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‘A Lot of Mutual Respect’: Roxy Music’s Ferry, Manzanera and Mackay Divulge Details of September Arena Tour

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With the exception of its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction performance in 2019, British art-rockers Roxy Music haven’t played in America since 2003. But the iconic band’s 13-date arena tour will not only return it to U.S. shores on Sept. 7 — it will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Roxy Music’s eponymous debut, which took the music world by storm in 1972, with its eclectic mashup of musical styles and the band’s flamboyant costumes.

Given that the group released eight studio albums between 1972 and 1982 — genre-bending adventures that spanned from rambunctious rock and ethereal elegance to quirky cacophony and smooth balladry — it’s certainly challenging for the core membership of singer-principal composer Bryan Ferry, guitarist Phil Manzanera and sax-oboe player Andy Mackay to pick what to play. Beyond fan favorites like “More Than This,” “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” and their popular cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy,” one can hope that lesser-played tracks like the rollicking “Whirlwind,” the medieval-sounding “Triptych” and the ballad “Chance Meeting” (with its eerie guitar ambiance) might sneak their way into the shows.

“I’m still looking at the ideas for the set,” Ferry tells Billboard. “I’ve got lots of songs that you feel you have to do. It would be lovely to do a show of the more obscure or deeper cuts, as you say, but I think the audience would feel disappointed if they didn’t hear the familiar ones as well.” (Both Ferry and Manzanera concur with this writer that, among other things, “Manifesto” is an underrated track.)

“We’ve got a list of like 30 songs we’ve whittled it down to,” says Manzanera. “We’re going to try them all and see what sounds good and then pop on different ones. Maybe substitutes at different venues. What I realized, and I think we all realize it, is that we need to play some of the [other] stuff because it’ll never get heard live otherwise.”

Ferry hopes that all three phases of the band will be represented. There are the more raucous first two albums (Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure) with influential keyboardist Brian Eno; the equally eclectic but slightly smoother triumvirate of Stranded, Country Life and Siren with keyboardist-electric violinist Eddie Jobson; and, after the group’s late-’70s hiatus, the final trio (ManifestoFlesh and Blood and the dreamy Avalon) with the core members of Ferry, Manzanera and Mackay. That last three albums featured various guests and session musicians such as pianist Richard Tee, bassists Alan Spenner and Neil Jason, drummer Simon Phillips and singer Melissa Manchester. Drummer Paul Thompson played on the band’s first six albums as well as for its 2001 reunion tour (and will join the upcoming one), while Andy Newmark performed on much of the final two studio releases.

Although Roxy Music and both Ferry and Manzanera solo have toured with larger bands (as will be the case this time), they want to be careful not to overdo anything, such as extending any songs too much. Latter albums, especially like Avalon, were carefully sculpted to fit with Ferry’s vocal stylings and his bandmates coalescing around them. Manzanera says he has been reviewing the multitrack recordings and studying his own parts to be as faithful to the originals as possible.

When Duran Duran paid homage to the group while inducting it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, bassist John Taylor declared that without Roxy, there would be no Duran. As singer Simon Le Bon noted about the honorees’ TV debut during the ceremony, “The sound was a shock to the system — a psychedelic Sinatra crooning pop-art poetry over driving drums, over saxophones and oboes. Heavily treated electric guitars and the most out-there synthesizer parts you’d ever heard.”

The music world had been unprepared for Roxy Music’s arrival. “We used to call ourselves ‘inspired amateurs’ when we started,” recalls Manzanera. “People looked down on us to a certain extent because we hadn’t paid our dues. [David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars] and Roxy Music’s first album were released on the same day in June 1972. For Bowie, it was his fifth album, and we appeared out of nowhere, fully formed.” He wonders what the glam pioneer must have thought of the young upstarts. When they met him, “He was so nice and sweet, but it was quite a shock.”

Over the course of its recording career, Roxy Music maintained its quirky vibe but gradually evolved into a more polished entity, and not in a blatant pop way. It just kept exploring new vistas and avoided sticking to a formula. In America, this translated into such chart achievements as logging 11 albums on the Billboard 200, with three of them reaching the top 40.

Photography and graphic design were also very important to the band, from the gorgeous models gracing its album covers to the gatefold vinyl of 1973’s For Your Pleasure with the band dressed in outrageous garb.

“It used to be so interesting in the old days where you waited for the film in your camera to be developed, to see if you had anything,” reminisces Ferry. “I remember when we did the first Roxy cover and the shoot, and we had to wait a couple of days for the film to be processed, then looking at it on a projector and thinking we’ve got something. I miss that excitement of when we would paste things together when we were doing the album covers and everything was done physically. There was a tactile thing about it, which I liked.”

