All posts tagged grammy

6 Things To Know About Bonnie Raitt: Her Famous Fans, Legendary Friends & Lack Of Retirement Plan

on March 6, 2023 No comments
by Marah Eakin

A Special Benefit for the GRAMMY Museum’s Music Education Programs

To celebrate her incredible wins at this year’s GRAMMY Awards, including Song Of The Year, Best American Roots Song and Best Americana Performance, the GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome 13-time GRAMMY-winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Bonnie Raitt for a special benefit program at the GRAMMY Museum. The program will be moderated by GRAMMY telecast writer and producer David Wild, an Emmy Award and Peabody Award winning writer who worked with Bonnie Raitt going back to his days at Rolling Stone magazine. Proceeds from this event will benefit the music education initiatives of the GRAMMY Museum. 

Bonnie Raitt is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose unique style blends blues, R&B, rock, and pop. After 20 years as a cult favorite, she broke through to the top in the early 90s with her GRAMMY-award-winning albums, Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw, which featured hits, “Something To Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” among others. The thirteen-time GRAMMY winner was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and Rolling Stone named the slide guitar ace one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.”

2022 was an incredible year for Raitt with a 75-date headlining U.S. tour; the release of her critically acclaimed 21st album ‘Just Like That…,’ on her independent label, Redwing Records; receiving the Icon Award at this 2022’s Billboard Women In Music Awards and seeing her breakthrough album, ‘Nick of Time’ added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. ‘Just Like That…’ was #1 on six Billboard charts the week of release and was perched at #1 on the Americana Radio Album Chart for ten consecutive weeks. The album’s first single, “Made Up Mind” remained in the top three spots on the Americana Radio Singles Chart for 17 weeks. Raitt will be on tour for most of 2023 with stops in the U.S., Australia, the UK, Ireland, and Canada. View all concert dates here

As known for her lifelong commitment to social activism as she is for her music, Raitt has long been involved with the environmental movement, performing concerts around oil, nuclear power, mining, water, and forest protection since the mid-‘70s. She was a founding member of MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), which produced the historic concerts, album, and movie NO NUKES, and continues to work on safe energy issues in addition to environmental protection, social justice, and human rights, as well as creator’s rights and music education.

Bonnie Raitt at the GRAMMY Museum – March 5, 2023 © Rebecca Sapp

During “A Conversation With Bonnie Raitt” at the GRAMMY Museum, 13-time GRAMMY winner detailed her career trajectory, history of big-name collaborations, and how her win for Song Of The Year at this year’s GRAMMY Awards was “a total surprise.”

For the uninitiated, Bonnie Raitt is just an “unknown blues singer” — albeit one who managed to nab the Song Of The Year award at the 2023 GRAMMYs, plus two other trophies. But to the millions in the know, and the choice few in attendance for a chat with Raitt at the Grammy Museum on March 5, she is a living legend.

Over the course of her decades-long career, Raitt has earned 30 GRAMMY nominations, taking home 13 golden gramophones for tracks like “Nick Of Time,” “Something To Talk About,” and “SRV Shuffle,” as well as albums such as Luck Of The Draw and Longing In The Hearts. Last year, Raitt was awarded the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, and at this year’s ceremony, she snagged GRAMMYs for Best American Roots Song, Best Americana Performance and the coveted Song Of The Year.

Before she heads out on a tour of the western United States and Australia, Raitt sat down to chat with moderator David Wild for about two hours, musing not only about her “total surprise” about snagging the Song trophy, but also about her experience at the ceremony. It was an illuminating and downright charming experience — as well as an educational one. Here are six things we learned at “A Conversation With Bonnie Raitt.” 

Taylor Swift Is A Fan —  And A Humble One At That

Raitt recounted being chatted up by Taylor Swift during the GRAMMYs, with Swift telling Raitt backstage that she felt okay losing Song Of The Year to her. Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” was in competition, alongside works by Lizzo, Adele and Harry Styles.

Swift also introduced herself to Raitt, whom she’d never met, saying,”Hi, I’m Taylor.” Raitt said she responded, “Ya think?” — which made the audience in the Clive Davis Theater crack up.

