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Women In Music And Film Talk Self-Confidence & Inclusion At The GRAMMY Museum

Kathryn Bostic, Doreen Ringer-Ross, Laura Engel, Frankie Pine and Tracy McKnight

Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Women In Music And Film Talk Self-Confidence & Inclusion At The GRAMMY Museum

In partnership with Women In Film, on Wednesday, Jan. 22 the GRAMMY Museum presented "A Celebration Of Women And Film," a panel discussion focused on the women who bring film and television to life through music

GRAMMYs/Jan 24, 2020 - 02:07 am

In partnership with Women In Film, on Wednesday, Jan. 22 the GRAMMY Museum presented "A Celebration Of Women And Film," a panel discussion focused on the women who bring film and television to life through music. Moderated by Tracy McKnight (music supervisor, Women in Film board member/former head of film music for Lionsgate), the all-female panel comprised of Doreen Ringer-Ross (Vice President of Creative Relations/ BMI), Frankie Pine (music supervisor/Whirly Girl Music), Laura Engel (co-owner Kraft-Engel Management) and Kathryn Bostic (composer/singer-songwriter), who spoke for an hour about their careers, their humble beginnings, the importance of self-confidence, commitment and inclusion.

Read More: Linda Perry, Natasha Bedingfield & More Talk Creating A Collaborative Community For Female Artists At The GRAMMY Museum

Pine, whose music supervision credits include TV shows "Nashville" and "The Newsroom" and the films "Magic Mike" and "Love Hurts," said she "tripped and fell" into her job after originally possessing pop star aspirations. "I realized that if that is something that you really want, you have to put 200 percent into it and that if you can envision yourself doing anything else, you won’t be successful as an actual artist, so I was like, 'Alright, so I know I’m not going to be able to do that, but I love music and what can I do to help promote music?" While living in New York City, she began her career working in music licensing for Muscle Mixes Music, an aerobics music company, before landing a job at PolyGram Records where she was promoted to film and TV licensing. After a move to PolyGram Films in Los Angeles, she worked with music supervisor Dawn Soler (currently Senior Vice President of Music/ABC), soaking up all she could before branching out on her own. 

Ringer-Ross confessed that she initially didn’t want the job that was being offered by BMI. Assuming it would be boring, tedious and solely comprised of paperwork and royalty statements, she turned it down. But BMI circled back to Ringer-Ross, clarifying that her position would be to work in artist relations, a field in which she had experience, having previously been employed at record labels where she had initially started working as a college rep.

Once she began working at BMI, Ringer-Ross said she was surprised at how truly, madly and deeply she fell in love with her job. "I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with composers. Truly. They are the most incredible hybrid artist because it’s not about writing a three-chord song, It’s about a depth of talent, both musically and personally, that makes these extraordinary individuals, who are the most compelling individuals I’ve ever met. That’s really what hooked me." Drawing upon her experience from her artist relations days at record labels, the highly innovative Ringer-Ross reached out to the Sundance Institute with whom she established the Sundance Institute Film Music & Sound Design Lab which connects composers and directors.

Engel, who manages music supervisors, songwriters and composers including Danny Elfman ("The Simpsons," "Batman," "Milk") and two-time Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat ("Little Women," "The Shape of Water"), said she was so passionate about music as a little girl that despite having no musical or singing talent whatsoever, she'd find herself standing in her bedroom singing very loudly into a pink hairbrush. She revealed that she got her GED at 16 years old just so she could go on the road with bands. She initially came out to L.A. to be an actress after having spent years immersed in New York City's music scene and organizing block parties. She set aside her acting dreams, however, when a musical troupe rented out the theater and she became their stage manager. As it turned out, the troupe became new wave band Oingo Boingo, led by Danny Elfman, for whom she worked for 18 years in various capacities including guitar roadie, tour manager and manager until the band broke up. When Elfman began scoring films, Engel became his production coordinator and manager before joining Elfman's film music agent Richard Kraft with whom she formed Kraft-Engel Management.

Read More: "Amplifying Music’s Reach" GRAMMY Week Panel Discusses Human Connection, MusiCares Research, Outreach, & More

Bostic, the sole creative artist on the panel, whose film scores include the documentary "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am" and the film "Dear White People," stressed the importance of fiercely and firmly believing in oneself. "We're so hard on ourselves for reasons that have nothing to do with anything. Try not to second guess your desires. You have nothing to lose. Put one foot in front of the other and understand the value of your relationships, your relationship with yourself and others." Bostic also encouraged budding composers to persevere in the face of rejection. "Do you know how many 'no's I’ve had? To the point that I might as well not be alive if I let that define what I do."

She stressed the importance of staying open to opportunities and recounted an amusing anecdote in which she landed a film composing gig after having made a contact while grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.  

