meta-script6 Artists Influenced By Tracy Chapman: Luke Combs, Brandi Carlile, Tori Amos & More | GRAMMY.com
Tracy Chapman performing
Tracy Chapman

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6 Artists Influenced By Tracy Chapman: Luke Combs, Brandi Carlile, Tori Amos & More

Three decades after Tracy Chapman’s eponymous first LP hit the shelves, take a look at the artists who owe a debt of gratitude to the 13-time GRAMMY-nominee.

GRAMMYs/Jan 8, 2024 - 02:58 pm

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Monday, Jan. 8, to include mention of Luke Combs and his 2024 GRAMMY nomination.

Renowned for her stripped-back folky sound, social conscience and storytelling abilities, Tracy Chapman has never really fitted into the pop landscape. The singer/songwriter emerged in the late 1980s, a period when big-voiced power balladeers and exuberant teen princesses were all the rage. And throughout the following two decades, the Cleveland native continued to assemble an impressive body of work that remained utterly impervious to fleeting chart trends. 

Chapman's determination to carve out her own distinct path has undeniably reaped its rewards. Her self-titled debut album topped the Billboard 200 in 1988, sold 20 million copies and received six GRAMMY nominations; she won three (Best Contemporary Folk Album, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the coveted Best New Artist). A mid-'90s career resurgence, meanwhile, helped to boost her awards tally, with biggest hit "Give Me A Reason" picking up Best Rock Song. 

And whether standing in for Stevie Wonder at Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Tribute Concert or performing "Talkin’ Bout a Revolution" on the eve of the 2020 presidential election, Chapman has used her earthy voice to soundtrack several key historical moments.   And the very traditional kind of artist even unwittingly became a viral sensation thanks to a powerful rendition of Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me" in aid of David Letterman's late-night retirement.  

Although Chapman hasn't released a studio album since 2008's Our Bright Future, her music has remained an ever-present. From Sam Smith and Justin Bieber, to Passenger and Luke Combs, it's probably quicker to list which contemporary acts haven't covered her defining single "Fast Car" in recent years; dance producer Jonas Blue even took it back into the Hot 100 In 2015. Kelly ClarksonBlack Pumas and Jamila Woods have all paid tribute by tackling different songs from Chapman's remarkably consistent oeuvre, too.

Of course, Chapman's modern-day cachet extends beyond the odd song. Here's a look at five artists who have credited the star as a formative influence on their entire careers.

Luke Combs

By now, an ocean of ink has been spilled about Luke Combs making Tracy Chapman’s "Fast Car" a hit once more — from its racial, sexual, class, gender, and genre dynamics, to whether whitewashing was at play. But with all due respect to the talking heads, the truth is arguably much simpler: when it comes to great singer/songwriters, game recognizes game.

"There was this one song that really stuck out to me. It was called 'Fast Car,'" Combs said onstage last year. “That song meant a lot to me since then — for my whole life. I always think about my dad when it comes on and us spending time together.” It’s awfully telling, too, that Combs didn’t flip the gender of the song — a token of respect. He, too, is a "checkout girl."

Decades after its creation, Combs' take on "Fast Car" made a U-turn to the top of the Billboard country charts; at the 2024 GRAMMYs, his version is nominated for Best Country Solo Performance.

"It has stayed with me since I have played it in my live show now for six-plus years and everyone — I mean everyone — across all these stadiums relates to this song and sings along," Combs later told Billboard. That’s the gift of a supernatural songwriter." Yes, “Fast Car" is deeply, incontrovertibly human, and earthbound. But Combs reminded us that it’s charged with magic, too. — Morgan Enos

Khalid 

Just like Chapman, Khalid racked up a glut of GRAMMY nominations with his debut album, American Teen. And while promoting the record on BBC Radio One's Live Lounge in 2018, the chart-topper doffed his cap to one of its major influences with an acoustic reworking of "Fast Car." An obvious choice, perhaps, but speaking to Forbes later that same year, Khalid insisted that he was far from just a fair-weather fan. 

