In honor of the upcoming Grammy Awards, Spotify is teaming up with this year’s Best New Artist nominees to reimagine one of their hit songs as well as record a tribute to a past nominee in the category. On Tuesday, both Phoebe Bridgers and CHIKA debuted their powerful new recordings for the series.
We are less than a week away from the postponed Grammy Awards. This year, Phoebe Bridgers is nominated for four Grammys including Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album. As well, her single “Kyoto” has earned her two noms for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.
As it turns out, Bridgers helped make Grammys history with “Kyoto.” For the first time ever, all of the performers nominated in the Best Rock Performance are women. Fiona Apple, HAIM, Big Thief, Brittany Howard and Grace Potter are the other artists nominated in the category.
Together, the artists reworked the track into a powerful acoustic ballad. Bridgers’ signature soft vocals and Browne‘s strong voice seamlessly blend together, highlighting the personal lyrics in a whole new way. Ultimately, this new version of “Kyoto” is another example of the captivating storytelling Bridgers is capable of in her music.
Last April, country singer John Prine died at the age of 73 after developing COVID-19 symptoms. Soon after his death, Bridgers took part in an Instagram livestream with Pitchfork where she paid tribute to Prine with a cover of “Summer’s End.” The song appears on Prine‘s last album The Tree Of Forgiveness. Shortly before her new album Punisher was released, Bridgers also debuted a studio version of the cover on SiriusXM.
“He’s one of the most important people on the planet to me,” Bridgers said during Pitchfork’s Instagram livestream. “I was lucky enough to see him a [of] couple times. This is from his last record. It’s one of my favorite songs ever.”
Now, Bridgers is further paying tribute to the former Best New Artist nominee with another version of “Summer’s End.” The Spotify single opens up with a personal message from a loved one wishing Bridgers a happy birthday.
Although Bridgers keeps the song’s composition the same, her vulnerable vocals and haunting guitar completely transform the 2018 song. As a result, Bridgers makes Prine’s lyrics her own, creating a piece of work that could easily be heard on Punisher or any of her past releases. Amidst all of this, her retelling of Prine’s lyrics is captivating and further shows just how important Prine’s work is to Bridgers.
Along with Bridgers, CHIKA has also taken part in Spotify’s Single series. For the series, CHIKA has reworked her 2020 single “U Should” and reimagined Billie Eilish‘s “my future.” Last year, Eilish took home the Best New Artist award along with four other historic Grammy wins.
For CHIKA, “my future” represents where she is currently at in her career. So, choosing this song to cover for Spotify was a no-brainer.
“I picked ‘my future’ by Billie Eilish as my BNA cover for Spotify because the song is beautiful,” CHIKA says. “[It] presents an interesting opportunity to talk about where I am as an artist, especially on the heels of this nomination. My present is moving so fast that each passing moment is practically the future already. And I’m in love with the ride I’m on.”
CHIKA’s take on “my future” keeps the song’s vulnerable sounds intact. However, she infuses her own soulful style with the help of her distinct voice and a lively horns section. Eventually, the song picks up and CHIKA shows off her signature vocal stylings that help make “my future” completely her own.
Accompanying her Billie Eilish cover is CHIKA’s rendition of “U Should.” Since its release in 2020, the track has accumulated over 1.3 million streams on Spotify. For the new version, CHIKA really stripped things down, allowing the song’s lyrics to be the main focus.
Amidst jazzy horns, an upbeat acoustic guitar and a smooth piano, this new take of “U Should” shows off CHIKA’s musical influences and unique style that helped earn her a Best New Artist nom this year.
Noah Cyrus, D Smoke and Ingrid Andress are also teaming up with Spotify for the Best New Artist Singles series. Their new recordings are expecting to be released ahead of the Grammys ceremony this weekend.
Doja Cat, Kaytranada and Megan Thee Stallion are among the remaining artists also nominated in the Best New Artist category. You can find out who will win the coveted award during the Grammys ceremony on Sunday, Mar. 14 at 5 p.m. PT/ 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) March 7, 2021
For Bridgers, 2021 has already been a pretty big year. Following her historic Grammy nominations and iconic debut on Saturday Night Live, she is celebrating Women’s History Month as our Alternative Press cover star.
For the premiere Alternative Press Power Issue: Women Rising, we’re highlighting an array of strong, independent women in rock music and within alternative culture. From Maggie Lindemann to Siiickbrain and Meet Me @ The Altar, this month’s issue is full of empowering female musicians helping shift the alternative music landscape.
What are your reactions to CHIKA and Phoebe Bridgers’ Spotify singles? Which new releases do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments below.