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Sam Smith's Amazing GRAMMY Feat

Singer/songwriter is just the 10th artist to receive nominations in each of the four General Field categories in the same year

GRAMMYs/Feb 4, 2015 - 09:41 am

Sam Smith is just the 10th artist in the GRAMMY Awards' 57-year history to receive nominations in all four of the General Field categories in the same year. His gospel-tinged ballad "Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)" is nominated for Record and Song Of The Year. (He co-wrote it with James Napier and William Phillips.) His debut album In The Lonely Hour is a finalist for Album Of The Year. And he's in the running for Best New Artist.

At 22, Smith is the second-youngest artist to achieve this feat. Only Mariah Carey, who was 20 at the time, was younger.

What's more, he's just the second male solo artist (following Christopher Cross) and just the second foreign-born artist (following fellow Brit Amy Winehouse) to be recognized in all four categories in the same year.

As you will see, seven of the 10 artists on this list are female solo artists; strong women who have exerted appreciable control over their music and image.

Here are the nine artists who previously achieved the feat. All won as Best New Artist unless otherwise noted.

Bobbie Gentry, 1967. Gentry, who was 23, was nominated for Album, Record and Song Of The Year, thanks to Ode To Billie Joe and its moody title track.

Christopher Cross, 1980. Cross, who was 29, took Record and Song Of The Year for "Sailing" and Album Of The Year for Christopher Cross. He's the only artist in GRAMMY history to win all four of these awards in one night. (Will Smith match that achievement? We'll find out on Feb. 8.)

Cyndi Lauper, 1984. Lauper, who was 31, was nominated for Album Of The Year for She's So Unusual, Record Of The Year for "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and Song Of The Year for "Time After Time" (which she co-wrote with Rob Hyman).

Tracy Chapman, 1988. Chapman, who was 24, was nominated for Record and Song Of The Year for "Fast Car" and Album Of The Year for Tracy Chapman.

Mariah Carey, 1990. Carey was nominated for Album Of The Year for Mariah Carey and Record and Song Of The Year for "Vision Of Love" (which she co-wrote with Ben Margulies).

Paula Cole, 1997. Cole is the only artist to receive nominations in each the big four categories who was also nominated for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical. Cole, who was 29, was nominated for Record and Song Of The Year for "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?" and Album Of The Year for This Fire.

India.Arie, 2001. India.Arie is the only artist to receive nominations in each of the big four categories who didn't win as Best New Artist. (She lost to Alicia Keys.) India.Arie, who was 26, was nominated for Album Of The Year for Acoustic Soul and Record and Song Of The Year for "Video" (which she co-wrote with Carlos "Six July" Broady, Reginald Harris and Shannon Sanders).

Amy Winehouse, 2007. Winehouse, who was 24, won Record and Song Of The Year for "Rehab" and was nominated for Album Of The Year for Back To Black.

Fun., 2012. The pop trio is the only group or duo to receive nominations in each of the big four categories. The members of Fun. (Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess) won Song Of The Year for "We Are Young" (which they co-wrote with Jeff Bhasker). They were nominated for Record Of The Year for that smash (which featured Janelle Monáe) and Album Of The Year for Some Nights.

Here are five artists who just missed receiving nominations in all of the big four categories.

Carpenters, 1970. Karen and Richard Carpenter were nominated for Album and Record Of The Year for Close To You and its title track, but Paul Williams and Roger Nichols wrote their Song Of The Year contender, "We've Only Just Begun."

Sheryl Crow, 1994. Crow won Record Of The Year and was nominated for Song Of The Year for "All I Wanna Do" (which she co-wrote with David Baerwald, Bill Bottrell, Wyn Cooper, and Kevin Gilbert), but her album, Tuesday Night Music Club, wasn't eligible. It had been released in the previous eligibility year.

Alanis Morissette, 1995. Morissette won Album Of The Year for Jagged Little Pill and was nominated for Song Of The Year for "You Oughta Know" (which she co-wrote with Glen Ballard), but that album track wasn't eligible for Record Of The Year. Rules at the time barred tracks that weren't commercially available as singles from competing in that category.

Joan Osborne, 1995. Osborne was nominated for Album Of The Year for Relish and Record Of The Year for "One Of Us," but Eric Bazilian wrote that philosophical song, a Song Of The Year finalist. (Deep trivia: Bazilian is a member of the Hooters, as is Rob Hyman, the co-writer of Lauper's aforementioned hit.)

Norah Jones, 2002. Jones won Album Of The Year for Come Away With Me and Record Of The Year for "Don't Know Why," but Jesse Harris wrote that smoky ballad, which won Song Of The Year.

Paul Grein, a veteran music journalist and historian, is a regular contributor to Yahoo.com.

