Photo Courtesy of GRAMMY U
5 Highlights From The HBCU Love Tour In Atlanta
The HBCU Love Tour created an atmosphere that went beyond representing Black students, creators and artists. From the student showcase to the red carpet, GRAMMY U recounts the most exciting events at the HBCU Love Tour in Atlanta.
On Oct. 9 and 10, the Recording Academy hosted the HBCU Love Tour in Atlanta, Georgia, the second installment of the newly launched series. A collaborative initiative presented by GRAMMY U, the Recording Academy’s college program fostering the professional growth of future music industry leaders, and the Black Music Collective (BMC), an advisory group within the Recording Academy working to celebrate and advance Black music and Black creators and professionals across the music industry, the HBCU Love Tour aims to empower students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) who are looking to make a name for themselves in the music industry.
Students from HBCUs, such as Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University, attended events featuring some of the most influential Black artists and professionals in music, including Armani White, Rico Love, Kat Graham, and others.
Launched in April by the Recording Academy’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) team, which is spearheaded by DEI Vice President Ryan Butler, the HBCU Love Tour gives students an exclusive opportunity to learn from music industry leaders as well as Academy executives. Recording Academy Chair of the Board of Trustees Tammy Hurt, Vice Chair on the Board of Trustees and BMC Chair Rico Love, and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. helped initiate the HBCU Love Tour as well.
By combining the missions of the Black Music Collective and GRAMMY U, the HBCU Love Tour created an inclusive atmosphere that went beyond representing Black students, creators and artists. From the student showcase to the red carpet, here are five of the most exciting highlights that went down at the HBCU Love Tour in Atlanta this month.
A Wide-Ranging And Exciting Student Showcase
A student performs | Courtesy of GRAMMY U
The HBCU Love Tour started off with a student showcase at Vinyl at Center Stage on Sunday, Oct. 9. Hosted by Manni Supreme, with beats by DJ RicoVeli, the showcase included rap, R&B, soul, and spoken word performances.
The 11 artists featured in the showcase — WickDaDon, Lila Jai, Mr Boy, Rocky Chatman, Nena Hayes, Kinga World, Nia Simone, Morgan Edwards, Kenarri, Nay Speaks, and Hasani Vibez — submitted their music and were chosen to perform before a prestigious panel of judges, including Rico Love, Len Brown, Daniela Rivera, and Ebonie Ward.
Celebrating Student Showcase Winner Nia Simone
(From left): Tammy Hurt, J.I.D, Nia Simone, Rico Love, Baby Tate, and Ryan Butler | Courtesy of GRAMMY U
After an astounding performance of one of her original songs, judges selected Clark Atlanta University student Nia Simone as the showcase winner. Simon's vocals lit up the room and left the crowd in awe.
As her prize, Simone received a check for $1,000 from the HBCU Love Tour. She also received the opportunity to open up at the HBCU Love Tour event the following day and performed her new single, "Oh No, Not Me," in front of renowned artists and fellow students.
Read More: How The HBCU Love Tour Inspires Young Black Students To Prosper In The Music Industry
Rico Love, Baby Tate & J.I.D Demystified The GRAMMY Awards
(From left) J.I.D, Rico Love and Baby Tate | Courtesy of GRAMMY U
One of the featured events at the HBCU Love Tour included a panel titled "Demystifying the GRAMMY Awards," which was presented by the Black Music Collective and featured panelists Rico Love, Baby Tate & J.I.D.
The panelists elaborated on the ins and outs of the awards process, its purpose, and its significance to the music industry. The panel "gave me a better insight from an artist's point of view in terms of working hard, submitting music for nominations, and ensuring they are active and present in the Recording Academy," said Atlanta GRAMMY U Representative Amir Duke, who also provided behind-the-scenes support for the event.
Armani White Discussed Marketing & Social Media In GRAMMY U's Masterclass
Kat Graham and Armani White | Courtesy of GRAMMY U
Though his career is made up of years of hard work, Armani White is best known for going viral on TikTok with his hit, "BILLIE EILISH." The social media frenzy over his song played a significant role in his skyrocketing career, White said during a masterclass presented by GRAMMY U and Mastercard.