"For me, Tracy Chapman was just someone who inspires me in terms of songwriting," the "Talk" hitmaker revealed. "When I think about songwriting just how she can make you feel like you're in that moment." Chapman was also the first name that came to mind when Khalid was asked about his biggest musical inspiration in our One Take series.  

Lisa Marie Presley 

The late Lisa Marie Presley took her time following in her father's footsteps, releasing her debut album, To Whom It May Concern, at the relatively late age of 35. But it was the music of singer/songwriters such as Linda Ronstadt, Shelby Lynne and, in particular, Tracy Chapman (rather than the rock and roll of Elvis) that informed her sound.  

In a 2012 chat to promote third LP Storm and Grace, Presley told Rolling Stone India, "I've never met Tracy, but she's always been a huge influence on me; I don't even know if she knows that. From her first album until everything, she's been such an influence on me as a singer-songwriter." 

Presley also referenced Chapman in an interview with the Huffington Post about her musical inspirations, adding, "I love women who sing, and they mean what they're saying, and they reach in and grab you. It moves you. You can feel the singer, and it's for real." And while appearing on BBC Radio 2’s Tracks of My Years in 2013, the star selected "Smoke and Ashes" from Chapman's 1995 LP New Beginning as one of her all-time favorites.  

Valerie June 

"The missing link between Memphis Minnie and Tracy Chapman" is how singer/songwriter Valerie June was once described. No doubt that Chapman, whose sound combines folk-pop with everything from soul and bluegrass to traditional Appalachian music, would have been on board with such comparisons.   

June became a die-hard Chapman fan while growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, as she explained to the Washington Post in 2014: "I wanted to perform from probably the age of four or five, but I never believed I could. I saw Tracy Chapman and Whitney Houston and wanted to be like them. But I thought, 'Yeah, no way. They didn't come from a little old place like this.'" 

Of course, June did manage to carve a niche for herself in the wider world. She even picked up a Best American Roots Song nod at the 2022 GRAMMYs for "Call Me A Fool," a collaboration with Stax legend Carla Thomas. And one of her proudest career moments was following in Chapman's footsteps by appearing on "Austin City Limits."  

Brandi Carlile 

Brandi Carlile has achieved several GRAMMY milestones throughout her glittering career. The Americana favorite was the most-nominated artist at the 2019 ceremony in which she took home three gongs. Then in 2022, she became the first-ever female songwriter to pick up two Song Of The Year nods simultaneously. And the music of Tracy Chapman helped set Carlile on her 24-time nominated path. 

Carlile has frequently acknowledged the influence that the "Fast Car" hitmaker has had on her career. While hosting "Somewhere Over the Radio," a SiriusXM show designed to celebrate "queer excellence," the star played one of her most cherished Chapman songs. And during her 2023 A Special Solo Performance tour, she brought out wife Catherine to perform a duet of New Beginning cut "The Promise." 

Carlile is such a fan that while responding to a fan on Twitter in the pandemic-hit 2020, she argued that one of the few ways the year could redeem itself was if Chapman dropped a new album.  

Tori Amos 

Eight-time GRAMMY nominee Tori Amos and Tracy Chapman began their careers in tandem: David Kershenbaum executive produced the eponymous first albums from both the former's short-lived synth-pop outfit Y Kant Tori Read and the latter singer-songwriter around the same time. And the flame-haired pianist was one of the first to recognize that her counterpart was something special. 

In a Pitchfork interview about her musical tastes, Amos revealed that Tracy Chapman essentially changed her entire outlook. "It woke me up and took me back to my 5-year-old self, who was creating from a pure place of intention of music being magic, as a place where we could walk into and feel many different things." 

Amos subsequently ditched the crop top, leather pants and copious amounts of hairspray and, like Chapman, followed her artistic instincts. When asked by Glamour magazine in 2012 which female artists its younger readers should explore, the "Cornflake Girl" hitmaker didn't hesitate in mentioning her fellow 1988 debutant.  

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Queer country feature hero
(L-R) Orville Peck, Allison Russell, Lily Rose, Adeem the Artist, Jaime Wyatt

Photos (L-R): Jeff Hahne/Getty Images, Erika Goldring/Getty Images, Erika Goldring/Getty Images, Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Americana Music Association, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach

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How Queer Country Artists Are Creating Space For Inclusive Stories In The Genre

As country music continues its global explosion, the genre is seeing a growing number of artists in the LGBTQIA+ community — including Adeem the Artist, Lily Rose and Jaime Wyatt — blaze a trail toward acceptance.

