Photo of (L-R) Eric Brooks, Michael “Blue” Williams, Adrian Miller, and Nick Cannon at the "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" panel at the GRAMMY Museum
L-R: Eric Brooks, Michael “Blue” Williams, Adrian Miller, and Nick Cannon at the "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" panel at the GRAMMY Museum

Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for the Recording Academy

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5 Things We Learned From The GRAMMY Museum's "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" Panel

The GRAMMY Museum, the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective and MusiCares partnered with the Universal Hip Hop Museum to exchange real talk during Black Music Month.

Recording Academy/Jul 11, 2022 - 09:12 pm

In a climate where political and personal attacks are raining down on all fronts, three of music's biggest superpowers have convened for a discussion geared towards healing.

On Sat., June 25, the GRAMMY Museum, the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective, and MusiCares partnered up with the Universal Hip Hop Museum to host "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing the Stigma Together," a Black Music Month panel moderated by Nick Cannon.

A wellness-centered occasion, the open-and-thoughtful conversation featured insights from XYION's Adrian Miller, Family Tree Services' Michael "Blue" Williams and Eric Brooks about the state of mental wellness and healthcare in hip hop, the music industry, and beyond.

When it comes to unpacking unresolved traumas and devising a competent plan of action, there is no more important time than now. Together, we can implement systemic and structural changes to the personal and professional lives of our favorite artists.

With that in mind, here are five things that GRAMMY.com learned from the panel.

A Mental-Health Department Is Needed

To kick off the occasion, Nick Cannon, Adrian Miller, Michael "Blue" Williams, and Eric Brooks called for the music and entertainment industry to institute a mental-health department.

From their perspectives, this would help artists, executives, managers, and staff deal with personal and interpersonal issues.

"Managers are now supplementary family members [to these artists] as we're being there for them in a way that we've never had to do before," said Williams, who served as de facto manager for Outkast, Nas, Macy Gray, and others.

As he continued, record labels put so much money into maintaining the trauma of our favorite stars — but now, they need to invest in their well-being.

Hip-Hop Is An Undervalued American Export

Adrian Miller, the former VP of A&R at Warner Brothers Music Group and an industry leader in artist curation, was asked by host Nick Cannon to talk about how the recording industry profits from trauma.

"The culture is the major cultural export that the world enjoys," Miller said without hesitation. "But [only] the labels know the number of its value — and it is refusing to share."

Overall, the discussion highlighted that hip-hop has consistently been a challenge to those who want to use its voice, its lyrics, and its artists in a negative way.

According to Eric Brooks, the shift of hip-hop culture into mainstream dominance is "unavoidable." This means that more than ever before, compensation needs to be properly given to the creators.

HipHopMentalHealth

*"Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" at The GRAMMY Museum on June 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for the Recording Academy*

Social Media Leads To Mismanagement Of Artists' Expectations

Most artists have a second job in projecting their professional and public lives on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and the like.

And in catering to millions of people with a curated lifestyle full of like-worthy excellence, the panel delved into the extreme highs and lows that music people face — thanks to the pressures caused by social media.

"These artists can easily perform in front of millions of music lovers — but when they get off stage, one tweet can have the power to crush them," said Michael "Blue" Williams. "No one can teach us that [as managers], but we need to [have the resources] to be prepared. 

Despite the hype that comes with the push of a button, there needs to be a new way — through revamped media training or other methods — to ensure that artists' mental health comes first.

We Need To Talk About Burnout — And The Effects Of Trauma

The effects of this thing we call life can affect us greatly when we're alone.

During the "Hip Hop & Mental Health" panel, there was a frank industry-forward conversation about the elephant in the room — burnout — and how to detect it in industry professionals and artists. 

"Artists are in a fight-or-flight mode when it comes to being in this game," said Eric Brooks.. "And there need to be strategies on how to deal with the inner battles that only happen in the mind and body." 

Michael "Blue" Williams — who is no stranger to dealing with high-profile clientele — mentions that what happened to Kanye West and the late Chris Lighty should be an example of what breakdown and the effects of trauma look like.

HipHopMentalHealth

*Dr. Monique "Dr. Flo" Hedmann speaks at "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" at The GRAMMY Museum on June 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for the Recording Academy*

VIP Attendees Were A Big Part Of The Discussion

When the floor opened up to questions, there was no shortage of hands being raised — showing how crucial the attendees were to this conversation.

