Designing Women In The Mix: How Music Inspired The Artwork Behind The Debut GRAMMY Week 2021 Event

Kelley Purcell


Designing Women In The Mix: How Music Inspired The Artwork Behind The Debut GRAMMY Week 2021 Event

Nourie Flayhan, the Levantine illustrator behind the program art for the Women In The Mix GRAMMY Week celebration, on how she champions women through her visuals.

GRAMMYs/Mar 5, 2021 - 10:23 pm

The Recording Academy will kick off GRAMMY Week 2021 by honoring International Women's Day on Monday, March 8, with the inaugural Women In The Mix virtual celebration. The event will feature women producers, engineers, artists, and executives in the music industry, and is in support of the Academy’s ongoing efforts to diversify the recording industry, launched in 2019 with the Women In The Mix Pledge.

Notable participants include GRAMMY-winning engineer, Leslie Ann Jones of Skywalker Sound, GRAMMY-nominated rapper MC Lyte, President and CEO of the TIME’S UP Foundation Tina Chen, and two-time GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper, among more.

Apart from the inspiring lineup of participants, attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy eye-catching visual arts from the Academy’s own women creatives, Alexis Mouer and Sol Iriarte, in addition to illustrations by Lebanese artist Nourie Flayhan. Known for her collaboration with Gucci Beauty, Flayhan focuses her craft in large part on increased representation of women of color in the media and challenging stereotypes that have painted women in a negative light.

We asked Flayhan to devise a number of illustrations for Women In The Mix based on song titles. We sat down with her to learn about her creative experience, the women and music that inspire her work, the power of collaborating with other women, and her vision for women artists in the future.

Who are some of the women in your life who inspired your artwork and creativity throughout your career? What sort of impact did they have on you as a creative and artist?

My younger self, definitely. She's my biggest inspiration. Most of what I do is for her. I try to be that woman that my younger self needed to look up to growing up, even when it comes to the art I create and the messages I spread through my art.

My mum, who taught me to express myself through art as a first language and nurtured the artistic side of me, encouraged me to pursue it as a career too. My late Grandmother Souad, was the original storyteller who inspired me to reclaim and tell the stories of my ancestors and people.

My little cousin, Aya, who reminds me of my younger self and is the reason why I sometimes push boundaries, to show her that she doesn't have to fit the mold created by our society and region.

I know how tough it is to grow up not seeing women who looked like me or were from the same region I came from that were being represented in the media and art.

Who are some women musicians who inspire your work on an ongoing basis?

I've always moved through music genres depending on my mood. Some of the female artists that inspire me and my work are:

Asmahan, a Syrian-Lebanese singer in the late 30's early 40's. Her rich, velvety voice and Billie Holiday's soothing voice speak to my soul and awakens my curiosity to delve into my family's past, to record their stories for an archive I'm working on.

Abir is a Moroccan-American singer; her music is a mix of familiar and new sounds, and her voice and range is so powerful.

Bjork, Cher, FKA Twigs, Solange, Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Sevdaliza, Lido Pimienta, Rosalía, Elyanna, Wafia, Rotana, Felukah, Billie Eilish, Chloe X Halle... and many more. Their music speaks to me and they inspire me visually too, with their creative visual art in their videos and how they choose to present themselves. I always end up wanting to create more personal work and push my own boundaries after listening to their music.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your creative process and your vision behind the WITM artwork?

The process usually starts off in my mind. I tend to visualize the layers of the art I intend to create, animate and build up. It is then transferred visually through illustrations onto my iPad. I digitally illustrate as it helps me edit, layer, copy layers, and change colors easily. 

The style then finds its way as a result of the work being passed on for feedback. At the end of the day, it's a collaboration, so both the client and myself find ways to communicate our vision together. I was given the freedom to play, and I found it fun to open up myself to creating more simplified versions of my original sketches.

What I love about working collaboratively is the growth and stepping outside of my comfort zone that comes out of the experience itself. I created individual elements that could be moved around, layered with one another in different ways to create different settings that told different stories to highlight each talent. 

It's almost like a sticker-book feel, where each person picks what speaks to them and arrange the stickers in different ways to tell their own individual stories.

How did you go about choosing the songs and playlist that inspired the WITM artwork?

The artwork created is a celebration of the women in music and the seeds they plant that are watered by the existing communities and bloom to inspire women all around the world to join the many sectors of the music industry. I realized that the rose holds a prominent place in many song titles and I wanted to highlight the flowers that were overshadowed by the rose. 