GRAMMYs/Jun 18, 2024 - 04:36 pm

When country singer/songwriter Jaime Wyatt announced she was queer with the release of her second album, 2020's Neon Cross, she was convinced doing so would destroy her career. Instead, something shifted — not only was she more free to be herself and to date women openly, but many fans reacted positively, too.

"Several times on the road I've had fans come up to me with their same sex partner, and they're like, 'Hey, we feel safe here. It's so awesome because we both love country music, and we're not out of the closet, and we're not out to our families, but we can be here,'" Wyatt says.

Modern country music is generally perceived as a conservative genre, and deep-rooted cultural and industry biases have long excluded LGBTQIA+ (and BIPOC) artists and stories from the genre. For example, in 2010, when successful mainstream country artist Chely Wright came out, her career stalled and record sales halved. Kacey Musgraves was criticized for lyrics supporting same-sex love in her beloved anthem, "Follow Your Arrow." More recently, even, Wyatt walked out of a recording session after the owner of the space asked if she was singing "'some gay s—.'"

But Wyatt is also one of a growing number of country artists who, in recent years, have blazed a trail through country music and toward acceptance. Among them, Adeem the Artist, Mya Byrne, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Mary Gauthier, Lizzy No, Orville Peck, Lily Rose, and Allison Russell. Together, they're celebrating queerness alongside their love for the genre, and pushing it into diversity with patience, tenacity, and darn good country music.

"If you listen to popular music, or if you listen to hip-hop music, it feels like there's a broader diversity to a lot of subcultures as far as what you're able to access," nonbinary country singer/songwriter Adeem the Artist says. "Whereas with country music, it's very linear, it's very myopic, and singular in its expression."

By way of broadening country's storytelling, Adeem plays a honky-tonk blend of classic and '90s country music that's sonically aligned with the deep musical traditions in Tennessee, where they now live. Lyrically, though, their propensity for gorgeous, frankly worded songs complicate stereotypical southern narratives in rare and provocative ways. On White Trash Revelry, their 2022 studio album, they grapple with racism, economic entrapment, gun violence, and family heritage. And their latest, Anniversary, released in May, includes songs about mental health, the poignance of parenthood, and the pain and fear of being a queer person in a world that threatens their existence.

Indeed, some of the places in the U.S. with the strongest ties to country music remain the least hospitable to queer people. Just last year, Tennessee, home of Nashville, the country music capital of the world, passed a total of 10 bills aimed at LGBTQIA+ people, while Texas, perhaps country music's second-best known state, passed 20 percent of all anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation in the U.S. What's more, LGBTQIA+ people and culture have been targeted by numerous attacks around the world — including the Pulse nightclub and Club Q shootings stateside — in the last few years alone.

For many, the consequences of not coming out, of not sharing their full selves with the world, are risky, too. Growing up, Wyatt had no role model to show her it was okay to be queer. She struggled for years with mental health and substance abuse and was convicted of robbing her heroin dealer as a young adult. "I needed to see someone who looked like me when I was a young child," Wyatt says. "And maybe I wouldn't have been a dope fiend in jail."

But while straight white men comprise most of country music's standard slate of forebearers, women and people in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities have contributed to the genre since its beginning. Notably, it was Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a queer Black woman, who in the 1950s introduced reverb to gospel and rhythm and blues music — and in doing so, she forever changed guitar playing, and inspired some of country music's biggest trailblazers, from Elvis to Johnny Cash.

In 1973 — four years after the Stonewall uprising kickstarted a widespread gay liberation movement — Patrick Haggerty and his band Lavender Country released what is generally considered the first gay country album. But after it sold out its first pressing of 1000 copies, the album was mostly forgotten until 1999, when the Journal of Country Music published an article hailing Haggerty as "the lost pioneer of out gay country music." Haggerty began performing again and in 2014, indie label Paradise of Bachelors reissued the Lavender Country album, securing Haggerty status as a grandfather figure to queer country.

