Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Ronnie Spector, circa 1977
How Ronnie Spector And "Be My Baby" Changed Music Forever
Though Ronnie Spector lost her battle to cancer on Jan. 12, the Ronettes frontwoman and the group's iconic hit leaves an everlasting legacy on music and beyond
Ronnie Spector was just 16 when she recorded what would become not only the biggest hits of her career, but one of the most acclaimed — and culture-changing — songs of all time.
"Be My Baby" and The Ronettes, with the indelible, smooth falsetto of the New York native at the helm, signaled a generational shift in not only music, but fashion, femininity and American culture along with it.
It was a monumentally influential career that came to an end this week as Spector, a GRAMMY nominee and GRAMMY Hall of Fame member, passed away at age 78 on January 12 after a short battle with cancer. Only weeks earlier, her Ronettes Christmas classic "Sleigh Ride" cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking a record-breaking 58 years and 2 month break between Top 10 hits. (Their previous track was, of course, "Be My Baby," which peaked at No. 2 in 1963.)
"You have to have all of the ingredients to be a rock 'n' roll singer, and one of those is you have to be a little sexy," Spector said in a 2015 interview about the secret to her success. "You don't have to be clothesless — it's the way you look, and the way you look at your audience. I don't see any performers out there today that relate just to the audience … That's what people are missing today — you don't need all those dancers. Just sing and perform to the people. Feel the people. Everything is for the people."
Born Veronica Yvette Bennett in New York City's Spanish Harlem into a musical family, Spector was originally taken aback by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers earworm "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" She sang it with a ragtag group of family members at the Apollo Theater's famed Amaueter Night and earned herself raucous applause from the famously fickle audience. "It made me feel like a star," she'd later say. (Lymon's vocal stylings also influenced those "Oh-oh-ohs" heard in subsequent Ronettes records.)
A case of mistaken identity in 1961 gave the subsequent Ronettes a big break at early 60s New York City hotspot The Peppermint Lounge, with a promoter thinking they were another group and invited them onstage. "'Hey girls you're late," Spector recalled during one of her many appearances on "The Late Show with David Letterman." "So we went inside and that was the beginning of The Ronettes. We danced a lot."
From there, Spector, along with sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley, formed The Ronettes and had middling success until they auditioned for the burgeoning pop producer Phil Spector. It was a few songs into their collaboration when they recorded "Be My Baby" on July 5, 1963. According to Ronnie, "Phil was infatuated with my voice, my body, everything. It was mutual. 'Be My Baby' — which Phil wrote with co-writers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich — documents that initial explosion."
At the time, the creative team had a hunch they were onto something special. After all, pop productions at the time were simple affairs, and novelty songs the rage of the early '60s. As she remembered, "Phil picked me up at the airport and kept saying: 'This record is going to be amazing.'"
Ronnie also noted that "the recording captures the full spectrum of my emotions: everything from nervousness to excitement. When I came in with 'The night we met I knew I needed you so,' the band went nuts. I was 18 years old, 3,000 miles from home, and had all these guys saying I was the next Billie Holliday."
"Be My Baby" (which also happened to be Cher's first studio recording serving as an uncredited backup vocalist), instantly made waves upon its release in August 1963. Dick Clark called it "the record of the century" on his immensely popular American Bandstand. Beach Boy legend Brian Wilson, then only 21 years old, was driving the first time he heard it and had to pull over to the side of the road. "It blew my mind," he told the New York Times to mark the hit's 50th anniversary in 2013. "It was just shock … I started analyzing all the guitars, pianos, bass, drums and percussion. Once I got all those learned, I knew how to produce records."
In later years, Bruce Springsteen would list the song as one of his most influential, Rolling Stone would rank it No. 22 on its list of the greatest songs of all time, it would top the list at No. 1 on Billboard's rundown of the greatest girl group songs ever.
"Be My Baby" was unleashed during an auspicious time in American culture, shooting to No. 2 on the Hot 100 in October 1963, with The Ronettes' famed beehive hairdos and a then cutting-edge and boundary-pushing fashion sense becoming a de facto style of the time. Only one month later would see the assasiantion of John F. Kennedy, and the following February, The Beatles stormed America. The Ronettes staked their claim in the annals of music history with follow-up hits including "Baby I Love You" and the thunder-and-lightning-sprinkled "Walking in the Rain," the latter of which scored the group their lone career GRAMMY nomination.But as Ronnie told David Letterman, they were derailed just as quickly as they shot to the top. "The Beatles were the end of the girl group era, the black group era, the doo-wop era, and the best era," she asserted. "After the Beatles, they wiped us all out."