In the masterclass, which was moderated by musician, actress and producer Kat Graham, White spoke about using social media to create a viral buzz and shape your music career. White and Graham also spoke with students about utilizing social media to their benefit and avoiding becoming just another viral fluke in favor of becoming an industry sensation.
GRAMMY U Reps & Campus Ambassadors Witnessed All The Action
GRAMMY U representatives | Courtesy of GRAMMY U
GRAMMY U representatives and campus ambassadors received the opportunity to work closely with Recording Academy staff to bring the HBCU Love Tour to life.
Sinclaire Dupre, the GRAMMY U Campus Ambassador for Spelman College, supported Recording Academy Social Media Marketing Director Laura Rodriguez. "I worked closely with [Laura] and was able to get content all around the event spaces, interview guests, performers, and contestants, and behind-the-scenes moments," Dupre said. "I learned so much, like how to edit content, apply overlays, angles, and tactics within posting. I learned about timing, catching moments, and posting schedules."
Dupre feels that her experience with the HBCU Love Tour was unique compared to other moments in her career, in that she was able to focus most of her energy into capturing the special moments of the weekend as a professional rather than being an attendee looking in.
Jonathan Weaver, GRAMMY U Representative for Washington and a student at Howard University, sees extraordinary value in the HBCU Love Tour. "It recognizes the impact that the Black community has had on the music industry," he said. "It was a great opportunity that showed that people are investing in the future of young, Black creatives."
The HBCU Love Tour plans to continue on to other cities to develop and celebrate Black students, who are invaluable to the future and foundation of the music industry. The Black Music Collective and GRAMMY U will strive to advance opportunities for HBCU students who will become the next generation of creators, artists, and music business professionals.
Photo: Courtesy of the GRAMMY Museum
5 Can't-Miss Panels At GRAMMY In The Schools Fest 2023
From a 'Shakira, Shakira' Exhibit Tour to a Women In Music Career Panel, explore the key panels at this year's GRAMMY In The Schools Fest, hosted by the GRAMMY Museum.
Kicking off Music In Our Schools Month, the GRAMMY Museum is proud to host its third annual GRAMMY In The School Fest in support of music education.
The festival will take place this year from Monday, March 6 to Friday, March 10, and all programs are free for students who register in advance. Events are offered both in-person at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles as well as virtually via livestream.
From a Guest Artist Session with Baby Tate and NLE Choppa to a World Beat Rhythms Workshop, this free festival aims to inspire and make music education accessible as possible. Learn about everything from the history of hip-hop to the power of music therapy to audio engineering and creative production.
This year's lineup features other artists and industry professionals such as Catie Turner, Chase Atlantic, Drebae, IDK, Justin Tranter, MAJOR., Marq Hawkins (DJ CLI-N-TEL), Moore Kismet, and renforshort.
Below, read about the week's five key panels you won't want to miss. Register for them and other panels here.
Women In Music Career Panel
Monday, March 6, 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
March marks not only Music In Our Schools Month, but also celebrates Women's History Month. In this Q&A session honoring the intersection of these themes, listen to inspiring stories and insider advice from women working in the music industry. The panel features executives from organizations such as the Music Forward Foundation, Guitar Center Company, and Roland Americas.
History of Hip-Hop & The Hip-Hop Experience
Tuesday, March 7, 3 p.m.-4 p.m. PST
From music to fashion to dance, hip-hop's impact on culture has been monumental. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the genre, learn from GRAMMY Museum's panel of singer-songwriters, record producers, and company founders, featuring Jason Mills (professionally known as IDK), Marq Hawkins (professionally known as DJ Cli-N-Tel), and Larrance Dopson.