Haggerty's reissue landed in a different world than the album's original run. In the interim, a handful of artists released more queer country music, including Jeff Miller, aka "John Deere Diva," known for his George Strait parody, "Not Really Strait," as well as Doug Stevens and the Outband's When Love Is Right and Sid Spencer's Out-N-About Again, which put lyrically gay songs to country music.

In 2011, shortly before the Lavender Country reissue, queer country singer/songwriter and music scholar Karen Pittleman convened the first Gay Ole Opry in Brooklyn's now defunct Public Assembly performance space, launching more than a decade of queer country events, tours and a far-reaching network of performers and supporters. And in 2015, gay marriage became legal nationwide.

As progress has accelerated culturally in the near decade since, it has in country music, too. In 2018, Paisley Fields' debut album Glitter and Sawdust merged cowboy grit with queer raunch. In 2019, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" provoked country music to re-consider the nature and identity of country music. In 2021, T.J. Osborne of the Brothers Osborne became the first openly gay male artist signed to a major record label; a year later, the duo's song "Younger Me" — which was written in response to T.J.'s coming out — became the first country song with an LGBTQIA+ theme to win a GRAMMY. And this Pride Month, longtime LGBTQIA+ supporter (and GLAAD's 2023 Excellence in Media Award recipient) Maren Morris declared on Instagram, "happy to be the B in LGBTQ+."

Read More: 9 Times Queer Artists Made History At The GRAMMYs: From Elton John's Collab With BSB To Kim & Sam's "Unholy" Union

"We as queer fans deserve to have songs that speaks specifically to us," says Rachel Cholst, a queer writer and educator. "And if that means putting in same gender pronouns, then we deserve that too. And if that makes a straight person uncomfortable, I don't know what to tell you. I've grown up my entire life having to internally change the pronouns to the love songs that really moved me."

Cholst started writing about music when she realized she couldn't be the only queer country fan out there. Her work aims to make queer country music accessible, and she has run the Adobe and Teardrops blog for more than a decade. In 2022, Cholst launched Rainbow Rodeo, a zine about queer country music, which appears bi-annually in print and regularly online.

"Everyone just assumed that country music is this one thing, and it never occurred to them to go look for it. That tells you a lot about how country music wants to present itself as an industry," Cholst says. "If we erase anyone who's not straight, anyone who's not white, then what you're saying is, you want those people to be erased from the conversation, from the culture."

Beyond using she/her pronouns in love songs (which she didn't get to do on her first album, Felony Blues), Wyatt's powerful, steely queer country music complicates social consciousness. Incisive and elegant in her delivery, she's equally compelling chronicling her conviction and jail time on Felony Blues, confronting demons and figuring out who she is on her Shooter Jennings-produced second album, Neon Cross, and outlining her hopes and frustrations for the world on her third album, 2023's sultry, groovy, Feel Good.

Wyatt's knack for catchy and advocacy-laced country bangers is clearest in "Rattlesnake Girl," one of her most popular songs. In it, she offers an anthemic celebration of joy unfettered: "I see my sweet friends out on the weekend/ They all look happy and gay," and a barbed warning to anyone who might impinge on that happiness: "Thank you kindly, don't walk behind me/ I've seen people slip that way/ And if you try me, boot heels beside me/ I might have to make your day."

Queer country music means something a little different to each artist. For many, it's about much more than simply being a queer person performing country music. Adeem the Artist considers queer country its own genre, complete with specific rules — many of which have nothing to do with sexual or gender orientation.

"It is explicitly political in nature. It is often kind of raunchy," they assert. "There's an element to queer country that is confrontational, that is willing to create discomfort for the sake of a relief that leans towards some greater social awareness."

To some degree, raising awareness and representation — which is essential for inclusion and acceptance — requires a bit of self-tokenization, Adeem says. "The very, very basic act of referring to me as a person who is queer, who is trans, who is nonbinary, who is whatever, those labels only do good as much as they illuminate the differences between us and the fact that I am more difficult for some people to relate with."