Technological changes have not only eliminated that element, but also a sense of mystery. “I used to like how things were a bit private as well,” he says. “Everything is shared now. People film everything, and if you do a show, people are looking at it through their phones. That’s kind of weird. I like it when there’s a sense of occasion, and you’re there for the evening and it’s a special moment.”

Although Roxy’s catalog spans a broad range of styles, Avalon remains the band’s most enigmatic album — very atmospheric, not very riff-based, ethereal and romantic. “It is an unusual record,” concurs Manzanera, “and I don’t think I really appreciated it at the time because I was wanting to rock at that moment. My antidote was [1982 solo album Primitive Guitars]. Ironically, it was reviewed in the same edition of Rolling Stone magazine, one after the other. I couldn’t believe it. I was slightly embarrassed. I found it at Sydney Airport when we were on tour, and I didn’t show it to the others. Then we didn’t work together for 18 years in terms of live. We seem to be able to come back together and play these songs live, and it unifies us because they’re fun to play.”

“[There are] a lot of love songs in there,” Ferry observes about Roxy’s output and his solo work. “Some of those songs are quite sad. A lot of the music I’ve liked by other people over the years, growing up, the sounds that drew me in, are the more melancholy things. I tend to like dark, sad songs. It’s very nice when you look through the repertoire and see the one or two songs that stand out as being different, like ‘Manifesto,’ ‘Do the Strand’ and ‘Editions of You,’ which take you into a different place. I wish there were a few more of them, but it’s nice to have that contrast in the material. Hopefully, the [shows] will represent that — light and shade.”

While the band hasn’t released an album in 40 years, its oeuvre has consistently resonated with subsequent generations. Wolf Alice, 10,000 Maniacs and the Charlie Hunter Quartet featuring Norah Jones are among the many acts who have covered “More Than This.” Ferry even sang the tune when he portrayed a nightclub singer in the 1929 Weimar Republic for the German TV series Babylon Berlin in 2017.

Following its 2001 reunion, Roxy Music toured America again in 2003, as well as overseas in 2005 and 2010. It also did international tours in 2005-06 and 2010-11. In between, Ferry, Manzanera and Mackay have been prolific solo artists. Ferry has a busy career — 16 studio albums, the recent EP Love Letters and regular tours since 2001. The singer’s love for Bob Dylan manifested in some of his early solo efforts and culminated in the 2007 covers album Dylanesque. Manzanera has done a lot of production work, including on Pink Floyd’s The Endless River, and he and Mackay have recorded a few albums together. A second collaboration between Manzanera and Tim Finn, The Ghost of Santiago, will arrive July 29. Many fans may not know that the title track to Manzanera’s 1978 solo album, K-Scope, was sampled for the Jay-Z/Kanye West song “No Church in the Wild” from their 2011 collaboration Watch the Throne. Manzanera’s riff was slowed down for that tune, and he approved of the final result.

Despite Manzanera telling Rolling Stone in 2014 that Roxy would likely never tour again, the core trio clearly found themselves drawn back to each other. “It’s almost like a dysfunctional family,” muses Manzanera. “You get together and have an enjoyable time. Then real life comes in, and you have wives and girlfriends and family. You’re off busy doing other things. Suddenly, it’s 10 years of working for David [Gilmour], and then you have a cup of tea with Bryan. ‘Oh, that would be nice to actually work together. Did we have an argument 20 years ago? I cannot remember why.’ So we’re back to square one . . . there is just no escape,” he finishes with a laugh.

“I guess there must be a lot of mutual respect,” offers Ferry, laughing as well. “They’re both characters and have strong musical personalities, and I guess they put up with me as well for quite a few years. I don’t see a great deal of them now, but it’s always very nice when I do. I think a sense of humor always binds people together, and from those early days, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of hard work, touring and always rushing to complete albums. Sometimes you didn’t feel you had got the album quite there. You had really strong deadlines in those days because you’re on tour next week. But [I have] very good memories, very positive memories of working together.”

“Music can bring you together,” adds Manzanera. “It is a kind of therapy for your brain and foot, and when you’re playing, it’s like meditating. If I’m onstage and I’m playing now with the other guys, I’m concentrating and drifting off. I want to learn how to play it so I don’t have to think too much. I’m just playing and enjoying that moment.”



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Grammys 2023: Who’s Performing, Attending and Skipping Music’s Biggest Night

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At a time when nothing feels normal anymore, the first “normal” Grammy Week in three years is shaping up to be even more action-packed than the pre-Covid years. Starting Wednesday, nearly every day and night is jam-packed with parties, showcases, brunches, lunches and happy hours like it was 2019 all over again.