Amy Winehouse performs "Rehab" during 2007 MTV Movie Awards
Amy Winehouse in 2007

Photo: Chris Polk/FilmMagic

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How Amy Winehouse's 'Back To Black' Changed Pop Music Forever

Ahead of the new Amy Winehouse biopic 'Back To Black,' reflect on the impact of the album of the same name. Read on for six ways the GRAMMY-winning LP charmed listeners and changed the sound of popular music.

GRAMMYs/May 17, 2024 - 01:05 pm

When Amy Winehouse released Back To Black in October 2006, it was a sonic revelation. The beehive-wearing singer’s second full-length blended modern themes with the Shangri-Las sound, crafting something that seemed at once both effortlessly timeless and perfectly timed. 

Kicking off with smash single "Rehab" before blasting into swinging bangers like "Me & Mr. Jones," "Love Is A Losing Game," and "You Know I’m No Good," Black To Black has sold over 16 million copies worldwide to date and is the 12th best-selling record of all time in the United Kingdom. It was nominated for six GRAMMY Awards and won five: Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album. 

Winehouse accepted her golden gramophones via remote link from London due to visa problems. At the time, Winehouse set the record for the most GRAMMYs won by a female British artist in a single year, though that record has since been broken by Adele, who won six in 2011.

Written in the wake of a break-up with on-again, off-again flame Blake Fielder-Civil, Black To Black explores heartbreak, grief, and infidelity, as well as substance abuse, isolation, and various traumas. Following her death in 2011, Back To Black became Winehouse’s most enduring legacy. It remains a revealingly soulful message in a bottle, floating forever on the waves. 

With the May 17 release of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s new (and questionably crafted) Winehouse biopic, also titled Back To Black, it's the perfect time to reflect on the album that not only charmed listeners but changed the state of a lot of popular music over the course of just 11 songs. Here are five ways that Back To Black influenced music today.

She Heralded The Arrival Of The Alt Pop Star

When Amy Winehouse hit the stage, people remarked on her big voice. She had classic, old-time torch singer pipes, like Sarah Vaughn or Etta Jones, capable of belting out odes to lost love, unrequited dreams, and crushing breakups. And while those types of singers had been around before Winehouse, they didn’t always get the chance — or grace required — to make their kind of music, with labels and producers often seeking work that was more poppy, hook-packed, or modern.

The success of Back To Black changed that, with artists like Duffy, Adele, and even Lady Gaga drawing more eyes in the wake of Winehouse’s overwhelming success. Both Duffy and Adele released their debut projects in 2007, the year after Back To Black, bringing their big, British sound to the masses. Amy Winehouse's look and sound showed other aspiring singers that they could be different and transgressive without losing appeal.

Before she signed to Interscope in 2007, "nobody knew who I was and I had no fans, no record label," Gaga told Rolling Stone in 2011. "Everybody, when they met me, said I wasn’t pretty enough or that my voice was too low or strange. They had nowhere to put me. And then I saw [Amy Winehouse] in Rolling Stone and I saw her live. I just remember thinking ‘well, they found somewhere to put Amy…’" 

If an artist like Winehouse — who was making records and rocking styles that seemed far outside the norm — could break through, then who’s to say someone else as bold or brassy wouldn’t do just as well? 

It Encouraged Other Torch Singers In The New Millenium

Back To Black might have sounded fun, with swinging cuts about saying "no" to rehab and being bad news that could seem lighthearted to the casual listener. Dig a little deeper, though, and it’s clear Winehouse is going through some real romantic tumult. 

Before Back To Black was released, Fielder-Civil had left Winehouse to get back together with an old girlfriend, and singer felt that she needed to create something good out of all those bad feelings. Songs like "Love Is A Losing Game" and "Tears Dry On Their Own" speak to her fragile emotional state during the making of the record, and to how much she missed Fielder-Civil. The two would later marry, though the couple divorced in 2009.

Today, young pop singers like Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, and Selena Gomez are lauded for their songs about breakups, boyfriends, and the emotional damage inflicted by callous lovers. While Winehouse certainly wasn’t the first to sing about a broken heart, she was undoubtedly one of the best.

It Created A Bit Of Ronsonmania

Though Mark Ronson was already a fairly successful artist and producer in his own right before he teamed with Winehouse to write and co-produce much of Back To Black, his cred was positively stratospheric after the album's release. Though portions of Back To Black were actually produced by Salaam Remi (who’d previously worked with Winehouse on Frank and who was reportedly working on a follow-up album with her at the time of her death), Ronson got the lion’s share of credit for the record’s sound — perhaps thanks to his his GRAMMY win for Best Pop Vocal Album. Winehouse would even go on to guest on his own Version record, which featured the singer's ever-popular cover of "Valerie."