Adeem and Wyatt both operate within the alt-country scene, which has been marginally more inclusive than mainstream country over the years. Recently, though, rising country musician Lily Rose cracked through with her viral breakup single, 2020's "Villain." On her latest EP, Runnin' Outta Time (which she released in May), she sings a high-octane pop/country mix about her values and relationships. It's a well-worn country music landscape that has been almost exclusively dominated by heterosexual white men.

"To be one of the first to literally [and] figuratively, carry the flag... it makes me really proud. And it has its heavy moments for sure," Rose says. "Night after night, when I get to meet fans and see comments on social media that they feel seen for the first time in the genre, it's really special and it makes every single second of hard work to get here worth it."

The day after Runnin' Out of Time dropped, Rose made her Grand Ole Opry debut with two songs from the album, "Back Pew" and "Two Flowers"; Adeem and Wyatt also played the Opry for the first time in the last year as well. The Opry, one of country music's oldest and most lauded tastemakers, has welcomed a number of queer artists in the last few years, signaling a subtle shift toward a more inclusive country music institution. (In addition, all three artists recently scored high-profile touring spots: Rose with Shania Twain and Sam Hunt, Adeem with Tyler Childers and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit; and Wyatt wrapped up her first headlining tour.)

For Pittleman, an essential part of making music is ensuring space for anyone who wants to make music to do so, regardless of how they look or identify. "Most people who like country music, they just want to hear country music," Pittleman says. "I want to have a good time, too. But you have to ask at a certain point, 'Who is invited to the good time?'"

As she insists, there's a long way to go. In a digital world, radio play doesn't offer a complete picture, but it remains a dominant force in country music. For decades, women have been played sparingly on country radio and artists of color and queer musicians featured far less, a shortcoming which SongData's principal investigator, Jada Watson, spent years studying. Her research concludes that women country artists are played roughly 29 percent of the time, Black artists 5 percent, and other artists of color 7 percent. Queer artists, Watson estimates, make up less than 1 percent of radio play.

"The real problem is who's making those decisions; who has the power and as a result, who has the power and the resources to record their music, to distribute their music, to get it out on a broader scale," Pittleman suggests. "We have to make sure that everyone who's called to make the music has the resources and the power to make it and bring it into the world."

And in spite of multitude setbacks and naysayers, queer artists are creating country music. As Pittleman wrote in a 2020 essay in the Journal of Popular Music Studies titled "You're My Country Music," one of the joys of singing queer country music is making country music, plain and simple. "The point is to mark the deepest moments of human connection, our truest hopes and heartbreaks, and turn them into a sound that gives us joy and strength," she says.

"Because sometimes you love a culture that doesn't love you back," Pittleman continues on the Gay Ole Opry's about page. "We do it because we love the music and want to build a community to support queer country musicians. We do it because everybody needs a honky-tonk angel to hold them tight. We do it because we believe in country music for all."

Why 2024 Is The Year Women In Country Music Will Finally Have Their Moment

Khalid
Khalid

Photo: ro.lexx

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New Music Friday: Listen To New Songs From Khalid, Mariah Carey, NAYEON, And More

From reworked classics to new fresh tunes, take a listen to some of the most exciting tracks that dropped on June 14.

GRAMMYs/Jun 14, 2024 - 03:44 pm

Those pre-summer Fridays just keep rolling on. With each release day, the music community fills our hard drives, playlists and record shelves with more aural goodness.

Granted, to wrangle it all in one place is impossible — but GRAMMY.com can provide a healthy cross-section of what's out there. From here, venture forth into new releases by Luke Combs (Fathers & Sons), Normani (Dopamine), Moneybagg Yo (Speak Now), Jelly Roll ("I Am Not Okay"), and more.

For now, here are nine new songs or albums to explore.

Khalid — "Adore U"

After previously released single "Please Don't Fall in Love With Me," Khalid is back with another luminous ode to romantic disconnection, where he calls for healing amid broken ties.

"Thousand miles apart and you're still in my heart/ Can we take it back?" Khalid pleads in the hook. "I'm waiting at the start/ Fly me to the moon and now I'm seeing stars when we touch."