And while svengali Phil Spector was partly responsible for their rise thanks to his innovative Wall of Sound production technique, he also was a detriment to the group's success when The Ronettes had the world at their doorstep (not to mention his own well-documented personal failings).
"Phil said, 'You go on tour with the Beatles or you marry me,'" Ronnie said, pointing out one example of The Ronettes missing a chance to link with the Fab Four. "At the time I was very much in love. I figured, 'Hey, he was my producer and writer and [I can] stay home and get the other thing too."
With the decision made, the popularity of The Ronettes steadily declined until they went their separate ways in 1967.
While their run was brief, Ronnie's influence has been felt decade by decade in the proceeding years. By the '60s, the musicality of The Ronettes was felt everywhere, even in a song as disparate as Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night." In the '70s, she helped the E Street Band stay afloat. A seminal '80s hit anthem salutes "Be My Baby" and Ronnie herself in the form of "Take Me Home Tonight," during which Eddie Money croons "Just like Ronnie sang…" to which she chimes in, "Be my little baby."
As the millennium hit, Amy Winehouse based not only her sound, but also her appearance on Spector. And countless film classics, including memorable scenes in Dirty Dancing to Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets have prominently featured "Be My Baby," marking it as a song of a generation.
Perhaps most poignantly, Ronnie effectively separated her career and reputation from producer Phil and made her mark as a dynamic talent all her own. "When I was making my hit records, my ex was always 'the genius,'" she later told The Guardian. "You felt like: 'Well, who am I?' You felt that small. I'm so glad I'm still on this Earth to see women going out there and saying: 'You can be fabulous like me, you can do anything.'"
Big Easy Stomp
Guitarist Duane Eddy among artists to perform at the Ponderosa Stomp on Sept. 24–25 in New Orleans
It's a simple question: Which act among the dozens of rock, soul, blues, and R&B artists featured on the bill for the ninth annual Ponderosa Stomp festival is Ira Padnos most looking forward to seeing?
And the answer started simply enough, as Padnos — in his fez-sporting alter ego known as Dr. Ike, the co-founder, organizer and host of the event that launched humbly in 2001 — touted a guitar hero making his long-awaited Ponderosa Stomp debut as part of this year's event, taking place Sept. 24–25 at the House of Blues New Orleans.
"We have Duane Eddy, who I've wanted to get for years," says Padnos, who is, in fact, an anesthesiologist and assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology at Louisiana State University's Health Sciences Center. "He's the king of twangy guitar, influential to so many people from surf to garage [rock] to everything."
Eddy's elegant, yet biting guitar lines took "Rebel-'Rouser," "Forty Miles Of Bad Road," "Because They're Young" and a host of other instrumentals up the charts in the late '50s and early '60s, and he won a GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group Or Soloist) in 1986 for "Peter Gunn." His twangy tone set the pace for generations of guitar aces who became global superstars while he stayed more in the shadows as a cult hero — a quintessential Ponderosa-type icon.
But Eddy was just the starting point for Padnos, who barely inhaled a breath before continuing.
"Wendy Rene, the soul singer," he says, citing another performer he is excited to see. "Loved her song 'Bar-B-Q' for years."
Now he's on a roll. He pulls out the Ponderosa Stomp lineup and starts selecting more names...and more…and more. Minneapolis rockers the Trashmen of "Surfin' Bird" fame, who will make their first festival appearance. East Los Angeles-based '60s garage-rock legends Thee Midniters. Tommy Brown, who Padnos describes as "one of the last of the great R&B shouters from the South."
Name after name, Padnos provides a few lines about an obscure 45 single, a defunct label, an unheralded side role on someone else's hits, or a tale of being lost in the ever-quickening rush of the last few decades of pop history.
There, in a nutshell, is the Ponderosa Stomp experience. And there, in a nutshell, is Dr. Ike. The two are one and the same. Padnos is a passionate collector, or more so a passionate fan of not just the music but of the musicians themselves. With Ponderosa Stomp he's found and served a true community of kindred spirits.
"The idea behind Stomp was that you had these great musicians who made great records and were still capable of playing," Padnos says. "The problem was a lack of venues and opportunities for them to play [and] a misconception that as musicians get older they can't necessarily do it. So the Stomp kind of became the festival of celebrating the legacy of these musicians and showing what they can do, and helping to revitalize careers and get people out who weren't playing."