In the years that followed, Ronson went on to not only produce and make his own funky, genre-bending records, but also to work with acts like Adele, ASAP Rocky, and Paul McCartney, all of whom seemingly wanted a little of the retro soul Ronson could bring. He got huge acclaim for the funk-pop boogie cut "Uptown Funk," which he wrote and released under his own name with help from Bruno Mars, and has pushed into film as well, writing and producing over-the-top tracks like A Star Is Born’s "Shallow" and Barbie’s "I’m Just Ken."  To date, he’s been nominated for 17 GRAMMY Awards, winning eight.

Ronson has always acknowledged Winehouse’s role in his success, as well, telling "BBC Breakfast" in 2010, "I've always been really candid about saying that Amy is the reason I am on the map. If it wasn't for the success of Back To Black, no one would have cared too much about Version."

Amy Showcased The Artist As An Individual

When the GRAMMY Museum hosted its "Beyond Black - The Style of Amy Winehouse" exhibit in 2020, Museum Curator and Director of Exhibitions Nicholas Vega called the singer's sartorial influence "undeniable." Whether it was her beehive, her bold eyeliner, or her fitted dresses, artists and fans had adopted elements of Winehouse’s Back To Black style into their own fashion repertoire. And though it’s the look we associate most with Winehouse, it was actually one she had truly developed while making the record, amping up her Frank-era low-slung jeans, tank tops, and polo shirts with darker eyeliner and much bigger hair, as well as flirty dresses, vibrant bras, and heels.

"Her stylist and friends were influential in helping her develop her look, but ultimately Amy took bits and pieces of trends and styles that she admired to create her own look," Vega told GRAMMY.com in 2020. While rock ‘n’ rollers have always leaned into genre-bending styles, Winehouse’s grit is notable in the pop world, where artists typically have a bit more of a sheen. These days, artists like Miley Cyrus, Billie Eillish, and Demi Lovato are willing to let their fans see a bit more of the grit — thanks, no doubt, to the doors Winehouse opened.

Winehouse also opened the door to the beauty salon and the tattoo studio, pushing boundaries with not just her 14 different vintage-inspired tattoos — which have become almost de rigeur these days in entertainment — but also with her signature beehive-like bouffant, which hadn’t really been seen on a popular artist since the ‘60s.It’s a frequent look for contemporary pop divas, popping up on artists like Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Dua Lipa.

The Dap-Kings Got The Flowers They Deserved

Six of Back To Black’s 11 songs, including "Rehab," got their "retro" sound via backing from the Dap-Kings, a Brooklyn-based soul act Ronson recruited for the project. 

While Winehouse’s lyrics were mostly laid down in London, the Dap-Kings did their parts in New York. Ronson told GRAMMY.com in 2023 that the Dap-Kings "brought ['Rehab'] to life," saying, "I felt like I was floating because I couldn’t believe anybody could still make that drum sound in 2006." Winehouse and the Dap-Kings met months later after the record was released, and recorded "Valerie." The band later backed Winehouse on her U.S. tour. 

Though the Dap-Kings were known in hip musical circles for their work with late-to-success soul sensation Sharon Jones, Back To Black’s immense success buoyed the listening public’s interest in soul music and the Dap-Kings' own profile (not to mention that of their label, Daptone Records).

"Soul music never went away and soul lovers never went away, but they’re just kind of closeted because they didn’t think it was commercially viable," Dap-Kings guitarist Binky Griptite said in the book It Ain't Retro: Daptone Records & The 21st Century Soul Revolution. "Then, when Amy’s record hit, all the undercover soul fans are like, I’m free. And then that’s when everybody’s like, Oh, there’s money in it now."

The success of Back To Black also seems to have firmly cemented the Dap-Kings in Ronson’s Rolodex, with the group’s drummer Homer Steinweiss, multi-instrumentalist Leon Michaels, trumpeter Dave Guy, and guitarist/producer Tom Brenneck appearing on many of his projects; the Dap-Kings' horns got prominent placement in "Uptown Funk."

Amy Exposed The Darker Side Of Overwhelming Success

Four years after Winehouse died, a documentary about her life was released. Asif Kapadia’s Amy became an instant rock-doc classic, detailing not only Winehouse’s upbringing, but also her struggles with fame and addiction. It won 30 awards after release, including Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards and Best Music Film at the 58th GRAMMY Awards.

It also made a lot of people angry — not for how it portrayed Winehouse, but for how she was made to feel, whether by the British press or by people she considered close. The film documented Winehouse’s struggles with bulimia, self-harm, and depression, and left fans and artists alike feeling heartbroken all over again about the singer’s passing. 

The documentary also let fans in on what life was really like for Winehouse, and potentially for other artists in the public eye. British rapper Stormzy summed it up well in 2016 when he told i-D, "I saw the [documentary, Amy] – it got me flipping angry... [Amy’s story] struck a chord with me in the sense that, as a creative, it looks like on the outside, that it’s very ‘go studio, make a hit, go and perform it around the world, champagne in the club, loads of girls’. But the graft and the emotional strain of being a musician is very hard. No one ever sees that part." 