Khalid hasn't released a full-length album since 2019's Free Spirit. But he's been teasing a new project for a minute: two weeks ago, he shared an Instagram carousel with the caption "5 years later. Here we go again." And the yearning "Adore U" certainly sets the tone for what's to come in Khalid's world.

NAYEON — 'NA'

TWICE's NAYEON is shifting gears towards her highly anticipated solo comeback with the release of NA, a project that spans pop, dance, and more. The follow-up to her debut solo album, 2022's IM NAYEON, NA provides a glimpse into the TWICE member's transition from being daunted by a solo career to finding comfort in the act.

One highlight is the shimmering "Butterflies," which NAYEON described to Rolling Stone as "one of my favorite songs" yet "one of the harder ones to record, actually." Another is the brassy "Magic," which she calls "a very self-confident song." All in all, NA winningly cements NAYEON's identity — irrespective of her main gig.

Mariah Carey — 'Rainbow: 25th Anniversary Extended Edition'

In light of its 25-year anniversary, Mariah Carey revisits her iconic 1999 album, Rainbow, which featured collaborations with fellow household names like Jay-Z, USHER, and Missy Elliott. The new anniversary edition boasts a plethora of remastered and remixed tracks — a treasure trove for Carey acolytes.

One new track is "Rainbow's End," produced by David Morales; Carey described it as "a hopeful ending to an emotional roller-coaster ride." Elsewhere, there's "There For Me," a love letter to her fans that didn't make the album; a new remix of "How Much" by Jermaine Dupri, and some intriguing live recordings and a cappella tracks.

$UICIDEBOY$ — 'New World Depression'

Since at least their debut album, 2018's I Want to Die in New Orleans, rap duo $UICIDEBOY$ have expertly cataloged the bugs beneath the rock of the human experience: addiction, depression, the whole nine yards. New World Depression is a further distillation of their beautifully filthy aesthetic and worldview.

In highlights like "Misery in Waking Hours" and "Transgressions," MCs $crim and Ruby da Cherry's chroniclings of misery are barer than ever: "Hurts too much to give a f— / Demoralized, always lying, telling people I'll be fine," they rap. Who hasn't felt like this, at one point or another?

John Cale — 'POPtical Illusion'

At 82, Velvet Underground violist, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder John Cale is still a tinkerer, a ponderer, an artist in flux rather than stasis. In 2023, when GRAMMY.com asked when he felt he came into his own as an improviser, he immediately replied "Last year."

That interview was centered around that year's solo album, Mercy, another gem in a solo discography full of them. Now, he's already back with a follow-up, POPtical Illusion.

While POPtical Illusion maintains its predecessors' foreboding, topical nature — and then some — tracks like "Laughing in My Sleep" and "Funkball the Brewster" couch these morose topics in a more playful, irreverent aural palette.

Tanner Adell — "Too Easy"

The Twisters soundtrack continues to be a whirlwind of great tunes. The latest dispatch is Tanner Adell's "Too Easy," a country-pop dance floor banger — its video even featuring a performance by dance troupe the PBR Nashville Buckle Bunnies.

"Too Easy" is the fourth song to be released from the Twisters soundtrack, following Tucker Wetmore's "Already Had It," Megan Moroney's "Never Left Me," Bailey Zimmerman's "Hell or High Water," and Luke Combs' "Ain't No Love in Oklahoma." The full album — which features a hoard of country stars, including Lainey Wilson, Thomas Rhett, Tyler Childers and more — will be available on July 19 when the movie hits theaters.

Stonebwoy — "Your Body"

We've clearly caught Ghanian Afropop star Stonebwoy in a jubilant mood. In a teaser for his new song, "Your Body," the singer born Livingstone Satekia undulates on a saturated, red-and-blue backdrop, foreshadowing the sticky summer days we'll spend jamming the tune.

And the full song certainly doesn't disappoint. Interweaving strains of pop, R&B and reggae, with Stonebwoy deftly switching between singing and rapping, "Your Body" will get your body moving.

Toosii — "Where You Been"

Rapper Toosii last teased his upcoming eighth mixtape, JADED, with "Suffice," its lead single released back in November. In the interim, he's been "locked in perfecting a new look a new sound new everything!" as he shared in an Instagram reel. "I just hope you're ready," he added with star and smile emojis.

