Justin Roberts, Smokey Robinson To Speak At Senate Hearing On MMA On May 15

Songwriter Justin Roberts meets Rep. McGovern (D-MA.) At GRAMMYs On The Hill

Photo: Leigh Vogel/WireImage.com

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Justin Roberts, Smokey Robinson To Speak At Senate Hearing On MMA On May 15

Top music creators are set to deliver testimony next week at pivotal Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Music Modernization Act

Advocacy/May 10, 2018 - 02:18 am

The Senate Judiciary Committee has officially scheduled their first hearing to review the Music Modernization Act (MMA) for May 15.

After years of sustained advocacy by the Recording Academy and its members, comprehensive music reform has gained new momentum in 2018. Just two weeks ago, the Music Modernization Act passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous 415 – 0 vote on April 25. This vote immediately  follows the unanimous approval by the House Judiciary Committee on April 11, where members passed the bill in a 32 – 0 vote.

The Senate hearing will see GRAMMY nominated singer/songwriter Justin Roberts testify on behalf of the music community, sharing his own experiences as a music creator. A member of the Recording Academy's Board of Trustees, Roberts will also serve as the Academy's witness. Also expected to testify at the hearing will be GRAMMY winner, GRAMMY Legend and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Smokey Robinson and GRAMMY-winning songwriter Josh Kear.

Roberts, Robinson and Kear have all been active participants in the Recording Academy's advocacy work, with Roberts and Robinson speaking on behalf of the Academy at GRAMMYs On The Hill in 2018 and 2016, respectively. Kear, meanwhile, spoke with lawmakers as part of the Academy’s 2013 GRAMMY Week Congressional Briefing.

These artists are all taking the important step of testifying at next week's Senate hearing because of the comprehensive set of reforms that MMA represents. Incorporating some of the most important provisions of the AMP Act, the CLASSICS Act, and the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, the songwriter-focused Music Modernization Act will close the compensation loophole for works of recorded music created prior to 1972 currently exploited by digital platforms without compensating artists. In addition, the MMA will increase industry efficiency and transparency by establishing a single licensing entity to administer mechanical licensing for songwriters, all while making it easier for internet platforms and streaming services to lawfully license the music in the first place. And for the first time, it will recognize the contributions of producers and engineers in copyright law.

The time is now to enact equitable reforms to music licensing laws that have been allowed to remain unchanged for a generation and close loopholes that allow digital platforms to exploit creators without fair compensation.

Contact Your Senators: Tell Them To Support Comprehensive Music Reform

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GRAMMYs On The Hill Honorees Named

Legendary artist and producer Quincy Jones — 27-time GRAMMY winner and The Recording Academy's ambassador for its 50th Celebration — will headline a day of music advocacy as part of The Academy's GRAMMYs on The Hill activities in the nation's

Recording Academy/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Quincy Jones, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Marsha Blackburn to be saluted

GRAMMY.com

Legendary artist and producer Quincy Jones — 27-time GRAMMY winner and The Recording Academy's ambassador for its 50th Celebration — will headline a day of music advocacy as part of The Academy's GRAMMYs on The Hill activities in the nation's capital on Sept. 5, it was announced today by The Recording Academy.

Events will include a unique afternoon jam session with GRAMMY-winning artist Keb' Mo' and members of Congress. Later that evening at an awards gala, Jones will be honored for his lifelong contributions to American music, and honorees Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) will be recognized for their legislative support of the arts and music creators.

Among the luminaries joining Keb' Mo' to salute the honorees will be four-time GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Chair Jimmy Jam, Academy President Neil Portnow, nine-time GRAMMY winner Ray Benson (of Asleep At The Wheel), "Godfather of Go-Go" Chuck Brown, GRAMMY-winning songwriter Brett James ("Jesus Take The Wheel"), country superstar John Rich (of Big & Rich), four-time GRAMMY winner BeBe Winans and seven-time GRAMMY winner CeCe Winans.

