Photo: Erika Goldring/WireImage.com
Louisiana: Governor signs music tax credits into law
Governor John Bel Edwards signs new bill into law benefitting Louisiana music industry
Photo: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (seated), Recording Academy Board members Sean Ardoin, Tim Kappel and Jay Weigel, Rep. Walt Leger, Kim Dodd, Recording Academy Sr. Membership & Project Manager Reid Wick, and Recording Academy Trustee Ken Shepherd
On July 17 The Recording Academy celebrated the signing of the Louisiana Music Industry Investment Act (H.B. 646), which will go into effect on Aug. 1. This legislation will boost Louisiana's music and sound recording industry through a series of tax credits that encourage music businesses to hire professionals that can offer an entire set of services to support Louisiana's music community.
This bill expands Louisiana's current program to include new job tax credits that can be applied to state income tax to reduce an employer's income tax liability. Additionally, the bill seeks to amend the current sound recording investor tax credit program by restructuring application fees that have been previously prohibitive for smaller recording projects.
The Recording Academy worked closely with Louisiana Economic Development to craft the legislation and champion other organizations to support and promote the legislation, including the American Federation of Musicians, Local 174-496 and the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans.
This bill was sponsored by Rep. Walt Leger (D-La.), with co-sponsors Reps. Malinda White (D-La.) and Cedric Glover (D-La.). The bill was signed into law by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
"HB 646['s modification of] the State Sound Recording tax credit ... refocus[es] our efforts on business and job creation that will allow us to leverage Louisiana talent into a more robust and fully integrated industry that serves not only the musicians and the industry, but all Louisiana citizens through a more diverse economy," said Leger.
A Letter To Our Recording Academy Members And To Our Colleagues In The Music Industry
Read a letter from the Academy's Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees is attuned to the calls to action that have resonated ever since the 60th GRAMMY Awards. We recognize the impact of the unfortunate choice of words from our President/CEO, Neil Portnow, in a post-GRAMMY interview. In the many letters and statements that we and our Board have received from some of our most respected artists, as well as prominent female and male music business executives, the message is clear: Our Academy and our industry must do a better job honoring and demonstrating our commitment to cultural, gender and genre diversity, in all aspects of our work.
The Recording Academy is a membership organization, first and foremost. Like all Academy members, our Trustees live and breathe music, and are embedded in the fabric of our industry. Our Board members - many of whom are women - include independent artists, songwriters, touring musicians, producers and engineers, visual and audio entrepreneurs, A&R executives, and music publishers. Our Vice Chair and former Chair/Chair Emeritus are women, and our National Awards and Nominations, Membership, Advocacy, and Producers & Engineers Wing Steering committees are all chaired or co-chaired by women. We honor the Academy, and we expect nothing less in return than strict adherence to musical excellence, an inclusive and diverse philosophy, meaningful outreach and communication, a purity of purpose, and an eagerness to embrace change as our musical culture and society evolve
The Academy’s commitment to our community resonates far beyond the nominations, winners and performers on the GRAMMY Awards. MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum Foundation, and our Advocacy presence in Washington, D.C., speak to how much we care about all the people in our music family, whether they are Academy members or not. Our 12 Chapters nurture new generations of professionals in recording and business, and mentor Governors on our local boards to ally themselves with the issues they are most passionate about. At the heart of what we do, there is mutual respect and the belief that each of us has something unique and valuable to offer. The more diverse we are as an Academy, the better equipped we are to champion our members and our community.
The GRAMMY Awards have always been a positive and negative flashpoint and will likely continue to be because of the ever-changing nature of our world. We are constantly striving to reflect genre, gender, and ethnic diversity in our categories and fields. We welcome proposals from our members to make changes, and we debate all worthy ideas at an annual meeting dedicated solely to this purpose. Likewise, we have worked hard to ensure that our eligibility requirements reflect changing distribution methods. The advent of online voting and the ability to offer audio streams of nominated titles has been designed to make the voting experience convenient, while not compromising security.
