's Global Head of Artist & Label Relations Andre Stapleton, and GRAMMY U Sr. Director Jessie Allen.

Hang With Ben Platt, The Star Of The Show

Starting the Saturday strong, Ben Platt will sit down with Beanie Feldstein to talk all about his storied career as an actor and singer ahead of his 18-date run at the Palace Theater in NYC, kicking off May 28th before his album release.

Growing up on the stage, Platt quickly became a leading force on Broadway, and has since shared his talents with the screen, starring in multiple films and TV series. Platt is also releasing music — his third album, Honeymind, drops May 31, beginning with an 18 date residency at the Palace Theatre in NYC followed by his national tour with special guest Brandy Clark this summer — and will discuss the significance of music within his various projects.

As the GRAMMY U Conference keynote speaker, Platt will share insights from the recording studio.

Share The Stage With Billy Porter

During a workshop, Billy Porter will share his best performance practices and advice for GRAMMY U members trying to make it big. Porter is no stranger to putting on a show, with over 30 years in the industry and numerous awards under his belt — and GRAMMY U is eager to learn and take guidance as they begin their music careers. Roy Gantz, GRAMMY U's National Membership Representative, will then take the stage and receive live performance coaching directly from Porter.

Making Music On Late Night TV With Remi Wolf & More

In a discussion moderated by talent booking pro Siobhan Schanda, members of "Late Night with Seth Meyers" will discuss bringing music to late-night television. The discussion will feature "Late Night" Associate Producer Yeji Cha-Beach and Marnie Stern, former guitarist for "Late Night" house band, the 8G Band and recording artist.

Singer/songwriter Remi Wolf, who performed recently on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," will also join the discussion. In anticipation of supporting Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS World Tour and her upcoming sophomore album Big Ideas, Remi will discuss how a special performance like hers comes to life onscreen.

Learn What Happens Behind The Curtains

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the Broadway stage? This dynamic panel will highlight the brilliant minds that work to make the big show happen. Moderated by Michael Kushner, Founder and Creator of Michael Kushner Photography, hear from Broadway producers, directors, record label executives and more on how they put together a Broadway production behind the scenes. 

Panelists include renowned Broadway producer Christen James, Adam Hess of DR Theatrical Management, Pete Ganbarg, the President of A&R at Atlantic Records, and Erich Bergen, producer, actor and director at 6W Entertainment. From set design to marketing, this panel will reveal that whether on stage or behind the scenes, there's a place for every passion in the world of theater. 

Hear How Professionals Produce The Sounds Of Drama

In this panel, Broadway professionals will dive into the inner workings of theatrical sound in live theater, and how their expertise in Broadway audio production translates into other facets of the music industry. 

Experts Tom Winkler, Kurt Deustch, David Lai, and Kathy Sommer will detail the dynamic challenges that producers and composers must navigate to make productions possible. 

Learn How To Build Your Brand In The Career Center

At the start of the conference, attendees can learn from the experts and level up their profiles at the GRAMMY U Career Center. Learn how to present your best professional self, take a professional headshot, get a review of your resume from real recruiters in the industry, and network with professionals from Amazon Music, the Recording Academy and more. Networking mentors include AC Gottlieb, Asmita Khullar, Billy Seidman, Haley Bennett, Jameka Pankey, Jessica Fusco, John Ochoa, Leah Dowdy, Madeline Nelson, Nick Cucci, Nikisha Bailey, and Sarah Crane. So get there early and make the most out of your professional development at the GRAMMY U Conference!

Don’t forget to stop by the GRAMMY U Mixtape Listening station, too, and see the process behind how we select music for the GRAMMY U Mixtape every month.

Reserve Your Seat

Mark your calendars now, the 2024 GRAMMY U Conference will take place in New York City on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20, and with more announcements to come, this is an event you surely won’t want to miss. Reserve your spot now with a RSVP.

For members who aren’t able to attend, the GRAMMY U Conference will be livestreamed on the Recording Academy’s YouTube and Twitch channels at 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

GRAMMY U Reps Experience GRAMMY Week Like Never Before Thanks To The Recording Academy & United Airlines

Billy Joel Freddy Wexler
Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

(L-R) Billy Joel, Freddy Wexler

interview

Freddy Wexler On Helping Billy Joel "Turn The Lights Back On" — At The 2024 GRAMMYs And Beyond

"Part of what was so beautiful for me to see on GRAMMY night was the respect and adoration that people of all ages and from all genres have for Billy Joel," Wexler says of Joel's 2024 GRAMMYs performance of their co-written "Turn The Lights Back On."