She’s A Master Collaborator, With More On The Way

“No one commands more respect” amongst their musical peers than Bonnie Raitt, said Wild, who’s worked on the GRAMMY Awards as a writer since 2001. Whenever the show’s team has struggled to think of who could best pay tribute to someone like John Prine, Ray Charles, or Christine McVie, “the answer is always Bonnie Raitt.”

That’s probably why, as Raitt noted, she’s recorded duets with more than 100 different musical acts — from Bryan Adams to B.B. King. Raitt added that she’d still love to work with Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, and H.E.R., and that fans can anticipate new collaborative work coming from work she’s done with Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow

Raitt added that she’s gotten really into Unknown Mortal Orchestra lately, who she heard about through Bruce Hornsby.

She’s Learned From And Befriended Musical Masters

Raitt was effusive about her love for King, among others, saying that one of the great joys of her career has been sitting at the feet of blues greats like Sippie Wallace and Son House. The singer/songwriter expressed her gratitude for being able to help get so many of these once-forgotten masters both the attention and the pay they deserved. She cited her work with the Rhythm And Blues Foundation as being of great importance to her personally, saying that it’s vital that the roots of blues and jazz are taught in schools today.

Wild also got Raitt to open up about her friendship with legendary gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples, who toured with Raitt just last year. Calling Staples, “all the preacher I’ll ever need,” Raitt said she thinks she and Staples bonded over being the daughters of famous fathers. “It’s a great honor of my life being friends with her,” Raitt said of her “mutual sister.”

Later, Raitt also waxed rhapsodic about another famous daughter, Natalie Cole, who she said she’d been thinking about all day.

Raitt’s Got An Independent Spirit And An Independent Label

A good portion of Wild and Raitt’s chat was devoted to the star’s career trajectory. The two detailed how, as a 21-year-old college student, Raitt signed to Warner Bros. only after they promised her complete creative control and nowadays has her own indie label, Redwing.

Raitt said it was only with the help of a”team of mighty women” that she was able to go independent. She cited lessons from friends like Prine, Staples, and Jackson Browne, from whom she learned going it alone could be done successfully. 

Bonnie Raitt Almost Missed Out On “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

Raitt also talked a bit about her previous GRAMMY triumphs, including her run of nominations and wins around 1989’s Nick Of Time. Her popular single, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” was originally written for Ricky Skaggs, who intended to make it a lively bluegrass record. 

Raitt added that she thinks the song “Nick Of Time” struck a chord because she opened up about what it means to be getting older.

She’s Not Planning On Retiring (Or Dying) Any Time Soon

After joking that COVID lockdown felt like “house arrest” and “hibernation,” Raitt said that her recent tours have been a blessing. “It feels like I was under the earth without any sunshine,” Raitt says, reassuring attendees that she’s “never retiring.” She said that while she’s lost eight friends in the past three or four weeks, including the great David Lindley, the 73-year-old is optimistic that she can “be here and celebrate for another couple of decades.”

Raitt capped off the event doing what she loves best, teaming with long-time bassist Hutch Hutchinson for an intimate four-song set that included “Angel From Montgomery,” “Shadow Of Doubt,” “Nick Of Time,” and the GRAMMY-winning “Just Like That.” Raitt ended the evening by thanking the Recording Academy for inviting her out, joking, “I can’t believe I get to do this for a living.”

Source: © Copyright The Grammy Awards

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Four Lessons From Bonnie Raitt’s GRAMMY Win

on February 24, 2023 No comments
by Kay Kinney

Music professionals and fans alike were stunned earlier this month when 73-year-old Bonnie Raitt took home the GRAMMY Award for Song of The Year. Here are some lessons you can take to heart.

This year’s GRAMMY Awards nominee list was dominated by younger artists, as has been the case for many years. So it was a shocking moment at the awards ceremony when veteran singer and blues guitarist Bonnie Raitt was announced as the winner of Song of the Year for her song “Just Like That.” Social media lit up. Many younger music fans did not know who Raitt even was. Older fans were not familiar with the song or Raitt’s recent album of the same title. Others were simply disappointed fans of the other nominees, who included pop music superstars Beyoncé and Harry Styles.

