Recording Academy Creative Director Jason Hines on This Year's Grammys Campaign

Plus the glory of the musical journey, from Red Rocks to 'Black Is King'

Originally from Colorado, now living in L.A., Jason Hines has been a brand storyteller for over 17 years. He is a creative director, art director, designer and maker of branded content and all things advertising. He's worked in digital and traditional media in almost every category, delivering world-class creative to top-tier clients, and is current creative director for the Grammys at The Recording Academy.

When I'm not working with his talented team, he finds inspiration on the rock, in the surf and along the trail. We caught up with Jason for our Liner Notes series to learn more about his musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work he's proud of and admired. 


Jason, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in the foothills of Colorado, now living in the foothills of Los Angeles.

Your earliest musical memory.

My dad was big into playing the blues. As soon as I could hold a guitar, he set me up on the acoustic and made me play rhythm while he would shred on his slide guitar. I was a puppet.

Your first concert.

When I was 7, my dad took us to see Ringo Starr and His All-star Band at Fiddler's Green. He pointed out that Peter Frampton was making his guitar talk. It blew my mind.

Your favorite bands/musicians.

When I'm riding: Run the Jewels
When I'm dancing: Nathaniel Rateliff
When I'm relaxing: The War on Drugs

How you get your music these days.

I have KCRW playing all day while I work. I still find the best way to discover new music is through my local radio.

Your favorite place to see a concert.

Red Rocks, hands down! I've seen the best shows of my life there, rain or shine. Right in the middle of a set you look up at the lights and music bouncing off those giant rock formations and your jaw just drops. So much energy in a natural space.

Your favorite music video.

"Black Is King." It's fucking beautiful. And my 5-year-old daughter likes to act out the entire movie—with costume changes, of course. Seeing her get inspired by powerful women in music makes me smile.

Your favorite music-focused TV show and/or podcast.

My wife works on The Voice, so I suppose I feel like I indirectly like that show because she's always talking about how great the coaches are to work with. I love to see artists open up and mentor others.

A recent project you're proud of.

I'm very proud of the campaign we are launching for the Grammys this year. So colorful and energetic. It's the first year I've done the Grammys, and it's been quite the experience. There is so much to do to get ready for a live show like this. The team has been working tirelessly and I can't wait to see the fruits of our labor in person this year. Shout-out to our partners at Public Library for their amazing help.

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

@JP_Sculpt. This guy builds mad trail art. I want to ride it all, then ride it again in slow motion to see every detail. I have a ton of respect for handmade art.

How musicians should approach working with brands.

Make sure your music is used to do the right thing. Don't jump at the first opportunity to work with just any brand. It's OK to say no if you don't like what the brand stands for.

How brands should approach working with musicians.

Respectfully. You're asking them to hand over their baby and hoping you'll take care of it. But you might drop it on its head and fuck it up. Don't drop someone else's baby.

What music can do that nothing else can.

Unite people who don't agree. They should play more music on C-SPAN, it might help.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music world.

Running a neighborhood bar out of my garage. I am very social and I love bringing people together to share their stories. Some of the best therapists around are behind a bar.

Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.

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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a senior broadcast journalism student at the University of Colorado Boulder and a contributor to Muse by Clio.

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