Shakira Exhibit Tour & Non-Profit Spotlight – Fundación Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Foundation)
Thursday, March 9, 1 p.m.-2 p.m. PST
What's it like to tour with Shakira? Hear from musicians Joe Ayoub, Grecco Buratto, and Adam Zimmon, who have toured and closely worked with the GRAMMY Award winner, in a conversation focusing on the powerful impact of Latin music. Later, take a special tour through GRAMMY Museum's brand new exhibit, Shakira, Shakira, led by the museum's Chief Curator & Vice President of Curatorial Affairs, Jasen Emmons.
Music Therapy Panel
Friday, March 10, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. PST
Whether it brings you serenity or euphoria, music flows as a cathartic and healing force for many — especially in the entertainment industry. In this Q&A focusing on the gravity of mental health, hear important advice and reflections from music therapists, mental health entrepreneurs/educators, and musicians alike.
Guest Artist Session ft. Justin Tranter
Friday, March 10, 1 p.m.-2 p.m. PST
Your favorite song might have been written by Justin Tranter. Having worked with everyone from Ariana Grande to Måneskin to Justin Bieber, the GRAMMY-nominated songwriter joins the festival lineup to share insight on their decades-long experience in the music industry. Tranter writes songs for not only music, but also film, television, and theater — most recently, they've served as the executive music producer and songwriter for upcoming Grease prequel series, Rise of the Pink Ladies.
Register for GRAMMY In The Schools Fest here.
The GRAMMY Museum Announces 'Shakira, Shakira: The GRAMMY Museum Experience,' Honoring Her Creative Legacy; Opening March 2023
Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
How The Entertainment Law Initiative's "The Evolution Of The Record Contract" Panel Analyzed The Essentials Of Record Deals
Featuring a panel representing both the artist and label sides of record deals, the lively discussion yielded numerous key takeaways regarding the ins and outs of contracts.
With tectonic shifts in the music business — TikTok's domination and virality; the "Taylor effect" of Swift's re-recordings, among other things — contractual procedures can and do change incredibly quickly.
It's difficult for an artist to keep track, let alone know what type of record deal to sign… or when. To unpack this topic, the Recording Academy’s Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI), a program aimed at bolstering discussion and debate around legal affairs and their impact on the music industry and creative community, held a Professional Education Event titled "The Evolution of the Record Contract" at NYU's Kimmel Center for University Life on Nov. 8, 2022.
The panel, sponsored by NYU Steinhardt Music Business Program and First Horizon Bank, was moderated by Sandra Craswshaw-Sparks, Partner at Proskauer Rose LLP and Chair of the Entertainment, Copyright & Media Practice Group. Participating attorneys included Shardé Simpson, Vice President of Operations, Dream Chaser Records and founding partner of Simpson and Reed PLLC; Elliot Groffman of Carroll Guido Groffman Cohen Bar & Karalian; and Ben Landry, Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Atlantic Records. Practicing attorneys received 1.0 credit hour of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit from Proskauer Rose LLP in the Professional Practice (NY)/General (CA/IL) category for their attendance.
In his opening remarks, Neil Crilly, Managing Director of Industry Leader Engagement & Chapter Operations for the Recording Academy and one of the event's organizers, presented an overview of the 2023 Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest. The annual contest invites current law students to identify and research a pressing legal issue facing the music industry today and outline a proposed solution in a 3,000-word essay. The winner, decided upon a nationwide panel of music law experts and to be recognized at the 25th Annual ELI event to be held during GRAMMY Week 2023, will receive a $10,000 cash scholarship, among many other prizes; each of the two contest runners-up will receive a $2,500 cash scholarship. Learn more about the 2023 Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest, read the official contest rules, and spread the word to eligible applicants via our Social Media Toolkit.
Representing both the artist side (Groffman) and the label side of record deals (Landry, and Simpson, who works on both the artist and label side), the lively discussion yielded numerous key takeaways regarding the ins and outs of contracts. Kanye West's business dealings even came into play — in a positive way!
One topic of note: when it comes to an artist signing a recording contract, short-term is king.
"There's only one clause that counts when you're representing a new artist, and that's the length of the term. And we like it to be short," says Groffman. But as he warns, "Just short doesn't mean good, either." Back in the day, artists were committing to 10-album deals; now two or three records is the desired norm.