The Academy is a thriving, fluid environment. It has a powerful agenda to do good work intended to improve the lives of those who create music, and to ensure that we respectfully participate in a culture where creativity can flourish. We look to our industry partners to provide opportunities for music creators to maintain their professional careers. We embrace the idea that with the help and support of dedicated artists and professionals, we will undertake a fresh, honest appraisal of the role of women in all aspects of our Academy and the industry at large, with the hope of inspiring positive change.
Our Board of Trustees is committed to creating a comprehensive task force that will take a deep look at these issues and make material recommendations on how we can all do better. We are pleased that our task force announcement has been well received, with many people offering to participate in work that will yield tangible results. As we continue to take the appropriate time needed to ensure that this action is well-conceived and properly developed, we ask you to remember what this is about: improving our community and creating opportunity for all. If we achieve this goal, we will all look back at this moment as one that has helped reshape the fabric of our industry.
Please be assured that the Executive Committee and our Board of Trustees holds all the Academy’s leadership to the highest standards. We respect and deeply appreciate the opinions of the artists and industry leaders who have spoken up since the GRAMMY Awards. We cherish the trust that you have in the Recording Academy, and pledge to honor this transformational moment of gender equality as we continue to recognize musical excellence, advocate for the well-being of music makers, and ensure that music remains an indelible part of our culture.
The Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Trustees
The Recording Academy
Judy Collins Talks GRAMMY Nomination, New Book & Tackling Addiction
Collins takes us inside her new book 'Cravings: How I Conquered Food' and why she's lucky to be a late bloomer
Forty-one years after her last nomination, Judy Collins returned to the GRAMMY Awards in a major way in 2017. A 59th GRAMMY nominee this year for Best Folk Album for Silver Skies, the iconic folk troubadour got to honor two of her peers this year when she sang “Both Sides Now” in front of Joni Mitchell at The Recording Academy & Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY Gala and then the next day performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony.
It was a fitting kickoff the year for Collins, who will be taking more strolls down memory lane with her new album, Stills & Collins, and tour with one-time paramour Stephen Stills. Collins, of course, was the inspiration for the famed “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
Collins talked about life on the road, her very open battles with food and alcohol addictions, chronicled in her new book, Cravings: How I Conquered Food, and how Mitchell first sang her “Both Sides Now” over the phone 50 years ago.
You’ve been touring on and off sporadically as of late, correct?
I’m always on the road. My life is a tour. I do about 130 shows a year, actually, and I’m just all about getting it out there.
You were nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Folk Album this year. What was your experience like?
I sang for the tribute to Leonard Cohen, which everybody said should have been on the main stage, and had a great time. It was a wonderful trip. Ari [Hest] and I loved every minute of it, and we were so honored to be nominated.
You also performed for Joni Mitchell at the Clive Davis event, correct?
Yes, I did, the night before the Grammys. It was very exciting.
What does it mean to you to get to have the chance to honor people you have such longstanding relationships with? It had to be extra special to perform for Joni.
Of course, that hit the high note, I must say. As I do. And you know, it was so magical to be there. It’s almost 50 years since I heard “Both Sides Now,” that’s pretty amazing, and the way I heard it was pretty amazing. I was sound asleep here in New York in my apartment on 79th street, and it was three in the morning, and the phone rang and thank god I woke up. I wouldn’t have necessarily done that because I’m sure I was drunk — after all it was the ‘60s — and I woke up and it was Al Kooper on the phone and he said to me, “I know I woke you up, but you’re not going to regret this.” And then he put Joni Mitchell on the phone and she sang me “Both Sides Now.” It’s how I heard the song. And I said, “I’ll be right over.” (Laughs)
Is that the most famous song that anyone’s ever sung to you over the phone, or have there been others?
I think that’s the best. I’m sure I’ve heard other things, but not like that.
Since you say the Joan [Baez]/Judy [Collins]/Joni [Mitchell] tour won’t happen at this point is there still a possibility of the Joan/Judy tour? That would be a pretty amazing double bill.