"GRAMMYs on the Hill connects top music makers — from singers and songwriters to producers and engineers — with members of Congress in Washington to shed light on the effect music has in enriching our lives," said Portnow. "This year, as part of our 50th Celebration activities, we will highlight the importance of music preservation and education so that it continues to thrive in our culture for years to come."

Throughout the day, more than 120 music professionals from across the country will come to Washington to speak to legislators about promoting policies that improve the environment for music and its makers. Earlier in the day on Capitol Hill, the GRAMMY Foundation will showcase its programs with a special performance by Keb' Mo', who will jam with members of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus (the "Congressional GRAMMY Band" — a group of musician members of Congress who have informally jammed at previous Academy advocacy events) in the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room on Capitol Hill.

That evening, GRAMMYs on the Hill will move to the ballroom of the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel for its 7th annual gala dinner where The Recording Academy will honor Jones, Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Blackburn. Chesnee High School of South Carolina will receive the GRAMMY Foundation's Signature School Award and Scholarship for its outstanding commitment to music education.

For more information, please click here and here.

 

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Neil Portnow's 49th GRAMMYs Telecast Remarks

Recording Academy/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am
What if the GRAMMYs had to give up the Best New Artist category because there weren't any? Well, as long as The Recording Academy has anything to say about it, that's not going to happen! Tonight, we've already met some of this year's remarkable Best New Artist nominees, and in a few minutes, we'll see a fresh new face experience her "ultimate" GRAMMY Moment provided by The Academy.
 
When I was just 6 years old, I watched Elvis on TV, and knew what I wanted to do with my life. And thanks to my parents and the dedicated music teachers at school, I realized my dream of a career in music. Now, we need to make sure that others have that same chance.
 
Let me show you exactly what I'm talking about. Meet Anne Lee, a very talented 15-year-old public school music student, and Christian Sands, a 17 year old who won a spot in our GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble.
 
Our GRAMMY Foundation programs like GRAMMY in the Schools and GRAMMY Camp teach and encourage thousands of kids who love music, and whose lives are better for it. This underscores the most fundamental point — every child deserves exposure to music and the arts in school!
 
There are some encouraging signs out there. Just this year, The Recording Academy and the music community rallied their forces here in California to reverse the trend of reduced funding. The result: more than 100 million dollars for music education with millions more for instruments in schools.
 
The time is now to contact your elected leaders. Tell them that music is just as essential to the next generation's development as any other subject. We'll make it easy for you — go to GRAMMY.com. We'll connect you directly to your representatives so your voice can be heard.
 
You're here — or out there — because music is an important part of your life. Together let us all ensure that music stays just as vital and alive for generations still to come.
Your New Membership Portal Is Here!

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Your New Membership Portal Is Here!

Visit the new Recording Academy membership area now

Recording Academy/Apr 25, 2018 - 02:31 am

In the Recording Academy’s ongoing efforts to provide a better digital experience for members and supporters, we are streamlining various Academy websites used to access important information about what we do across the organization. This includes an all-new membership area, which replaces GRAMMYPro.com and provides members easier access to news and content across the Academy, Chapter information and updates, and membership account management.
 
Visit the new membership area by clicking this link: www.grammy.com/membership.
 
All GRAMMYPro.com links redirect to GRAMMY.com. Log in using the email associated with your Recording Academy account (the same one that you used to access GRAMMYPro.com). If you have forgotten your password, you can reset it here: https://www.grammy.com/user/password.
 
When you’re logged in, you can visit your Dashboard to:

  • Review and update your Contact Information
  • Review and update your Mailing Preferences
  • Change your profile photo
  • Explore events, member discounts, and content across the Recording Academy

If you experience any issues, please email membership@grammy.com or call the Membership Team at 310.392.3777.