He mentions soulstress Barbara Lynn, Texas growler Roy Head and Detroit-based guitarist Dennis Coffey among those who have revitalized their careers after being coaxed out of relative inactivity by Padnos to play the Ponderosa Stomp. He's also been crucial in getting '60s R&B man Archie Bell of Archie Bell & The Drells fame back on the circuit, as well as the famed Hi Records rhythm section — the sound behind several Al Green hits, among others.
Ponderosa Stomp was founded in essence as an annex event to the annual springtime New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, taking place between that festival's two weekends. Much of the impetus behind the Ponderosa Stomp was to showcase acts who some felt had been squeezed out of the more nationally-minded jazz festival. For 2010, the decision was made to give Ponderosa Stomp a free-standing weekend slot completely separate from the jazz festival.
"The Stomp had been growing and we decided that the best way for it to grow organically was to move it to its own spot and let it become its own destination," says Padnos. "We really wanted to become a stand-alone event."
In another sign of the festival's move toward independence, the last two installments have incorporated a full conference as well as two days of concerts. This year's Ponderosa Stomp Music Conference will include interview sessions with Eddy, repeat headliner Ronnie Spector, "Tainted Love" singer Gloria Jones and New Orleans producer/arranger Dave Bartholomew, among many others.
Meanwhile, Eddy has been getting into the Ponderosa Stomp spirit. Looking at the lineup, he's excited that '60s R&B singer Sugar Pie DeSanto is on the bill. "I've got an album of hers somewhere around the house that I've had for years," he says. And he's certainly seeing this appearance as a part of renewed activity. He's planning to record a live album in the UK soon and considering his first new studio album in many years, having been working in Nashville with producer Monroe Jones.
Eddy is a natural for the Ponderosa Stomp aesthetic, which is not about updates and interpretations, but celebrations of the original sounds. This is a place where in 2008 Padnos, having brought the über-obscure '60s Texas garage-rock band the Green Fuz back together, came onstage after they'd performed their regional single, also called "The Green Fuz," a second time. "Do it like it was on the 45," he instructed the band, since the first time through they included member introductions rather than doing it straight as the original.
That's fine by Eddy, who with backing by Ponderosa Stomp mainstay Deke Dickerson and his band the Ecco-fonics will endeavor to play his hits pretty much just as you would have heard them on the radio 50 or so years ago.
"I've always held the philosophy of playing it closest to the record as I could," says Eddy. "People who bought those bought them for a reason. And when they come to see me live, they expect to hear it the same. Everybody coming is going to be pleasantly surprised at how good things sound, how close [they sound] to the originals."
(Steve Hochman writes the Around The World music column for AOL's Spinner.com and is the pop music critic for KQED Radio's "The California Report Magazine." He has covered the music world for 25 years for the Los Angeles Times and many other publications.)
Up Close & Personal: Shaggy And Sting Discuss Their Musical Beginnings, Songwriting Processes And GRAMMY-Winning Collaboration
Two GRAMMY-winning musical legends joined together in this Nashville Chapter member-exclusive program, which was filmed at Nashville's Ocean Way and moderated by Chrissy Metz.
Friends and collaborators Shaggy and Sting came together for a conversation at Nashville's Ocean Way Studio recently — and the result was a lengthy discussion about the way they write songs, the backstories behind some of their biggest hits, and of course, their GRAMMY-winning work together.
In an in-depth installment of Up Close & Personal, presented by the Recording Academy's Nashville Chapter and moderated by "This Is Us" star Chrissy Metz, the member-exclusive program presented an informal conversation that took fans through both artists' careers to date.
The two stars hail from very different parts of the world — Sting grew up in England, and became the frontman for legendary rock group the Police, while Shaggy was born in Kingston, Jamaica. but over the years, they've found layers of commonalities in their work.
In speaking about his songwriting process, Sting — who has written classic-rock hits like "Roxanne" and "Every Breath You Take" — notes that he mostly writes solo, a rarity in the famed songwriting collaboration hub of Music City.
"I've always been envious of people who have a writing partner," Sting says. "Lennon and McCartney, they were constantly playing off each other, competing with each other, and that was one of the engines of their success."
"But I never actually found that person, and I'm still alone," he adds, with a joke: "Isn't it sad?"
But he found an unlikely but fruitful creative partner in Shaggy for the two collaborative albums they've released together. One of them is 44/876, which won Best Reggae Album at the 2019 GRAMMYs — and includes a number of songs that the two artists co-wrote.