Also in attendance were some high-profile mental-health professionals, like JC Hall, LCSW (Hip Hop Therapy), Dr. Monique "Dr. Flo" Hedmann (Hip Hop Public Health), and Nakeya T. Fields, LCSW (Black Mental Health Task Force). 

These parties shared extra insights on how to address the concerns that were brought up during the two-hour-plus chat, and provided a variety of helpful mental health and addiction resources.

All in all, they illuminated how suffering music people can get help — today, and for many years to come.

Jon Batiste Kicks Off The GRAMMY Museum's "A New York Evening With…" Series With Revealing Q&A, Intimate Solo Performance

2023 GRAMMY Camp students
Students perform at the GRAMMY Museum's 2023 GRAMMY Camp

Photo: Courtesy of the GRAMMY Museum

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GRAMMY Museum Selects 20th Annual GRAMMY Camp Students & Announces Guest Artists Blu Detiger, Maren Morris & Jeremy Zucker

Held at The Village Recording Studios in Los Angeles from July 14-20, the 20th annual GRAMMY Camp will host 83 high school students from around the country and help prepare them for careers in the music industry.

Recording Academy/Jun 12, 2024 - 01:20 pm

The GRAMMY Museum announced today that 83 talented high school students from 76 U.S. cities across 22 states have been selected as participants in the 20th annual GRAMMY Camp  program. The signature music industry camp for U.S. high school students will be held from Sunday, July 14 to Saturday, July 20 at The Village Recording Studios in Los Angeles.

Blu DeTiger, Jeremy Zucker, and GRAMMY winner Maren Morris will be this year's guest artists. They will be on site to discuss their career paths and help students prepare for the music industry. 

"Over the last two decades, GRAMMY Camp has served as the heartbeat of the music world for high school students aspiring towards a career in music, offering an authentic immersion into the music industry and life itself," said Michael Sticka, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Museum. "We’re thrilled for the continued support from Hot Topic Foundation, enabling us to expand the Camp’s duration from five to seven days once more this year. We look forward to commemorating this milestone at The Village Recording Studios alongside Blu DeTiger, Jeremy Zucker, as well as, Maren Morris, a distinguished alumna from our inaugural GRAMMY Camp."

Morris added, "GRAMMY Camp will always be one of those formative memories in my career. I was 15 years old when I went back in 2005 and remember it cementing my dreams of being a songwriter. Being involved with the organization still to this day is such a unique pleasure I have."

This GRAMMY In The Schools program is presented by the Hot Topic Foundation with support from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation. Additional scholarship and program support is provided by the Aufmann Family, BeatHeadz, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Natalie Cole Foundation, Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation, and the Recording Academy.

GRAMMY Camp will focus on all aspects of commercial music and provide instruction by industry professionals in an immersive and creative environment. The program features seven music career tracks: Audio Engineering, Electronic Music Production, Music Business, Music and Media, Songwriting, Vocal Performance, and Instrumental Performance. All tracks culminate in virtual media projects, recordings and/or performances.

Applications for next year's 2025 GRAMMY Camp will be available online in September at www.grammycamp.com

