Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Watch Jhené Aiko Kick Off 2022 Super Bowl With A Solemn Rendition Of "America The Beautiful"
To kick off Super Bowl LVI — the first NFL playoff championship game held in Los Angeles since 1993 — watch six-time GRAMMY nominee Jhené Aiko sang a muted "America the Beautiful"
There’s never been a Super Bowl like this. Not only is LVI the first held in Los Angeles in almost 30 years; it’s just as the pandemic (hopefully, finally) fades into the background for good.
On top of that, it’s the first Super Bowl after the death of John Madden — acknowledged in a moving tribute featuring the legendary NFL coach and commentator’s sons and their families.
That momentousness and solemnity was mirrored in a performance of the timeless patriotic song "America the Beautiful" by GRAMMY-nominated singer, and "L.A’s own," Jhené Aiko.
Donning a sequined burgundy-brown dress and a glittery ear cuff, Aiko did her Angeleno roots proud, keeping the song feathery and loungey in a mellow midrange while accompanied by a harpist.
Watch the poignant performance here and keep checking GRAMMY.com for musical moments at the 2022 Super Bowl.
Source Photos (Clockwise L-R): The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images; Rick Kern/WireImage; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella; FilmMagic/FilmMagic for Outside Lands; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella
Japanese Breakfast, Blackpink, Enhypen, Stray Kids, Mxmtoon & More | Listen To GRAMMY.com's AAPI Month 2022 Playlist
As we celebrate the contributions of AAPI artists throughout the month of May, GRAMMY.com presents a genre-spanning playlist of emerging and established artists you should know, including BTS, Jhené Aiko, B.I, TWICE, Arooj Aftab, and many more.
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) musicians have created a plethora of transformative art, which is ripe for exploration. To help you do it, GRAMMY.com has put together a 30-song list with music from AAPI musicians including Luna Li, Wallice, Weston Estate, Kainalu and OHYUNG, along with other AAPI artists you should know like Deb Never, Lucy Liyou and Sunset Rollercoaster. You may even find your new favorite artist along the way.
This playlist spans genres and moods, and its primary goal is to expose you to fantastic new AAPI artists you might not find in less curated places, like your motionless Spotify algorithm or crooning through your car radio. You can think of this playlist as a first-rate tasting menu of what AAPI-made music has to offer — something to turn to when you’re looking for solidarity, inspiration or just some really good music.
Claude VonStroke at Dirtybird Campout 2018
Photo: Max Benedict
Dirtybird Campout 2019: Justin Jay, Jhené Aiko, J.Phlip, Shiba San, Mija, Tiga & More
The camping music festival includes "'OG' Saturday night" sets, featuring your favorite Dirtybird heavyweights, from label head and house music legend Claude VonStroke himself, as well as Ardalan, Justin Martin, J.Phlip, Kill Frenzy, Worthy and more
Today, Dirtybird Campout announced the lineup for their beloved 2019 West Coast music festival, which includes many of your Dirtybird favorites like Justin Jay, J.Phlip, Shiba San, Mija, Walker & Royce and Dirtybird Records founder Claude VonStroke. The event returns to its 2018 home along the water at Modesto Reservoir Campgrounds on Oct. 4–6.
GRAMMY-nominated soulful R&B queen Jhené Aiko, turntable legend Cut Chemist, Detroit funkstress DJ Holographic, and Wajatta, the project of spoken word artist/comedian Reggie Watts and experimental house producer John Tejada, will also be bringing the beats to Dirtybird Campout West 2019.
Who are you most excited to see at Dirtybird Campout 2019?— Dirtybird Campout (@DirtybirdCamp) June 4, 2019
Retweet + tell us for a chance to WIN 2 TICKETS to DBC '19! pic.twitter.com/HfCgtfGh8Y
For all the early Dirtybirds who can't wait until that Friday to get their groove on, this year's Campout offers early arrival passes that not only guarantee "premier camping spots," but an extra special Thursday night B2B set from Tiga and Matthew Dear, as well as a "warm up set" from VonStroke. "Head Counselor Claude," as the press release calls him, will also be performing under his trippy beats alias Barclay Crenshaw aka VonStroke's given name.