Shaggy explains that one of the reasons their songwriting partnership was so successful was because of their friendship: Where songwriting can be a tedious, solitary struggle, the two artists found that heading into the writer's room together broke some tension.
"I write a lot of songs, I'm pretty successful at it, but I don't particularly love it," Shaggy notes. "I like the live aspects of it. That's why I like working with him, because it's not as intense. It's more [like] we laugh, and out of that laughter comes something that works, that we hopefully both like."
To learn more about the two artists' creative processes — plus Shaggy's stint on The Masked Singer, and why they think the original James Bond might have been Jamaican — press play on the video above to watch the full episode of Up Close & Personal.
Photo: LaQuann Dawson
Durand Bernarr's 'Wanderlust': The R&B Singer Explains Why He's "Constantly In A State Of Arriving"
With Durand Bernarr’s 'Wanderlust' out now, the singer/songwriter speaks about leading the next wave of inclusionary R&B, merging comedy with his crooning, and why joining his congregation makes you family.
Singer/songwriter and all-around tour de force Durand Bernarr has long excelled in showing how dope he is.
Born into a musically rich family — his mother was a professional music teacher and vocal coach, and his father did sound production for Earth, Wind & Fire — Bernarr not only had the chops for singing, but a larger-than-life personality.
Performing under the moniker "alcholharmony," Bernarr became one the YouTube’s first ever viral singing stars in 2007. Following the release of 8ight: The Stepson of Erykah Badu, Bernarr joined Badu as background vocalist, which elevated his profile leading up to his insta-classic album, Dur&, in 2020. The release netted Bernarr into a slate of notable appearances and viral offerings, as well as a legion of "cousins" who have joined his congregation of love, laughs, and lusciousness.
Fast forward to present day, and "the version of Little Richard that religion did not get to," has become a mainstay in R&B. His recently-released Wanderlust features 12 immersive songs ranging from self-reflective and confessional stylings ("Vacancy" feat. Just Liv) to the bouncy and boundary-setting like ("Boundaries," "H.I." feat. Devin Tracy), alongside instrumental work from Frank Moka and Braylon Lacy.
The first single, "Lil Bit," produced by ActzMusiq and featuring Metta, finds the Cleveland-to-Los Angeles crooner looking for someone who is "little bit ugly."
Bernarr and his brand of gangsta musical theater has made him become one of the inescapably popular voices in R&B, collaborating with The Internet, Ari Lennox, Patrick Paige II, Knxwledge, and Kaytranada. Add to the mix that Bernarr’s sold-out "Step Into My Office Tour" kept the summer active for many. The singer spoke with GRAMMY.com about Wanderlust, finding grace throughout the process and growing into his place as a playlist mainstay.
Whenever someone is around you, they’ll notice just how much your congregation flocks to you and appreciates your presence. What do you think it is about the Durand Bernarr Experience that connects so strongly with others?
First and foremost, I think people love it when someone has a very good attitude. They like it when they can come experience someone — whether in person or virtually — and feel uplifted by them.
With me having that familiar presence and feeling like a family member or best friend, it has that Midwestern/Southern charm that connects people to me. I feel a balance between them and me as a human being that goes a bit beyond just the music.
There are quite a few lyrical gems on Wanderlust that will surely find their way onto social media. "When the journey ain’t s—t, but the destination is lit," is affirming to those who are a work in progress. What inspired the hook for "Destination"...? What did giving yourself grace look like while putting together this album?
It came from a conversation I was having with someone; I was just trying to encourage them. This process of growth and getting out of one’s comfort zone is never comfortable at all. It takes going somewhere to get something. We sometimes forget to be present so that we can appreciate this journey from grinding to hustling to a space of arriving.
I’m constantly in a state of arriving, in a constant state of being in the journey. But these destinations are kind of like pockets, there is always going to be something else that we can learn and discover. And giving myself grace looked like not being so hard on myself. Grace looked like knowing I’m not going to get it right the first time and to allow myself to be a human being.
There’s this quote that I saw where it said, ‘When you’re talking down to yourself or negatively, your inner child is listening.’ We have to be careful of how we speak about ourselves to ourselves because we are always listening.
How would you describe your growth from your humble beginnings to now?
Dur& is my ninth project and I understand that overnight success is actually 10 years. From putting out mixtapes to a compilation project to the actual albums and EPs, I’ve built a brand from Alcoholharmony to now, and I let the music really tell the story. [With Wanderlust] I think I scaled back a bit on the vocal gymnastics and reveled in moments of simplicity.