2024 GRAMMY Camp Selectees And Tracks (In Alpha Order By First Name)

Addison Dwelly Prospect, N.Y. Instrument – Guitar 
Alexander Kamara Laurel, Md. Music & Media
Alina Khangura Granite Bay, Calif. Vocal Performance
Andrew Tran Round Rock, Texas Music Business
Anjali Agneshwar New York Audio Engineering
Aryana Booker-Gamez Pittsburgh, Pa. Songwriting
BoJameson Ebeling Venice, Calif. Audio Engineering
Brandon Goldman Alhambra, Calif. Instrument – Drums 
Brooke Murgitroyd Raleigh, N.C. Vocal Performance
Buchanan Beauboeuf Las Vegas, Nev. Music Business
Camden Creel Phoenix, Ariz. Electronic Music Production
Cassandra Menacker Bristow, Va. Instrument – Bass 
Charlotte Milstein La Jolla, Calif. Instrument – Guitar 
Chase Swain Houston, Texas Instrument – Keys 
Coco Benedetti Westminster, Calif. Instrument – Keys 
Cooper Holloman Pearland, Texas Instrument – Bass 
Cora Reardon Chatham, N.J. Music Business
Daniel Nientimp Nashville, Tenn. Electronic Music Production
Denver Humphrey Oviedo, Fla. Music & Media
Elle Reisman Lafayette, Calif. Songwriting
Emilio Abdelsayed Middletown, N.Y. Audio Engineering
Emily Roth Los Angeles Music Business
Esther Cho Fullerton, Calif. Music & Medi
Evan Hummel Bethesda, Md. Electronic Music Production
Francesca Casagrande Alpine, N.J. Music Business
Gael Chica Elizabeth, N.J Instrument – Guitar
Gavriel Shohet Zabin Evanston, Ill. Music Business
Grace Percival Southington, Conn. Vocal Performance
Grant Harriman Marina Del Rey, Calif. Electronic Music Production
Isabella Worden Omaha, Neb. Vocal Performance
Jacob Egan San Rafael, Calif. Music Business
Jaiden Meltzer Northampton, Mass. Songwriting
Jillian Ritter Swansea, Ill. Vocal Performance
Jordan Hall Grand Prairie, Texas Vocal Performance
Joshua Jongejan Sugar Land, Texas Songwriting
Julian Chua Short Hills, N.J. Music & Media
Justice Crittendon New Orleans, La. Audio Engineering
Kaleo Abadam San Ramon, Calif. Electronic Music Production
Kalyssa Ro Simi Valley, Calif. Music & Media
Katalina Kaminsky Miami, Fla. Music Business
Krista Warner Santa Ana, Calif. Music Business
Lauren Hunter Hinsdale, Ill. Instrument – Guitar 
Leo Cheng Claremont, Calif. Songwriting
Maddox Balloon Alpharetta, Ga. Electronic Music Production
Mady Lubavin Newport Coast, Calif. Songwriting
Magnolia Collins Pacific Palisades, Calif. Music Business
Manasvini Kasagani Frisco, Texas Audio Engineering
Maryn Randall Plainwell, Mich. Songwriting
Matheson Hall Princeton, N.J. Electronic Music Production
Maya Ixta Delgado Encino, Calif. Music Business
Maya Ray Los Angeles Music Business
Mayah Board Santa Clarita, Calif. Music & Media
Mia Sophia Perdomo Chattanooga, Tenn. Music Business
Miranda Aquino Los Angeles Music & Media
Mitchell Haugsness Aurora, Colo. Audio Engineering
Nathaniel Arnold Encino, Calif. Audio Engineering
Nicholas Yiakoumatos San Gabriel, Calif. Electronic Music Production
Noah Schlondorff Bexley, Ohio Songwriting
Odelia Elliott Baltimore, Md. Songwriting
Olivia Wang La Canada Flintridge, Calif. Electronic Music Production
Paul “Gus” Dent Santa Cruz, Calif. Audio Engineering
Puru Dogra Westford, Mass. Songwriting
Rohan Agneshwar New York Audio Engineering
Rose Morris Los Angeles Songwriting
Ryan Witt Horseheads, N.Y. Electronic Music Production
Samantha Murano Levittown, N.Y. Vocal Performance
Sarah Al Mazrouei San Diego, Calif. Audio Engineering
Sarah Mullen Whitesboro, N.Y. Electronic Music Production
Sarah Parkinson Oak Park, Ill. Songwriting
Sarah Parmet Sherman Oaks, Calif. Electronic Music Production
Sawyer Mitchell San Marcos, Calif. Instrument - Keys
Seble Lopez Brooklyn, N.Y. Music Business
Sofia Cianciolo Pacific Palisades, Calif. Music Business
Sofia Erskine Upland, Calif. Vocal Performance
Solea Novelo Castaic, Calif. Instrument – Drums 
Summer Brennan Newport Beach, Calif. Electronic Music Production
Sydney Kassekert Incline Village, Nev. Songwriting
Talia Silver La Jolla, Calif. Music Business
Toby Whitley Dallas, Texas Songwriting
Tyler Awosika Maricopa, Ariz. Music & Media
Walker Lewis Berkeley, Calif. Electronic Music Production
William Barsam Belmont, Mass. Instrument – Drums 
Zia Brooks Rockledge, Fla. Instrument – Bass 

How The Recording Academy's GRAMMY GO Is Building A Global Online Learning Community & Elevating The Creative Class

A graphic announcing the Recording Academy's global expansion into Africa and the Middle East. The words "Globalizing Our Mission" are written in blue and white letters on a black background featuring the Recording Academy logo and a GRAMMY Award statue.
The Recording Academy is taking its mission to support music creators to a global scale.

