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United We Sing: Cyndi Lauper, Jamie Foxx & More Help Harry Connick Jr. Bring Smiles To Essential Workers

Harry Connick Jr. and friends in NOLA

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United We Sing: Cyndi Lauper, Jamie Foxx & More Help Harry Connick Jr. Bring Smiles To Essential Workers

Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey, Herbie Hancock, Andra Day, Cyndi Lauper, Little Big Town, Dave Matthews, Tim McGraw, John Fogerty and others also brought gratitude from New York to New Orleans

GRAMMYs/Jun 22, 2020 - 06:02 am

On Sunday, June 21, CBS aired the two-hour "United We Sing: A GRAMMY Salute To The Unsung Heroes" special featuring host Harry Connick Jr., who, along with his filmmaker daughter, Georgia Connick, journeyed via RV from New York to New Orleans to personally thank the essential workers risking their lives to keep us all safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.

The inspiring road trip, which was shot several weeks ago and with a limited crew and social distancing precautions, saw the Connicks visiting truck drivers, teachers, grocery store workers, hospital cleaning staff, firefighters, a trash route worker and other unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.

At each stop, a very special guest, via Zoom, helped Harry offer messages of gratitude to the local heroes, while Georgia filmed the moving interactions. These included Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah, along with GRAMMY winners Irma Thomas, Jamie FoxxHerbie Hancock, Andra DayCyndi LauperLittle Big Town, Dave MatthewsTim McGraw, John Fogerty and others.

The first stop was to visit Harry's sister Suzanna Jamison, a military doctor currently stationed at Queens Hospital Center in Queens, N.Y. "It's really hard for all the people involved," she said. It was also, understandably so, hard for the siblings to not be able to hug each other. He later visited their father in New Orleans, where they grew up, for another heartwarming family visit.

After narrowly escaping N.Y.C. while driving their massive RV through the narrow streets of Chinatown, Harry navigated them to Chattanooga, Tenn. to thank an adorable trucker couple. McGraw, the first celeb guest of the jaunt, said hi via Zoom. The country icon shared that his dad was a trucker, and he got his country music education at a young age, riding alongside his father with the tape deck going. He then sang an acoustic rendition of his 1999 song "Something Like That" (watch the performance above).

The next stop was to visit teachers at Irvington High School in Newark, N.J. One of the young teachers, Aaysha Notice, shared her passion for showing up for her students, even when they're apart, with innovative ideas like a car parade to celebrate the kids' test scores, driving outside their houses, shouting praises from a safe distance. Their special caller was Queen Latifah—she attended Irvington at the same time her mom taught there. Notice and the other teachers where thrilled to hear support from Latifah, who reminded them: "You are the superstars!"

Explore: 'Black Gold' At 50: How Nina Simone Refracted The Black Experience Through Reinterpreted Songs

The show was interspersed with a stellar selection of musical guests and virtual collabs, the second of which was Trombone Shorty and Little Big Town, with the New Orleans jazz artist playing from his hometown and the country act singing in from Florida and Nashville. They performed a rousing cover of Hank Williams' "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)."

Irma Thomas sings in front of the Mississippi River

Other performances included Thomas singing her GRAMMY-winning 1962 classic "It's Raining" in front of a grey-skied Mississippi river, with Lauper supporting virtually from Los Angeles and Foxx singing a moving rendition of Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands," dedicated to his beloved grandmother and Withers. Foxx helped thank the cleaning staff at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Ala.

Hancock and Day, who is playing Billie Holiday in an upcoming biopic, performed Holiday's "God Bless The Child," along with an upright bassist and drummer, each playing from their respective set-ups. Later, Jon Batiste and the Gospel Soul Children served up a beautiful performance of "Amazing Grace."

Fogerty and his family, calling in from Los Angeles, performed an electric rendition of his "Proud Mary," with help from Rockin' Dopsie Jr. playing the zydeco in front of the river that inspired the Creedance Clearwater Revival hit. Also while in NOLA, Connick joined an amazing, socially distanced second line, featuring the Bourbon Street Brass Band, the Lady Buckjumpers and the Wild Magnolias, who delivered a brass rendition of "America The Beautiful."

Read: Marching Six Feet Apart: How High School Marching Bands Are Coping With The Pandemic

One of the most moving musical moments came from the tribute to the late jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, who died from COVID-19. Three of his sons honored the NOLA legend with the hymn "How Great Thou Art," along with Connick singing on a piano. They performed outside of the city's Ellis Marsalis Center For Music, built after hurricane Katrina to serves as a music education and enrichment space for kids, a recording studio, performance hall and more. One of the eldest sons, Branford Marsalis, returned to the show later to perform Dave Matthews Band's "Mercy" with Dave himself.

R.I.P.: Pianist And New Orleans Jazz Staple Ellis Marsalis Dies At 85

While visiting New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell at City Hall, Lou Hill of the Recording Academy stopped by to share the Academy would be joining Connick in making donations to the Marsalis Center and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, another important local music org highlighted during the special. During the show, viewers where encouraged to learn more and donate what they could to the non-profits, as well as MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund and two food-focused charities, No Kid Hungry and the Conscious Alliance, a coalition of artists dedicated keeping their communities fed.

Read: My Mind: The 'Panther' Theme Song Turns 25

Other stops and celebrity Zoom cameos included a visit to Oprah's Boys and Girls Club in Kosciusko, Miss., where the employees are feeding kids who would otherwise not eat with school out, with around 2000 meals a day! Winfrey called in to thank them personally; she helped open in that Boys and Girls Club in her hometown back in 2006. At a Kroger's grocery store in Knoxville, Tenn., Connick called on Renée Zellweger to praise two lovely employees there. Sandra Bullock zoomed with transit supervisor Joy Palmer, who recently lost her husband to COVID-19.

A gospel choir sings with Connick in Jefferson Square, New Orleans

Brad Pitt made two cameos, first offering playful jokes and heartfelt thanks to the lovely Darnell, the supervisor of trash pickup route, and later to help Connick close the show. The final number saw Connick singing "Stars Still Shine" on a piano in NOLA's Jackson Square, with the support of a gospel choir and orchestra. The new song, dedicated to all their new friends on the front lines, and the many more they didn't have time to meet, is available to download now with all proceeds going to the Marsalis Center.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.