Earlier this month, The Recording Academy held “A Grammy Conversation” on the current state of R&B music at the West Hollywood Soho House.
The evening was hosted by Quddus and included five panelists: Music Journalist Gail Mitchell, singer-songwriter/producer Liv Warfield, Grammy-winning producer LaShawn Daniels, eight-time Grammy nominee Ledisi and four-time Grammy nominee Tyrese Gibson. According to HitsDailyDouble they each attributed their inspiration to classic R&B and soul artists, including James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Donny Hathaway, Tina Turner, Sam Cooke, Jodeci and Earth Wind & Fire.
Many issues and topics were brought up for discussion including: Will new R&B artists be heard? Will people take a chance on them? Will urban alternative artists find a way to bridge the gap between what was and what is? Is the playing field uneven between black and white artists? Is there a place for R&B in a singles-driven music industry and a society that has been hypnotized by EDM music?
In the first video clip from the intimate conversation, Gail Mitchell addresses the return of black artists to the top of the Billboard charts this year, Tyrese explains why he thinks the industry is too caught up with who produced a song or who is featured on a song, while Ledisi explains her desire for today’s R&B to be more balanced between the origins and today’s new styles.