It almost reminded me of how most of us who are not aware of the music industry, tend to focus our attention or are mostly aware of the lead vocalists and tend not to be aware of all the different individuals in different roles who make up the team behind the music (sound engineers, songwriters, producers, etc.).

The floral elements were inspired by the flowers mentioned in the song titles, "Forget Me Nots" by Patrice Rushen, "Daisy" by Zedd (featuring Julia Michaels), "Cherry Blossom Girl" by Air, "Lotus Flower" by Radiohead,"Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations, and “Morning Glory” by Oasis.

What progress would you like to see happen for women in the music, arts and creative fields in the next 5-10 years? And how do we get there?

More education and awareness of the different roles one can enter in the industry, [as well as] more foundations funding youth programs and mentorship programs to support the younger girls who are discouraged to go into music and the arts.

I was very fortunate that my parents were supportive when extended family members were not. So I understand how it can be discouraging at times when there isn't that support system around you or the funding.

More positions in the industries are being filled and dominated by black women and women of color. Younger girls who see that will definitely aspire to one day follow their footsteps.

The environment needs to change to allow women to exist in the same space and thrive without having to compete against one another or feud with one another.

More collaborations with one another. I think it's so powerful and magical when women work together collectively. Opportunities need to be created for women all around the world to be part of creating that magic.

The Recording Academy’s “Women In The Mix” virtual celebration will take place on on March 8th at 3 p.m. PST / 5 p.m. EST. This event is open to the public and no RSVP or registration is needed.

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ReImagined At Home: Watch Ant Clemons Croon The Cosmic Blues In Performance Of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine"

Ant Clemons


ReImagined At Home: Watch Ant Clemons Croon The Cosmic Blues In Performance Of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine"

Singer/songwriter Ant Clemons puts his own spin on Bill Withers' immortal "Ain't No Sunshine" in an exclusive performance for ReImagined At Home.

GRAMMYs/Jun 15, 2021 - 08:13 pm

Why has Bill Withers' immortal hit, "Ain't No Sunshine," endured for decades? And, furthermore, why does it seem set to reverberate throughout the ages?

Could it be because it's blues-based? Because it's relatable to anyone with a pulse? Because virtually anyone with an ounce of zeal can believably yowl the song at karaoke?

Maybe it's for all of those reasons and one more: "Ain't No Sunshine" is flexible

In the latest episode of ReImagined At Home, check out how singer/songwriter Ant Clemons pulls at the song's edges like taffy. With a dose of vocoder and slapback, Clemons recasts the lonesome-lover blues as the lament of a shipwrecked android.

Giving this oft-covered soul classic a whirl, Clemons reminds music lovers exactly why Withers' signature song has staying power far beyond his passing in 2020. It will probably be a standard in 4040, too.

Check out Ant Clemons' cosmic, soulful performance of "Ain't No Sunshine" above and click here to enjoy more episodes of ReImagined At Home.

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Recordings By Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Odetta & More Inducted Into The National Recording Registry

Janet Jackson

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images


Recordings By Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Odetta & More Inducted Into The National Recording Registry

Selections by Albert King, Labelle, Connie Smith, Nas, Jackson Browne, Pat Metheny, Kermit the Frog and others have also been marked for federal preservation

GRAMMYs/Mar 25, 2021 - 02:37 am

The Librarian of Congress Carla Haden has named 25 new inductees into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. They include Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814,” Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” Nas’ “Illmatic,” Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” Kermit the Frog’s “The Rainbow Connection” and more.

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Hayden said in a statement. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”

The National Recording Preservation Board is an advisory board consisting of professional organizations and experts who aim to preserve important recorded sounds. The Recording Academy is involved on a voting level. The 25 new entries bring the number of musical titles on the registry to 575; the entire sound collection includes nearly 3 million titles. Check out the full list of new inductees below:

National Recording Registry Selections for 2020

  1. Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878)

  2. “Nikolina” — Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single)

  3. “Smyrneikos Balos” — Marika Papagika (1928) (single)

  4. “When the Saints Go Marching In” — Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra (1938) (single)

  5. Christmas Eve Broadcast--Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941)

  6. “The Guiding Light” — Nov. 22, 1945

  7. “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues” — Odetta (1957) (album)

  8. “Lord, Keep Me Day by Day” — Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)  

  9. Roger Maris hits his 61st homerun (October 1, 1961)

  10. “Aida” — Leontyne Price, (1962) (album)

  11. “Once a Day” — Connie Smith (1964) (single)