These days, perhaps because of Winehouse’s plight or documentaries like Amy, the music-loving population seems far more inclined to give their favorite singers a little grace, whether it’s advocating for the end of Britney Spears’ conservatorship or sympathizing with Demi Lovato’s personal struggles. Even the biggest pop stars are still people, and Amy really drove that point home.

We Only Said Goodbye With Words: Remembering Amy Winehouse 10 Years Later

Sheryl Crow performing in 2024
Sheryl Crow performs in Franklin, Tennessee in March 2024.

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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5 Ways Sheryl Crow Has Made An Impact: Advocating For Artist Rights, Uplifting Young Musicians & More

As the Recording Academy honors Sheryl Crow at the 2024 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards, take a look at some of her biggest contributions to the music community and other social causes.

GRAMMYs/Apr 30, 2024 - 06:05 pm

Sheryl Crow may be a nine-time GRAMMY winner and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, but her legacy extends far beyond her music. She has dedicated her career to advocating for her fellow artists and social causes close to her heart — and that's why she's one of the honorees at this year's GRAMMYs on the Hill.

On April 30, Crow will be honored at Washington's premier annual celebration of music and advocacy alongside Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) for their bipartisan spearheading of the Save Our Stages Act and the Fans First Act. The "All I Wanna Do" singer called receiving her GRAMMYs on the Hill award "a tremendous honor…because protecting the rights of creators is more important now than ever before."

Helping creators thrive has long been part of Crow's career. She has made it her lifelong mission to support other artists and stand up for causes she believes in, from co-founding a pioneering advocacy group for musicians to supporting the music program at her alma mater. 

Below, check out five ways Sheryl Crow has exemplified advocacy within the music industry — and beyond — over the course of her career.

The 2024 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards is sponsored by City National Bank and benefits the GRAMMY Museum.

She Co-Founded The Recording Artists' Coalition

In 2000, Crow and fellow GRAMMY winner (and previous GRAMMYs on the Hill honoree) Don Henley founded the Recording Artists' Coalition. The organization's mission is to represent artists, defending their rights and interests and challenging unfair industry practices. 

One of the advocacy group's first major legislative wins came in its founding year, when then-President Bill Clinton signed a law repealing The Works Made for Hire and Copyright Corrections Act. The provision had designated musical recordings as "works for hire," thereby taking away many artists' rights to royalties.

In 2009, the Recording Artists' Coalition aligned with the Recording Academy to continue the organization's work as part of the Academy's Advocacy and Public Policy office. (Crow is also a member of the Music Artists Coalition, which was founded in 2019 and has a similar mission to protect artists' rights.)

She's Sounded The Alarm About The Dangers Of AI

Crow released her eleventh studio set, Evolution, in March and tackled the topic of artificial intelligence head-on via the LP's ominous title track. "Turned on the radio and there it was/ A song that sounded like something I wrote/ The voice and melody were hauntingly/ So familiar that I thought it was a joke," she sings on the opening stanza before questioning, "Is it beyond intelligence/ As if the soul need not exist?"

The prolific singer/songwriter explained her decision to put her concerns about AI's threat to creativity, songwriting and even artists' ownership over their own voices in an interview on the podcast Q with Tom Power earlier this month.

"It terrifies me that artists can be brought back from the dead; it terrifies me that I can sing to you a song that I had absolutely nothing to do with and you'll believe it," she said. "And so I'm waiting to see if the best of us will rise up and say, 'This cannot be' 'cause our kids need to understand that truth is truth. There is a truth, and the rest of it is non-truth." 

Later in the wide-ranging conversation, Crow added her insight into how technology, social media and the modern streaming economy are all negatively impacting listeners' relationship to music as well. "We need music that tells our story now more than we've ever needed it," she urged. "And yet, we're going to bring in technology — already, algorithms are killing our ability to even not only listen to a whole song, but to experience it at a spiritual level."

She's Championed Racial Equality In The Music Business

Amid the summer of marches, demonstrations and other civil actions in the wake of George Floyd's tragic 2020 murder, Crow used her platform and privilege as a white musician to help shine a light on the plight of Black musicians fighting for equality within the music industry.

"I stand in solidarity with the Black Music Action Coalition in their efforts to end systematic racism and racial inequality in the music business," she wrote in a 2020 social media post. "It is impossible to overestimate the contribution of Black people in our industry; Black culture has inexorably shaped the trajectory of nearly every musical genre. Most artists, myself included, simply would not be here without it. The time to acknowledge this fact is long overdue."

Crow went on to call for the music business to become a "shining example of reform to other industries." She added, "Acknowledging and making amends for both historic and ongoing inequalities, and creating a path forward to ensure they never occur again, is our highest calling."