GRAMMYs/Feb 26, 2024 - 09:11 pm

They say to not meet your heroes. But when Freddy Wexler — a lifelong Billy Joel fan — did just that, it was as if Joel walked straight out of his record collection.

"I think the truth is none of it is that surprising," the 37-year-old songwriter and producer tells GRAMMY.com. "That's the best part. From his music, I would've thought this is a humble, brilliant everyman who probably walks around with a very grounded perspective, and that's exactly who he is."

That groundedness made possible "Turn the Lights Back On" — the hit comeback single they co-wrote, and Wexler co-produced; Joel performed a resplendent version at the 2024 GRAMMYs with Laufey. Joel hadn't released a pop album since 1993's River of Dreams; for him to return to the throne would take an awfully demonstrative song, true to his life.

"I think it's a very raw, honest, real perspective that is true to Billy," Wexler explains. "I think it's the first time we've heard him acknowledge mistakes and regret in quite this way."

Specifically, Joel's return highlights his regret over spending three decades mostly on the bench, largely absent from the pop scene. As Joel wonders aloud in the stirring, arpeggiated chorus, "Is there still time for forgiveness?"

"Forgiveness" is a curious word. Why would the five-time GRAMMY winner and 23-time nominee possibly need to seek forgiveness? Regardless — as the song goes — he's "tryin' to find the magic/ That we lost somehow." The song's message — an attempt to recapture a lost essence — transcends Joel's personal headspace, connecting with a universal longing and nostalgia.

Read on for an interview with Wexler about the impact of "Turn the Lights Back On," why he thinks Joel took such an extended sabbatical, the prospect of more new music, and much more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

**You did a great interview with Rolling Stone ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs. Now, we're on the other side of it; you got to see how it went down on the telecast, and resonated with the audience and world. What was that like?**

It's why I make music — to hopefully make people feel something. This song has really resonated in such a big way. More than looking at its commercial success on the charts or on radio, which has been awesome to see, the comments on Instagram and YouTube have been the most rewarding part of it.

Why do you think it resonated? Beyond the king picking up his crown again?

I don't think the song is trying to be anything it's not. I think it's a very raw, honest, real perspective that is true to Billy. I think it's the first time we've heard him acknowledge mistakes and regret in quite this way. And to hear him do it in a hopeful way where he's asking, "Is it too late for forgiveness?" is just very moving, I think.

Forgiveness? That's interesting. What would any of us need to forgive him?

He has said in other interviews, "Sometimes people say they have no regrets at the end of their life." And he said, "I don't think that's possible. If you've lived a full life, of course you have regrets." He has said that he has many things he wishes he would've done differently. This is an opportunity to express that.

I think what's interesting about the song is it has found meaning in various ways with various people and listeners. Some people imagine Billy is singing to former lovers or friends. Other people imagine Billy is singing to his fans asking, "Did I wait too long to record again?" Other people wonder if Billy is singing to the songwriting Gods and muses. Did I wait too long to write again?

In Israel, where the song was number one — or is number one, I haven't checked today — I think the song's taken on the meaning of just wanting things to be normal, wanting hostages to come home and turn the lights back on. So, you never know where a song is going to resonate, but I think that Billy just found his own meaning with it.

You know the discography front to back. What lines can you draw from "Turn the Lights Back On" to past works?

I think it draws on various pieces of his catalog, right? "She's Always a Woman" has a sort of piano arpeggio in the chorus. To me, it feels like a natural progression. It feels like, on the one hand, it's a new song. On the other, it could have come out right after River of Dreams. To me, it just kind of feels natural.

**Back when you spoke with Rolling Stone, you said you couldn't wait to hear "Turn the Lights Back On" at Madison Square Garden. How'd it sound?**

Amazing. Billy is a consummate live performer. I think he's one of the few artists where everything is better live, and everything is always a little bit different each time it's played live.

It's been really cool to watch Billy and the band continue to change and improve the song and the song's dynamics for the show. He told me tonight that tomorrow night in Tampa, I think they're going to try to play with the key of the song, potentially — try it a half a step higher.