Graphic Courtesy of the Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy Announces Global Expansion Strategy In Africa And The Middle East

Working with entities in Africa and the Middle East, the Recording Academy is expanding internationally to support music creators on a global scale through enhanced educational resources, cross-cultural learnings, intellectual property advocacy, and more.

Recording Academy/Jun 11, 2024 - 02:01 pm

The Recording Academy, the organization behind the annual GRAMMY Awards, has announced agreements with Ministries of Cultures and key stakeholders across the Middle East and Africa to extend its efforts to support music creators on a global scale. The Recording Academy is working with the Ministries of Culture in Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Nigeria, the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture in South Africa. Additionally, MOUs have been signed with Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Through the newly announced agreements, the Recording Academy will collaborate with its partners on a framework to bolster the Academy's presence and services in these rapidly growing music regions while taking its mission international. Through these collaborations, and in alignment with our mission, the Academy will explore several key initiatives, including: 

  • Championing music creators at all levels, providing them with a platform and advocacy. 

  • Empowering creators through enhanced training. Through its online learning platform, GRAMMY GO, the Recording Academy will look to provide educational programs and resources specifically tailored to the needs of music creators in these regions.

  • Producing original content that celebrates the rich musical heritage and dynamic emerging scenes of Africa and the Middle East.

  • Enhancing support for existing members. Cross-cultural learnings will benefit all music creators, and a presence in these rapidly growing music regions would provide numerous benefits to the Recording Academy's current and future members

  • Advocating for strong intellectual property (IP) legislation and protections for music creators.

  • Fueling the music economy by collaborating with partners to develop and strengthen the creative economy in Africa and the Middle East.

  • As a cornerstone of this initiative, the Recording Academy will publish a series of reports, highlighting the Academy's research and insights into these music markets.

For the past two years, Recording Academy leaders, including Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. and Recording Academy President Panos A. Panay, have traveled throughout these regions, participated in listening sessions, received high-level briefings, tours, and demonstrations, and obtained insight directly from both the governmental ministries and local music creators driving innovation in these markets.

"This is exciting because music is one of humanity's greatest natural resources," Mason jr. said in a statement about the Recording Academy's global expansion. "It is critical that the people who dedicate themselves to creating music have support, resources and opportunities, no matter where they are from."

"The Recording Academy is dedicated to supporting music creators around the world," Panay added in a statement. "Our expansion efforts into these fast-growing regions reflect our commitment to fostering a truly global music community, where creators at every stage of their careers and from every corner of the world have the resources and support they need to thrive."

As the first phase of plans to support music creators abroad, this expansion into the Middle East and Africa comes the same year the Academy celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMY Awards, taking place this November in Miami, and months after the Latin Recording Academy hosted the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs in Seville, Spain, marking the first-ever international GRAMMY Awards show. This year at the 2024 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy also introduced the inaugural Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category, which recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Also, the Recording Academy last year partnered with the U.S. State Department on an initiative to promote peace through music.

Read additional quotes about our global expansion from Recording Academy members and our partners below:

Kenya:

Hon. Ababu Namwamba, EGH: "Creative Economy is among the key cogs in the wheel driving the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) in Kenya. The country has placed a premium on music, film, theatre, content creation, fashion, pageantry, and other creative industries as a pivot for job creation, revenue generation and economic growth for sustainable livelihoods. With a predominantly youthful population that is well educated, innovative and passionate in stretching the frontiers of imagination, Kenya considers the creative sector as a fitting ignition for lighting and unleashing the full potential of this enormous youth bulge. Furthermore, creatives offer a formidable platform for building cultural, social, economic, and political ties across the East African Community, the African Continent and indeed the entire African Diaspora globally. And so, it should be no surprise that Kenya is delighted to be among the four champions of this effort, alongside our sister nations of Rwanda, Nigeria and South Africa. This is a historic opportunity to hoist high and celebrate Africanacity through artistic and cultural expression, while fostering innovation, creativity, fraternity, and solidarity for African peoples in Africa and beyond. Kenya is in KABISA! (absolutely). Welcome to magical Kenya, the land of Hakuna Matata!"  