She's A Charitable Powerhouse

Crow has long made philanthropy a central priority in her life. Along with supporting the Recording Academy's own MusiCares initiative, the "Steve McQueen" singer has backed and partnered with a veritable laundry list of non-profit organizations including, but not limited to, The Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the World Food Program, ADOPT A CLASSROOM, Pelotonia, the Delta Children's Home, Stevie Van Zandt's TeachRock Artist Council and more. 

Additionally, she's spoken out countless times about gun violence, Medicaid expansion, women's health, mental health, the death penalty, LGBTQ+ rights, and a host of other issues, particularly affecting Tennessee, where she now calls home. 

The "Soak Up The Sun" songstress has also used her musical talents to give back over the course of her career. In fact, just weeks before releasing Evolution, she contributed to the star-studded 2024 re-release of Mark Knopfler's 1983 debut solo single "Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero" to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

She Supports Music's Next Generation

A proud alumnus of the University of Missouri, Crow holds a degree in music education and has continually given back to her alma mater's music program in an effort to support the future generations of music makers. 

In 2015, Crow headlined her own benefit concert for the Mizzou School of Music's fundraising campaign, which led to the choral performance and rehearsal hall inside the campus' Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center being rechristened Sheryl Crow Hall in early 2022. 

As she's achieved veteran status in the music industry, Crow has also made a particular point to uplift and champion young female artists. In 2019, she partnered with TODAY for its "Women Who Rock: Music and Mentorship" series, and in 2020, took part in Citi's #SeeHerHearHer campaign to boost representation of women in music. More recently, she has touted Taylor Swift as a "powerhouse" and offered career advice to her now-frequent "If It Makes You Happy" duet partner, Olivia Rodrigo.

Whether she's inspiring young women or advocating for music creators of all kinds, Sheryl Crow has already left an indelible mark on the music industry. And if her previous efforts are any indication, she's not stopping anytime soon.

GRAMMYs On The Hill Awards 2024: Everything You Need To Know Including Mission, Goals, Honorees & Achievements

Anitta performs in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Photo: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

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Enter Anitta's Brazilian 'Funk Generation': 5 Takeaways From Her New Album

Anitta brand-new album 'Funk Generation' is the culmination of a long-held dream to bring Brazilian funk to the world. Read on for five ways Anitta's genre-bending album showcases an "energy that's very unique to Brazil."

GRAMMYs/Apr 26, 2024 - 01:31 pm

After establishing herself as a global pop star, Brazilian singer Anitta is bringing the music of her country to the forefront. On the just-released Funk Generation, the Latin GRAMMY nominee puts a spotlight on funk carioca — Brazilian funk.

On the 15-track album, Anitta sings in Portuguese, Spanish, and English over funk carioca beats, which are Brazil’s aggressive and hyper spin on genres like hip-hop and Miami bass. As with her previous releases, Funk Generation has elements of EDM, reggaeton, and pop, but the rhythms also known as baile funk are the star. The album represents a new era for Anitta, which she first kicked off in June with "Funk Rave," a single and video that captures the spirit of Brazil's favelas where funk carioca was born. 

Anitta later introduced Brazil's melodic funk subgenre to her global audience with the dreamy "Mil Veces." Now Anitta is expanding her funky world by bringing artists like Sam Smith, Brray, and Bad Gyal into her funky world.

"I'm going to accomplish making a lot of artists and people like funk," Anitta tells GRAMMY.com, adding that she hopes listeners "start embracing this rhythm that's very good, that invites you to dance, and that has an energy that's very unique to Brazil."

Funk Generation follows Anitta's rise to international stardom. Following a decade of making her mark in Brazil and later Latin America, Anitta went fully international with her 2022 album Versions of Me and the viral hit "Envolver." The album helped Anitta garner a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist in 2023 and a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Record Of The Year. She later told GRAMMY.com that "dreamed" of putting out a Brazilian funk album.

Anitta has made that dream come true with Funk Generation. Here are five takeaways from her genre-bending album, including insight from the Brazilian superstar herself.   

Anitta Said Making A Funk Carioca Album Was A "Challenge"

In March 2023, Anitta revealed that she was trying to get out of her contract with Warner Music, alleging a lack of support from the label. After parting ways with Warner in April, she signed a new deal with Republic Records and Universal Latin shortly after. It seems that her new label home offered the support she was looking for: She released "Funk Rave" in June 2023. 

"This funk album has been a challenge for me because it's not a rhythm that people are doing out there," she says. "It's something that’s very new that I'm going to introduce to people so they like it, listen to it, and try to do it as well."

She Wants to Continue To Breaking The Divide Between Latin America & Brazil

While Brazil is a part of Latin America, there still exists a bit of a cultural divide with Spanish-speaking Latin American countries because of language differences. On Funk Generation, Anitta aims to bridge that gap by featuring Latin music acts who embrace her  Brazilian funk vibes. 

On the sultry "Double Team," she is joined by Puerto Rican singer and rapper Brray and Barcelona-based artist Bad Gyal, who performed with Anitta for the first time at awards ceremony Premio Lo Nuestro in February. They get into the groove in Spanish with no problem alongside Anitta.