Those are the sort of things I think great artists do, right? It's different from being on a certain type of tour where every single song is the same, the set list is the same, the key is the same, the arrangements are the same.

With Billy, there's a lot of feeling and, "Hey, why don't we try it this way? Let's play it a little faster. Let's play it a little slower. Let's try it in a different key." I just think that's super cool. You have to be a really good musician to just do that on the fly.

What have you learned from him that applies to your music making, writ large?

I've learned so much from him. As Olivia Rodrigo said to us at GRAMMY rehearsals, "He's the blueprint when it comes to songwriting."

He has helped raise the bar for me when it comes to melodies and lyrics, but the thing I keep coming back to is he's reminded me that even the greatest artists and songwriters ever sometimes forget how great they are. I think we need to be careful not to give that inner voice and inner critic too much power.

Can you talk about how the music video came to be?

Well, I had a dream that Billy was singing the opening two lines of the song, but it was a 25-year-old version of Billy. It was arresting.

When I woke up, I sort of had the vision for the video, which was one set, an empty venue of some kind, and four Billy Joels. The Billy Joel that really exists today, but then three Billys from three iconic eras where each Billy would seamlessly pick up the song where the other left off.

The idea behind that was to sort of accentuate the question of the song — did I wait too long to turn the lights back on?

And so, to kind of take us through time and through all these years, I teamed up with an amazing co-director, Warren Fu, who's done everything from Dua Lipa to Daft Punk, and an artificial intelligence company called Deep Voodoo to make that vision possible.

What I'm driven by is the opportunity to create conversations, cultural moments, things that make people feel something. What was cool here is as scary as AI is — and I think it is scary in many ways — we were able to give an example of how you can use it in a positive way to execute a creative artistic vision that previously would've been impossible to execute.

Yeah, so I'm pleased with it and I'm thankful that Billy did a video. He didn't have to do one, but he liked the idea of it. He felt it was different, and I think he was moved by it as well.

What do you think is the next step here?

It's been a really rewarding process. And Billy is open-minded, which is really cool for an artist of that level, who's not a new artist by any stretch. To actually be described as being in a place in his life where he's open-minded, means anything is possible. I could tell you that I would love there to be more music.

I'd love to get your honest appraisal. And I know you're not him. But his last pop album was released 31 years ago. In that long interim, what do you think was going on with him, creatively?

Look, I'm not Billy Joel, but I think there were a number of factors going on with him. Somewhere along the way, I think he stopped having fun with music, which is the reason he got into it, or which is a big part of the reason he got into it. When it stopped being fun, I don't think he really wanted to do it anymore.

Another piece to it is that Billy is a perfectionist, and that perfectionism is evident in the caliber of his songwriting. Having always written 100 percent of his songs, Billy at some point probably found that process to be painstaking, to try to hit that bar where he's probably wondering in his head, What would Beethoven think of this? What would Leonard Bernstein think of this?

I think part of what was different here was that, perhaps, there was something liberating about "Turn the Lights Back On" being a seed that was brought to Billy. In this way, he could be a little disconnected from it, where maybe he didn't have to have the self-imposed pressure that he would if it was an idea that he'd been trying to finish for a while.

Ironically, he still made it. Well, there's no "ironically," but I think that's it. There's something to that.

Billy Joel's Biggest Songs: 15 Tracks That Best Showcase The Piano Man's Storytelling And Pop Hooks

Jennifer Lopez Press Photo 2024
Jennifer Lopez

Photo: Norman Jean Roy

feature

Inside Jennifer Lopez's 'This Is Me... Now': The Superstar & Her Team Detail Why The New Album Is Unlike Anything She's Done Before

Ten years after Jennifer Lopez’s last album – and more than 20 after it's prequel — 'This Is Me... Now,' has finally arrived. Lopez and her team discuss the inspiration behind her deeply personal return to music.

GRAMMYs/Feb 16, 2024 - 03:50 pm

Since the 1999 launch of her unstoppable music career, Jennifer Lopez has released eight studio albums and over 60 singles that have racked up billions of streams worldwide. So it's hard to believe there's been a full decade between the multihyphenate's last album, 2014's A.K.A., and her ninth studio LP, This Is Me… Now.

