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ROCK HALL NOMS:
SWEET LITTLE 16
Todd's on the ballot. (10/15a)
TRAVIS' "ROOM" EARNS SECOND-BIGGEST BOW OF THE YEAR
Great Scott! (10/16a)
HIPGNOSIS SNAGS TIMBALAND CATALOG
Hits galore (10/16a)
TOP 20: ANOTHER FIGHT FOR #1?
Unexpected drama (10/16a)
GRAMMY CHEW:
BEST NEW ARTIST
An uber-competitive category (10/16a)
RIHANNA PREPARES TO RULE THE ROOST
What shoes go with dancehall?
WHAT'S NEXT FOR R&B?
How certain projects connect at streaming.
THE K-POP LANDSCAPE
농담은 한국어에서 더 잘 작동합니다.
THE NEW GRAMMY POWER
Change is nigh.
THE B-SIDE
GRAMMY PREVIEW: TYLER CHILDERS
9/25/19

Unafraid of the Authentic

By: Samantha Hissong

Tyler Childers is a no-frills storyteller—an Americana man of the land with bluegrass roots, country influences and a penchant for poignancy. Country Squire serves as his first release through RCA (via his Hickman Holler) and his second collaboration with 2017 Album of the Year nominee Sturgill Simpson, who produced the record. It’s a calling card for the Avon-selling working mom, the depot graveyard shifter and the barfly, as well as an ode to the raw and real.


How did your upbringing shape your creativity and your sound?
I grew up in Lawrence County, Ky.—a mile as the crow flies across the ridge off Route 23, in a specific stretch often called “The Country Music Highway.” It got its name from the number of greats that came from there. Loretta Lynn, Hylo Brown, Dwight Yoakam, to name a few. As well as two particular artists from my home area: Larry Cordle and Ricky Skaggs. My first concert was Ricky Skaggs at Pogue Landing when I was five years old. My first three cassette tapes were two Ricky Skaggs tapes and a Jerry Clower tape. At that time of my life, I recall three particular things occupying my world: My three-cassette tape collection, hunting raccoon (referred to in the rest of this interview as “coon-hunting”) and going to church.

Going coon-hunting with my dad led to me sitting on a tailgate, listening to old guys jabber on about everything from tall tales to flat-out lies. Most evenings meant I wasn’t in school the next day.

Church found me standing outside with my papaw listening to old guys talking while they were getting one last cigarette in. The way they could tell a story—the humor and color of it. I always wanted to be a good storyteller.

Once you went into service, there was another type of storyteller: the Free Will Baptist preacher. A good Free Will preacher’s greatest ability is to leave you scared to death about the state of the world, and all the lost souls living in it that are bound to burn forever and ever in the fiery pits of Hell. It’s like taking your kid to a horror film ever Sunday and Wednesday. They flail and shout and get red in the face. The good ones have an urgency that can be as visceral as a coon being walleyed and torn to shreds in the jaws of a coonhound.

Artistically speaking, who are some of your biggest influences?
I’ve been a fan of Ricky Skaggs my whole life, and his ability to combine bluegrass and country into what I think is a perfect testament of home. Drive-By Truckers held the soundtrack to all my teenage angst, and I’ve always admired how their artwork had a cohesiveness that took you to a place visually, fully entering a trucker’s state of mind. John Prine and Robert Earl Keen were my biggest influences on songwriting early on, for their ability to really put you in a place with just a few words.

Tell me about your relationship with Sturgill Simpson. How did you two connect? What makes your dynamic so special?
I met Sturgill at a bingo hall outside of Estill County and we bonded over our favorite recipe for beaver. I prefer mine canned, then fixed in a red beans and dirty rice mix. The heartiness of the beaver with the spice of a good Cajun seasoning really works wonders.

I enjoy working with Sturgill because, given the proximity of our separate upbringings, he has an understanding of the place I’m trying to express through my music. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that has been given me due to our collaboration, and I hope we continue to work together in the future.

This year, you played shows with the likes of Willie Nelson and John Prine. How would you encapsulate that experience?
Robert Earl Keen was at my house not long ago, and described it best when he said he understood how it can be “extremely heady, and incredibly daunting.” It’s been a wild ride. I’ve told myself that if I keep at it, this thing or that thing might happen. Now those things are actually happening, and it’s an extremely surreal feeling. I’m blessed. I’ve learned a lot and retained the majority of half of it.

Did you watch the Grammys growing up? What significance do they hold in your world?
Chances are if I wasn’t already in bed by the time the Grammys came on as a kid, I was coon-hunting with my dad. I hardly watched any TV as a young’un. Regardless of whether I watched or not, you can’t deny the recognition behind an award like a Grammy. For a serious-minded, working musician, it’s worth striving to achieve the quality in one’s own work to be worthy of such an honor.

