The Recording Academy Announces Songwriters & Composers Wing

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The Recording Academy Announces Songwriters & Composers Wing

Announced at the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, the new wing is dedicated to elevating, supporting and advocating on behalf of music’s storytellers

Recording Academy/Mar 15, 2021 - 06:01 am

The songwriting world just got a powerful new institution on its side.

At the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show on Sunday, March 14, The Recording Academy announced the formation of the Songwriters & Composers Wing, a brand-new Academy membership division representing those who craft songs and music pieces of all kinds.

Closely interconnected with the Academy’s existing membership base and ecosystem of music creators, the new, consolidated Wing will foster recognition of all genres of songwriters and amplify their unique role in policy discussions that seek fair compensation for creators.

The Songwriters & Composers Wing will offer educational programs including panels, mixers, songwriting retreats and mentorship, all geared toward giving music creators platforms for recognition, networking and collaboration. And on a global scale, the S&C wing will illuminate future opportunities for song and scoring achievement within a variety of media.

"The musical process begins with our fellow songwriters and composers, and we're thrilled to launch this Wing at the Academy that creates a home for music's storytellers across the country," Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. "These creatives are essential to the music community and we look forward to collaborating with our industry colleagues to support, educate and empower the diverse members in these crafts."

"The S&C Wing magnifies the presence of songwriters and composers throughout our membership body," added Ruby Marchand, Chief Industry Officer at the Recording Academy. "Many songwriters and composers are also producers, engineers, musicians, and recording artists. We look forward to celebrating their full array of talents and accomplishments."

"Just as music begins with the song, music advocacy begins with the songwriter," declared Daryl Friedman, Chief Advocacy Officer at the Recording Academy. "We are pleased to continue our fight for songwriters and composers' rights, reenergized by the newly organized advocates of the Songwriters & Composers Wing."

The Chair of the Songwriters & Composers Wing will be Evan Bogart, a songwriter and the Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President. Honorary chairs will include Lamont Dozier, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Ashley Gorley, Carole King, Jimmy Jam, Tania León, Gustavo Santaolalla, Valerie Simpson, Diane Warren and Hans Zimmer. The Executive Sponsor will be Susan Stewart, who is Senior Director, South Region at The Recording Academy.

One third of the Academy’s voting membership include songwriting or composing as part of their craft, and these members will be automatically included in the S&C Wing. For more information or to inquire about joining, visit The Recording Academy’s Songwriters & Composers Wing page on GRAMMY.com.

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Tayla Parx Shares Industry Advice During Her GRAMMY U Masterclass

Tayla Parx

 

Photo: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Tayla Parx Shares Industry Advice During Her GRAMMY U Masterclass

Leading up to the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show, Tayla Parx shared tips and advice for GRAMMY U's GRAMMY Week event

Membership/Mar 19, 2021 - 08:06 am

In 2021, a music creative needs to be versed in all aspects of their career, not just the artistic side. Tayla Parx is someone who certainly understands the importance of being a multi-faceted artist. The chart-topping singer and songwriter has penned hits for Dua Lipa, Anderson.Paak, Janelle Monáe, Panic! at the Disco, Khalid, and Normani. She was nominated for the Album of the Year category during the 2019 GRAMMY Awards show as a writer for Ariana Grande's thank you, next. Parx is also a businesswoman (She has the Tayla Made record label, a publishing company called Parx Publishing,  management company 3020, and Parx Studios) and is a recording artist—her most recent album is 2020's Coping Mechanisms.

On March 11, Parx led a Masterclass, Powered by Mastercard, via Facebook Premiere for GRAMMY U's GRAMMY Week event. In the inaugural event, in collaboration with the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective, Parx shared her creative music industry expertise as well as her business smarts.

Parx began the Masterclass by discussing creative entrepreneurship. She traced her beginnings in entertainment in her home state of Texas and remembered her parents' key advice: "be a student of my craft." She also spoke of coming to Los Angeles as part of Debbie Allen's dance academy and discovering her path as a creative. Parx shared that the "no's" she heard were what "built the whole adventure of Tayla Made."

She entered Babyface's Brandon's Way Recording as the youngest person and the only female. She remembered incredible teachers in this space who taught her how to collaborate. "When you get into a moment when you're uncomfortable in the best way…you're in the right place because you're stretching yourself as a creative," she shared.

Parx also spoke about management. The idea that "creatives don't do business," bothers her as "Creatives are the most likely to be taken advantage of," she said. Acknowledging that not all artists want to be involved with the business side, Parx said she preferred to build teams around her and to "Never let someone tell you there's only one way to do it." She wrapped this section by reminding the audience that they "could be the one that will create a new standard."

The next portion focused on how Parx crafts a song. She broke down the structure of a song and how each part works in conjunction with the others. She spoke of the importance of understanding the vibe of the room and how having empathy can help others get connected to timeless emotions.

"A hit song is a true song," she said. "A song becomes a hit because of the fact that so many different people relate to it. As a songwriter, it's your job to create those records that are timeless for people that are hearing it for the first time."

