GRAMMY PREVIEW Q&A: MUNI LONG

What would it mean for you to be nominated for or win a Grammy Award as an artist?
An opportunity to have my name written in the golden hall of fame would solidify my place in history. I’m very curious about how people will perceive my creativity 100 years from now, when I am transitioned out of this life. A few Grammy wins would send me down the path to my dream of EGOT status. It’s also something I have always wanted to experience up close. I’ve been in the audience many times; now I would like to step onto the stage and view it from that angle.

You’ve written for so many talented artists. But what
do you like about writing for yourself?
Internally, I’ve always interpreted my creative process as writing for myself, irrespective of who might be performing the work. I love the limitless connection to the magic that I feel when I’m creating a piece that resonates with me. It’s such a divine high; I become a channel for the message that wants to be heard. The songs write themselves; I just put the emotion into them and shape them with the vernacular of the current day and time. It’s such a rush. I’ll never get tired of it.

You often use life obstacles as fuel for your writing, which you make clear on both Public Displays of Affection Too and No Filter. Were you ever trepidatious about putting your personal life out there?
I’m a very private person. I love that people assume that every detail in my music is centered around my personal life, but I do write about the situations I see in the world and what my acquaintances or friends of friends have gone through. I love telling stories. I’m not ashamed of being human, making mistakes, falling in love... so no. I’m fearless with my expression, and I leave the meaning up for interpretation. It’s my job to make the music, not to judge it.

What sparked your 2020 re-invention?
I’ve been writing prolifically and banking so many songs. I have tons of music ready to come in 2023 and beyond. There are songs that existed in my head for years that I just knew were too special to just dump somewhere. I consider my 2020 transition as more of a shedding of a costume, a relentless musical drubbing of all the folks I’ve beseeched throughout the years for some tip, morsel, guidance, point in the right direction... anything to help me get off the hamster wheel of songwriting. Like, HELLO! This is what I been trying to tell ya’ll for 12 years. It’s so funny because Muni Long is who I am every day; the other girl was just trying to fit in. My transition was so successful that people I spent months, years working with had no idea that I was her. That really tickles me. It’s kind of the best part.

You had your first Top 40 hit with “Hrs and Hrs.” How did that feel, and how much do you credit to TikTok?
“Hrs” was a surprising, amazing moment. I’m really grateful for it. Intimately, it made me realize that nobody really knows how the world will respond, but if you are true and intentional in the creation of a thing, it will bloom in a big way. Holistically, I think social media was the catalyst for the virality of “Hrs.” TikTok was the tipping point, though, as it is the only social platform that I am aware of that contributes to Billboard entries. I think people give TikTok a hard time because it was originally known for the gimmicky dances and antics, but it opened up the door for my strategic partnership with Universal/Def Jam, which led to all the wonderful opportunities that followed. Overall, there were many, many factors that led to the ultimate success of this timeless song; it’s hard to pinpoint just one.

THE VIEW FROM HITS LIST
Time to get the hell outta Dodge. (7/19a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MIDYEAR MOMENTUM
The score at the half (7/19a)
SONG REVENUE:
ZACH ATTACK
Hat trick (7/19a)
EMINEM'S STREAK AT #1: LET'S DO THE NUMBERS
He's a one-man dynasty. (7/19a)
GEFFEN ON ROSENBLATT: "A BRILLIANT BUSINESS PARTNER"
One titan salutes another. (7/19a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
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