There’s a song on there in particular where I don’t adlib on the chorus at all, only on the bridge, and it is a bit more simple as opposed to my earlier approach. It’s like each instrument on the song has its part and that’s that. So, you’re able to catch things easier with this album.
Wanderlust is the first time you had a band joining you in the studio. Can you delve into the production and who joined you for this joyous revival?
I was talking to [producer and musician] Sam Hoffman about this. He did all of the interludes on Dur& and produced two songs on this project. Up until this point, I’ve had boot camps that were just full of musicians who loved to create moments. We did that constantly during a Monday night jam session and it ended up being something that turned into a project.
I cannot ever not do that ever again, because to be in the room with all these musicians was great. The first time I did that was with the Free Nationals back in 2019. I got a chance to create from scratch working with them in the studio, which really inspired the need for me to do that with Wanderlust. So, playing with me are guys who I’ve been playing with for some time now. We were able to create so fast and get off so many different ideas.
It was dope to have these different perspectives. From Frank Moka, [the] drummer with Erykah Badu to Brother B, who played on Mama’s Gun, to Daniel Jones — we have very strong vibes and a different musicality that came together to create Wanderlust. I’m so proud of it and proud of them.
I know which song is going to be the one that’s going to take off — and it’s not even the first single. I’ve been listening to it nonstop and if I have been sure about nothing else, it’s this — Wanderlust is a beautiful moment that I’m grateful to have had everyone a part of.
I hate to say that I’ve outdone myself because I wasn’t trying to do that, but I definitely outdid myself [laughs].
Wanderlust also features the voices of Just Liv and Devin Tracy, who offer some more range and color to the album. Did they share any lessons or words of advice that helped during the recording process?
My main struggle was just the timing of everything, making sure that we loved the song. I wanted us all to love them. It reminded me of something that Teedra Moses told me a while ago about her music: "I don’t like people to listen to my stuff until it’s completely done," she said. "I’ve done everything that I need to and put everything into it. So, if I release that and you don’t like it, well, hey, I get it. But if you don’t like it because I didn’t get a chance to really love it myself, then that affects me."
I’m in a space now where I love these songs on Wanderlust — from the nuances to the things I want to pout when people hear it.
This album is made for your headphones, for your cars. It is really to immerse yourself like my CoronaJournal, which is also recommended listening because you’ll get some laughs or ‘I know that’s right’ moments when you listen to it [laughs].
How would you describe Wanderlust to someone who’s just becoming familiar with your sound?
I’d say that Wanderlust is still in the realm of gangsta musical theater. There’s humor in it throughout and full of perspective and sonic adventures. The album takes you on a myriad of different genres from African funk to ‘80s video games, where I tap into my Sault bag — I love me some Cleo Sol — to New Orleans church vibes.
The quality of the music on Wanderlust has beautifully evolved. I feel like I can still go back to albums like Sound Check and Dur& and sing these songs 20 years from then.
There’s still things that are adult enough or age-appropriate enough for me to still be able to dig back into. Dur& has aged very well and on its two-year birthday; I love that people are still getting into it. Getting into songs like "Stuck," and I love that.
Tyler, the Creator had recently said that one post about your art isn’t going to be enough. Every day is a new opportunity to introduce people to your work. And while I thought that Dur& was the masterpiece — and it was — Wanderlust came along and was like the Voodoo to its Brown Sugar.
It’s no secret that there’s a rise in there being more gender-fluid and inclusionary artists who are breaking through and impacting the charts. How does it impact you when people see you as a leader of this new wave? Do you view yourself as such?
I have to remind myself that I’ve been out here for about 15 years. My first YouTube video is about to be 15 come this December. [Laughs] This means that it is now legally able to work. When I get approached by others or told that my music is being studied, I love it. To open people up to achieve agency to be themselves, to write the songs that they want to sing about is a powerful feeling. If Durand can say he’s in love with somebody’s grown ass man, then I can write my story about whatever because it is also important.
You never know the impact that you have on someone by just being yourself. Hopefully, by you being yourself, it can be seen as a positive thing. It is an asset to the space and not a liability. I’m grateful to …even have a moment where Lil Nas X and Normani are getting big eyes. I’m excited to see how much further being who I am can take me and what that can do for other people in their journey.
