“There’s a party going on here this morning,” a laughing Robert Glasper tells Billboard after learning about his nominations for the 2024 Grammy Awards. Glasper received two nods this go-round — best R&B performance and best R&B song — both for the track “Back to Love,” featuring SiR and Alex Isley.
To date, Glasper has won five Grammys and earned 12 nominations, claiming his first career Grammy for best R&B album for Black Radio back in 2012. But the artist/songwriter/producer/pianist says receiving a Grammy nomination never gets old.
“It feels new every time,” he explains, “no matter how many times I’ve won or been nominated. Because there are so many new artists and producers out here; so much music. So for me to get selected down to only five is always an honor and always, to be honest, kind of unexpected for me. When I say that, people always say what you do you mean?. But like I said there are so many great artists out here that I never take it for granted or never think I’ll be a shoo-in.”
The genesis of “Back to Love” stems from Glasper’s scoring of the Starz original series Run the World: Season 2. Last October, he got a call from the show’s team asking if he could pull off writing and recording a song needed for a specific scene in the season’s last episode. However, there was a catch: The deadline was under two weeks. But it also gave him the chance to work with SiR and Alex Isley, each of whom he’s worked with separately on other projects.
“I’ve always been a fan of SiR and Alex,” says Glasper. “They’re both so effortless in their writing with something original to say that it just made sense to call them. And they got it done so fast. They also have such unique voices. So the fact that we worked on this together means everything. It was just a match made in heaven.”
The artists/songwriters that Glasper is vying against in the best R&B performance and best R&B song categories include SZA, Halle Bailey, Chris Brown, Coco Jones and Victoria Monét. “Everyone in those categories is great. It’s always amazing to be mentioned in that kind of company,” says Glasper. That includes Brown, who earlier this year queried on social media “Who da f-k is this?” after his album Breezy (Deluxe) lost to Glasper’s Black Radio III for best R&B album at the 65th Grammy ceremony. Brown later apologized.
“As a talent, I hold Chris Brown in the highest regard,” notes Glasper. “He’s a great singer and performer. I’ve never had anything negative to say about Chris.”
Glasper’s across-the-aisle genre work with other nominees in the aforementioned categories, including Bailey and Jones, also symbolizes his own version of the six degrees of separation theory.
“I remember going to Chloe x Halle’s first major performance in Los Angeles,” shares Houston native Glasper. “I went to high school with Beyoncé as well as the A&R head at Parkwood. He asked me back then if I’d mind coming to their first show. So to see them [sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey] both blossom has been amazing to watch. I’m so proud of them.
“And that goes for Coco as well,” Glasper adds. He got the chance to work with Jones when he and Terrace Martin scored the first season of last year’s Bel-Air, the reimagined version of the popular ’90s series TheFresh Prince of Bel-Air. In the reboot, Jones played the character Hilary Banks. “I’ve been putting music to her talking for a long time,” says Glasper with another laugh.