United Arab Emirates:

H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi: "Abu Dhabi's music scene is soaring, driven by the vibrancy of our youthful population, and strengthened by governmental commitment to infrastructure development, exemplified by existing and upcoming venues across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Additionally, investments in educational institutions such as Berklee Abu Dhabi and Bait al Oud Abu Dhabi, underscore our dedication to fostering local talent by providing them with comprehensive music theory education. As we embrace diverse genres emerging from our rich cultural heritage, we see a dynamic wave of creators and talents shaping our musical landscape. Today, we stand ready to collaborate with the Recording Academy to amplify our artists' voices, celebrate our music, and propel MENA's music industry to new heights."

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

Paul Pacifico, CEO, The Music Commission: "We are excited to become a part of the global GRAMMYs family, working to unite a growing range of music and talent from around the world as we strive to develop an inclusive and sustainable industry which fosters a rich tapestry of music and talent from diverse corners of the globe. We eagerly anticipate the benefits we know this partnership will bring to our music community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the opportunities it will deliver for Saudi music to take its place on the global stage and contribute to a more globally representative and vibrant music industry."

Rwanda:

Francis Gatare, CEO, Rwanda Development Board: "Rwanda embraces this vision of connecting the continent's creative minds, marking a pivotal moment in our history where our culture and spirit are celebrated and shared with the world. By fostering a unified creative platform, we not only celebrate our creativity but also forge a shared path toward economic and social prosperity. Rwanda is proud to champion this significant milestone. By promoting our diverse talents, we enrich the global creative community and affirm our place as leaders in cultural expression. This initiative underscores Rwanda's dedication to a vibrant and dynamic cultural landscape, positioning us at the heart of Africa's creative renaissance."

South Africa:

Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman of Arena Holdings: "It is an exciting era for African and particularly South African music to finally work with the Recording Academy in ways that will provide the opportunity for African music to be recognized and celebrated on the global stage. We are proud to have advanced this exciting partnership."

Afrexim Bank:

President Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, Afrexim Bank: "With Afreximbank's support for Africa's creative industries and endorsement of the Recording Academy's expansion, we recognize the immense potential this sector has to boost GDP and create employment for the youth. We extend our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to the Academy's founding nations and the leadership of the Recording Academy for this remarkable opportunity to blend 65 years of invaluable experience with our continent's vibrant music and creative ecosystem." 

Recording Academy Members:

John Legend: "I'm excited to see the Recording Academy taking these meaningful steps to globalize our mission and reach. Music knows no borders. It's global and transcends cultural, political and language barriers. I'm so glad that the Recording Academy, the leading organization serving music creators, is evolving to be a more global organization."

Angelique Kidjo: "The Recording Academy is accelerating its efforts to serve music people everywhere, and Africa is ready with open arms. We are a continent of music and young, passionate music makers. I'm proud to see the Academy forming partnerships with Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and no doubt, more to come!"

Kat Graham: "As a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, I've seen firsthand how interconnected our world is. I applaud the Recording Academy for expanding its activities to Africa and the Middle East, two of the fastest-growing regions. This visionary move will amplify the role music can play as a force for good in the world while showcasing diverse voices and fostering cultural unity on a global scale."

Davido: "As an African musician, I'm excited about the Recording Academy's expansion into Africa and the Middle East. It acknowledges our vibrant talent and the global influence of African music. This initiative offers a platform for creators, elevating our cultural expressions and uniting us through music."

Stay Connected To The Recording Academy With The My Academy Hub App: Access Key Deadlines, View Membership Information, Browse Official Academy Events & More

Tasha Cobbs Leonard at Nashville Chapter Block Party 2024
Tasha Cobbs Leonard performs at the 2024 Nashville Chapter Block Party.

Photo: Jason Kempin for Getty Images / Courtesy of the Recording Academy

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Inside The Recording Academy Nashville Chapter's 2024 Block Party, A Tribute To Music City's Thriving Scene

With performances from Carly Pearce, Cory Wong, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Rissi Palmer, Hannah Dasher, and Brittney Spencer, this year's iteration of the Nashville Chapter's summer kickoff celebrated an array of genres and stories.

Recording Academy/May 30, 2024 - 07:30 pm

A swarm of cicadas couldn't keep Recording Academy members from celebrating the beginning of summer on May 20, when the Nashville Chapter held its annual Block Party.

Held at Nashville's 6th & Peabody, the 23rd iteration of the event was another evening of live music and joyful reunions for the Nashville Chapter (which also represents Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina) as well as members from the Memphis Chapter and other markets. Attendees enjoyed food from White Duck Taco Shop and Daddy's Dogs, and libations from Yeehaw Brewing Co, Ole Smoky Moonshine and Music Water, and furthered the camaraderie by helping each other fend off cicadas — whether in the crowd or on the stage. 