Raitt herself seemed flabbergasted by her win. But I wasn’t. I listened to all kinds of new music last year, and I knew and liked all the nominated songs. I thought Raitt’s was the best. But the fact that so many were surprised got me thinking about what we could learn from her win.

1. Stories still matter. I knew “Just Like That” was a great song the first time I heard it a year ago. It tells a compelling story, based on a true story that Raitt had seen on a local news station while touring. It tells about a woman who is visited by a stranger, who tells her that many years earlier he received a heart transplant, and tracked her down because the heart was her son’s. He invites her to place her head on his chest so she can hear her son’s heart beating and be close to him again. Raitt tells this story beautifully and sets it to a stark but lovely melody. 

The best songs are still those that tell stories – they may not always be as heavy as this one, they might even be funny or ironic or joyous, but they invite the listener to “see” the story and understand and feel empathy with the characters in the song or with the singer. When you listen to music, old or new, you will likely find that the songs that stick with you are the ones that tell interesting stories.


2. You’re never too old to do something new. We hear this maxim all the time, andmost of us believe it, at least on some level. But it’s great to be reminded! In addition to the 73-year-old Raitt, blues legend Buddy Guy was also nominated for a GRAMMY at 86, as was Elvis Costello who is 68. One of my favorite new albums and live shows last year was by 1980s chart toppers Tears For Fears. Bruce Springsteen just released a new album and is touring the world this year at 73. Welsh superstar Tom Jones, who is 82, released a fantastic new album in 2021 and is also touring this year, and slaying audiences as a coach on “The Voice UK.” These legends aren’t just resting on their laurels and cashing in on Boomers who want to hear “the old stuff” we grew up with. They’re staying relevant and gaining entire new generations of fans with brand new music. We can all strive to do new things, explore new hobbies or jobs, or hone our existing ones with new information and ideas to reach a new audience and keep ourselves fresh. We can travel to new places and meet new people. Nostalgia is fine, but don’t let it dominate your life.

3. Learn and grow from your reflections during the pandemic. Last year I listened to an interview of Bonnie Raitt on the public radio show World Café. She talked about how devastated she had been in 2020 when her tour had to be canceled due to the pandemic. She even admitted spending a lot of time in bed under the covers, depressed and not wanting to do anything. I could relate! But she eventually got out of bed and realized that while she could not do the live shows she loved, she could use the time off from touring to figure out what she wanted to say next. She could write new songs and find others that were meaningful to her. So she set about doing that, and ended up producing one of the best albums of her 50 year career – and won three GRAMMY awards! Her tour last year sold out all over the country. I think we can all take this as a lesson. If you’re like me, you probably spent a lot of time during the Covid lockdowns thinking about what meant the most to you and what you missed the most.  Revisit those thoughts.  Don’t be afraid to get back out there and do what you love!  Realize that the time you spent reflecting can help you now to do your best work ever, try something you always wanted to do, or have the most joyous experiences of your life!

4. Keep up with artists you like and go see them. I’ve been surprised by how many of my now-retired friends have told me they loved Bonnie Raitt “back in the day,” but didn’t know she released a new album last year and did a nationwide tour. Many of them haven’t seen a live concert or bought new music in years. These are people who once had walls lined with records and went to every show imaginable! We are a generation whose lives revolved around music in our formative years and throughout much of our adulthood. There’s no reason to give that up now! My husband and I attended over 40 concerts last year, many by great younger artists but also some legends like Raitt and Buddy Guy. We even planned a vacation around a concert by one of our favorite bands. Live music is one of the best stress relievers and happiness producers in the world! And many of these artists you love are near the end of their touring days, so see them while you still can. Even if it’s just a Tom Petty tribute band playing in your local tavern, go see them. If you love Broadway shows but can’t get to New York, go see your local high school production. If all you can afford is a lawn spot for a concert, go anyway. You will be happier and make great memories.