"It's been many years since Brazil has gotten to this international level, that a lot of people are listening to Brazilian songs, and I know I've worked a lot for this to happen," Anitta says. "More Latin artists coming to Brazil, who are curious and interested in making a career there.

"It's been very important for me to create this cultural exchange because the Latino countries and Brazil are side-by-side, but it's like there's a big barrier between them because of language," she continues. "With music, we can break through."

Sam Smith Embraces Funk Carioca For The First Time 

It’s not only Latin music acts who are getting in on funk carioca with Anitta. British superstar Sam Smith joins Anitta for the freaky "Ahi," and Smith's soulful voice soars over the sleek Brazilian funk rhythms. The collaboration shows how determined Anitta is to push the music of her country into the mainstream with Smith being one of most prominent pop artists from the UK to embrace the genre. 

The song also marks an important moment for LGBTQIA+ representation with Anitta, who is bisexual, teaming up with the non-binary GRAMMY winner.

Funk Generation Spotlights Brazilian Talent 

Anitta shares her platform with more Brazilian acts in the alluring "Joga Pra Lua," an EDM-infused funk banger that invites the listener to a block party where they get lost in the music. 

Translated to "play for the moon," the track is produced by fellow Brazilian DENNIS (who recently scored a global hit with the remix of "Tá OK" featuring Kevin o Chris, Karol G, and Maluma). Anitta is also joined on the track by Brazilian hitmaker Pedro Sampaio, who sings in Portuguese.

Anitta Is Looking Toward The Future Of Funk Carioca

Despite the few features, Funk Generation is an album where Anitta largely shines solo. She not only puts a spotlight on the Brazilian genre with this LP, but pushes it to new places. One of the standouts is the frenetic "Grip" where Anitta blends Brazilian funk with elements of Miami bass music that’s reminiscent of the ‘90s. She sings in Portuguese, English and Spanish throughout the song.

Whereas funk carioca played second fiddle to many other genres in her previous album, now the tables are turned in Funk Generation. She seamlessly blends pop with funk carioca in the fully English track "Love in Common" that could sneak those rhythms onto Top 40 radio. Anitta also finds a common thread between Brazilian funk, reggaeton, and Afrobeat in the multicultural banger "Aceita."

 The future of baile funk looks bright in Anitta’s hands.

Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Anitta On The "Insane" Success Of "Envolver," Representing Brazil & Reshaping Global Pop

Sheryl Crow press photo 2024
Sheryl Crow

Photo: Dove Shore

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Sheryl Crow's 'Evolution': The Rock Icon On Her "Liberating" New Album, The Song That's Her "Favorite Child" & More

As Sheryl Crow adds another album to her catalog, the freshly minted Rock & Roll Hall of Famer reflects on the major moments, musings and mushroom trips that led her to the unexpected new project.

GRAMMYs/Apr 4, 2024 - 04:24 pm

When Sheryl Crow released her tenth studio album, 2019's Threads, she declared it'd be her last — even calling it "a beautiful final statement."

"People don't listen to whole bodies of work anymore. In fact, I'm not sure they even listen to a whole song anymore," Crow explains. "So it seemed kind of, not only futile, but also, at this stage, it seems like a long process that's expensive when really, it's best to put out something you really believe in."

As it turns out, she really believed in her eleventh album, Evolution

Crow's music has always been as insightful as it is catchy, and Evolution is perhaps the most existential example of that. Throughout, the nine-time GRAMMY winner  poignantly muses over the state of the world and humankind, while also reflecting on the moments and the ideals that still give her hope. Along the way, she throws in very Sheryl Crow quips ("Anger sucks, but at least your brand's trending," she sings on "Broken Record") and makes some important statements ("We are brilliant, we are kind/ But sometimes we miss the glaring signs," she urges on the title track).

If Evolution ends up being Crow's actual last album, she'd certainly be going out in signature style. It's a culmination of what's made her music so timeless: unabashed honesty, soulful musicality, and unbridled joy. 

GRAMMY.com sat down with Crow to discuss her unexpected album, her "liberating" new creative process, and major moments that have made her career feel like a fairy tale.

After declaring that you wouldn't make any more albums, how did creating Evolution change your perspective on the rest of your career? Do you think you'll go back to making albums?

Well, this was not like any experience I have ever had. I've never made a record where I wasn't there for it. I mean, I was there, but when I typically make a record, everything starts and ends with me. 

This was me sending a guitar vocal to this incredible producer, Mike Elizondo, who basically was like Martin Scorsese. He would take my little screenplay and just build this cinematic landscape around it. I've never had that experience where I walk in and hear myself in the context of something I've never heard before. And it was really a beautiful experience. 

