The 64th annual GRAMMY Awards will have a touch of local flair to them as a Delaware County family is up for one of the music industry’s most prestigious honors. Ceylon IV and Ashley Wise, along with their two sons, Ceylon V and Caleb, will attend the GRAMMY ceremony on Monday, Jan. 31, in Los Angeles as nominated artists for their work on the collaborative “All One Tribe” children’s album.
“All One Tribe,” an album comprised of 25 songs performed by 24 African American artists that make up 1 Tribe Collective, is one of five albums nominated for the Best Children’s Music Album award. Ceylon Wise IV wrote the family’s contribution to the album — a track called “For All” — and also co-wrote and arranged the lead track on the album, which is performed by all the artists in 1 Tribe Collective.
The group was notified of its nomination via a ceremony last month during which 14-time GRAMMY nominee Jon Baptiste announced the award’s finalists.
“It is surreal,” Ashley Wise said of being part of a GRAMMY-nominated album. “There were over 600,000 watching at that moment (of the announcement), and then we’re on a Zoom call with all the folks from the 1 Tribe Collective, watching together. It was just tears and a moment of gratefulness, awe, and shock.”
For Ceylon V, a student at Berkshire Middle School, and Caleb, a student at Johnnycake Corners Elementary, the gravity of the moment didn’t quite hit the young boys the same, their parents joked.
“Once we told them, they were kind of excited. They celebrated for a moment, and then they just went back to playing Madden,” Ceylon Wise IV said. “It’s not really anything that has impacted them at the core, which is good, I think. But hopefully, they’ll have a chance to look back and realize it.”
Ceylon Wise IV added that the moment was also filled with both joy and a sense of hope after last year’s field of nominees did not include a single person of color and just one woman. Ashley Wise called the honor a reminder that by working and dreaming together, along with God’s help, anything is possible.
“This year, having the tables really turn and having so much representation of a diverse, wide range of genres and musicians, that is very gratifying. And to be a part of it is even more gratifying,” Ceylon Wise IV said. “I do want to point out, however, that all of this talk of representation doesn’t mean that there should be a quota. It doesn’t mean that if there are five finalists, then two have to be people of color or in a certain category. It’s really just opening the door to allow access for more people to be considered on an equal playing field, and that’s what is exciting about this.”
Among the various themes the album centers on are empathy, sharing, joy, and encouraging curiosity. “At the end of the day, it’s kids’ music, so it’s about having fun and dancing around, but there are also some underlying messages of getting along together and being proud of who you are,” Ceylon Wise IV said.
Speaking specifically about their own track, Ceylon Wise IV said he wrote the song shortly after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, as well as the protesting that ensued.
“Some of that early fire may have come forth in this song, but the idea of the message behind the song is once again asking the listeners to consider the question of are these American dreams and ideals equally available to all? And everybody is free to answer that question for themselves, but it offers that question up,” Ceylon Wise IV said.
Ashley Wise said the song “speaks to the raw emotion of that time” and embodies the conversations that not only their own family were having at the time and continue to have, but so many others around the country as well.
For the Wise family, making appealing, child-friendly content has been a consistent element of the family dynamic for seven years. The family’s YouTube channel, titled “The Wise Channel,” has nearly 13,000 subscribers and includes a variety of educational content in formats that include songs and more.
“The content of the channel reflects the conversations that are going on in our homes, what’s going on in society, and kind of our contribution to trying to advance some of these topics to make them relatable,” Ceylon Wise IV said.
He added, “At a time when factual information regarding our history may be seen as controversial, it’s gratifying to know that this is an outlet where families can absorb the facts of history — the triumphs and the trials — and do it in a family-friendly way but still acknowledge and learn from it.”
To check out the channel or to listen to the “All One Tribe” album, visit www.youtube.com/thewisechannel.
The 64th GRAMMY Award ceremony will be nationally televised on CBS at 8 p.m. on Jan. 31. The Best Children’s Album category winner will be announced at a ceremony prior to the CBS telecast. The pre-telecast awards show will stream on www.grammy.com.