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American singer Mumu Fresh talks musical childhood and Sole DXB gig

DUBAI: Maimouna Youssef, more popularly known by her stage name Mumu Fresh, is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, rapper and activist looking to make a difference in the world with her music. And on Dec. 11, the American musician will take to the stage on the closing day of Sole DXB, the popular Dubai street culture and music festival, returning after a two-year hiatus.

“Oftentimes, people who come to my shows say that they experience a full range of emotions. They feel the joy, they feel hyped up. Sometimes they feel emotional, they cry and then they dance. So yeah, you can expect to have a full range of emotions and feel renewed and restored after,” said Youssef about her upcoming show.

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Mumu Fresh A Sovereign Spirit

Grammy-nominated singer Mumu Fresh joins Jemele to discuss her career as an independent artist, her journey into music, and she intertwines her activism with her music. She also shares how she handled the overwhelming reception to her highly-acclaimed performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Series, and how that performance impacted her career. She also reveals the origin of her name, and the role her family’s influence played in her pursuing music. Also, Jemele shares her thoughts on the recent deaths of Queen Elizabeth II and rapper PnB Rock.

Mumu Fresh develops a new Best song for social change award at the Grammys

Grammys Add New Awards: Songwriter of the Year, Song for Social Change, More

The Recording Academy has announced several new awards and rule changes for the Grammy Awards, including Songwriter of the Year (Non-Classical), along with Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, and a Special Merit Award for Best Song for Social Change. Other amendments include changes to the Grammys entry and voting processes — including a rule that ups the minimum new content for album eligibility from 50% to 75%. All updates go into effect immediately for the 65th annual Grammy Awards, taking place in 2023.

The specifics of the rule changes are expected to be posted on later in the day, but sources tell Variety that the Songwriter category is limited to non-performing and non-producing songwriters, i.e. those who are credited solely as a writer or co-writer.



Although the Songwriter of the Year award is long overdue, other changes reflect a new and faster responsiveness from the Academy to calls for change from the music community. The increase in percentage of new content for album eligibility is likely in response to a recent trend of albums squeezing out another year of eligibility with “bonus editions” that tacked on live or B-side-level material in order to push the release up to 50% new content.

“We’re so excited to honor these diverse communities of music creators through the newly established awards and amendments, and to continue cultivating an environment that inspires change, progress and collaboration,” said Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. “The Academy’s top priority is to effectively represent the music people that we serve, and each year, that entails listening to our members and ensuring our rules and guidelines reflect our ever-evolving industry.” Look for Variety’s interview with Mason about the changes, publishing later today.

Per the announcement, new categories include:

Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical
Recognizes the written excellence, profession and art of songwriting honoring the most prolific non-performing and non-producing songwriters for their body of new work released during an eligibility year.

Best Alternative Music Performance
A track and single category that recognizes the best recordings in an alternative performance by a solo artist, collaborating artists, established duo, or established group.

Best Americana Performance
A track and single Category that recognizes artistic excellence in an Americana performance by a solo artist, collaborating artists, established duo, or established group.

Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media
Recognizes excellence in score soundtrack albums comprised predominately of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.

Best Spoken Word Poetry Album
An album Category that recognizes excellence in spoken word albums specific to the performance of poetry with or without music.



Special Merit Award Addition:

Best Song for Social Change
This Special Merit Award will be determined by a blue ribbon committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees. Submissions must contain lyrical content that addresses a timely social issue and promotes understanding, peacebuilding and empathy.

Grammy Award Voting Procedural Updates:

Charging Fees for Entry Submissions
All Recording Academy members will receive five courtesy entries every year. For additional entries, members will pay $40 (Early Bird Fee); $75 (Standard Fee); or $125 (Final Deadline Fee) per additional entry. Registered media companies will pay a fee of $65 (Early Bird Fee); $95 (Standard Fee); or $125 (Final Deadline Fee) for per entry. Considerations will be made for artists/members experiencing financial hardships. Any member who would be burdened by the entry fees can request the fees be waived by reaching out to the Recording Academy Awards Department.