Once I got over the fact that I'm not playing everything — once you check your ego and go, Wait a minute, this is exactly what you wanted. You wanted your stories, your thoughts to be built on — it made it so different than any process I've ever experienced. 

Will I go back and make records the way I used to? I don't know. I'm going to quit saying I'm never gonna do an album again, because I don't know. [Laughs.]

You've said that this is kind of a diary turned into an album. You can actually feel that in some of the songs. I can envision you sitting down and just spilling your heart out, and then it turning into a song.

I've never made a record where I just wrote the song and then let it go, and then it came back to me. It was a really colossal gift that I gave myself, to let go of it and be okay with what came back to me. 

Luckily, there was no disappointment in what came back, because I know Mike Elizondo so well — like, for 20 years. And the interesting thing about this process is the whole thing came together over one song that we put on the record [last]. 

It's called "Digging In The Dirt," it's a Peter Gabriel cover. It's on the deluxe [version of Evolution]. I called Mike, I said, "I have been really soul searching. I've done a guided mushroom tour. I am really trying to navigate how I'm feeling about this moment in our humanity, and I want to do this song 'Digging In The Dirt,' would you produce it?" He said yes. 

We sent it to Peter, and quite a long time went by, and [when we] got it back, he'd put himself on it. Then, it was like, Okay, we have an album.

I imagine that you probably weren't thinking he would put himself on the cover.

I wasn't. We sent it to him and he really liked it. And I said, "If, you know… no pressure!" 

Of course, it's a compliment. But I think his work is pretty emblematic of what this record is about: Digging deep and taking no prisoners, calling out what you see, trying to figure out a way to get back to [your] authentic self — which is what every human being at some moment in their life will struggle with.

I feel like you've always been pretty outspoken in your music — not in an abrasive way, but just in a way that you're very assured of the message you're spreading.

I hope so. It's a weird thing to be now — because when you think about music before MTV and VH1, like before videos, you'd write a song and there was no image that was attached to it. Then MTV and VH1 [come along, and] suddenly you're writing little stories [for visuals], and that gets in somebody's head. Like, I can listen to Madonna song, and instead of what I experienced, I remember the video.

Now, you put out songs, and there's so much branding and social media that you're attached to before you ever hear the song, that it taints what your songs are about, you know? And it can also make you [think], I would never listen to her because she's a liberal

It's like we're programmed to decide if we could like somebody's song based on how we feel about that person. It's different than it used to be. All that to say, there's nothing that can stop me from writing, because it's the thing that I know how to do. It's a salve for me.

I saw an interview with the Guardian where you answered fan questions, and someone asked about how your creative process evolved. And you were basically like, "I don't know who's listening anymore, and I don't really care who's listening. So I'm just gonna say what I feel." Do you feel more creatively liberated than you ever have?

I do. I mean, there were many periods during the process of making the albums in the early days where I would sit and listen to the body of work and go, I gotta write something that could maybe get played at radio. There's none of that anymore. Because radio is based on streams, and streams is based on social media and TikTok, and all that stuff. And also, being my age, I can't even hope to be played anyway. So it is liberating.

That's not to say that it's not frustrating. It is frustrating to feel like you're writing some of your best work and [have to ask] Will anybody hear it? But I had to stay out of the outcome, just like I've always done, and be into the process. And that's where I continue to find my joy.

You've been able to celebrate a lot of success before the streaming era took over. This year actually marks 30 years since "All I Wanna Do," hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, which started a very epic run for you, including your first GRAMMY wins. What do you remember from that time?

When I reflect on that night, I think I was not equipped to hold all that. In fact, it's funny, I look at what I wore, and it was very not designer. I just was a country bumpkin. [Laughs.]

We had already toured for, like, a year, and nothing had really — I mean, it was just starting to pick up, and then "All I Wanna Do" came out, and it exploded. And then I was nominated for GRAMMYs, and won the GRAMMYs, and then the next day, we played in San Francisco like it never even happened. 

It took a little time — in fact, the better part of that year — to realize that, at that time, the GRAMMYs, which was the one night of the year that everyone tuned into, that winning a GRAMMY could change the trajectory of your career. Just from the GRAMMYs, and that visibility, my record sales expanded exponentially. It was just over the top. 

It was a whirlwind. And what looked like, to most people, as being an overnight success, to me, being a 30-year-old, I felt like I'd worked my whole life — I studied piano, I taught school. I had a whole life before I ever made it. 

It was a bizarre time. And obviously, there's no guidebook for how to become famous and how to navigate that. So I just tried to really stay in my lane, and I didn't really enjoy it as much as I could have enjoyed it. I wish now I could go back and say, "You need to enjoy it more! Be a rock star!" [Laughs.]

You were just inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and you've hung out with — and recorded with — Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. I would say that puts you in the ranks of a rock star!

I've been so dang lucky. And that was an amazing thing. I grew up in the middle of farmland, in a town with three stoplights. And my parents were like, "You work hard and you're a good person, good things will happen." 