The three-hour Block Party was also a celebration of the wide array of talent the Chapter boasts. The lineup offered country, jazz/funk guitar and gospel — along with tunes in between from Nashville favorite DJ Smoke — as well as a mix of independent and major label artists, all of whom had career milestones or GRAMMY memories to share. 

Kicking things off was Brittney Spencer, a rising country star whose acclaim earned her a guest appearance on Beyoncé's COWBOY CARTER earlier this year. Her enchanting five-song set featured tracks from her debut album, My Stupid Life, which arrived in January. 

"Thank you so much to everybody that is here who is helping make artists' dreams come true every day," she said, commending the hard work that goes on in the backend of the industry. "I worked at a label for, like, a month, and I was like, 'Oh my god, no," she added with a laugh. "We appreciate y'all very much."

Independent country artists Hannah Dasher and Rissi Palmer served as emcees as well as performers, each offering two songs. Dasher teased her forthcoming new project, Don't Wanna Be An Outlaw, with its twangy title track, while Palmer celebrated the 2024 re-release of her 2007 track "Country Girl," which she recently issued on her own label.

Tasha Cobbs Leonard brought love and light to the event with her powerful gospel tunes, including "Break Every Chain," the song that won her a GRAMMY for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance in 2014. She shared that she had lost her father just one week before that momentous win ("I was on a mountaintop but I was also in a deep, dark place," she reflected). Yet, as she added, the song has helped people experience breakthroughs, and that was apparent by the impassioned reactions in the crowd.

Shortly after Cory Wong set the sunset vibes with his electric guitar grooves, Carly Pearce closed out the night with a 30-minute set that included her latest single, the Chris Stapleton-featuring "We Don't Fight Anymore," and her GRAMMY-winning hit with Ashley McBryde, "Never Wanted To Be That Girl." As she gushed to the audience, the performance was a full-circle moment in many ways. 

"I moved here 15 years ago because all I wanted to do was sing country music… Any time I play in Nashville I think of that 19-year-old girl with big dreams," she said. "I feel like I've been coming to the GRAMMY Block Party, or, like, aware of it, and wanting to be a part of it for so long, so I'm so grateful to be here."

Pearce stuck around to give hugs to fans and friends before heading out, with many other attendees doing the same as the event wrapped — a sweet sendoff to another celebration of Nashville's thriving, tight-knit musical community. 

6 Key Highlights From The Inaugural GRAMMY Hall of Fame Gala Honoring Lauryn Hill, Donna Summer, Atlantic Records & Many More

Jewish American Heritage Concert 2024 Hero
(From left): Susana Behar, Sarah Gordon, Yosef Goldman, and Yoni Battat perform at the Jewish American Heritage Concert from the Nation's Capital on May 15, 2024.

Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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7 Highlights From The 2024 Jewish American Heritage Concert, An Empowering Celebration Of Music & Community

In partnership with the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Recording Academy spotlighted traditional Jewish music from around the world with a free concert in Washington, D.C.

Recording Academy/May 23, 2024 - 08:19 pm

In the heart of the nation's capital, The John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts hosted an extraordinary event to commemorate Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). On May 15, the Jewish American Heritage Concert celebrated the delicate blend of cultural Jewish music worldwide, creating a spotlight for the Jewish residents in the DMV area and highlighting performers whose voices are vital to the close-knit community.

In 2006, President George W. Bush declared the month of May to be recognized as JAHM.  Since then, the following presidents have continued to acknowledge the importance of the celebration of JAHM, as well as hundreds of organizations and foundations — so it was both fitting and moving for the concert to take place just down the road from the White House.

Presented by the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Recording Academy, the hour-long concert featured Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars, Susana Behar, Yoni Battat, and Yosef Goldman — representing traditional Jewish music from Eastern Europe, Turkey, Cuba, South America, the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula. Before the performances began, William Deroff, CEO of The Conference of President's of Major Jewish Organizations, rang in the night advocating on behalf of political leaders' continued recognition of JAHM.  

"It is a rare and hearing example of bipartisanships standing across leadership and administration, representing the commitment of this nation to celebrating its Jewish minority," he said. As Deroff asserted, this was a night to rejoice in the power of music: "Tonight we celebrate how far we've come when our government acknowledges and takes seriously the concerns of its Jewish citizens." 