Album Eligibility*
To be eligible for Grammy Award consideration, an album must contain greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings*. The previous eligibility rule was 50%. (Note: Best Compilation Soundtrack, Best Historical Album, Best Immersive Audio Album, Best Recording Package, Best Special Package, and Best Album Notes accept albums of recordings that are not newly recorded.)

*Note: The updated album eligibility rule was approved in 2021 but is going into effect for the 65th annual Grammy Awards cycle.

Additional category amendments:

Classical Field: Creation of Craft Committees in Select Classical Categories
Three Categories within the Classical Field will now be determined by highly specialized Craft Committees: Producer of the Year (Classical), Best Engineered Album (Classical) and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Classical Field: Recognition of Composers and Librettists in Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Compendium Categories
Category definitions have been updated to award composers and librettists in addition to artists, producers and engineers.

New Age, Ambient or Chant Field: Renamed And Redefined Field and Category Name
The category formerly known as “Best New Age Album” has been renamed “Best New Age, Ambient Or Chant Album” and the Field name has also been updated to reflect that change.

Musical Theater Field: Recognition of Composers and Lyricists in Best Musical Theater Album Category
Category definition has been updated to award composers and lyricists of more than 50% of the score of a new recording.

Music for Visual Media Field (Includes Film, TV, Video Games, And Other Visual Media): Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Some language in the criteria for this Category which had been removed has now been restored to recognize principal artists and in-studio producers.

Production Field: Updated Definition of Best Remixed Recording Category
The newly amended definition of the Best Remixed Recording Category helps to reflect the remix craft as it currently stands in the industry: the creation of a new, full-track, unique performance created by a remixer from a previously released recording.

Spoken Word Field: Updated Category Name and Definition
The category formally known as Spoken Word Album has been renamed Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording. This category recognizes excellence in spoken word albums (not including Spoken Word Poetry).

By Jam Aswad

Protest Song for Mahsa Amini, 100,000 Submissions for New Grammy Award

One of the new honors the Grammy Awards will introduce at their next ceremony is song for social change — a special-merit award that “recognizes creators of message-driven music that responds to the social issues of our time and has the potential for positive global impact.”

While the honor is “curated by a blue-ribbon committee,” there’s little question that the number of submissions will have an impact — and according to the Recording Academy, 95,000 of the 115,000 submissions received have been for Iranian musician Shervin Hajipour’s song, “Baraye,” a protest song about 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested and beaten by Iran’s so-called morality police for not wearing a proper head covering, in line with the country’s Islamic law.

The country has been wracked by protests — including women burning their hijabs, or headdresses, in front of police — in the weeks since her death was made public, despite the government’s efforts to suppress them and attempts at media coverage.

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Fight The Power: 11 Powerful Protest Songs Advocating For Racial Justice


2023 GRAMMYs: How The New Best Song For Social Change Special Merit Award Inspires Positive Global Impact & Celebrates Message-Driven Music

In an in-depth roundtable discussion featuring some of the highest-ranking Recording Academy leaders, learn why the new Best Song For Social Change Special Merit Award is a momentous development for the music industry at large.


|GRAMMYS/OCT 13, 2022 – 08:00 PM

The GRAMMYs’ newly announced award for Best Song For Social Change differs significantly from the other GRAMMY Award categories announced earlier this year and debuting at the upcoming 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards.

Rather than a traditional GRAMMY Award, the Best Song For Social Change award is a Special Merit Award. This means the award will be determined by a Blue Ribbon Committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees.

Proposed by our Recording Academy members, the new Best Song For Social Change Special Merit Award now represents one of the highest honors a socially conscious song can receive. It also recognizes the songwriters creating message-driven music that responds to and addresses the social issues of our time head-on while inspiring positive global impact.

To qualify for the Best Song For Social Change Special Merit Award, which recognizes a song that has had profound social influence and impact, a submitted song should contain lyrical content that: addresses a timely social issue; explores a subject impacting a community of people in need; and promotes awareness, raises consciousness, and builds empathy.

Songwriters can submit songs that meet the eligibility criteria here now through Friday, Oct. 14

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