Well, put it out there. I don’t know. I just show up and sing, let’s put it that way. And I have incredible luck. I've just finished a tour and an album that was nominated, as you know, with Ari Hest, and that’s a dream come true, that has been a real gift to me. I never wrote a whole album with anybody. I never went on tour with a guy, or a girl; I’ve never been on tour with anybody. So that sort of blew my mind, that whole thing.
I love that you still get to learn and do new things. How much fun does it make it for you, getting to have these new experiences?
I’m very fortunate that for a lot of my life, I have never done anything like that. I’ve never written any songs with anybody at the length that I did with Ari. We’ve had about four years of being able to sing together, tour together, and make, really, the album that I made in 2015. It was based on the song that Ari wrote which is called “Strangers Again.” “Strangers Again” kicked the album off, so then I called Jackson Browne and Willie Nelson and Jeff Bridges and a lot of wonderful singers who all said, “Yes," they would be happy to sing with me. So I think that album reminded the GRAMMYs that I was still around here. It also got me back on the charts, which is amazing. And so I always look for and do different and wonderful things, and I’m lucky that a lot of them reach the public since that’s how I make my living. The new album that I released, the new CD and DVD that came out of [Stephen] Sondheim, is quite remarkable too, because I’ve been working on that for about 25 years. Ever since I went to Stephen and said, “I’d like to work on a whole other group of your songs,” and he said, “That sounds like a wonderful idea,” it’s taken a long time to get that to happen but it’s finally happened. Now it’s a PBS special and raising a lot of money for my favorite television channel and, you know, I work on different ideas all the time and sometimes they come to fruition.
Turning to your book, was it something that you had been aware of, these demons, and these battles all your life where now you were ready to talk about them in your book, Cravings: How I Conquered Food?
This happened to be the time to talk about it because I’ve been in recovery now for eight and a half years for a food issue, and sober for 38 years, almost 39. And I found a way, and I’ve talked about alcohol before and about recovery before, but the issue of the eating disorder has gone on simultaneously, but I really found a true solution and I want everybody to know about this because the question of allergy, compulsion, and how these foods fit into our lives and make us eat more or less, or create eating disorders, I don’t think it’s been approached in the way that I finally understand it. I certainly want people to know there’s an easier way to deal with it. It’s not complicated, it’s simple. It’s like science, like chemistry. You know, I’m an alcoholic so I don’t have food that has in it grain, flour, sugar, wheat, or corn. I don’t have alcohol so I don’t have those foods. However, in most of our food plans that we get involved with, we have that junk, so the food plan that I’m on, which was a gift from the twelve-step programs, I call them the anonymous programs, takes out the sugar, flour, grain, wheat, and corn. These are all foods found in alcohol, and in me, they set up a compulsion and an allergy. And it’s that simple.
You mention Mama Cass and Karen Carpenter. Do you feel it’s important to talk about this, especially with the pressure that people in this industry go through?
I wrote this book especially to let people know that there’s something to do about this and it’s not extreme, it’s accessible, that is not expensive, it doesn’t involve special clothes or shoes or buying all kinds of products and going broke. It’s very simple. You go online and you get into the anonymous programs and you find out who’s doing something that’s free and also healthy about food.
How has this lifestyle enabled you to do more with your music, your voice?
I’m just lucky and I love to work and I love what I do and being out on the road and also writing books and writing songs, I’ve been on an entire writing year, writing like a maniac. And it’s just because that’s what I can do so I get to do it and I feel so blessed and so fortunate to be able to. Thank god I have good health. There was a lot of questioning in the history of my own life that I would make it this far and be this healthy so I feel strongly that the better angels have a hold of me. That’s really the truth. I thought I was a late bloomer but an early starter.
Paul Weller Talks 'Kind Revolution,' Writing Music For Film
Singer/songwriter breaks down the difference between writing his own albums versus music for film
Now 59, Paul Weller, a.k.a. “The Modfather,” as he will forever be known to fans of the Jam and Style Council, is feeling good these days. His new album, Kind Revolution, finds Weller writing upbeat soulful tunes to do the best he can to soothe an increasingly anguished and tumultuous world.