Said teaser pointed toward a melancholic, weighty ballad, which ended up being the next release from JADED, "Where You Been." Riding a multidimensional, brain-flipping beat, the song is an immersive, thoughtful banger not to be missed.

Victoria Monét — "Power of Two" (from 'The Acolyte')

The latest Star Wars show on Disney+, "The Acolyte," is getting rave reviews — and three-time GRAMMY winner Victoria Monét is now part of its musical universe. She's contributed an original song, "Power of Two," to the end credits of the Lucasfilm series.

Over an ethereal, melancholic beat, the lyrics detail emotions ripe for either terra firma or a galaxy far, far away: "You thought your soul was a necklace/ That you could wear and take off/ That you could rip and break off/ That you could trade in the dark/ But you're mine."

Bring these killer tunes straight into your weekend — and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more brand-new New Music Friday lists!

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Tish Melton Press Play Hero
Tish Melton

Photo: Courtesy of Tish Melton

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Press Play: Watch Tish Melton Preview Debut EP With A Stripped-Down Performance Of "Sober"

Indie pop newcomer — and Brandi Carlile's mentee — Tish Melton premieres "Sober," an emotional track from her upcoming EP, 'When We're Older,' out March 1.

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2024 - 07:50 pm

Beneath the empty bottles, Tish Melton wants to know if her love is true; to her, drunken confessions of love mean nothing. It's what happens when the party's over and no one is watching — that's when she sees that person at their most authentic.

"You're standing close/ But you're so far away/ Your eyes are closed/ But you see me anyway," Melton sings on the bridge of her emotional track "Sober." "And I swear you told me you love me on the walk home/ If you meant it, I'll never know/ I think we should stay sober."

In this episode of Press Play, the indie pop newcomer premieres "Sober" with a raw and intimate acoustic performance.

"Sober" is an unreleased track from her upcoming first EP, When We're Older, which arrives on March 1. Melton previously released three singles in 2023, "Damage," "The Chase," and "Michelle."

As she prepares her debut project, Melton already has a major supporter in her corner: nine-time GRAMMY winner Brandi Carlile, who has been a mentor to Melton since recognizing her talent at her debut show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

"Tish is so young and so brilliant," Carlile, who produced When We're Older, revealed in a press statement. "Like most lessons in life, I learned this one while I thought I was teaching it. We should guide youth in music, but there is no question that it should lead."

Watch the video above to hear Tish Melton's honest performance of "Sober," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Annie Lennox performs during the 66th GRAMMY Awards
Annie Lennox performs during the 66th GRAMMY Awards

Photos: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Watch All The Performances From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo & More

The 66th GRAMMY Awards were full of memorable moments and incredible performances. Relive Music's Biggest Night with performance videos from Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox, Gaby Moreno & David Aguilar, and more.

GRAMMYs/Feb 7, 2024 - 12:57 am

The 2024 GRAMMYs were marked by record-breaking wins, moving speeches and viral moments both on- and offstage. But what truly tied together Music's Biggest Night — beyond artistic excellence — was its slate of stunning and emotional performances.

From Dua Lipa's opening act and new song, to Joni Mitchell's first-ever performance on the GRAMMY stage and the tearjerking-yet-thrilling tribute to lost icons, the 66th GRAMMY Awards were a showcase of the best of the business. 

Press play on the videos below and relive the most exciting performances from the 66th GRAMMY Awards

Dua Lipa opened the 66th GRAMMY Awards with a medley of the first two singles from her upcoming album. Tracks "Houdini" and "Training Season" are the first two singles off Dua Lipa’s forthcoming third studio record, which follows her GRAMMY-winning 2020 LP Future Nostalgia. The 2024 GRAMMYs were a sneak peek of "Training Season," as the track officially arrives Feb. 15.

In a full-circle moment, Luke Combs perform his GRAMMY-nominated cover of "Fast Car" — with a suprise appearance from Tracy Chapman. "Fast Car" earned Chapman a GRAMMY for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1989, when she took home the trophy. On the GRAMMY stage, the otherwise reclusive Chapman beamed as she strummed an acoustic guitar and duetted with Combs.