GRAMMY PREVIEW: SAWEETIE
9/25/19

ENTREPRENEURIAL RAPPER

By: Jon Pikus

Hailing from the Bay Area, Cali girl Saweetie is poised for a breakthrough. Her raunchy hit “My Type” from her ICY EP is nearing the top of the Mediabase Rhythmic chart at press time. While attending USC to study communications, Saweetie (real name: Diamonté Harper) moonlighted as a SoundCloud rapper, was discovered by manager Max Gousse at a Downtown L.A. Puma event and eventually signed to ICY/Artistry/Warner Records. We caught up with her just after her big splash at NYFW, where she performed and debuted her streetwear capsule collection PrettyLittleThing x Saweetie.


How did the California culture you grew up with influence your sound and your songwriting?
Cali influenced my sound, songwriting and visuals. From the tracks I select to the lyrical content, I incorporate the Bay Area and Sacramento culture in my videos and shows—it’ll always be a part of me.

What music was playing around you as you grew up, and what inspired you to make music?
My dad played a lot of old-school classics like Earth, Wind & Fire, The Stylistics and Marvin Gaye; my mother loved No Doubt. Together, they were hip-hop heads—a lot of East Coast, West Coast in the house, from Ice Cube to Pac to Biggie, Kim and Foxy.

It’s been a breakthrough year for female rappers. How does it feel to be included in that elite group of women in the spotlight?
It’s an honor to be in that elite group. It’s also a testament to the fans who support us—they’re reshaping hip-hop and urban culture.

You first worked with producer London on da Track for your song “Up Now” in 2018. How did you reconnect with him to make your latest hit, “My Type”?
My manager Max Gousse made the initial intro, and London has been close to the camp ever since.

Are there any Grammy-winning artists past or present that you look up to, and what do the Grammys mean to you?
I honestly look up to them all, because it’s an amazing achievement. The Grammys represent the biggest night in music—it would mean the world to me to be nominated for my work.

What’s next for you? Anyone on your wish list of collaborators?
J. Cole, of course. He’s one of the reasons I decided to get my USC degree first and then pursue music. Next up: My fans have been requesting new music since “My Type” exploded, and I don’t want to let them down, so I’m focused on recording and releasing new music for the holidays. I’m gearing up for my first headline tour of the U.S. and Europe, and I’ll be releasing my second capsule collection with PrettyLittleThing. And look out for the launch of Icy Beauty, my cosmetics company—coming real soon.

GRAMMY PREVIEW: LIL TECCA
9/25/19

TEEN TITAN


Billie Eilish isn’t the only 17-year-old having a breakthrough year and generating Grammy buzz. Queens native Lil Tecca has broken through during an “Old Town Road”/“Señorita” summer to deliver his first hit single. The track, “Ransom” (Galactic/Republic), which began to dominate streaming platforms just a couple of months ago, continues to top charts as it climbs at Top 40 and Rhythm. The rapid ascent of the naturally gifted teen also led to a #3 chart bow for his debut mixtape, We Love You Tecca. On top of his melodic flow and irresistible hooks on WLYT, Tecca’s charisma shines through in the video for “Ransom” and the swagger-filled dance clips he creates with Triller.

With an undeniable single and successful debut project under his belt, Lil Tecca has laid the groundwork for what could turn out to be a long and lucrative career. Taking a moment to step away from his pursuit of world domination (as his mixtape cover art suggests), the teen phenom was gracious enough to answer a few questions from a pesky biz rag twice his age.


Why do you think “Ransom” has resonated so powerfully that it’s become one of the biggest songs of the year?
I think “Ransom” has resonated so much with fans and listeners because it’s a really good song. It’s crazy how everything has gone these past few months, but I knew it was going to go crazy, and something that my fans really wanted when I did a Triller and teased a snippet of it a couple of months before dropping it.

What would a Grammy nomination mean to you?

A Grammy nomination would be lit! It would be an honor to win a Grammy, because it’s something so special and something that a lot of artists dream of.


As “Ransom” hits Top 40 radio, what are your thoughts on appealing to the masses?
I’m really glad that a lot of people 
like my music, but I don’t make music to appeal to the masses. I know what good music sounds like, so I go into the studio and have fun making it. 
At the end of the day, I’m just doing me and being myself.

You just turned 17; how do you balance rising fame and enjoying being a teenager?
I wouldn’t call it rising fame, but I’m adjusting to a new lifestyle.