Amid all the hubbub, we’re still awaiting the full lineup of performers for the Feb. 5 show at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com arena, which the Grammys have been announcing unusually late in the game this year — and literally during a game, as was the case when Harry Styles was revealed as a performer in a commercial that aired during the fourth quarter of the Chiefs-Bengals AFC final on Sunday night.

Below is a rundown of the artists we know are performing (18 performance slots are planned), ones we know are not, ones who are attending but probably not performing — and ones we hear just might be… All of which is to say, subject to change and updates.

Who’s Performing: Already announced are Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Luke Combs, Steve Lacy, Lizzo and Sam Smith with Kim Petras. Variety also hears that DJ Khaled will take the stage, possibly with Jay-Z — “GOD DID,” their collaboration with Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend and Fridayy, is up for three awards including song of the year.

Also expected are several all-star tributes: Kacey Musgraves will pay homage to the late Loretta Lynn with “Coal Miner’s Daughter”; Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt will honor Christine McVie with “Songbird”; and Maverick City Music and Quavo will perform “Without You” in memory of Takeoff.

Fifty years of hip-hop will get its own tribute curated by Questlove. LL Cool J will introduce the segment, perform and give a dedication to hip-hop, while the Roots provide music and Black Thought narrates. Confirmed performers include Big Boi, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, Future, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, RUN-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella, Scarface, Swizz Beatz and Too $hort.

As for the big three — let’s just say it: Adele, Beyonce and Taylor — the status is still uncertain. Adele has Las Vegas residency concerts on the two nights before the Grammys, which makes a performance at the big show possible (she could rehearse as late as Thursday) but less likely. She did, however, seemingly confirm her attendance at a recent Vegas date.

Beyonce performed an elaborate set at the grand opening of the Atlantis the Royal hotel in Dubai earlier this month — for a reported $24 million — so she’s certainly rehearsed. And her Wednesday announcement of a world tour bodes well for an appearance.

Swift, Variety hears, will not perform.

Who’s Attending: All the best new artist nominees — Anitta, Omar Apollo, DOMi & JD Beck, Samara Joy, Latto, Måneskin, Muni Long, Tobe Nwigwe, Molly Tuttle and Wet Leg — are expected to be in attendance but so far none have been offered a performing slot. Doja Cat, up for six nominations, will also walk the red carpet and sit inside, but she’s not expected to perform. Same with Future, who’s up for best rap album among multiple other nods. Zach Bryan, up for best country solo performance, will be in attendance but not booked to perform.

Who’s Skipping: Lady Gaga, up for two awards for “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick” is not expected to attend as she is currently filming; Finneas, nominated for best song written for visual media, is on tour in Australia; Drake is up for several collaborations in 2022, including with Future and Jack Harlow, but his attendance at these ceremonies is rarely confirmed ahead of showtime.

The 65th annual Grammy Awards are produced by Fulwell 73 Productions for the Recording Academy. Raj Kapoor serves as showrunner and executive producer, alongside Ben Winston and Jesse Collins as executive producers. Phil Heyes joins for the first time as director, Eric Cook as co-executive producer with Tabitha Dumo, Tiana Gandelman, Patrick Menton, and David Wild as producers. 



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Who Will Win the Latin Categories at the 2023 Grammys? Our Predictions

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Who will win in the Latin categories at the 2023 Grammy Awards?  Each year, Billboard offers its analysis of who will win, or who should win, in those categories, which include best Latin pop album, best música urbana album, best Latin rock or alternative album, best regional Mexican music album (including tejano) and best tropical Latin album.

Leading up to Sunday’s 65th annual Grammy Awards, we’ve gathered our Latin editorial team and embarked on a lively discussion, with educated guesses based on the marketplace and past voting behavior (not endorsements). Our participants are Leila CoboBillboard’s Chief Content Officer, Latin/Español; Jessica RoizBillboard‘s Latin assistant editor; Griselda Flores, Billboard‘s senior Latin writer; Ingrid Fajardo, social media manager & Latin’s staff writer; Sigal Ratner-Arias, Billboard Español’s deputy editor; and Isabela Raygoza, Billboard Español’s associate editor.