Below, take a look at some of the standout moments from the Jewish American Heritage Concert.

Empowerment Through Education

Along with Deroff's opening remarks, Misha Galperin, President and CEO of The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, spoke on the meaning of the night's mission before the music started. 

Founded in 1976, The Weitzman Museum is at the center of creating and inspiring conversations about the Jewish community. As Galperin acknowledged, the Museum's work celebrates the rich history of the Jewish community and amplifies the voices of the Jewish minority throughout the nation. 

"We are dedicated to informing and educating Americans about American Jewish heritage — about the contributions, and achievements, of Jewish Americans," Galperin said. 

Susana Behar's Enchanting Vocals

Weaving the tale of her own heritage, Susana Behar is a traditional Sephardic and Latin American singer based in Miami. Through her work, she pays homage to her Jewish, Sephardic, and Cuban upbringing. 

Performing an arrangement of Sephardic songs in Alboreá, a flamenco style traditionally sung at Gypsy weddings, and Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) songs, Behar's sound created an angelic movement of vocal harmony and mystical wonder.  Praising beauty and love, Bahar's bright energetic set adorned the stage in a sunset ambiance, guiding the love that was filled within the room through family and friends.

She was joined on stage accompanied by a symphony of instruments, but it was truly her voice that filled the room with emotion. "What a better way (to celebrate JAHM) than with music," she declared. 

Beautifully Blended Brass Instruments

The power and aura of brass instruments rang throughout the halls of The Kennedy Center as Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars took center stage. They performed a modern version of melodies written by Jewish ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski and Hasidic Yiddish songwriter Yom Tom Ehrlich.  

London founded the group, bringing a uniquely profound sound of music to the Jewish community. Through the fluidity of sound on stage, it was clear that London's Allstars are truly a family at work. During the performance, the crowd found a sense of delightment, as a group sing-along echoed amongst the walls, and the smiles from the Allstars beamed throughout the building.

The Powerful Sensation Of Sarah Gordon

Powerhouse vocalist Sarah Gordon, lead singer of Yiddish Princess, accompanied London's Allstars throughout the night. Performing a melody from Beregovski, Gordon was able to put a modern spin on the traditional passover game, Who Knows One?

Creating a sharp rock sound, Gordon brought her own flair while still keeping to the traditional original of the music. 

The Heart Of The DMV Community

Impactful moments throughout the Jewish American Heritage Concert were not only highlighted through our speakers and performers, but through the powerful sentiments of its audience members.  

Local D.C. native, Stephanie Husik, was drawn to the event due to its strong message centered around music. When asked about how music can transform communities, she touched upon the emotional impact that music can foster.  

"Music gets at emotion. It taps emotions. I think much more than trying to preach to people, and talk to people, this engages them." Husky followed by stating, "It speaks to people, much better than actually speaking. It taps into feelings."  

Notes From Rabbi Yosef Goldman & Yoni Avi Battat

Rabbi Yosef Goldman intertwines Jewish harmony with prayer, connecting his Mizrahi and Ashekanzi heritage. Performing alongside Yoni Avi Battat, they uplifted and connected Jewish heritage through a blend of a delicate unchained melody.  

"This song is for all of us, Jewish or not. We have a lot of parts and a lot of aspects to our identity that we are all just finding a place for," he said. Battat followed by singing, "From the fragment of my struggle, I can know my own strength."  

Goldman followed Battat's sentiment, speaking on the importance of acknowledging on-going antisemitism in the country: "Every person's suffering is seen and known and has value." The raw and delicate emotion of the performance made it unforgettable, a powerful experience for anyone who had the privilege to witness. 

A Message Withstanding The Test Of Time

As the evening came to a close, all of the astonishing performers took the stage one last time to celebrate the pride of JAHM, and the importance it holds within the community. In beautiful three-part harmony — accompanied by authentic horn instruments — everyone on stage paid tribute to all of their individual roots, performing a melody of various traditional Sephardic, Nigin and Shabbos songs.

Like the final performance showed, the room was filled with profound pride throughout the whole event. It wasn't just a celebration of Jewish heritage through the power of music — it was a celebration of the strength and power of the community as a whole. 

Learn more about the Recording Academy's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, recent DEI achievements, and year-round work to support marginalized voices in music.

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