You just don't really know what life can be like. As you get older, you realize that the stories we tell ourselves [when we're younger] about what [life] can be can be very limiting,

In my particular instance, I could not have envisioned knowing these massive heroes that I got to brush up against, and I got to learn from. I think there's not an award on the planet that could measure knowing some of these people. 

I mean, even singing with Willie Nelson, for as long as we've sung together is — the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame [performance with him] was just icing on the cake. To be in a "club" — as my dad calls it — with the people that wrote the book on it is just very humbling.

I read that you didn't even want to record "All I Wanna Do" at first. Is there a song you've never gotten sick of playing?

After two years of touring that record, I was so sick of ["All I Wanna Do"]. Now, of course, I play it with absolute and total gratitude, because it's taken me to St. Petersburg, to Tokyo, to Bogota, to Tel Aviv. That song has literally taken me all over the world, and I've watched people who don't speak English sing the many thousands of words in that song. 

There is one song that I love every time I play it, and when it comes on the radio, I don't turn it off. It's "My Favorite Mistake." The original intent of it, the experience of writing it, the feel of the song. It feels like the best song in my catalog.

That's a big statement! You don't see artists making that statement a lot, because they're like, "Oh, I can't pick one, they're all like my children!" 

"My Favorite Mistake" is my favorite child. There, I'll say it.

It's amazing to have a piece of work like that, right? I can imagine that you have so many songs you're proud of, but it's very cool to have a song, no matter what it meant to other people, for it to feel so special to you.

It is. You hear that woo-woo statement of "I was just a vessel." I've had a few of those songs where I go, "Okay, that's weird. I don't know how I wrote that song top to bottom." There are those songs, and I do look at that and go, "Okay, there is some divinity in that." 

Because we learn really early on how to craft a good song — what the form of a good song is, how to build interest in it, how to make it exciting, how to hold the listener. All kinds of crafting tricks. But on the odd occasion you get, like, a "Redemption Day," which you go, "I don't know how I wrote that song, because that's not even how I write," and 15 years later, Johnny Cash records it. 

There are those songs where you think you just got to be in the room for it. "My Favorite Mistake" was a little bit like that. It was so effortless. Most of the lyrics I sang onto the mic as I was playing it on bass, writing it with Jeff [Trott, Crow's frequent collaborator]. 

It just fell together, and it felt so authentic to how gutted I was over my relationship falling apart. And I think sometimes that is what makes a song universal — it's the emotion we all experience no matter what the experience looks like. 

That can very much apply to Evolution as well — in a very different way than "My Favorite Mistake," but there's a lot of relatable sentiments on this album. 

I think as a mom, as a person who's raising two young people, a lot of what I'm asking myself — and what I'm witnessing, which causes me to scratch my head — I don't know what to do with it. And you can't really engage anymore in narrative conversation where people share ideas, and try to come up with solutions, and make compromises. Because we are now being, I guess, in some ways, programmed to not do that, you know? To not give in to the other side because it might be a show of weakness.

My safe haven is to write songs, and this process was really that. And I can safely say, without ego, I love the way that it turned out, and that is because I did not produce it. It's just my songs and a great movie around them.

So your biggest takeaway from this album is that you should stop producing your own work…

My biggest takeaway is I should just sit and write little songs and then fire them off to a producer.

You know, that's what they're there for, right?

Exactly! That's why we pay you, anyway! [Laughs.]

You're such a statement-based artist and you've always stuck to your guns. What are some things that you look back on and you're like, Man, that is exactly what I set out to do?

Oh my gosh, I have so many that now I allow myself to feel proud of. I think it's our knee-jerk to not ever give ourselves a minute of homage. 

I got to sing with Pavarotti. I got to sing a piece by Mozart in front of my mom and dad in Modena Italy for War Child. The look on my parents' faces will never leave me, ever. My parents are musicians. I don't think they could have envisioned their little girl, like, singing legitimate music, after the years of piano lessons and getting my degree in voice and piano. 

To see me up there singing Mozart with Pavarotti, and then getting to play my own music with Eric Clapton backing me [at the same event], that one moment was a personal highlight for sure.

I've had some incredible experiences — getting to sing with, like you said, Dylan, and getting to walk out on stage with the Rolling Stones and strut around and be a rock star. But doesn't it all come back to your parents, ultimately? I will never forget the emotional looks on their faces. And I will carry that with me forever. 

Well, especially, like you've been talking about, coming out of such a small town. What you've accomplished is so rare, especially coming from a place with three stoplights.

To bring your parents all the way to Italy! They'd never been out of the country and [I had to say] "Okay, you guys are gonna have to get a passport. You're gonna drive an hour and a half to the airport in Memphis, Tennessee. You're gonna fly all the way across the world." 

You know, those are the things that fairy tales are made of. And I would say that my life has been a fairy tale.

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