From the label POV, Atlantic's Landry concurs, adding, "We've seen more leverage given back to the artists. I think that's a result of a lot of barriers to entry to the market being removed. It's easier to release music these days than maybe it ever has been before."
If an artist becomes successful, it seems that more money, more creative control and more benefits should follow. In that case, being locked in a long-term contract signed can be detrimental.
"You'll see [artists] two, three albums down the road, blowing up, and they're noticing that there were certain restrictions in their agreement that didn't allow them to do certain things," says Simpson. "Then we're fast forwarding five, 10 years, and they're still in these deals. So that's definitely a disadvantage."
Renegotiate that deal, rock star.
Ye worked his early career and contracts in a way that allowed for growth and renegotiation: As Kanye West, "after his first few albums, he renegotiated his deal, and that turned into a profit split," Landry, who studied the now-mogul's contract, explains.
"Later in his career it turned into a distribution arrangement where he got 100% of the proceeds," he continues. "And he got reversions; ownership rights for some of his albums. That's sort of a life-cycle. If you can't come in and get the deal that you want from the beginning, and you find success, we expect and happily welcome those renegotiations."
(L-R): Ben Landry, Sharde Simpson & Elliot Groffman | Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Of course, sustained success is the key to those re-negotiations. And deal terms are viewed differently as star status changes. "As for the all-in royalty rate, as artists grow, the royalty rate does matter. When they're initially signing as baby or junior artists, I don't think they care as much. But as they grow, that royalty rate makes a huge difference in terms of income, especially as they start to be multimillionaires," Simpson says.
Artists should consider a distribution deal instead of a record deal, he adds.
As he lays out, signing a "traditional" record deal with a major label offers the advantage of being part of the "machine" and its infrastructure of marketing, publicity, a radio promo team and more. Sometimes, though, traditional old-school deals happen because the artist goes for the biggest initial payday/investment rather than looking to the long-term.
"Labels can operate as a bank of sorts; provide those advances," Simpson says, "Ultimately, though, If I had to pick between an all-in royalty rate or a profit split, I would tell the artists to definitely do a profit-split or net-receipts type of situation. If you can go into a deal like that, you should. And that's usually a distribution situation."
Distribution deals are often a beneficial position to be in, "especially if you have a distribution company that's really good at marketing, and they can provide you with a great marketing advance," Simpson says. "And maybe you don't need the advance to be tied to anything else. I think in those situations, it might be beneficial for the artists to take it."
Beware of signing to a production deal, he adds. Because it's tempting for a creative to acquiesce when someone says they can handle all the business around securing a deal… and then shield/advocate for the artist at the major label. "Oftentimes a baby artist will have a manager or person close to them sign them to a 'production deal,' which is sort of a makeshift label deal," he says — and that can lock the artist down financially.
Production deals "can cause problems for a number of reasons," Landry believes. "As artists starting out, they don't have a lot of leverage, and they're very, very eager to get things going." And a production deal may fast-track that process, but then? "I think artists sometimes be into these deals, and then they become household names and stars, and they start looking askance at their production deals."
If the band or artist is unhappy with the amount of money they're making from a label, "imagine having to split that with a production company," Landry says. "Maybe by then [the artist] is working directly with the label, so it's like, 'Why am I paying this person over here half of my money?'"
Many production deals, he surmises, are due to the ease with which almost anyone can "set up distribution and provide basic label services to an artist starting out."
(L-R): Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks, Landry, Simpson & Groffman | Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
That's not to say there aren't mutually beneficial production deals. "There could be a good reason [for signing one]; it could be that the person was a producer or writer who found somebody, groomed them and worked a deal," adds Groffman.
Work as hard as you can and wait as long as you can before signing any record contract, Landry says.
"I think that major labels are extremely good at taking a three and going to 10. I think the magic often is zero to three," he explains. That kickstart that usually happens with [the artist] and their "really smart, enterprising friends, managers, lawyers working together to create these moments and create a buzz.
