Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter Autumn Rowe on Her Historic Win – Black Girl Nerds

Songwriter Autumn Rowe won her first Grammy for Album of the Year with Jon Batiste for We are. The last black artist to win this category was in 2008. Rowe has collaborated with Zendaya, Dua Lipa, Avicii, and more. She was the vocal coach of America’s Got Talent for several seasons and is a self-taught DJ. BGN spoke with Autumn Rowe via zoom shortly after the Grammys about this incredible achievement.

Congratulations on your Grammy. How are you?

Grateful. Seeing people discover Jon, I feel oddly like a proud mom. I’m really excited that the musicality is appreciated.

If you had one word to sum up your Grammy experience, what would it be?

Perseverance. I grew up in the South Bronx in the projects. I grew up very, very poor. Where I’m from, you hear gunshots every night. There aren’t many opportunities for girls like me. So it was a very long road.

I was about five or six years old when I said I would be a writer. I didn’t know that meant: songwriter. I knew I could write. I had a lot of expression in me. We don’t have enough time in the day to overcome the number of obstacles, but perseverance is what got me here today. I don’t think I’m the most talented person, but I’m not giving up. It got me here, anyway.

See also  Songwriter speaks out about second home crisis devastating Welsh communities

You met Jon via Instagram. How did it happen?

Because I’m a DM and I tap a woman! (Laughing)

Songwriting is an act of service. People don’t realize it’s literally a service job where you show up and help people. My job is to help artists show the world the best version of themselves. I love making cards that are identity cards. At best it would be something I made up that was basically a record that only they can sing. A record that will give them longevity and an identity to who they are as an artist, instead of an interchangeable record.

It takes a lot of energy to see inside someone’s soul and put that into a song. Mind you, I only have five to eight hours with an artist. One of the lessons is to be careful not to burn out. For much of my career, I was incredibly exhausted, overworked and didn’t like it. I didn’t realize it because it just became a sense of normalcy. It was normal to feel bad. I had to step aside.

As a vocal coach, what is the most important thing a singer can do to take care of their voice?

See also  Singer-songwriter Danica Bryant is "Ready to Bite" with new single

Listen to your body and treat it with respect. The voice is a human instrument. It is connected to your whole body. If you are dehydrated, your voice will not work properly. Not everyone can eat dairy and sing. Not everyone can drink alcohol and sing. Really pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t because it affects your voice.

As a songwriter, what is your favorite aspect of the creative process?

The magic in the room when it feels like you’ve struck gold. You know when you write this song because it doesn’t happen often. When you hit it, it’s a feeling of magical euphoric joy. When all the combinations of the chords, drums, melody, lyrics and vocals line up, they sound like the Infinity Stones, you might say, but in a good way. It’s a magical feeling. ‘Cause you’re like, oh, yeah, that’s why we do this.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I want to use my platform to bring about change in the industry. I want to open the doors to more women. The fact is that less than 3% of popular songs are produced by women, and about 12% are written by women. Where is the industry going right now and how are the creatives getting paid songwriting is going to become something for the upper class because you can only afford to make music if you come from where the money is he will.

See also  Singer-songwriter Jamie McDell talks about her new album, her musical journey and respecting her history

This eliminates many people of color, especially black people. And it’s incredibly dangerous because then we lose the culture. I met with Congress on Saturday and gave a demonstration of how we make music. I want little girls in the South Bronx to be able to write songs. We must make this possible. And musicians must be able to earn a living.

What brings you joy right now?
The Marvel Universe. Me and my friends are going to rent the movie theater to watch Morbius. That, to me, is joy. I’m so excited!

Jeanine T. Abraham

Jeanine is a writer, actress, SAG/AFTRA member, AEA, podcast host, producer, CEO of VisAbleBlackWoman Productions, certified health coach, and mindful dance host. Jeanine’s mission, to center the stories of black women to preserve our legacies.

Comments are closed.