The 2019 Grammy nominations were announced this week. NPR’s Michel Martin revisits some of her interviews with this year’s nominees, including Pusha T and P.J. Morton.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Finally today, the 2019 Grammy Award nominees were announced on Friday. And, as we were looking through the list of nominees, we noticed that, like, last year, we have spoken to several of the artists nominated. We thought now might be a good time to listen to a bit of their music and the messages they want to get across. Over the last year or so, we’ve heard from nominees like the sister duo Chloe x Halle, Pink, Pusha T and PJ Morton. But first, to start us off, here’s Camila Cabello, who is up for Best Pop Vocal Album.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
MARTIN: Could you just talk a little bit about how you went about making the decision that it was time for you to go solo?
CAMILA CABELLO: I have been writing songs since I was 16. And, at first, I wanted to write for other people. And then I – you know, I had these songs that I was – like, they were so personal, and I was just kind of telling my story. And I couldn’t imagine me giving it to somebody and somebody else singing them and performing them and making a video for them because it was too close to me, you know?
And so I went a long time writing songs thinking that nobody will ever hear this for another, like, 10 years because I’ll still be in the group. And I’ve made the decision to just kind of go out on my own and start just expressing myself and my vision.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “IN THE DARK”)
CABELLO: (Singing) You’re runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, making the rounds with all your fake friends, runnin’, runnin’ away from it. You can strip down without showing skin, yeah. I can see you’re scared of your…
PUSHA T: The maturation of Pusha T – like, you know, it’s no longer just Pusha T, the young, brash rappers. It’s Pusha T the executive. You know, when you asked me what should I call you, I started to say Mr. Thornton because I sort of like that. But, you know, (laughter) because I’m in album mode, we’ve got to go with Pusha T. But, you know, on the executive, man, I feel like this is my calling, and this is how you’re supposed to mature in the rap game and be helpful in pushing the culture forward.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “WHAT WOULD MEEK DO?”)
PUSHA T: (Rapping) See-through. Angel on my shoulder – what should we do? Devil on the other – what would Meek do? Pop a wheelie, tell the judge to Akinyele, middle fingers out the Ghost screaming Makaveli. Hail Mary…
HALLE BAILEY: The message that we wanted to portray to the kids of today to remind us all that, no matter what is happening right now in the world, we’re going to be alright. You know, because for the youth especially, it feels like there’s the weight of the world on our shoulders right now. And, like, are we going to be OK with the future and what’s to come?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT”)
CHLOE X HALLE: (Singing) The kids are alright. Yeah, the kids are…
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “CLAUSTROPHOBIC”)
PJ MORTON: (Singing) But I must admit I’m claustrophobic. I have a hard time…
I think “Gumbo,” this record, is the result of all these years of me trying to figure it out. I went through all those ups and downs – joining Maroon 5 and feeling like, OK, I got hits. Oh, now see what that feels like. All this is a result – where I am right now, for me to be able to be who I am 100 percent. Do I want hit songs? Yes. I would love them. But I want hit songs that’s who I am and not somebody else.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “STICKING TO MY GUNS”)
MORTON: (Singing) I’m sticking to my guns till my work is done. I’m sticking to my guns till my work is done.
PINK: Life is really traumatic. And it feels – even though it makes me sound like my parents to say this, it feels like it’s getting more so. But I also think that there’s really beautiful people in the world, and there’s more good than bad, and there’s love to be made and joy to be had. And I try to hold onto the beautiful part.
But – you know, my dad always says something to me. He says, I wish you enough. And what he means by that is, I wish you enough rain to be able to enjoy the sunshine. And I wish you enough hard times to be able to enjoy the easy bits. And that’s beautiful trauma to me. It’s simultaneous, but it just depends on which part you’re looking at.
(SOUNDBITE OF PINK SONG, “BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA”)
MARTIN: That was Pink talking about her album “Beautiful Trauma.” Before that, we heard from PJ Morton, Chloe x Halle, Pusha T and Camila Cabello. We learned on Friday that they are all up for Grammys, so congrats to everybody and good luck.
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