When talk turned to being a woman in male-dominated industries, Prine said she endured experiences in which she found a male executive sitting across a table staring at her breasts instead of her face. But she said she persevered and focused on doing a good job and working hard. She said she feels that being a woman brings a special and unique aspect to her job. "I feel, as a woman, what I do bring to the table is a little bit more of an emotion that comes with watching something and feeling something. Throughout the six years on 'Nashville,' the big joke was, 'Is this episode going to make Frankie cry?' I would be in the playback and I'd watch the episode and these were original songs and I found all these original songs. If I cried that, to me, means I did a good job. I think being a female brings a little more emotion into the picture."

Engel said she’d always been a bit of a bull in a china shop, and a workaholic who has blinders on and who never really thought twice about gender as she'd always focused on her work to the exclusion of all else. But when she began to work with composers, she noticed a huge disparity in the ratio of men to women in the field and felt obligated to do something about it. “I thought, ‘I actually have a responsibility to look to my left and look to my right and to reach a hand and help out and so I started making a more conscious effort to sign more women composers."

McKnight, whose music supervision credits include the films "Beasts Of No Nation" and "Hunger Games" added, "The best people should always get the job. I truly believe that. And that has nothing to do with gender but, sometimes, it’s about making sure the list is well-rounded and making sure there are opportunities. We all need to champion each other."

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Take Over The GRAMMY Museum
Ryan Lewis, Zach Quillen and Macklemore

Photo: Rebecca Sapp/WireImage.com

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Take Over The GRAMMY Museum

Hip-hop duo discuss their career beginnings and creating their GRAMMY-nominated album The Heist

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Current seven-time GRAMMY nominees Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with their manager Zach Quillen, recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's A Conversation With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, the hip-hop duo and Quillen discussed the beginning of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' career, having creative control over their work and recording their GRAMMY-nominated Album Of The Year, The Heist.

"I met somebody [who] had the same dedication as me, [who] put everything into the music, everything into the craft," said Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore) regarding meeting Lewis. "I wanted a career and Ryan was somebody [who] had the same discipline and sacrificed everything."

"I think it took a little while before it became clear to me who [Macklemore] was going to be," said Lewis. "I think the first indication of that was with the song 'Otherside' from the VS. Redux EP]. … That song … embodied so much. It was a story nobody was telling. … It was just somebody who was dying to be on the mike and to say something."

Seattle-based rapper Macklemore and DJ/producer Lewis have been making music fans take notice since they released their debut EP, 2009's The VS. EP. They followed with VS. Redux, which reached No. 7 on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart. The duo made waves in 2011 with the release of their hit single "Can't Hold Us" featuring Ray Dalton. The next year Macklemore was featured on the cover of XXL Magazine's coveted freshman class issue, and Rolling Stone dubbed the duo an "indie rags-to-riches" success story.

Released in 2012, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' debut studio album, The Heist, reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, propelled by the No. 1 hits "Can't Hold Us" and "Thrift Shop," the latter of which reached multi-platinum status and remained on top of the charts for six weeks. The album garnered a nomination for Album Of The Year and Best Rap Album at the 56th GRAMMY Awards, while "Thrift Shop" earned a nod for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. The duo's Top 20 hit "Same Love" featuring Mary Lambert earned a nomination for Song Of The Year and has been adopted by some as a pro-equality anthem. The duo garnered additional nominations for Best New Artist and Best Music Video for "Can't Hold Us."

Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Icons Of The Music Industry: Ken Ehrlich (Jan. 14) and A Conversation With Peter Guralnick (Jan. 15).

Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture

The Ventures

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Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture

The exhibit, opening Dec. 7, will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run" and more

GRAMMYs/Nov 22, 2019 - 01:44 am

Influential instrumental rock band The Ventures are getting their own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles that will showcase the band's impact on pop culture since the release of their massive hit "Walk, Don't Run" 60 years ago. 

The Rock Hall of Fame inductees and Billboard chart-toppers have become especially iconic in the surf-rock world, known for its reverb-loaded guitar sound, for songs like "Wipeout," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run." The Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures exhibit opening Dec. 7 will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run," a Fender Limited Edition Ventures Signature guitars, rare photos and other items from their career spanning six decades and 250 albums. 

“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, a founding member of the band, in a statement. "I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being The Ventures. We continue to do that, even today."

Don Wilson, Gerry McGee, Bob Spalding, and Leon Taylor are current band members. On Jan. 9, Taylor's widow and former Fiona Taylor, Ventures associated musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and others will be in conversation with GRAMMY Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman about the band's journey into becoming the most successful instrumental rock band in history at the Clive Davis Theater. 

"The Ventures have inspired generations of musicians during their storied six-decade career, motivating many artists to follow in their footsteps and start their own projects," said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum President. "As a music museum, we aim to shine a light on music education, and we applaud the Ventures for earning their honorary title of 'the band that launched a thousand bands.' Many thanks to the Ventures and their families for letting us feature items from this important era in music history."