Released on Feb. 16 and described as "an intimate, fantastical and narrative-driven reflection of Lopez's journey to find love," This Is Me… Now is the highly anticipated sequel to Lopez's now-iconic This Is Me… Then. The 2002 project spawned megahits "Jenny From the Block" and "All I Have," but it's the hidden gems like "The One," "Again" and "I've Been Thinkin'" that perfectly capture a special moment in time for Lopez, whose then-budding romance with Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck was beginning to take the world by storm.

Though their widely beloved (and broadcasted) romance fizzled in the early 2000s, "Bennifer" is back together two decades later — and in classic J.Lo fashion, love is inspiring her more than anything else. The 20-year span between losing each other and reconnecting is chronicled in This Is Me… Now, Lopez's self-proclaimed magnum opus.

"In a strange magical twist of fate, I wound up back together with Ben, and it inspired me again to go back in the studio in the same way I did with This Is Me… Then," Lopez tells GRAMMY.com. "I believe true love exists, I believe that some things are forever.

"If you've ever wondered about that, I'm sharing that with you: Don't give up," she continues. "That was a worthy message to put out into the world because I know I needed that a lot in my life. I wasn't sure and it led me down some very questionable roads. What I think a lot of people do is look for love outside themselves instead of inward, so that more than anything was the inspiration for the new album."

The 13-track LP is accompanied by a musical film, This Is Me…Now: A Love Story, which is available on Prime Video now. Self-funded by Lopez and directed by Dave Myers, the film drives home Lopez's journey of self-love, discovery and awareness while finding her happily ever after.

Lopez, along with BMG's A&R Brandon Riester and the album's executive producer Rogét Chahayed, reflected about her career-defining LP and how it all came together.

The Goals

From the start, Lopez was relentless about making the album sound incredible, even converting part of her Los Angeles home into a studio and shutting down everything — including stepping back from making movies in order to maintain focus on the recording sessions for This Is Me… Now. She also shared private love letters from Affleck with the songwriters and producers to convey the narrative she wanted to translate into the music. 

"She said to me, 'Let's make an album that I'm excited about because I'm in love and that's when I make my best music,'" Riester says. "Jennifer is very much an integral part of the vision and the production and the songwriting on this album. This is her story."

Lopez recruited Chahayed after hearing Jack Harlow's GRAMMY-nominated No. 1 hit "First Class," which he co-produced in 2022. Their initial conversations about musical influences led to Lopez giving Chahayed the rundown of her and Affleck's history together, along with the concept for the album itself.

"She actually wanted to start making music the next day," Chahayed recalls. "But I definitely needed a few days to process everything because I had been manifesting for a while to be able to work with an artist that has a legacy and decades of success, and my prayers were answered."

This Is Me… Now sees Lopez fully leaning into being a hopeless romantic — something she's been heavily scrutinized over for decades. In the extravagant film of the same name, she makes light of her three failed marriages, but it's with the intention of inspiring others that true love exists, which has always been at the core of Lopez's music.

"We're living in a society where the value of relationships and marriage has been sort of lost," Chahayed suggests. "Her album will not only give people a new perspective on her music in general, but also give them a chance to believe in love again — and feel like there's someone out there for you, even if it's someone that you broke up with 10, 20 years ago."

This Is Me… Now picks up right where 2002's twice platinum-selling This Is Me… Then left off with some obvious nods to the prequel; the most blatant is "Dear Ben Pt. II," a follow up to "Dear Ben," on which Lopez describes Affleck as "my lust, my love, my man, my child, my friend, and my king." Still, the 54-year-old global icon didn't want to get caught up in trying to chase hits or recreate the past.

"We never listened to This Is Me... Then in the studio, not one time. That record is always going to have such a special place in my heart, but the sequel is just like another level," Lopez says. "People who have been on this journey with me and who have seen me fall down and get back up and make mistakes and get divorced — that journey got me to a place where I can now go, 'I've figured some things out about myself.'"

As much as the 13-track LP seizes the fairytale-like rekindling of Lopez and Affleck's relationship, it's also about something much bigger: how self-love, or lack thereof, plays a role in the relationships we have with others. "Hearts and Flowers" is a testament to Lopez's inner strength, as evidenced by the defiant chorus. ("It ain't all hearts and flowers/ So many nights and hours/ Every day of my life, in the grind faithfully/ Superpowers, we all got superpowers," she sings.)

