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Throwback: Etta James-All The Way Down

Etta James was a well-established R&B singer by the time of her 1973 solo album. She started having hits at 16 after she was discovered by Johnny Otis in 1954. When the ’70s arrived she worked with famous rock producer Gabriel Mekler and took a different musical direction. “All The Way Down” was on this album and Mekler was one of the three co-writers of the song. James’s struggles with heroin and alcohol addictions were heard in her brassy tone and the autobiographical lyrics. The story about shiny cars, seeking stardom and drugs was something her audience already knew was part of her life.

The strings and funk elements supplemented the groove within an arrangement reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly soundtrack that came out the previous year. Etta James had successfully traveled into a new sound and the album received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance Female. She did not get to enjoy the accolades because of her addiction which eventually sent her to a hospital for treatment in 1974. “All The Way Down” was one of James’s most difficult truths in song and the recording proved to be an artistic triumph that still gets people excited in 2023. Etta James is one of the artists currently in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s exhibition examining the influence of R&B on Nashville. 

 




Throwback: Jack White-Love Interruption

Jack White’s first solo album Blunderbuss  launched with the blues ballad “Love Interruption.” His previous group The White Stripes parted ways in 2011 and the lo-fi alternative rock sound was replaced with a heavily acoustic flavor. “Love Interruption” was a duet with vocals from Ruby Amanfu and together they described love using violent metaphors and torrid imagery. White directed the video of him and Amanfu sharing the stage with his band with a hazy blue background. Fans accepted White’s reinvention and “Love Interruption” was the first signpost of Blunderbuss’s success. The album debuted with Top Ten placements on charts around the world and reached platinum status in Canada.  Blunderbuss received four Grammy nominations including the coveted Album Of The Year category. “Love Interruption” earned a permanent place in White’s live sets and also appears on Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016

Jack White released his fourth solo album Fear Of The Dawn in March of 2022. The album was promoted with the Cab Calloway-inspired single “Hi-De-Ho” featuring Q-Tip. White is releasing his fifth studio album Entering Heaven Alive on July 22nd. and the video for “If I Die Tonight” was unveiled in June. Ruby Amanfu received a Grammy nomination in 2022 for Song Of The Year because of her co-writing “A Beautiful Noise” which was recorded by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile to inspire American voter participation. 

 




Body Count, Fantastic Negrito, Thundercat, Brittany Howard, Nas, Megan Thee Stallion, Ledisi & More Take Home Grammys

The 63rd Grammy Awards took place at the Los Angeles Convention center with Trevor Noah as the host. There were performances from Bruno Mars with anderson.paak, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B. Beyonce made history and became the woman with the most Grammys after taking her home her 28th one.  She joined Megan The Stallion onstage for their joint win for Best Rap Song for “Savage” which Jay-Z also won his 23rd Grammy for because he helped write the song. Their daughter Blue Ivy became the second-youngest winner ever at 9-years old for Best Music Video for “Brown Skin Girl.” Megan Thee Stallion became the first woman to win Best Rap Song. Ice-T’s Body Count took the award for Best Metal Performance. Nas won his first Grammy after 14 nominations over his almost 30-year career. Fantastic Negrito picked up his third Grammy for Contemporary Blues Album. Fans questioned why Taylor Swift became the first woman to win album of the year three times and why Billie Eilish won Record Of The Year two years in a row. See all the winners below: 

 

Song Of The Year:

“I Can’t Breathe” – WINNER
Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)

Best New Artist:

Megan Thee Stallion

Best Dance Recording:

“10%” 
Kaytranada Featuring Kali Uchis
Kaytranada, producer; Neal H. Pogue, mixer

Best Dance/Electronic Album:

BUBBA – Kaytranada

Best Metal Performance: 

Bum-Rush – Body Count

Best Rock Song:

“Stay High” – Brittany Howard, songwriter (Brittany Howard)

Best R&B Performance:

“Black Parade”-Beyoncé

Best Traditional R&B Performance: 

“Anything For You” – Ledisi

Best R&B Song:

“Better Than I Imagined” – Robert Glasper, Meshell Ndegeocello & Gabriella Wilson, songwriters (Robert Glasper Featuring H.E.R. & Meshell Ndegeocello)

Best Progressive R&B Album:

It Is What It Is -Thundercat

Best R&B Album:

Bigger Love -John Legend

Best Rap Performance:

“Savage”-Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé

Best Melodic Rap Performance:

“Lockdown”-Anderson.Paak

Best Rap Song: 

“Savage” -Beyoncé, Shawn Carter, Brittany Hazzard, Derrick Milano, Terius Nash, Megan Pete, Bobby Session Jr., Jordan Kyle Lanier Thorpe & Anthony White, songwriters (Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé)

Best Rap Album: 

King’s Disease -Nas

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album:

Jesus Is King-Kanye West

Best Gospel Album:

Gospel According To PJ -PJ Morton

Best Contemporary Blues Album:

Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? -Fantastic Negrito

Best Traditional Blues Album:

Rawer Than Raw – Bobby Rush

Best Reggae Album:

Got To Be Tough-Toots & The Maytals

Best Global Music Album:

Twice As Tall – Burna Boy

Best Music Video:

“Brown Skin Girl”-Beyoncé, Blue Ivy & WizKid
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter & Jenn Nkiru, video directors; Astrid Edwards, Aya Kaida, Jean Mougin, Nathan Scherrer & Erinn Williams, video producers

 

 

 

 

 

 




Watch Jacob Banks’s Parade Video That Stars Kojey Radical

Jacob Banks pens a new blues with “Parade” which has a video starring Kojey Radical. Banks sings with conviction and is sure to not let anything stop him from having a good day. He was inspired to write “Parade” after attending a protest in his home of the UK. 

“I hoped to experience a sense of pride or whatever, but I didn’t experience any of that. I felt defeated by the fact we still have to do this after all of these years. We’re all risking our lives with the pandemic out there. However, it turned around in my head. No matter how hard it gets for the oppressed, civilization still doesn’t move without our consent. It was fascinating to me. I found power in it. Society requires those who stand up on the frontline and march. It needs all of the marginalized and disenfranchised groups, so get on board or get used to it.”

“Parade” is Banks’s first song of 2021. His Village debut album was released in 2018. Last year, he saw two singles “Devil That I Know” and “Stranger” come out.