Speaking on vocal production, she stressed the importance of keeping collaborators confident. "There should be no excuse for you to not be able to get your ideas out," she said.

During this portion, Parx pointed out that there are a lot of avenues for music. Not every song needs to go to the biggest artist or top the charts. "Longevity is the only real definition of success," she said.

In the third part of the Masterclass, Parx touched on creating the perfect team. The multi-faceted artist said the first step in creating one is by identifying one's weaknesses and finding the right people to help with those specific things. The team should be set up on a strong foundation. She is "Surrounded by creatives who want to see an industry that reflects their views," and who, "want to change the direction of what the new normal is."

The last part of the Masterclass was a Q&A with GRAMMY U students who asked questions via video. When asked about social media, she shared the importance of tapping into data and analytics. She also mentioned how key it is to line up with what fans want to. Speaking to marketing, she said publicizing yourself was just as important as the creative work. When the topic of mental health came up, she recommended practicing mindfulness, gratefulness and affirmations, which is what she does to give herself self-confidence.

On the topic of being a Black woman in the industry, Parx said, "At the end of the day, people are trying to find hit songs, they don't care if a purple person wrote it. What you have to do is understand that your voice matters in any room that you're willing to be great in."

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'Beyond Black: The Style of Amy Winehouse' Kicks Off At The GRAMMY Museum

Opening Night Of The GRAMMY Museum Exhibit "Beyond Black - The Style Of Amy Winehouse"
 

Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

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'Beyond Black: The Style of Amy Winehouse' Kicks Off At The GRAMMY Museum

The exhibit, running through April 13, pays tribute to the six-time GRAMMY Award-winning artist, whose iconic style is still defining fashion today

Recording Academy/Jan 21, 2020 - 11:55 pm

GRAMMY Week 2020 kicked off with a stylish bang on Monday, Jan. 20 at the GRAMMY Museum's grand opening event for their new Amy Winehouse exhibit, "Beyond Black  The Style of Amy Winehouse." The exhibit pays tribute to the six-time GRAMMY Award-winning artist, whose iconic style is still defining fashion today. The free public event, hosted by music journalist Eve Barlow, was fully booked, and the line of supporters began accumulating more than an hour early. 

Longtime roommate and close friend of Amy Winehouse, Catriona Gourlay, and Winehouse’s stylist, Naomi Parry, spoke with the Recording Academy before the event about their favorite dresses at the exhibit, how they came to know Winehouse, and the items on display that trigger the most personal memories. 

"Amy and I met at a bar because my friend fancied her friend. We bonded over how we both backcombed our hair," Parry recalled with a smile. It wasn’t until later though, that she came on board as Winehouse's stylist. "Amy already had the sort of rockabilly style. It started before she and I were working together." Though hesitant to take any credit, Gourlay, who met Amy through a mutual school friend, was in fact responsible for the rockabilly component of Winehouse's wardrobe. 

"It was actually because of this vintage shop called Rocket in Camden that Catriona used to work at," Parry explains. "All the girls in there had the curls, tattoos, piercings, and little dresses. Amy was quite heavily influenced by them." Parry went on to describe how, when she came on board, she took it upon herself to modernize Winehouse's style without sacrificing anything the singer particularly identified with. Parry was responsible for introducing Winehouse to different brands and labels because she felt that that's what worked best with her music. "I wanted to make it a little more fashion. I didn't want her to be pigeon-holed in that rockabilly look."

Amy Winehouse's stylist Naomi Parry, Winehouse's close friend Catriona Gourlay and music journalist Eve Barlow participate in a panel discussion
Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

One dress that stuck out in both Gourlay's and Parry's minds as synonymous with Winehouse arriving at her true style is The Yellow Preen dress, which she wore at the 2007 Brit awards, and was paired with the red, heart-shaped bag that is also on display.

When asked which pieces in the exhibit trigger a particular memory, Gourlay responded first. "We've got some of her Laura Mercier chocolate body cream and her Givenchy Hot Couture perfume, and the combination of things really hits us still. It’s that thing you can't have anymore. Smelling somebody again."

For Parry, the memory-triggering item is one not yet on display. "There is a dress which will arrive at the exhibit next week, the first one I did the print design for. It’s a dress that’s got two flamingos on it that are in sort of a heart shape." Parry explains how this design came to be while sitting in Winehouse's living room with her sketchbook. Deciding the heart shape may be a bit cheesy, she experimented with other flamingo ideas as Amy sat on the sofa opposite. "I'd [drawn] one of them with its head in the water. I was about to leave and she came over to see what I’d been doing. She was taken aback  "It's got its head in the water — it looks like a brain!'" So, she changed it back to the heart-shaped flamingos. 