"I'm a more evolved, healed person. I'm not saying I'm completely healed, or that I got it all figured out. I don't. But This Is Me... Now represents where I am in my journey right now," Lopez says.

"It's me embracing all of it, even the bad decisions," she adds. "I had to learn to be loving and forgiving of yourself, because then you can be loving and forgiving of other people. You can be empathetic toward other people and great for the world. But until you can give that to yourself, you can't do anything for anybody."

The Moments

Celebratory songs like lead single "Can't Get Enough," "This Time Around" and penultimate track "Midnight Trip to Vegas" have the same giddiness heard in 2002's "I'm Glad" and "Baby I Love U!" — the final two singles off This Is Me… Then. The autobiographical title track is a culmination of a lifetime, merging Lopez's working-class upbringing in The Bronx with the feeling of gratitude for a second chance at true love with Affleck. 

"I watched my mother miss out on her life/ All those could-have-beens became her sacrifice/ But here in the darkness, it's not the future nor the past/ And 'cause it's meant to be with you, boy, it will last," she sings in the opening verse. 

Stripped-down ballad "Broken Like Me" unflinchingly stands as Lopez's most personal work to date, as she deconstructs her J.Lo persona into diaristic lyrics that are bound to surprise even longtime fans. "Two babies at home/ Mama had to be strong/ In a battle for love/ In a war of my own/ And I tried to be honest/ But it made me feel weak/ And when I think about it/ It brings me to my knees/ Couldn't look in the mirror/ Afraid what I'd see/ 'Cause I still loved you/ Loved you more than me," Lopez confesses midway through the track, which moved Affleck to tears after hearing it for the first time.

"Ben would come in the studio and spend hours with us and tell us stories to help set the tone," Riester says. "I remember one moment where he said, 'Where's the pain that I went through of not being with the one that I love for so long?' That's how some of the darker songs like 'Rebound' and 'Broken Like Me' were born. It takes the dark to get to the light, and that's a really big theme of this album."

But there were plenty of fun, lighthearted moments, too; like how an Incredible Hulk-themed guitar autographed by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was used for "Mad in Love," a lullaby-esque anthem for soulmates everywhere. Or the night before "Midnight Trip to Vegas" was written, which pretty much sums up everything we love about Bennifer 2.0.

"Jennifer texted me and said, 'Hey, what are you doing today?'" Riester recalls. "I responded and then I didn't hear from her. The next thing I notice is all these news alerts that Jen got married, so I'm texting management like, 'Yo, what's going on? Did you guys not want to tell me about this?' They were like, 'We had no idea.'" 

He continued, "The whole team had been with her every single day for months, but we found out about it the way everybody else did. But it was an amazing story, because Ben was like, 'Everyone's so worried about all the different elements of this wedding. Let's just put it all aside.' I think that just shows you how much they love each other, because it wasn't about the wedding that's for everybody else. This is about their love for each other."

The Outcome

Whether you've been bumping J.Lo since her 1999 debut, On the 6, or simply admire her work ethic, This Is Me… Now defies expectations as she reaches the pinnacle of creative freedom.

"This is truly an artist's project because it is her heart and her soul all pushed into a pen and written out for the world to see," Riester says. "I was telling someone the other day, 'When will an album rollout be like this again?' The story really is well-crafted and the music is incredible. Everyone can pull something from it because we've all been through those moments of heartbreak or finding what you think is your true love."

Days before announcing her first tour in five years, Lopez hinted that her ninth studio album, This Is Me... Now, may be her last ("I really feel very fulfilled," she recently told ET). Whatever her musical future looks like, baring her soul and creating a cinematic experience with This Is Me…Now forced her to grow artistically in ways she never expected — which has brought an entirely new purpose to her remarkable career. 

"I've never done anything like this with a record in my life, or felt inspired to do anything like this with an album. This is the most honest record I've ever made," Lopez asserts. "I was able to do that because I was more mature and had done more work on myself to be really open and vulnerable in ways that I've never been. Everything about me is all in here. This is the album that I've been trying to make all my life — and I finally made it."