If you still have a turntable or CD player, dust off those old albums and maybe buy some new ones. Find a used record shop and pick up the ones you may have missed or lost. Many of them can be had for just a dollar or two. Play them. A lot. Or consider subscribing to a digital music streaming service; you can set it up to get alerts for new music by your longtime favorites, and suggestions of new artists that you might also like and want to go see. You can make your own playlists of your favorite songs or artists, find “channels” that play the music genres you like, or just listen to your favorite classic albums while you’re on your daily walk. These are great ways to get music back into your life. And you won’t be surprised by the Grammy Awards again!

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Source: © Copyright The Street

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Defending the Grammys: Harvey Mason Jr. Makes His Case

on February 20, 2023 No comments
by Brian Hiatt

Recording Academy CEO Mason responds to Grammys criticism — and previews a TV special celebrating hip-hop’s 50th anniversary

From yet another Beyoncé snub for Album of the Year to fan-roundtable segments that some viewers found cringe-inducing, this year’s Grammys sparked even more controversy than usual. In the new episode of our Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, responds to criticism (including our own, on last week’s episode).

“This is a new organization,” says Mason, pointing to extensive efforts to diversify the voting base since he took over in 2020. “This is a new academy. There’s always gonna be some disappointments. We’re getting to a place where it’s improving and it’s continuing to be more and more relevant every year… But I have to say, it’s a work in progress.”

More highlights from the conversation follow; to hear the full interview, press play above, or find it here at the podcast provider of your choice. (Also in this episode: a debate over the merits of Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show performance.)

Mason defends the fan roundtables, but doesn’t necessarily commit to their return next year.
“It’s a science project,” he says. “You’re trying to find the right ratio of music to feel-good [content], to dialogue, to storytelling, to awards, and it’s always gonna be something that we tinker with. I thought the show, all in all, was unbelievable. We’re always gonna try things. We’re always gonna push the envelope, and see what’s next. We don’t wanna have the same show every year. We want to do things that are different. But more than anything, we want to have heart and we want to come from a place of love. We want to come from a place of bringing people together, unifying, celebrating, healing. And to me the fan packages humanized the artists and gave a real insight into people that appreciate and love their work. So whether or not it was too long, too short, too many, too few, that’s something that, you all can debate.”

Bonnie Raitt’s upset win for Song of the Year for the ballad “Just Like That” was a win for the Academy, Mason says.
“I was surprised, honestly,” he says. “It’s not something that I would’ve predicted, but I was really proud of it. And it means our voters are really doing the work. They really listened — because if you listen to that song one time and you’re not crying by the end of it, you’re, you’re cold inside. If you were in the house and you saw the artist community when they announced that category, there was so much respect and love for her.”

The Academy is concerned that Drake and The Weeknd are refusing to submit their music for awards consideration, and is trying to win back their trust.
“It’s not just about a couple artists,” says Mason. “It’s about the artist community. I want the artist community to trust the academy and feel like we’re doing the right work for the right reasons. We need to earn that trust and continue to build the trust with the artist community. And yes, we want to have a TV show and we want to celebrate and party with these artists. But the real purpose of the Academy is to serve the industry. We might miss an award. We might miss a nomination. Somebody might be pissed at us, but I promise you when they find out the 30 million dollars we gave to music people that needed help during Covid, or the staff we have in D.C. jumping up and down to fight for the rights of music people so that we can make a living, and when they find out about us being in schools and putting instruments in kids’ hands, I promise you they’ll have a little bit of a different perspective.”

The Academy is hard at work on a TV special expanding on the ceremony’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop — filming will take place in August, and the show will air before the end of the year.
“We’ve been working on that for about six months,” Mason says, “and it kind of goes hand in hand with what you saw on the Grammy stage. We thought the Grammy stage version of it, the 14 minutes, was a great appetizer, and just a little insight into what the show’s gonna be like in August. In that show, we’ll spend a little bit more time talking about the history and the impact of hip-hop on everything from politics to business, to education, to sports, to fashion. Many of the people you saw on the Grammy stage will be playing a larger role going forward in this show, and then of course, you’ll see a lot of other people. We didn’t have enough time to get to all the incredible hip-hop artists that we wanted to, but in August we will.”

Download and subscribe to our weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews. Plus, there are dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

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Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone

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