The exhibit will run Dec. 7–Aug. 3, 2020 at the GRAMMY Museum

2020 GRAMMY Awards: Complete Nominees List

Julia Michaels Deconstructs "Issues," Writing Songs | "Required Listening" Podcast

Scott Goldman and Julia Michaels

Photo: Rebecca Sapp/WireImage.com

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Julia Michaels Deconstructs "Issues," Writing Songs | "Required Listening" Podcast

Go inside the bright mind of one of pop's most promising singer/songwriters and learn about her songwriting process, her transition to the spotlight and the three female artists she admires

GRAMMYs/Feb 8, 2018 - 11:57 pm

Julia Michaels' career has soared within the past year. Already a talented songwriter with writing credits such as Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, and Fifth Harmony to her name, Michaels took a leap of faith with the release of her third solo EP, 2017's Nervous System.

Listen Now: "Required Listening," Episode 3 With Julia Michaels

Though Michaels has admitted to being nervous about moving to the forefront as an artist in her own right, the gamble paid off. The single "Issues" went gangbusters all the way to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and her EP cracked the Top 50. Plus, the Davenport, Iowa, native scored two nominations for the 60th GRAMMY Awards: Song Of The Year for "Issues" and Best New Artist.

What makes Michaels tick musically, how did she overcome her trepidation and why does she rely on feelings to guide her songwriting?

You'll learn the answers and so much more on the latest episode of "Required Listening," the new music podcast by HowStuffWorks and the GRAMMY Museum in partnership with the Recording Academy.

"It depends on the person. A lot of the times I'll just talk to them [first]," said Michaels regarding collaborating with other artists. "I mean we're all human. We all cry the same. We all bleed the same. So I try to make people feel as comfortable as possible to be able to tell me things, even if the artist that I'm with doesn't write, just having them talk is lyrics in itself. You know, them explaining their day or expressing how they feel. It's like, "That's amazing ... if that's how you're feeling we should write that.'"

As a matter of fact, Michaels told the host of "Required Listening," GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman, that she lets her feelings pilot her songwriting instead of traditional conventions — a process that has yielded gems such as "Issues."

"I'm not that calculated when I write," said Michaels. "I'm all heart when I write so I don't think about the algorithm of a song or the mathematics of a song. I just think, 'This feels good to me,' and just kind of go with that."

When peppered by Goldman with a question about coming into the limelight as a recording artist, Michaels was quick to point out that she has benefitted from plenty of help and encouragement.

"I think a lot of people have helped me get there," said Michaels. "My manager, Beka Tischker, she's been with me for six years. She's always believed in me. … And this year a lot of people have come into my life. I mean even my band — Dan Kanter, who's my guitar player … he's been with me since the beginning of the artist transition. I can't even do it without him at this point. ... There's a lot of people in my life, especially this year, that have made me feel comfortable and confident."

Speaking of confidence, Michaels has taken cues from plenty of her self-assured peers. She cited three artists, in particular, who have inspired her career path.

"I'm not that calculated when I write. I'm all heart." — Julia Michaels

"[Pink is] a bad*," said Michaels. "I love Fiona Apple. I love a lot of artists that are not afraid to say what they want to say. I love artists that write their own music. Laura Marling — she's very much from her point of view, very much whatever she wants to do. And plus her voice is so haunting and beautiful."

"Required Listening" launched on GRAMMY Sunday, Jan. 28, with the first episode featuring an in-depth conversation with GRAMMY winners Imagine Dragons and the second detailing "The Defiant Ones" with Allen Hughes and Jimmy Iovine.

Future guests will include Sean "Diddy" Combs, Dan Auerbach, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and Lindsey Buckingham and Christie McVie of Fleetwood Mac, among others.

Attention Music Fans: Take The GRAMMY Challenge Now On Kik And Facebook Messenger

DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs

DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs

DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend take home Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 27, 2020 - 09:05 am

DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend, has won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher" at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The single was featured on DJ Khaled's 2019 album Father of Asahd and featured Hussle's vocals and Legend on the piano. DJ Khaled predicted the track would win a GRAMMY.

"I even told him, 'We're going to win a GRAMMY.' Because that's how I feel about my album," DJ Khaled told Billboard. "I really feel like not only is this my biggest, this is very special."

After the release of the song and music video -- which was filmed before Hussle's death in March -- DJ Khaled announced all proceeds from "Higher" will go to Hussle's children.

DJ Khaled and co. beat out fellow category nominees Lil Baby & Gunna ("Drip Too Hard"), Lil Nas X ("Panini"), Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch ("Ballin") and Young Thug featuring J. Cole & Travis Scott ("The London"). Hussle earned a second posthumous award at the 62nd GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle." 

Along with Legend and DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to Hussle during the telecast, which concluded with "Higher."

Check out the complete 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees and winners list here.