Other musical highlights include an "'OG' Saturday night" featuring sets from longtime Dirtybird Records/events regulars including Ardalan, Justin Martin, J.Phlip, Kill Frenzy, Worthy, Christian Martin and, of course, the OG master of good times, VonStroke.
The weekend will not only be filled with enough music to keep you dancing literally all day and night, the camp-themed fest also features tons of fun activities and games to help you live out the best version of summer camp you could possibly dream up. Attendees, including those behind the decks, are assigned to teams who will duel it out in dodgeball, tug of war matches and even the ".5K Floatie race."
Arts and crafts will also be aplenty, for campers to get their creativity flowing with screen-printing, totem-making and more. Grill$on's BBQ, a staple of the Dirtybird BBQ day parties the label hosts across the country every summer, will be on site to provide ample dancefloor and activity fuel up.
Tickets for Dirtybird Campout West are on sale now; for all options, including camping and BBQ add-ons, as well as the complete lineup, check out their website.
PHOTO: Noah Elliott Morrison
Watch These Hands: How Deaf Performers Are Making Music Accessible For Hearing-Impaired Fans
An estimated 400 million people have severe hearing loss. A growing group of musical pioneers is thriving to the sounds of silence. These interpreters, DJs and artists are making it their mission to help hard-of-hearing listeners feel the music.
Sean Forbes and Wawa had been preparing for this specific moment for three weeks — and before that, their whole lives.
Standing in the hallway of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., they waited to perform before 80,000 screaming fans — and millions more on television — during the halftime show at the 2022 Super Bowl. Right beside them were Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent.
"Kill it," 50 Cent said just before they went out on the field. Forbes remembers his incredulity at the scenario taking place — in the words of one of his fellow performers, his palms were sweaty, knees weak and arms heavy. But then, he was reminded just how important this moment was: He and Wawa were about to become the first-ever duo to simultaneously sign and be broadcast at the Super Bowl in front of the world’s deaf community.
As the halftime performance went on, Forbes and Wawa tag-teamed nearby, signing the lyrics under the direction of Amber Galloway Gallego, an expert musical sign interpreter who is commonly known as Amber G.
"I knew the beat and where everything landed," says Forbes of the nearly 14-minute performance. "It was so loud and hard to hear anything, so we relied on the beat and vibration. I knew where everything was. That's how we practiced it. I told Wawa, 'We have to rely on the beat.’"
It was a landmark public appearance and also the result of years of effort by each party to advocate for deaf people in a hearing world. Galloway's Amber G. Productions provides sign interpreters at concerts at the request of touring artists or venues; she is one of a cohort of interpreters who are becoming more commonplace at concerts. Wawa, whose real name is Warren Snipe, is a deaf, Washington D.C.-based rapper who has been challenging preconceived notions of what can be achieved for nearly two decades.
"I like to call Wawa my spiritual advisor," Forbes tells GRAMMY.com. "He is definitely somebody that a lot of people look up to in our community: 'The God Pop of Dip-Hop' (hip-hop through deaf eyes), that’s what he calls himself."
Forbes — who considers himself to be profoundly deaf with 90 percent hearing loss — feels that he did the deaf community proud. He hopes his work moved the goalposts forward for what will, hopefully, be an annual occurrence at Super Bowl halftime shows. "I was very happy with my performance and felt like I did all of the performers justice," he says. "Being able to perform 'Lose Yourself,’ the song that has given me everything that I have, at the Super Bowl, you just can't beat that. I feel like it’s the gift that keeps on giving."
Finding Commune At "Deaf Raves"
According to the World Health Organization, more than 5% of the world’s population — 430 million people — "require rehabilitation to address their 'disabling' hearing loss." By 2050, the WHO estimates that as many as one in 10 people around the world will have "disabling" hearing loss — that is hearing loss that's greater than 35 percent of that in their better hearing ear. These statistics show a couple things: That quite a few people have trouble hearing, and that it’s often taken for granted until one, in fact, can't hear. What’s often not mentioned is the social stigma for those who can’t hear, a severe issue that carries over into any number of daily activities.
London-based DJ Troi Lee knows all about this stigma. Lee and his twin brother were born two months prematurely and Lee suffered a lack of oxygen from an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, which resulted in serious hearing loss. Today, he wears a hearing aid, reads lips and speaks well, due to countless hours of childhood speech therapy.