Jennifer Lopez's Biggest Hits, From Her Best Hip-Hop Collaborations To The Dance Floor Classics

Tyla  with family At The 2024 GRAMMYs
Best African Music Performance winner Tyla attended the 2024 GRAMMYs with her mother and father (standing beside her)

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Burna Boy, Tyla And Africa's Moment At The 2024 GRAMMYs

African artists shone bright at Music's Biggest Night, highlighting the ever-growing influence of Afrobeats, amapiano and African pop music.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 06:03 pm

Late into the festivities at the 66th GRAMMY Awards, an African giant took the stage. 

Burna Boy — the king of Afrobeats, a massive star of the continent’s pop music industry, and a national hero of his home nation of Nigeria — brought down the house at Crypto.com Arena with a formidable show that bridged the cultures of Africa and America. 

With backgrounds inspired by the streets of Lagos, the GRAMMY winner began the set surrounded by drummers and dancers in colorful traditional clothes, jamming to his Afrobeats hit "On Form." 

Then, he switched things up, transitioning to two ‘90s hip-hop-influenced cuts from his recent album I Told Them… As the background shifted to Brooklyn brownstones, the Timbaland-inspired bump of "City Boys" gave way to "Sittin’ On Top of the World," during which featured rapper 21 Savage and sampled artist Brandy, appearing live for the first time in years, came out to perform alongside Burna. 

That Afrobeats finally reached the GRAMMYs stage made Burna Boy’s performance a milestone for African pop music. And while Burna prefers to label his own work "Afro-Fusion," any Afro pop representation is considered a major coup. 

The performance marked a triumphant culmination for African artists at the GRAMMYs, and for the African music industry as a whole. Its explosive global growth in recent years is something that even GRAMMYs host (and two-time GRAMMY nominee) Trevor Noah remarked upon before Burna Boy’s set. Noah, comedian and former host of "The Daily Show," was probably the biggest African presence at the GRAMMYs — himself being a South African who has discussed his own mixed-race heritage in standup and his memoir. 

Noah shouted out his country’s amapiano scene, joking, "You know people say Afrobeats is new and personally growing up in South Africa, I would get Afrobeats all the time for my mom every time I came home past my curfew." 

Read more: 10 African GRAMMY Winners Through The Years: From Miriam Makeba To Angélique Kidjo & Burna Boy

But the proceedings had an even more significant backdrop. Earlier in the day, the GRAMMYs handed out the first-ever Best African Music Performance award. The category, one of three new prizes added for the 2024 GRAMMYs, was conceived of and designed as a way to honor the massive, burgeoning African music industry as it continues to expand globally. Ultimately, it was rookie pop singer Tyla that took the heavily contested golden gramophone for her song "Water." 

The South African starlet faced stiff competition: Burna Boy ("City Boys") and fellow Afrobeats legend and first-time GRAMMY nominee Davido ("Unavailable" feat. Musa Keys) were nominated in the category, along with rising Nigerian stars ASAKE ("Amapiano" feat. Olamide) and Ayra Starr ("Rush"). Burna Boy and Davido both received multiple nominations this year — four and three, respectively — and Burna had already triumphed at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, winning Best Global Music Album for Twice as Tall

But none could compete with the behemoth hit that is "Water." The sultry, Amapiano-influenced vocal pop song entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October of last year, in the process making 22-year-old Tyla the first South African on the chart since Hugh Masekela in 1968, as well as the youngest South African to ever reach the chart. It also topped Billboard’s US Afrobeats Songs chart, reached No. 5 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and finally peaked at number seven on the Hot 100. 

As Tyla accepted the award during the GRAMMYs Premiere Ceremony, even she was surprised at her victory, saying "I never thought I’d say I won a GRAMMY at 22 years old….I know my mother’s crying somewhere in here." 

As the South African made her way to the stage, legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti’s classic Afrobeat tune "Water No Get Enemy" soundtracked her moment — Tyla’s "Water" and Fela’s "Water" linking the two major musical nations. Coincidentally, the two countries’ soccer teams play each other this week in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, and fans are already preparing for a rematch between the two rival nations. 

As the BBC noted from one commenter after Tyla’s victory, "South Africa won today but Nigeria will win on Wednesday where it matters most." It’s a moment that wouldn’t have been possible only a year ago, but thanks to the GRAMMYs, it is now.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Winners & Nominees List