Björk, Nas, George Harrison: 10 Songwriters Who Inspire
Björk

Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

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Björk, Nas, George Harrison: 10 Songwriters Who Inspire

We highlight 10 artists who have transformed music and served as inspiration to other artists

Recording Academy/Jun 24, 2016 - 05:42 am

Before James Bay and Skrillex became household names, they were just kids finding the musical heroes who would shape their sound. Having been fortunate enough to talk to many musicians over the years, we’ve noticed that certain songwriting heroes are mentioned repeatedly as being inspirational and influential, having shaped generations of music with their individuality, their artistry and in the case of each of these inspirational songwriters, their profound, insightful and very human songwriting.

Connectors between artists of all genres, these prolific, prophet-like songwriters have touched the lives and creative minds of some of today’s greatest artists. “Those real artists are the ones that make the popular artists go,” producer John Feldmann says.

We were careful, when making this list, not to make it a “greatest-of-all-time” list, but to honor artists and songwriters who have transformed music, in smooth and soulful to grand and audacious ways; songwriters who have been mentioned again and again in our interviews as inspirations to some of music’s top contemporary artists.

Björk, “Hyperballad”

From My Morning Jacket’s Jim James to Skrillex, the many musicians who love Björk cite her incredible individuality and uncompromising integrity to her art as reasons why. Skrillex says, “Björk’s always been someone that I loved since I’ve been a vocalist.” Sometimes her grand artistic vision overshadows the fact she is also a tremendous songwriter, something the members of Grouplove recognize. “The funny thing about her productions is she spaces things out so much, but at the core of it, even if it is crazy and hard for your brain to wrap around as maybe a radio song, if it was put into that format, at the end of the day the songs are still so good.”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “The Mercy Seat” (written by Nick Cave & Mick Harvey)

A great songwriter who can tell a long-form narrative like “Dig, Lazarus, Dig” or write an achingly beautiful love song such as “Into Your Arms,” Cave has been named an influence by Garbage, Miike Snow and Cold War Kids, among many others. “He’s still one of the last great living potent and dangerous men on stage,"  Garbage's Shirley Manson says. "When you watch him play you have no idea what he’s gonna do and he’s older than what you expect him to be, but he still feels very vigorous and dangerous and exciting. He is the greatest living rock and roll god.” As for the secret of Cave’s songwriting prowess, Manson says, “He’s a lover of words and a lover of communication, and a lover of connection.”

John Coltrane, “Giant Steps”

The iconic jazz saxophonist’s scope is so massive that he has been cited in song dozens of times, by acts as wide-ranging as Elvis Costello, U2, Common, Gang Starr, Rick Ross, the Roots and Damon Albran. That is clearly an “artist’s artist.” Of course he’s known for being one of the great jazz musicians, but he was also a gifted composer whose influence spreads far and wide. “I think that the radical departures of John Coltrane’s solos are as kind of reorienting as an N.W.A. song,” Tom Morello once told us. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan also cites the truth and passion of Coltrane’s music. “Who are people we look to that get it right?” Corgan asks. “We look to people like John Coltrane, who seems to say it in everything he does.”

George Harrison, “What Is Life?”

Time has deservedly been very kind to the legacy of the “quiet Beatle,” with many acts citing Harrison as an influence. Breakout star James Bay often turns to Harrison’s music. “I love George Harrison’s music because it’s a wonderful balance of the sort of nonsense lyrics that were popular in the ‘60s, and I don’t mean nonsense in a harmful word, I mean it in a playful way, it’s a perfect balance of that and something very heartfelt,” he says. “’My Sweet Lord’ always comes back because, I know it’s a relatively religious moment there, but ‘Wah Wah,’ off All Things Must Pass, in the context of the music it’s the most euphoric piece of songwriting. So a lot of his music does come back around.”

