harvey mason jr 2023
Harvey Mason jr

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images, Courtesy of Recording Academy 

interview

Looking Forward To 2023: Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. On Rebuilding, Laying The Groundwork & Paving The Road Ahead

With Final Round GRAMMY Voting coming to a close, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. is looking forward to the GRAMMYs' return to L.A., making the Academy even more diverse and equitable, and building reach-for-the-sky initiatives in 2023 and beyond.

Recording Academy/Jan 4, 2023 - 01:05 am

At the top of 2022, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. told the world it was a "new day" at the Recording Academy. Now surveying the organization at the dawn of 2023, it's clear he wasn't joking.

Last June, the Recording Academy announced five new GRAMMY categories to be debuted at the 2023 GRAMMYs and awarded onward: Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical; Best Alternative Music Performance; Best Americana Performance; Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media; and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album. Additionally, a highly anticipated Special Merit Award for Best Song For Social Change was added, along with various category amendments and procedural updates.

Elsewhere, the Recording Academy continued its wider mission to create a more inclusive and equitable music industry, starting with major developments from within. 

Last September, the Academy further diversified our membership body with the inauguration of the 2022 New Member Class. Of the nearly 2,000 newest Recording Academy members, 44 percent are from traditionally underrepresented communities; 47 percent are under the age of 40; 32 percent are women; and 52 percent are male; the remaining 16 percent are composed of individuals who identify as non-binary and those who opted not to disclose. The 2022 New Member Class, our most diverse class to date, further helped the Academy reach our goal of adding 2,500 women voting members by 2025; having added 1,913 women to its voting membership since 2019, we are now 77 percent of the way to reaching this goal.

The Academy's commitment to cultivating a community that embodies the ethnicities, genres and crafts that power the music industry is also reflected in the nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs: more than half of the songs nominated for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year are by solo female artists; half of the albums nominated for Album Of The Year are by solo female artists; and nearly half of this year's leading nominees are women and more than half are people of color.

For Mason jr., these significant developments perfectly reflect the great year of continued change the Recording Academy experienced in 2022, a notable evolution he promises to progress this year and onward.

"Last year, we made a lot of progress. We've implemented a lot of change," he says in an exclusive interview. "It was a year of rebuilding, investing and laying groundwork for the road ahead.

"2022 was a great setup year," he continues. "It got us to a point where we're in a better position, and now we can really start to do some of the important work that I know the Academy can do.”

Mason jr. also had some personally transformative experiences last year, including a trip to Africa, which he describes as, "Mind-bending. Game-changing. Eye-opening." 

"Being in Africa was a profound learning trip. It was an opportunity to listen, see and interact — a chance to meet and talk to artists from that region," he reflects. "It also helped me learn how the Academy can be involved there and globally. How can we be helpful? How can we make sure that we're furthering our mission in music — not just in the U.S., but around the world?

With the 2023 GRAMMYs right around the corner, Mason jr. opened up for an in-depth interview in which he reflected on seismic shifts in the Recording Academy and mapped out the road ahead in the ongoing fight for all music people.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Final Round GRAMMY Voting is underway, and nearly 17,000 eligible entries were submitted for GRAMMY consideration for the 2023 GRAMMYs. All in all, more than 11,000 Recording Academy members voted during the GRAMMY Awards process. What would you like to communicate to members involved in this vital and precious process regarding the power of their vote?

I would say, very simply, that the reason the GRAMMY is what it is — which, I believe, is the most prestigious music award you can win as a creator — is precisely because it's determined by the voting body of your peers. 

Voting is important because in order to maintain the importance and significance of the GRAMMY, and what it can do for someone's career, or music, or for the genre, we have to make sure that the voting body is voting with intent and is well-informed; that way the GRAMMY remains relevant, and we can honor the deserving people, records and projects every year.

For us, everything comes down to voting. Voting determines the GRAMMY nominations, the nominations impact the GRAMMY winners, the GRAMMY winners impact the show. 

And the show ultimately allows us to do all the really important work we do year-round on an ongoing annual basis: supporting music people. That's MusiCares. That's education via the GRAMMY Museum and GRAMMY U. That's Advocacy in Washington, D.C. All that ultimately relies on members voting.

Read More: Everything You Need To Know About The 2023 GRAMMYs & GRAMMY Nominations: How To Watch, How Voting Works & More

Let's go through some of the new GRAMMY categories and developments being introduced at the 2023 GRAMMYs. What can you say about the magnitude of the new Best Spoken Word Poetry Album category?

I think the category is going to be really important this year. Bifurcating the Spoken Word Field into two categories, along with Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording, is going to make a big difference for us.

We heard from that group of people, who said they weren't being recognized nor accurately evaluated and nominated. Now, from the looks of these nominations, it's been a sea change for us. Whereas before, artists and poets were competing with books on tape and other narration. 