He is also exploring his creativity with his first ever film score for the film Jawbone. Between the two, 2017 marks a very prolific year for one of Britain’s most enduring and revered singer/songwriters, a man whose influence has been felt by virtually every major U.K. artist since the Jam’s 1977 debut, In The City. Morrissey, Oasis and Billy Bragg are just three of the artists who’ve covered Weller songs over the years.
Weller spoke with GRAMMY.com about the new album, writing for film and the one song he wishes he could’ve written, and it is a good one.
Was it a conscious decision to write such an upbeat album when things are so crazy in the world right now?
I don’t know, it’d be a nice thing, anyway, to have some peace in the world. But I guess I thought it’d be nice to make something that was uplifting, write a song of hope in a hopeless world or situation. But I was trying to make something that would make people feel good as well. But at the same time it also addresses the same things you’re talking about, some aspects of it anyway.
Were there things you learned in writing this record because so often you don’t gain perspective on a record until well after it is done?
That’s true, but, yeah, that type of [perspective] can be months or sometimes years, you look back and think, “Ah, that’s what I was writing about, that’s what I was trying to say.” I think that’s true cause I think when you write some of it’s conscious and some of it’s very much subconscious as well I think. So yeah, somethings have different meanings or more meaning after a period of time, unless it’s something straightforward. There are some love songs on the record, so they’re kind of self-evident really. But I think there are other things that come back slightly later on really.
How much of the new material have you been playing live?
We’ve done about a half a dozen of the songs, we’ll probably add a couple more as we go on. But it’s always good reaction, it’s always tough playing new songs to people cause yeah, but I think people are digging it, we’ve had a pretty good positive reaction so far.
Are you seeing people uplifted when you play the new material live? And now of course with social media you get immediate responses, which can be good and bad. But are there responses you have heard that have really pleased you?
I saw a couple the other day when we were on tour and they said how much they liked, “Long, Long Road,” which is off the new album. And they were saying how much they loved it and felt it was their song. They connected with it and whatever they’ve gone through over the time. That’s always a sort of nice compliment as a writer, anyway, when people connect to the song like that.
What was the last song where you felt a song spoke to you that way cause it still happens all the time?
Yeah, definitely. It’s hard to think of one at the moment, but probably something like “Ghost Ship” off the last Blur album. I think these days it’s more the music that moves me. I’m not always necessarily connected to other people’s music. I’m not always straightaway connected to the lyrics, maybe that’s something I’ll pick up on later. But often I’m more affected by the mood of a record and the melody.
I know you also just did the film score for Jawbone. And composing a score is such a different process than doing an original album as you are writing to fit a director’s vision. Talk about that for a second.
I was kind of lucky with this film, Jawbone, because I started work on the music probably like four years ago when they were still trying to get funded. But I started…even just after hearing the kind of stories from the actor and writer, Johnny Harris, I kind of just buzzed off what he was telling me and the kind of idea and the vision he had for it. He wanted a very long piece, like 20 minutes long experimental kind of piece or kind of mood piece and that was the main vibe of the soundtrack, so I kind of did it off that. But it worked and I think it fit Johnny’s original vision and I think I was fortunate with that. So that’s kind of different to how a lot of people do soundtracks. I did some stuff to picture towards the end and I worked with the director more, but the bulk of it I kind of did before the film was made. But still with the film in mind and story in mind I kind of had the image of what the film would be like.
If you could do the score for one film what would it be and why?
Wow, man, that’s a question. Probably something like Harry Palmer films, some of those mid-‘60s spy films, cold war sort of films. Something like that really or some European films, some of the more kind of artsy French films or some early [Roman] Polanski films, something a bit more moody, not blockbusters.
Is that because it’s more your film taste or you think it’d be interesting from a musical standpoint? It seems like you’d have more freedom.
Yeah, it’d be probably that really, you’d have a bit more scope and more freedom to try different things really, as opposed to the big pounding drums, which obviously serves a purpose. But yeah, I think just because you’d have a bit leeway to try something more moody really, more ambient.
What is the one song you wish you could have written what would it be and why?
“Ooh, Baby, Baby,” Smokey Robinson.
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
Quincy Jones, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Marsha Blackburn to be saluted
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.