Loretta Lynn, “Portland, Oregon

Loretta Lynn’s comeback album, Van Lear Rose, was produced by Jack White, one of the country legend’s biggest fans. “God, this woman is brilliant,” White told us at the time. “And she’s just throwing me a bone … She tells it like it is, and she’ll tell you anything if you ask. There’s a real brilliance to her that comes out as, to this day, as it did when she started, this kind of hillbilly aw-shucks-ness that people take for granted, and thought was a gimmick when she started. They thought this hillbilly gimmick wasn’t gonna last, and it has, because after you get past the novelty forefront of it, you realize there is a brilliance to it and sort of universal thoughts that everybody has. ‘Your Squaw Is On The Warpath’ may sound funny. It may be novelty to bring people in, but the phrasing and the writing of that song … she really is so brilliant.”

Joni Mitchell, “A Case Of You”

“I could tell that Joni was a painter by the way she wrote lyrics,” singer/songwriter Jewel once said of this “artist’s artist.” The epitome of artistry, the complex and utterly imaginative works of Joni Mitchell have influenced creatives of all types, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly, who once told us, “The soundtrack for Waking the Dead is great. It made me rediscover Joni Mitchell, Blue was sort of my big album on that film. ‘Case of You,’ I think, is one of the best songs of all-time.” Countless artists have either covered or sampled Mitchell’s work and the light that she has shed on the creative process prevails for many of our music icons still today.

Nas, “The World Is Yours” (written by Nas & Peter Phillips)

This poet/musician and provocative storyteller has inspired artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Common and Jay Z with lyricism that uncannily puts words and rhythm to feelings that can otherwise be difficult to explain. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park once told us, “When I was growing up, I loved listening to music that I felt was speaking directly to me. Nas’ Illmatic was that way, where you go, ‘Hey, that’s me, too.’ That is so exciting, to find that connection. A lot of hip-hop that I listened to was from more of an outsider’s point of view, like I always just loved to hear those stories. They’re telling me what’s going on, so I feel like I know more about what’s going on in the world, because that shit’s not going to be on the news.”

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “Tears Of A Clown” (written by Stevie Wonder, Hank Cosby & Smokey Robinson)

You know someone is a music giant when he or she has shaped the legacy of other legends. “The King of Motown” — as he is known for his incredible track record of writing hits for both his band, the Miracles, and countless other Motown acts like the Temptations and Mary Wells — is also partially responsible for giving the world Led Zeppelin. Asked about the first record that made a big impact on him, Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant once told us, “’Shop Around’ by the Miracles, 1960. Smokey Robinson’s voice and the whole production, I just had no idea something could be so smooth and yet so sensual and evocative, it was great.”

Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam”

Even before last year’s hit documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, the widespread influence of Nina Simone’s legacy was felt far and wide by musicians as diverse as Sade, Peter Gabriel and Avicii. While Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson cites Simone as a great protest writer for her work on “Mississippi Goddam,” “Revolution” and more, Rufus Wainwright once told us it’s Simone’s work as a performer that made her a legend. “Nobody has ever quite mastered, to the degree she has, the sense of kind of drama in between the music she has and her sense of timing. So I would say she’s probably the high priestess of that concept.”

Tom Waits, “Take It With Me” (written by Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan)

It’s a very short list of artists who have earned a place in the debate over greatest living songwriter. However, anyone whose music has been covered by everyone from Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles to the Ramones and Norah Jones is immediately in the conversation. “He’s by far my favorite musician. His storytelling is really phenomenal,” Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue says. “I think that’s the great thing about his songs, you feel like you are living in them when you are listening to them, like you’re in that crappy car on the highway and you see the little Jesus on the dashboard.”

(Steve Baltin is a music journalist in Southern California. He is a contributor to Rolling Stone, Billboard, Forbes, and many other publications, host of Hulu’s “Riffing With” series, and music journalism instructor at the GRAMMY Museum’s GRAMMY Camp.)

(Monica Molinaro is a freelance music journalist and marketing professional in Los Angeles. She has written for Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter.)

See A Full List Of Song Of The Year GRAMMY Winners