Hosted by Trevor Noah, the 2023 Grammy Awards will be held at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 5) and will air live at 8p.m. ET. on CBS. Here are our predictions for the Latin music categories:

Best Latin Pop Album
AGUILERA, Christina Aguilera
Pasieros, Rubén Blades & Boca Livre
De Adentro Pa Afuera, Camilo
VIAJANTE, Fonseca
Dharma+, Sebastián Yatra

GRISELDA FLORES: The front-runners for me are Camilo, Christina Aguilera and Sebastián Yatra, because all three albums received both critical acclaim and had commercial success. Last year, Camilo was nominated for Mis Manos and it was a big upset that he didn’t win, so this time he might take the award. Having said that, Christina Aguilera’s AGUILERA was a big deal, as it marked her return to Spanish-language music. It’s a really solid album.

LEILA COBO: I think this is a really tough category. I agree that those are the front-runners, but out of those I’m leaning more toward Camilo and Yatra, who has gotten notoriety with Encanto and “Dos Oruguitas,” and now this song with Rita Wilson, “Til You’re Home.” Although it’s not a nominated song, it still has put him in the eye of the mainstream, which gives him a slight edge. But Camilo has been touring all over the states, he has a song with Camila Cabello, and he can be a favorite among the Latin voters of the Academy.  

SIGAL RATNER-ARIAS.: Christina Aguilera’s album is a beauty. Sebastián Yatra just won his first Latin Grammy, so I’d love to see him win this one as well.  

ISABELA RAYGOZA: I did like Christina Aguilera’s album. I thought that the way she utilized her bravado with rancheras translated beautifully in this album. She’s reclaiming her Latin roots, so for her to embrace that facet of herself, I definitely appreciate it. However, I want Sebastián to win, because I think he positions himself as Latin pop’s next heartthrob, following in the steps of Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias. And his album is great, it has symphonic arrangements and reggaeton, it was very poppy. I would like to see him continue to rise in 2023.  

INGRID FAJARDO: To be honest, I didn’t love Camilo’s album from the get-go, but I got a different perspective when I saw him perform those songs live. It’s another level! I realized how profound those songs are, something I didn’t notice when I first listened to the album.  

Likely winner: Camilo or Sebastián Yatra 

Best Música Urbana Album
TRAP CAKE, VOL. 2, Rauw Alejandro
Un Verano Sin Ti, Bad Bunny
LEGENDADDY, Daddy Yankee
167, Farruko
The Loe & Sex Tape, Maluma

JESSICA ROIZ: Isabela wants Rauw Alejandro to win. She’s going to make a case right now.  

I.R.: I do! I think with TRAP CAKE, we can appreciate his foundation. He’s mentioned that it has his earlier Soundcloud vibes, like when he first started making music. My favorite song on there is “Gracias Por Nada,” because it starts off as a rock song with some guitars and suddenly it expertly transitions into this Latin drill song, and it’s so hooky. The whole album is great. I know it’s not going to win, but that was one of my favorite albums of the year.

J.R.: It was a good album. And he even said he was going to stick to trap because this was for his OG fans and ended up being edgy and innovative, fusing many different styles. But Bad Bunny is going to win.  

S.R.A.: Bad Bunny has to win.  

G.F.: The reality is that no other album had the same impact Bad Bunny’s did. It wasn’t just the Latin album of the year, it was the album of the year in general. It’s a no-brainer for me.

L.C.: If he wins album of the year and not this category, it will seem odd and signal a big disconnect. These are all good albums, and LEGENDADDY is a significant album because it’s Daddy Yankee’s “last album,” and Farruko’s La 167 has “Pepas.” But when you have an album that has broken all records like Bad Bunny has, and he’s in the running for album of the year, it’s hard to beat.  

Likely winner: Bad Bunny 

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album
El Alimento, Cimafunk
Tinta y Tiempo, Jorge Drexler
1940 Carmen, Mon Laferte
Alegoría, Gaby Moreno
Los Años Salvajes, Fito Páez
MOTOMAMI, Rosalía

L.C.: Rosalía has already won this award with El Mal Querer, and this was such an acclaimed album and she has such international recognition among voters of the academy that I cannot imagine anyone else would win it.  

S.R.A.: 100%. There’s no other way.

G.F.: A contender for me is Jorge Drexler, since he won song and record of the year at the Latin Grammys, but how can Rosalía not win? I think people were already upset she didn’t score an album of the year nod, so she has to win this one. She totally deserves to win.

I.R.: Cimafunk and Jorge Drexler did release pretty great albums, but Rosalía blew it out of the water. She continued to showcase her musicianship in so many ways with that album. For her to do some reggaeton and experiment with jazz — each song has its own world, and her winning this category would be the right choice.  