Shoes and handbags worn by Amy Winehouse
Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

And it came as no surprise that Winehouse favored the heart-shaped flamingo design, given that the pages of lyrics and notes on display along the exhibition walls were decorated with heart doodles and illustrations of Winehouse's tattoo art. Winehouse, who liked to draw and write by hand, inspired the GRAMMY Museum to invite artists to give event-goers their own Winehouse doodle souvenirs to take home. Throughout the evening, a line wrapped the second-floor exhibits where guests were having caricature portraits done of themselves with Amy Winehouse.

During the pre-event panel, Parry and Gourlay shared additional stories and memories related to Winehouse’s fashion choices. "She was keen to support emerging young designers," Naomi recalls, noting that this often presented a problem on the red carpet. "I would recite the designers' names with her over and over before her events," Parry explained, but Winehouse would draw a blank when she was on the red carpet. "One poor designer…Tina Kalivas, was introduced as 'Tina the Cleaner,'" Parry shared with a laugh. 

Winehouse, who passed away in 2011 at age 27, had only released two albums during her short life. However, rather than dwelling on the darkness surrounding her passing as many Winehouse tributes have in the past, this exhibit celebrates Winehouse's colorful and unique style as well as her groundbreaking impact on both music and fashion history.

"It wasn’t about how expensive something was, and she didn't mind wearing the same dress two, three, four times." Gourlay said. "It was about what she liked."

"Beyond Black  The Style of Amy Winehouse." opens to the public on Jan. 17 and will run through April 13, 2020. For more information, visit the GRAMMY Museum website

GRAMMY Week 2021 Recap: 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Honors Black Entertainment And Sports Lawyers Association, Discusses Future Of Music Industry Diversity

23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative

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GRAMMY Week 2021 Recap: 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Honors Black Entertainment And Sports Lawyers Association, Discusses Future Of Music Industry Diversity

The 2021 GRAMMY Week event provided a platform for current leading practitioners and the next generation of entertainment attorneys to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the music industry today.

Recording Academy/Mar 16, 2021 - 08:32 pm

The Recording Academy continues with ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within the organization and beyond by honoring BESLA with the 2021 ELI Service Award and hosting a compelling roundtable discussion about leadership and expectations moving forward to achieve widespread music industry diversity.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Entertainment Law Initiative event took place virtually in its 23rd year. But despite the digital format, the annual GRAMMY Week event once again provided a platform for current leading practitioners and the next generation of entertainment attorneys to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the music industry today.

Not long after its inception, the Entertainment Law Initiative grew to include a legal writing competition that gives Juris Doctorate (JD) and Master of Laws (LLM) candidates enrolled in U.S. law schools the opportunity to win up to $10,000 in tuition-based scholarships. The competition challenges students to pinpoint a compelling legal problem in today's music landscape, then write a well-researched 3,000-word essay that proposes a solution to the central idea.

The Recording Academy was pleased to recognize this year's winner, Sophia Sofferman, Esq., an LLM candidate at the University of Miami School of Law, for her paper, "It's My [Recapture Right], And It's Now or Never…". Sophia received the winning $10,000 scholarship, a mentor session with an ELI Executive Committee member. She will have her paper published in the American Bar Association's Entertainment and Sports Lawyer journal. 

ELI Writing Competition Program Chair Ken Abdo additionally presented $2,500 scholarships and mentor sessions to runners-up, Evan Biegel, a JD candidate at St. John's University School of Law in Queens, and Alberto Vargas, a JD candidate at the University of Chicago Law School. You can view Biegel's paper here and Vargas's piece here

The event also celebrated the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA)'s many achievements by honoring them with ELI Service Award. This award is presented annually to a legal professional for their abiding commitment to the entertainment community's betterment through service to others. 2021 marked the first year that an organization received the Service Award.

BESLA advances the excellence of Black professionals and is a nationally recognized leader in legal education and professional development, and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in the entertainment, sports, and media industries. ELI Chair Laurie Soriano presided over the segment, with Debra L. Lee (former Chair/CEO, BET Networks, Honorary Chair, Black Music Collective) presenting the award. Accepting on behalf of BESLA was Chairwoman Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard, who is also the SVP of Business Affairs at ABC News, and longtime music lawyer and co-founder of BESLA, Louise West.

Rounding out this year's ELI program was a roundtable discussion between GRAMMY-nominated artist/songwriter MAJOR., President of BESLA and Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP Leron E. Rogers, and Dr. Maurice A. Stinnett, Global Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Warner Music Group. The Academy's own Chief DEI Officer, Valeisha Butterfield Jones, moderated the discussion.

The engaging dialogue included participants' viewpoints on the impact of what the music industry has done thus far to stand with social justice movements and which actions and initiatives they feel are crucial for success in the future. See below for a clip of this riveting and timely conversation.

Watch the entire 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative program on-demand on the Recording Academy / GRAMMYs YouTube channel here and view the program card here.

The Recording Academy would like to thank all the supporters who made this program possible, especially our Platinum Presenting partners Fox Rothschild LLP and Universal Music Group and our Platinum-level partners First Horizon/IBERIABANK, Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Spotify.

Photo Gallery: Relive The Magic Of GRAMMY Week 2021