Now, it's purely spoken word; that's really exciting.

How about the expansion of the Best New Age Album category into Best New Age, Ambient Or Chant?

A lot of the time, with categories like this, we really needed to hear from the community and people who are working in that genre and space. These last two years, we've been really intent on listening and learning. 

So, when a group of creators comes to us and says something needs to be changed or altered in their category — whether it's a name change, definition change, or sometimes an all-new category — we listen. 

This is one of those cases: the New Age Field needed some attention. We heard from them, and I think we made a good refinement.

How about the added Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media GRAMMY category?

This award is exciting because it points us toward the future, to some degree. There's so much music being created in the gaming space, and again, it's a community of creators that wasn't being fairly or accurately represented by the Academy.

Having their own category gives us a chance to really get a good number of submissions in, and also gives our voters an opportunity to listen to that music through the lens of peer-voted submissions specifically in that category instead of a video game score coming across in another category.

There's intention around that style and genre of music. It's a forward-looking category. We now have a community being created around that space, so we're really proud of this development.

The new Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical GRAMMY category is a monumental development for the songwriter community.

The underpinning of what we do as an Academy is built on songs. I started out as a songwriter myself, so the idea of honoring someone who is truly a professional songwriter and craftsperson is special. 

This award celebrates the songwriting aspect of the music industry, as opposed to artists who write some of their own songs. There was some back-and-forth on what was the fairest and best way to honor this community. As it stands now, we're really pleased with the way we set it up. The inaugural nominees are writing songs for other artists, and I think it's a chance for us to celebrate true songwriters, one of the main pillars of our industry.

This year, the Recording Academy is introducing a new Special Merit Award for Best Song For Social Change. What's notable about this development?

This Special Merit Award, which honors a song based on the impact and ability to make a difference in the world, is something that is a first for the Academy, and something I think we're all excited about and proud of. 

This is one of the purposes of music: to make a difference in the world. And a social change impact award for a song highlights those songs, or that one song, that has a massive impact. 

I don't want anybody to misconstrue this award as something that's just singling out one song of impact or importance. Because we know every year, there are a lot of songs that have so much value and impact. But this is a chance for us to celebrate a short list of songs, and ultimately one song, that we feel has made a big impact.

You went to Africa last year. What inspired this excursion, and what did you learn from your trip?

I would describe my trip to Africa as: Mind-bending. Game-changing. Eye-opening. There's so much music, so much creativity over there. Africa is the birthplace of, well, everything, but definitely music. It was a chance to learn about the history, heritage and beginnings of music and rhythm and dance and singing.

Also, given what's happening there today, it was a chance to hear from the people who are really having a huge impact on a genre that's on the rise around the world. Afrobeats and other genres from that region are definitely making their way into the international consciousness.

Things are so different now. Ten years ago, or even a few years ago, before streaming, an artist would release a song in Africa and we wouldn't necessarily know about it in America. It wouldn't travel so quickly from country to country, or continent to continent. Now, with streaming, somebody in any country in the world can release music, and we're listening to it in America. 

If we're going to be an Academy that's evaluating and celebrating and uplifting music, I think it's incumbent on us to understand all the different genres. As I said, we're not all going to be experts. But we have to acknowledge them. We have to be aware that things are happening. We have to see around the corner.

For us as an Academy, we always want to be aware of the trends — what's happening now and what's coming next — so we can stay plugged into today's music scene and global music community and continue to honor the music that's being made around the world. 

So for me, being in Africa was a profound learning trip. It was an opportunity to listen, see and interact — a chance to meet and talk to artists from that region. It also helped me learn how the Academy can be involved there and globally. How we can be helpful. Really, how do we make sure that we're furthering our mission in music — not just in the U.S., but around the world.

Read More: Your Vote, Your Voice: 6 Reasons Why Your GRAMMY Vote Matters

One of the driving themes for the Recording Academy is diversity. In 2022, nearly 2,000 music industry professionals and creatives joined the Recording Academy as members, with a significant percentage of that new class coming from traditionally underrepresented and gender-diverse communities. How does this reflect the Recording Academy's wider mission to create an inclusive and equitable music industry?

I think it directly correlates with our forward-looking mission, and that's to be more reflective, more accurate, more representative of the music ecosystem. As we know, the biggest percentage of music consumed is Black music. Also, achieving more gender equity is important. We know that there are so many important, influential creatives who are women. So, making sure our membership reflects that is really important to me and important to everyone at the Academy.

We have some very specific goals for what we want to accomplish with our membership in regards to diversity — for race diversity, but also gender diversity, regional diversity, genre diversity … There are a lot of goals for our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion group that we want to make sure we get right.

And it's in our Membership. It's in our Awards. It's in our staff. It's in our boards. It's in our committees. It's smart practice to be doing things in a more diverse way. I know the outcomes are better. We get better information; we get better collaboration. We get more nuanced and deeper thoughts about things, and we see things from different angles. Music is one of the most diverse endeavors in the world, and I think we have to represent that across the Recording Academy and the music industry at-large.

