The Story Of How Rosalia And TikTok Partnered To Earn An Unlikely Grammy Nomination – Forbes

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 17: Rosalia attends the 23rd Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at Michelob … [+] ULTRA Arena on November 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
For the second time in her career, Rosalía is a two-time nominee at the Grammys. This year, her full-length Motomami is in the running for both Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album–which she won in 2020 with El Mal Querer–and she’s also up for Best Music Film as well. In the latter category, she’s competing for the trophy with her project Motomami (Rosalía TikTok Live Performance)…and yes, you read that title right.
Rosalía earned a Grammy nomination for a performance film that aired on TikTok, with the movie becoming something of an unlikely potential winner at the biggest and most prestigious award show in the music industry. The nod is quite shocking, as content created specifically for social media doesn’t usually receive this kind of high-brow recognition, and it’s in an odd field for this specific platform. TikTok has become a powerhouse in the social space via extremely short-form videos, and here it is up for a Grammy in a vertical that was called Best Long Form Music Video for many years.
So, how exactly did this happen?
“Really it was her vision,” explained Marisa Jeffries, Director of Music Partnerships, US at TikTok, during a recent phone call following the nominations reveal. Rosalía apparently came to the team at TikTok–her profile claims more than 27 million followers, by the way–with the concept. She already had ideas for specific visuals for each track from her recent critically acclaimed album Motomami. She had thought through the film in its entirety, considering quick cuts in between tracks to keep the runtime down as well as how to make it feel more interactive. It was a bold move, but it seemingly didn’t take long to become a greenlit project.
Planning for what would become Motomami (Rosalía TikTok Live Performance) officially began in December 2021, and over the course of a few months, the singer, her team, the staff at TikTok, and Spanish production company Canada (known for its work with artists like Katy Perry, Travis Scott, and Dua Lipa) all worked through the creative. Filming took place across two days in Spain and involved at least two dozen dancers. The entire film was shot on 30-something iPhones (yes, only iPhones), which is nearly unheard of in today’s high-production landscape.
Motomami (Rosalía TikTok Live Performance) was aired in its entirety as what’s called a TikTok LIVE IVE . Many well-known artists have taken part in the offering, from Justin Bieber to David Guetta, but none have produced anything like what Rosalía managed, either in creative scope or in terms of acclaim. In fact, most musicians on the platform choose to speak directly to fans or boost one song at a time, rather than focusing on an entire body of work.
This project was something of a gamble, as not only had it not been done before, but it was almost antithetical to what TikTok is known for…and perhaps that’s why it was so successful. “Typically people’s attention span on TikTok…it’s a little bit shorter,” Jeffries admitted, before adding, “but with the visual experience she was taking users on, it was like you couldn’t put the phone down.” Jeffries is right–millions of people tuned in to watch, staying for the entire program, which ran nearly 30 minutes.
So, is Rosalía’s full music film a sign that the company is headed in a different direction with its content? Perhaps aiming to transition from minute-long clips into more professionally-produced projects? “This type of experience isn’t for everybody,” Jeffries insisted, shutting down the idea that this is what the social media platform will stand for moving forward. She explained that the app is committed to providing flexibility for users to engage how they best see fit. Now, in the wake of Motomami, TikTok is a place for both silly 30-second videos, but also for those who want to spend months planning a complete show. It’s a new chapter for the platform, but one that doesn’t shut out or leave behind what made it so popular with its billion-plus users.
In a bit of coincidence, Jeffries learned of the Grammy nomination while she was at the Latin Grammys. At the ceremony a few days later, Rosalía ended up taking home three of the eight trophies she was nominated for, including Album of the Year for Motomami. Sadly, she didn’t end up claiming Best Long For Music Video, which is a bit surprising. Since the news broke, Jeffries has received quite a few emails from those in the music industry, apparently including other artists who are now investigating what else they can do on TikTok. She shared that she and her team are always interested in working with acts at all levels of success, as long as they’re forward-thinking. She also hopes this win leads to more opportunities to bring TikTok into the real world, just as Rosalía has done, as her current live show is very similar to what fans watched on their phones.
At the upcoming Grammys, Rosalía is up against superstars like Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Neil Young, a jazz collective, and even recent Emmy winner Adele for Best Music Film. While she does face some serious competition, there’s a lot of chatter around Motomami (Rosalía TikTok Live Performance) and the impact it might have on the industry. Winners will be named on February 5, and she is certainly a contender for the prize.
This nomination means a lot to many different people–Rosalía, her team, the staff at Canada (including fellow nominated directors Stillz and Ferrán Echegaray), and of course everyone at TikTok–but for Jeffries, it holds a special significance for a reason other than the obvious. She sees this nod as recognition of “a powerful woman sticking to what she set out to achieve.” She calls the honor “long overdue” and, reflecting on the entire process, now in the rearview mirror, she sums it all up simply: “It’s just…it’s incredible to be a part of.”


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