"There are four types of hearing loss, with number four being, you're stone deaf and can’t hear anything," he says. "I'm in the third category, profoundly deaf, which means I can hear with a hearing aid. I can hear vocals, whether it’s a man or woman, but I wouldn't be able to [distinguish] what they’re saying. Without an aid though, an AK-47 could be going off and I'd just be having happy dreams."
As a young member of the deaf community in London during the early 2000s, several events occurred which set Lee down his future career path. Since there was an absence of clubs or parties that deaf people could go to, as many as 500 people would meet up in a Waterloo pub once a month. Problems arose when bartenders and fellow hearing drinkers couldn't understand and communicate with the deaf. "Inevitably, there would be fights and we would be kicked out," Lee says. "At this time there were raves we could go to as well, but the deaf community always said, 'That’s for hearing people. We are deaf culture.'"
Lee also lost his office job around the same time a deaf friend asked him to set up a sound system at a house party. When the first record hit the turntable, the whole house shook. Two hundred deaf attendees showed up. "Everyone said that was the best party," Lee recalls. "At the next pub event, everyone kept coming up to me and asking when the next party was."
A few months later, Lee found a venue, organized a DJ lineup, and invited members of the deaf community to buy tickets to his first event. More than 700 showed up, with many coming from other countries. Lee's concept of a "deaf rave" was born.
For over a decade, Lee held raves several times a year with well over 1,000 people in attendance. Those who couldn’t hear would mix with those who lived with other handicaps, creating a community they could call their own. In addition to DJs, each Deaf Rave featured sign language translation, sign rap, dance and other visual performances that the deaf attendees could relate to.
"What is the difference between a hearing rave and a deaf rave?" Lee asks. "Number one, everybody was hugging everybody and nobody was on drugs. It was just beautiful harmony. A deaf person will travel all over the country just to go meet another deaf person because we are a very marginalized community. We are very hard to reach. We are very isolated."
An Early Fascination With Music
Forbes lost his hearing when he was a year old due to suspected spinal meningitis. But the Detroit native grew up in a family of musicians, and was always exposed to music. His father was in one of Detroit's best known country acts, while his uncle was an audio engineer at one point for Bob Seger. Mitch Ryder and members of his band would often casually come over to the house and provide musical tips for Forbes, who was a budding drummer growing up. Motown musicians would visit during holidays.
"I think my musical upbringing was something that resonated with me in so many ways, because I always wanted to be in the music business," he says. "I always wanted to do something today to make a difference in the deaf community. And for me, I’m extremely blessed to do that through the medium of music."
He learned about rock groups by watching his parents lip sync. Forbes went to see KISS when he was 8 years old, watched heavy metal acts on MTV with his brothers (who could hear), then fell in love with rap during college. Over the years, he realized that higher vocal registers, like Whitney Houston's, were difficult to hear and songs in lower keys, such as much of Nirvana's catalog, were easier to understand.
Following this breakthrough, Forbes began to appreciate performers' nuances and would develop a greater understanding of a song with every listen. "Music is all about feel," he says. "It could be the vibration. But it's much deeper than that. And when I hear a song in a studio, maybe I can only hear three elements, but I'm visually able to see everything with Pro Tools, and then develop a memory of it."
For Lee, every London street corner when he was growing up seemed to have a different sound system blasting a different genre.He fell in love with Bob Marley and, as a teen, got into drum and bass, which soon became Lee's favorite genre — largely because he could hear the sounds and feel the vibrations.
While it was hard to mix on vinyl early on, laptops and DJ software now enable Lee to see the color waveforms, frequencies and beats. Today he uses Pioneer equipment and software, through which "music brings me to life on a daily basis. When I hear a good beat or rhythm, it gets me moving or inspires me to do creative things in life."
Other emerging technologies — whether it’s the latest DJ equipment or the Sub-Pac jacket, which enables users to physically feel sound — are further enabling deaf music lovers an opportunity to move forward with their dreams and feel included in society.
The Tech-Enabled Transformation Of Deaf Performance
Sixteen years ago, Forbes casually showed Eminem, his publisher and entourage a video of himself performing "Lose Yourself" — the rapper was incredulous. "Deaf people like music?" he responded.