"So, the longer you can hold out and get more leverage, of course, the more labels are going to be interested. It's less risk," Landry continues. In that case, the majors can take a chance and do a riskier (i.e., higher money deal for the artist) deal, since the "proof of concept" has already been established from the creative side.
Leverage is key when going into an initial major-label label negotiation, agrees Groffman.
"The longer you wait before you engage with a major label system, the more negotiating power you're gonna have. I'm not saying don't do deals with majors, but arm yourself. If you come in there too soon, you're going to be giving up five albums, not three.
"You'll be doing 360 stuff [an exclusive contract between a label and an artist where the label not only takes a share of the artist's music sales, but also percentages of revenue touring, merchandise, publishing or more], even with good shelters and all the things that [attorneys] negotiate," he adds.
Yet even distribution deals aren't easy, Groffman says. "As Ben said, monies that a major label will pay are recoupable, but not returnable. Distribution deals, you over-manufacture, you overspend, guess what? You're paying for that. And you know, the splits look much better on paper."
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Photo courtesy of the artist
How The Recording Academy New York Chapter Day Of Service Inspired Community Building & Service
The events and panel talks held during the Recording Academy New York Chapter Day Of Service aimed to build community, bestow knowledge, and pass along the power and passion that drive the music industry.
The New York Society Library not only holds the distinction of being the oldest library in the Big Apple; it was the de facto Library of Congress during the United States' early years. Filled with dusty, leather-bound books and centuries-old oil paintings, its ornate rooms are imbued with a sense of history.
The event space on the second floor is normally a place for quiet reflection and historical ponderance — but on Oct. 27, it burst with jubilant energy and rapport.
As the sun beamed through its antique windows, the GRAMMY-winning Lucy Kalantari stood before an audience of boisterous, captivated kids hanging on her every word.
"My mommy is a mummy," she playfully sang, tapping on a keyboard along with the clarinet stylings of GRAMMY winner Linus Wyrsch, a member of her band, the Jazz Cats. Children and parents alike danced about, regularly shouting out to the receptive performer, entranced by the live music unfolding before them.
It's an enchanting, heartwarming moment, and it's all part of the Recording Academy New York Chapter Day Of Service, a new initiative that encourages Recording Academy members and music industry professionals from across the New York Chapter's regions to volunteer at service opportunities. The goal is simple: to give back to the region through a series of events and panel talks meant to build community, bestow knowledge, and pass along the power and passion that drive the music industry.
The Day Of Service included panel discussions, school visits, and free kids programming — like the event that singer, composer and producer Kalantari hosted.
Read More: Meet Some Of The Music Industry Leaders Who Just Joined The Recording Academy's 2022 New Member Class
"As a performer, this event is an opportunity to help shape children for our future," Kalantari explains. "The Recording Academy reached out about the Day Of Service, and I was thrilled to say an absolute yes."
A celebrated family music artist and performer, who most recently won the GRAMMY for Best Children's Music Album at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards in 2021, Kalantari has built her career on the formative power of music and how it can positively impact and shape young minds.
But regarding the sphere often referred to as "children's music," Kalantari is quick to point out one overarching idea: "It's not just about having sweet or cute songs."
No doubt, her music can be described using those two adjectives. But Kalantari also uses her platform to paint a sophisticated musical portrait — one that teaches children heavier topics, like the fundamentals of jazz, in a lighter way.
"There's content there for them to grow up and live by, from lyrics to sound and how they move," she says. "They get to immerse themselves in it and there's no holding back; this is real jazz. It's really wonderful to see kids experience this kind of sound."
Clarinetist Wyrsch echoes that mission of enlightening young minds. "The minds of children are like little sponges," he says. "They really absorb it, so it's important they are exposed to jazz and improvised music as much as any other music."
Events like the Day Of Service are what spurred Kalantari to join the Recording Academy's New York Chapter back in 2014. "I thought the organization was just for the superstars, like Beyoncé," she says with a laugh. "But a friend of mine said, 'There's a Chapter in New York you can join, and it's really for musicians, creatives and producers.
