Musically, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest have always been a bit left of center and ahead of its time. The region has consistently brought music lovers what they wanted; even before they knew they wanted it.
In the 1940s, Ray Charles(opens in a new tab) and Quincy Jones were coming up in Seattle’s burgeoning Jazz and R&B scene. By the late '50s and '60s, reverb-loving guitar bands were coming to the fore and out of this merging of styles came the unique sound of Jimi Hendrix(opens in a new tab). In the '70s, neighborhoods were filled with the street sounds of funk, while punk bands were forming in basements across the city. And just when the national charts were dominated by male lead vocalists, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson soared to hard-rock heights with Heart(opens in a new tab).
Through the final two decades of the 20th century, Seattle redefined rock music completely when Nirvana (opens in a new tab)hit the mainstream with the release of Nevermind, sending shock waves through the international rock community, making good on the Cascadian promise seen by early press in other countries. Bands like Green River, Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam(opens in a new tab), Soundgarden(opens in a new tab), Alice In Chains(opens in a new tab), Hole(opens in a new tab), and so many others were instrumental in paving the way for this new sound. Around the same time, the feminist Riot Grrrl movement was buzzing and bands like Bikini Kill were leading the charge to, literally and figuratively, bring the “girls to the front” while rallying against misogyny, homophobia, and racism.
As the grunge movement faded, a new alternative scene was coming-of-age, and brought indie darlings such as Death Cab for Cutie(opens in a new tab), Modest Mouse(opens in a new tab), and Sunny Day Real Estate to national prominence.
The hip-hop genre saw a new level of cultural excitement with the independent-into-mainstream success of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis(opens in a new tab). This was built from a scene which witnessed the coming together of the rap community due to the persistent and creative efforts of artists like Sir Mix-A-Lot(opens in a new tab), Blue Scholars, and many others.
In recent years, the PNW has seen a resurgence of contemporary folk music, led by artists such as Brandi Carlile(opens in a new tab), The Lumineers(opens in a new tab), Father John Misty(opens in a new tab), and Fleet Foxes(opens in a new tab).
The Pacific Northwest Chapter reflects the independent and creative spirit of this region’s music makers. The Chapter is based in Seattle, WA but also covers Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, and parts of Western Canada. Events such as Songwriter's Summit and Studio Summit foster an environment of creative expression and DIY ethos which have defined Seattle and the Pacific Northwest as the place to look for the next reinvention of music.
Please take a few minutes and explore not only what the Pacific Northwest Chapter is doing, but what all the Chapters have to offer in the way of professional development and opportunities for our members.
Executive Director: Jessica Toon
President: Eric Lilavois
The Recording Academy
Pacific Northwest Chapter
505 Broadway E., Suite 150
Seattle, WA 98102