"Tracy is such an icon and, I mean, one of the best songwriters that I think any of us will ever be around to see," Combs said in the video introducing his performance.

Miley Cyrus had only performed "Flowers" twice before taking the GRAMMY-winning song to stage on Music’s Biggest Night. And while the hit track off Endless Summer Vacation was sure to be a showstopper, Cyrus’ performance was made even more special by winning her first GRAMMY moments before. After  eight nominations and many years in the industry, the singer’s exclamations of excitment were felt by everyone watching.

After winning the GRAMMY Award for Best Song Written For Visual Media at the Premiere Ceremony, Billie Eilish and brother FINNEAS performed the existential pop ballad from Barbie on the GRAMMY stage. "What Was I Made For?" would go on to win Song Of The Year, showing the world that Eilish certainly knows what she was made for.

Eighty-year-old icon ad 2022 MusiCares Person Of The Year Joni Mitchell performed for the first time at the GRAMMY Awrds — and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Seated in an elegant chair and surrounded by chandeliers, Mitchell offered an emotional performance of her 1969 hit "Both Sides Now." The legened was backed by Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Sistastrings, Lucius, Jacob Collier, and Blake Mills; earlier in the day, "Both Sides" took home the golden gramophone for Best Folk Album.

SZA went into the 2024 GRAMMYs as the most-nominated artist and took home awards for  Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best R&B Song. She then gave back to the audience, performing the GRAMMY-winning "Snooze," clad in a leather duster and wide-brimmed hat.

Olivia Rodrigo may not have taken home a golden gramophone, but she still left her all on the GRAMMYs stage. Donning an appropriately hued dress and just a dash of "blood" on her face, Rodrigo performed "vampire" as red liquid seeped from the walls behind her.

Billy Joel performed twice at the 66th GRAMMY Awards, treating audiences to one familiar tune and one brand-new track. Joel shared his newest offering, "Turn the Lights Back On," just before Album Of The Year was announced. His first release since 2007, "Turn the Lights Back On" marked his first time playing on the GRAMMYs stage in more than 20 years.

Burna Boy brought a piece of his homeland to the GRAMMYs, dancing among throngs of colorfully-dressed performers and equally colorful buildings. The Nigerian Afrobeats star performed "On Form," "City Boys" and "Sitting On Top Of The World," iwth special appearances by Brandy and 21 Savage.

U2 took the GRAMMY audience on a quick trip to Las Vegas, performing "Atomic City" live from the Sphere. The swirling, psychedelic and high-tech performance was the first live broadcast from Sin City venue, which the 22-time GRAMMY winners are currently doing a residency.

During the moving In Memoriam segment of the 2024 GRAMMYs, Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox was joined by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman to pay tribute to Sinead O'Connor. Together, they offered an emotional cover of the late Irish pioneer's "Nothing Compares 2 U."

Further honoring the lives of incredible individuals that the music world lost in 2023, Fantasia Barrino made Tina Turner proud with a high-energy performance of "Proud Mary." The performance and tribute were introduced by Oprah Winfrey, who called Turner "a towering figure. She is our forever goddess of rock and roll who inspired millions, a moving symbol of grace and grit, soul and power…And as those big wheels of time keep on turnin’, Tina’s voice continues to speak to all of us." 

Continuing the In Memoriam tribute, Global Impact Award honoree Lenny Kravitz paid respect to Clarence Avant as the "Godfather of Black Music" with a tribute that included a performance of "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me" by Album Of The Year nominee Jon Batiste.

During the Premiere Ceremony, Gaby Moreno & El David Aguilar performed a harmonious and haunting “Luna de Xelaju.” Their take on the popular Guatemalan waltz composed by Paco Pérez was set against a video of falling rose petals, highlighting the romanticism of the duo’s voices.

The Premiere Ceremony kicked off the 2024 GRAMMYs with an exciting performance from Pentatonix, Jordin Sparks, Larkin Poe, J. Ivy, and Sheila E., who welcomed audiences to a day-long celebration of musical excellence.

10 Acceptance Speeches That Made Us Laugh, Cry, & Smile At The 2024 GRAMMYs