How much of this music that I’ve put out is going to be the soundtrack to their lives, their adventures of self-discovery, and taking chances and believing in themselves? It’s an amazing and beautiful thing to think about because it’s such a tangible thing that I can feel [within].
It’s really showing that you’re laying the groundwork for others to follow. How do you deconstruct yourself to pull out these raw truths that make it into your lyrics?
I have to be in a space where either I’ve already worked through what it is that I’ve experienced and now I can tell the story, or I’m writing to work through it and get it out.
I’ve mastered the art of being able to tell a story without really telling a story. It’s worded in a way where it is ambiguous enough to get a reaction, but depending on where you are in your life and what you’re going through, a person might interpret it in a completely different way than what the reality is for me and where it stems from.<em></em>
A few months back you drove the internet into a tizzy with your "Vocal Charm School" post, which namechecked some notable voices in the industry. When the spirit moved you to make the video, how did you respond to the reaction you got?
I was almost not going to post it because I felt like I needed to be focused on other things. But at the same time, I am a consumer, I’m a comedian, and this is funny [laughs]. I love to make people laugh and my whole thing was I don’t like to complain about something if I don’t at least have a solution to go with it. So, [for the R&B Verzuz,] if I see someone with shaky breath control or needs to work on their blending, I just put it out there that I’m willing to assist. [Laughs] That’s the thing: Hit me up, let’s work together, and we can get this moving in the right direction.
I was serious [in the post] when I said come to the show. I wanted them all to be there. They would’ve been taken care of and have a great seat. They would get a full comprehension of what it means to use your voice as an instrument. When you spend time with it, when you really take it serious, then the results are going to show. For a lot of us, if we did not have music or our voices, we would’ve pressed eject on this motherf—ker a long time ago.
After it was all said and done, has anyone taken you up on the chance to stay after altar call and workshop with you?
There were people who wanted to be in it, but as far as [those who were on Verzuz], ain’t nobody responding [laughs]. It’s OK, I’m just gonna send them the DVD.
For those who missed your Step Into My Office tour, but are excited to delve into Wanderlust — sum up why this project is important to be placed into audiophiles’ rotation?
We are in dire need of some razzle dazzle in the music scene right now. Everybody is so sad. Everything is so dark. Don’t nobody know how to love. Their discernment is off. Mercury is in retrograde and I just want everyone to pop their shoulders effortlessly to this album. That’s why [on Wanderlust] there’s only three-and-a-half songs out of 12 songs that are below 80 bpm. Anything else that you hear is going to move the body, hell, even the slow stuff got some knocks to it [laughs].
I’m really interested in people dissecting "New Management," which was inspired by the end of Lil Nas X’s "Call Me By Your Name" video, and started out as a joke. But then as I’m writing the song, I made it into a song and started to dive into my childhood traumas, which led into realizing that everything I was taught to be afraid of was a fear tactic. Now, I’m able to live my life happily as a human being and revel in this opportunity to experience this beautiful thing called life.
Photo: Maria Gabriela Stempel
Global Spin: Singer-Songwriter And Producer Ferraz Offers A Minimalist, Soulful Performance Of "Espérame"
The singer-songwriter, DJ and producer pulls from a variety of different styles to create his own signature blend of Latin R&B — and in this performance of "Espérame," he leans into his soul influences.
Venezuelan singer-songwriter, producer and DJ Ferraz draws from various elements and sonic styles to create his signature blend of R&B. And in "Espérame," one of the tracks from his 2021 album Fino, he leans into gentle, lilting soul.
In this episode of Global Spin, Ferraz delivers a laid-back live performance of his song. Flanked by his gear and set against a plain white backdrop, the singer accompanies himself on electric guitar.
This minimalist, self-contained performance proves that Ferraz can create a sound-world all his own. Ferraz incorporates elements of Latin folk-rock and bossa nova into his performance, with classic R&B rhythms kicking in in the chorus.
Funk, house and hip-hop further influence Ferraz's music-making process, coming together to form a style of R&B both versatile and pliant.
As one of the singer's more reflective and laidback tracks, "Espérame" exemplifies his easygoing, luminous vocal delivery — a signature element of even his bouncier tracks, like 2022's "Seratonina."
Ferraz debuted in 2019 with his Rumbo album, and continued to grow his sound and style with the release of Fino two years later. Most recently, he put out Remixes FINO, a collection of reimagined versions of the songs from his Fino project.
Press play on the video above enjoy Ferraz's soulful "Espérame" performance, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Global Spin.