Likely winner: Rosalía 

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)
Abeja Reina, Chiquis
Un Canto por México – El Musical, Natalia Lafourcade
La Reunión (Deluxe), Los Tigres del Norte
EP #1 Forajido, Christian Nodal 
Qué Ganas de Verte (Deluxe), Marco Antonio Solis 

G.F.: It’s a long shot, but Chiquis could win this category and take home her first Grammy. She’s been on a winning streak these past two years at the Latin Grammys, winning best banda album in 2020 and 2022. I think she has a shot, especially with an album like Abeja Reina with lyrics that are so raw and modern, but she sticks to traditional styles such as banda and cumbia. I think voters will really appreciate that.  

S.R.A.: Natalia Lafourcade is a Grammy darling, but I’d like to see Chiquis take this one home.  

L.C.: Nodal is a great artist. He’s young and makes music that is exceptional. What he does and how he takes the genre but modernizes, it is so clever. The results are really interesting. I don’t see another artist like him at that age. This should be Christian Nodal’s year.  

I.R.: Christian Nodal has modernized the genre, but still stayed true to his essence. We’ve seen the emergence of so much regional, but fusing it with external elements. He stays true to the essence of what the genre is, and that’s what I appreciate about him.  

I.F.: Nodal is like the Vicente Fernández of our generation. The power of his voice is unmatched. He truly represents this genre, and he should win.

Likely winner: Christian Nodal

Best Tropical Latin Album
Pa’llá Voy, Marc Anthony 
Quiero Verte Feliz, La Santa Cecilia 
Lado A Lado B, Víctor Manuelle 
Legendario, Tito Nieves 
lmágenes Latinas, Spanish Harlem Orchestra 
Cumbiana II, Carlos Vives 

L.C.: I have a soft spot for Cumbiana, even though Carlos Vives has done it before. I liked Victor Manuelle’s album, I thought it was cool, but I’m rooting for Vives here.  

G.F.: I’d like to see Victor Manuelle win, because it was an interesting to see him live in that duality of salsa and urban. It was a fun listen. I appreciate his experimental nature but what I respected most is that he didn’t lose touch with who he is and what he represents in that album. 

S.R.A.: I love Carlos Vives and I love how he’s been able to spotlight Colombian music. I think it’s spectacular. If he wins, I’ll be happy. But Victor Manuelle is also deserving. He has a good album.

I.R.: I think it’s Victor Manuelle’s year. He’s celebrating 30 years in music, and being honored at Premio Lo Nuestro. And his album is pretty cool! He’s always maintained his essence even while collaborating with other contemporary artists such as Miky Woodz, and he sounds great. He doesn’t sacrifice his signature style for the sake of jumping on the bandwagon.  

J.R.: I feel Carlos Vives is going to win. He really did the leg work, so much research for this album, there’s a film component to this. But I agree that Victor Manuelle should win because he’s never done a concept album like this one and he sounds amazing.  

Likely winner: Victor Manuelle  



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YoungBoy Never Broke Again Says He Regrets Violent Lyrics, Plans to Become Mormon

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YoungBoy Never Broke Again — the prolific rapper who released eight albums in the past year alone — has opened up about regretting some of his early music-making decisions.

As part of a Billboard cover story published on Wednesday, the 23-year-old gave a vulnerable look into his life and artistic evolution throughout his rapid rise to fame. He also discussed how his move to Utah has positively impacted his daily life and credited his change of mindset to his budding connection to the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He recalls one specific instance where he was quick to decline a visit from a group of Mormon missionaries who showed up outside his home, but after recognizing that he “wanted help very badly” and “needed a friend,” the artist opened his doors to them.

“It was just cool to see someone with a different mindset that had nothing to do with business or money — just these wonderful souls,” he said. He also told the publication that he hopes to further commit to his new-found spirituality with a baptism ceremony, but he’s waiting until he is no longer on house arrest (YoungBoy has been on house arrest since October for a weapons charge in Louisiana).

Reflecting on his early releases, the Louisana-born rapper said he felt a sense of responsibility for “the shit I put in these people’s ears,” adding that he feels “very wrong about a lot of things…How many kids or people have got in a car or put this shit in their ears and actually went and hurt someone?”

Acknowledging that the damage has been done, YoungBoy expressed his eagerness “to clean whatever I can clean” moving forward, “but it’s gon’ take time.”

YoungBoy is one of the most commercially consistent rappers to have come out of the past few years. Five out of eight of his 2022 full-length releases reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200 last year. His latest, “I Rest My Case,” debuted at No. 9 after its arrival in early January, and marked his first studio effort under Motown. “The Last Slimeto,” which peaked at No. 2 on the albums chart, was the rapper’s final obligation to Atlantic Records — his label of five years.



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