"I met so many people locally and abroad, including mentees through the GRAMMY U student mentorship program," she continues. "It's been really fun to see what these connections can bring, even if it's just support or a little bit of encouragement."
It's that spirit that also spurred fellow member Amy Birnbaum to join. As the Director of Artist Relations, PR and Marketing at Round Hill Music, Birnbaum helped organize a Day Of Service panel on Zoom in partnership with the NVAK Foundation, a nonprofit that helps educate people around the globe about careers in the music industry.
The event assembled people from all over the world to ask questions, hear stories, and receive tips from a diverse group of heavy hitters in music, from Kurt Duestch (the President of Ghostlight Records and Senior Vice President of Theatrical and Catalog Development at Warner Chappell Music) to Tracey Jordan (Senior Director, Talent, Music/Entertainment Relations at SiriusXM).
"One silver lining of the pandemic is the fact that we have had the opportunity to take on mentorship roles on a global scale," Birnbaum says of the panel and its mission. "With NVAK, we were able to put together a nice group of young people from all different corners of the world who heard from great professionalswith diverse experience levels who were able to provide anecdotes and insights."
As a result, students in the Day Of Service's global classroom heard invaluable information, especially for those in under-resourced communities. "The women I work with in Malawi say they don't even have the bandwidth to do a video conference," Birnbaum says. She notes that for someone dreaming of having a career in this industry, something as simple as general access to professionals therein can mean a world of difference.
"These are young students, so I'm not going to get into the nuts and bolts of music publishing," Birnbaum adds. "Something like asking [panel member] Dahlia, 'How do you source talent?' She said it's just knowing people, finding the people you trust, and talking to them."
Students on the panel also heard insight from the recording artist DAVIE. "[It was about] giving voice to the process behind the scenes," he says. "I wanted to give voice to the hard work it takes to create your sound, your band, and ultimately create the art that impacts people all at once."
DAVIE is frank about the various, complicated facets of being a recording artist. Events like the Day Of Service make things easier, he says.
"There's power in sharing information and mentorship," he adds. "It's important to encourage others in your music community to just keep going."
Birnbaum expressed the true spirit behind the Day Of Service best. "From a networking standpoint, I love to be a community member," she says. "It's everything I live for, and any way I can be involved in my community is a thrill and an honor."
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Photo: Jim Marshall Photography
GRAMMY Museum Announces 'The Rolling Stones 1972: Photographs By Jim Marshall' Exhibit
Opening Nov. 5 and running through June 2023, 'The Rolling Stones 1972: Photographs By Jim Marshall' showcases intimate backstage scenes and dynamic performance stills.
It's only rock 'n' roll, but we like it — and now you can behold it.
Most rock fans know the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street — but few have seen the photos of the raucous tour that followed it. Following that No. 1 worldwide album release, the Stones headed on a star-studded, drug-fueled tour of the United States and Canada.
From this trek to their Sunset Sound recording studio visits, photographer Jim Marshall was there to capture much of it — especially the California run of dates around Exile.
Those photographs will be on display at the GRAMMY Museum's The Rolling Stones 1972: Photographs by Jim Marshall, which showcases intimate backstage scenes and dynamic performance stills. The exhibit opens on Nov. 5 and will run through June 2023.
"Once Jim was in, he was another Stone. He caught us with our trousers down and got the ups and downs," Keith Richards said in a statement. "I love his work, which must have been frustrating to do at times, but that is what happens on gigs like this. Wonderful work, and a great guy. He had a way with the shutter and an amazing way with the eye!"
"Jim's masterful eye and unlimited access captured the Stones in the iconic rock-star way we now visualize the band," added Kelsey Goelz, Associate Curator at the GRAMMY Museum. "This exhibit will transport you to an era of wild rock and roll energy at its best."
For more information regarding advanced ticket reservations for the exhibit, please visit www.grammymuseum.org.
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