  12. “Born Under a Bad Sign” — Albert King (1967) (album)

  13. “Free to Be…You & Me” — Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album)

  14. “The Harder They Come” — Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album)

  15. “Lady Marmalade” — Labelle (1974) (single)

  16. “Late for the Sky” — Jackson Browne (1974) (album)

  17. “Bright Size Life” — Pat Metheny (1976) (album)

  18. “The Rainbow Connection” — Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)

  19. “Celebration” — Kool & the Gang (1980) (single)

  20. “Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs” — Jessye Norman (1983) (album)

  21. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” — Janet Jackson (1989) (album)

  22. “Partners” — Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album)

  23. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What A Wonderful World” — Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single)

  24. “Illmatic” — Nas (1994) (album)

  25. “This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money” (May 9, 2008)

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Dave Koz, MC Lyte host 2012 GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony

Co-hosted by Dave Koz and MC Lyte, ceremony to present nearly 70 awards and feature performances from Kim Burrell, Joyce DiDonato, Reirth Brass Band, and Trin-I-Tee 5:7, among others

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-Telecast Ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 1–3:30 p.m. PT at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will be streamed live in its entirety internationally at and

Attended by nominees and industry VIPs, the star-studded ceremony with be co-hosted by current GRAMMY nominee Dave Koz and Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President and rapper MC Lyte.

The Pre-Telecast will feature performances by current nominees Kim Burrell, Le'Andria Johnson, Kelly Price, and Trin-I-Tee 5:7 in a "Ladies of Gospel" segment as well as current nominees mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, singer/songwriter Steve Earle and New Orleans' Rebirth Brass Band.

Presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the night in 68 categories will be current nominees Gerald Clayton, Chick Corea, Brandon Heath, Arturo O'Farrill, OK Go, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Esperanza Spalding as well as GRAMMY-winning producer Jimmy Jam.

Co-host Koz is nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album for Hello Tomorrow.

Performers Burrell, Earle, Johnson, Rebirth Brass Band, and Trin-I-Tee 5:7 each have one nod: Burrell for Best Gospel Album for The Love Album; Earle for Best Folk Album for I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive; Johnson for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance for "Jesus"; Rebirth Brass Band for Best Regional Roots Music Album for Rebirth Of New Orleans; and Trin-I-Tee 5:7 for Best Gospel Album for Angel & Chanelle Deluxe Edition. DiDonato has two nominations for Best Opera Recording for Vivaldi: Ercole Sul Termodonte and Best Classical Vocal Solo for "Diva Divo." Price has three nods for Best R&B Performance (with Stokley) and Best R&B song for "Not My Daddy" and Best R&B Album for Kelly.

Presenters Clayton, O'Farrill, OK Go, Rae, and Spalding each have one nomination: Clayton for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Bond: The Paris Sessions; O'Farrill for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for 40 Acres And A Burro; OK Go for Best Short Form Music Video for "All Is Not Lost"; Rae for Best R&B Performance for "Is This Love"; and Spalding for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Bird Songs (with Joe Lovano/Us Five). Corea has two nominations for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for "500 Miles High," and Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Forever (with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White). Heath has three nominations for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance and Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for "Your Love," and Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for Leaving Eden

The live stream of the Pre-Telecast will remain on as video on demand for 30 days following the event. Following the ceremony, the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Follow for our inside look at GRAMMY news, blogs, photos, videos, and of course nominees. Stay up to the minute with GRAMMY Live. Check out the GRAMMY legacy with GRAMMY Rewind. Keep track of this year's GRAMMY Week events, and explore this year's GRAMMY Fields. Or check out the collaborations at Re:Generation, presented by Hyundai Veloster. And join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Why Dead Poet Society's Jack Underkofler Has The "Least Picky" Backstage Rider

Jack Underkofler


Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Why Dead Poet Society's Jack Underkofler Has The "Least Picky" Backstage Rider

In the latest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas, learn why Dead Poet Society lead singer Jack Underkofler is committed to having the world's most reasonable backstage rider

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2021 - 12:26 am

Some artists make larger-than-life demands on their tour riders—hence the classic urban legend about Van Halen requiring the removal of brown M&Ms. 

For their part, Dead Poet Society have decided to take the opposite tack, as their lead singer, Jack Underkofler, attests in the below clip.

In the latest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas, learn why Dead Poet Society's Underkofler is committed to having the world's most reasonable backstage rider—including one ordinary pillow to nap on.

Check out the cheeky clip above and click here to enjoy more episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.

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