Eminem's publisher later urged Forbes to think about his career plans, and give him a call. "I was thinking 'This is your one shot, your one opportunity,’" he recalls, referencing Eminem's GRAMMY-winning song.
Today, Forbes' nonprofit DPAN is an ever-growing online sign language channel with more than 500,000 free subscribers. Alongside variety shows, artist interviews and news, there are signed renditions of songs from the likes of John Mayer, Christina Aguilera and the White Stripes. After artists approve the use of their songs, videos are reimagined using new performers and sign language.
But just when DPAN was starting to find its groove, the Coronavirus hit and Forbes found himself being the recipient of another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: The White House called, and they wanted to have American Sign Language (ASL) livestreams of their daily briefings.
"It came down to me, in my basement, running all of these Trump livestreams for three months straight," he says. "At its heart, DPAN is all about creating access for the deaf community, whether that’s music or otherwise."
The Coronavirus similarly forced Troi Lee to transform his concept of a deaf musical community into new channels. On a smaller scale, he held intimate DJ training sessions for deaf people. From the confines of the famed London-based club Fabric, he created a four-hour live, online event that combined dance, comedy, visual signing, juggling, fire acts, music and more. He's now in talks with the government in the UK to fund it for three more years.
"The biggest new door to open is that when you’re online streaming, you can work with any deaf person on the planet," he says. "So I'm now working with a deaf performer in China and working with a performer in India or working with a person in Somalia or Bolivia. Our ultimate aim is to support UK artists, but it also enables me to go work with international deaf artists."
Even Online, The World Is Small
Due to the time difference, Lee didn't get to see Forbes perform at the Super Bowl.
But he knew all about it. "It's f-ing incredible man," he says. "Promoting sign language on an international level, it's mind blowing. Respect. We want to see more deaf music people coming."
And, as it turns out, Forbes knows all about Lee. That just shows how tight knit and hungry these music lovers are. "Technology has given us access," he says. "In the current state right now, there has been a lot of progress, because of things that Amber has done, WaWa has done or Troi Lee over in England. So I'm looking for the next person to come along — and I’m looking for them. So pick up a guitar. Go learn the piano."
(L-R) Usher, Ludacris and Lil Jon perform at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival
Photo: Ethan Miller/WireImage
Brand-New Lovers & Friends Fest: Ms. Lauryn Hill, Usher, Ludacris, Lil Jon, TLC, Megan Thee Stallion, Monica, Nelly, Sean Paul & Many More Announced
Goldenvoice's latest one-day Southern California music festival extravaganza features huge names from '90s R&B and hip-hop and beyond, with T-Pain, Brandy, Ja Rule, Fat Joe, SWV, Twista, Eve and more also slated to perform
Los Angeles music event tastemakers Goldenvoice and Soulection announced the latest spring 2020 music festival to get excited about: Lovers & Friends Fest, featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill, Usher, Ludacris, Lil Jon (gimme a "Yeah!") and TLC as headliners. The brand-new one-day extravaganza features your favorite '90s and '00s R&B and hip-hop acts, with T-Pain, Brandy, Ja Rule, Monica, Fat Joe, Nelly, Sean Paul, SWV, Eve and many more also slated to perform.
The first-ever Lovers & Friends takes place Saturday, May 9, at Dignity Health Sports Park—the stadium where the L.A. Galaxy play—in Carson, Calif.
The nostalgia-inducing lineup also features Cam'ron, Tweet, Amerie, Mario, 112, Montell Jordan and Dru Hill. Newer R&B and hip-hop queens Jhené Aiko, Summer Walker and Megan Thee Stallion will also bring the sultry vibes.
Following the lineup announcement, a few of the artists included on the bill, including Lil Kim, Mase and Twista, denied any affiliation with the event, causing confusion about the festival's roster and legitimacy; Twista later redacted his statement on social media. Prayer hands that the rest of the artists will be making the incredibly epic lineup very real come May.
Pre-sale tickets go on sale this Thursday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. PT. General on-sale tickets will be available starting Friday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. PT.
Visit the festival's official website to sign up for the pre-sale and for more info on the big event.