Read More: Meet Some Of The Music Industry Leaders Who Just Joined The Recording Academy's 2022 New Member Class

harvey mason jr headshot

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. | Photo: Michael Kovac

The 2023 GRAMMYs are right around the corner. This year, the show returns to its home base at the Crypto.com Arena, formerly the Staples Center, in Los Angeles. What are you most excited about for the upcoming GRAMMYs?

I'm excited about being in L.A. I'm excited about having a full audience again. I'm excited about all the incredible music that we're celebrating this year. I'm looking forward to coming together to celebrate. 

I look forward to the creative industry and the music industry coming together to celebrate each other and lift each other up. To shine a light on excellence and greatness and talk about the things we all have in common. To tell our stories and let the world see the great music that was created this year.

GRAMMY Week, which takes place across L.A. in the days before GRAMMY night, is a fun time to celebrate music and celebrate each other. I think you see the full power of music during GRAMMY week, maybe more so than at any other time. 

But the idea of music bringing about change — music being for good, music creating a better world — these are all big, overarching concepts. Those are the things I'm most excited about seeing. 

Last June, you celebrated your first anniversary as CEO of the Recording Academy. Any words or reflections about the Recording Academy’s accomplishments last year?

Last year, we made a lot of progress. We've implemented a lot of change. It was a year of rebuilding, investing and laying groundwork for the road ahead. 

I believe we still have a lot of work to do, so I don't, by any means, think 2022 was the be-all, end-all. 2022 was a great setup year. It got us to a point where we're in a better position, and now we can really start to do some of the important work that I know the Academy can do.

In my role as CEO of the Recording Academy, it's the coolest job in the world. I grew up as a creator — as a songwriter and producer. I continue to write and produce. So, I feel like I'm of the community that we serve. 

You've heard me say it before, but the music community is so important to evolving our society and changing the world. The privilege to serve the music community is an honor and makes me very excited every day to wake up and do the work. 

What are you most looking forward to regarding the Recording Academy's growth and evolution in 2023 and beyond?

I'm really looking forward to celebrating more music, and more types of music from different places around the world. I'm really looking forward to serving more music people, in more ways.

I'm excited about the ongoing evolution of where we go as an Academy and continuing to build on new ideas so that we can accomplish all of our goals while creating new goals along the way. I'm excited about, obviously, the GRAMMYs show, and getting back to the other 364 days of the year when we're giving back to the music community that we serve and support each and every day.

2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Nominees List

Recording Academy Global Expansion graphic

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How The Recording Academy's Global Expansion Will Support Music Creators And Develop Creative Economies On A Worldwide Scale

As the Recording Academy expands to Africa and the Middle East, the organization is building a framework aimed at protecting music creators and fueling music economies around the world. Here, Academy leaders and partners lay out the global vision.

Recording Academy/Jun 27, 2024 - 03:44 pm

Over the past two years, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. and President Panos A. Panay have journeyed across the world in service of the organization and the global music community. What came of those trips has been personally moving and profoundly monumental for both Mason jr. and Panay. It's also further expanded the vision of the Academy's global mission.

"For us as an Academy, we always want to be aware of the trends — what's happening now and what's coming next — so we can stay plugged into today's music scene and global music community and continue to honor the music that's being made around the world," Mason jr. reflected about his recent travels to Africa in an interview with the Recording Academy last year.

Now, that global mission has finally come to fruition: The Recording Academy recently announced plans for its global expansion into Africa and the Middle East, a development that perfectly aligns with the music industry's ongoing globalization. With new music communities and industries developing around the world, including the thriving music industry growing across the Middle East and North Africa, a region commonly known as MENA, the Academy's expansion into this region was a natural development.

"The world is becoming a lot more globalized. Our job as an Academy is to expand our mission to include all creators irrespective of where they live or what passport they have or what language they speak," Panay explained in a recent interview. "The Middle East and Africa are two of the fastest-growing regions, demographically, when it comes to younger populations, when it comes to creative output, and when it comes to industry growth. This expansion into the MENA region is a natural fit simply for the fact that music is now a truly globalized art form that is not limited by language or culture."

"Music knows no borders. It's global and transcends cultural, political and language barriers," 12-time GRAMMY winner John Legend said in a statement about the Recording Academy's expansion. "I'm so glad that the Recording Academy, the leading organization serving music creators, is evolving to be a more global organization."

"As an African musician, I'm excited about the Recording Academy's expansion into Africa and the Middle East," Afrobeats pioneer Davido echoed the sentiment in a statement. "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." 

The Recording Academy's global expansion builds on several of the organization's recent international initiatives and rich history with the music of both the Middle East and Africa. At the 2024 GRAMMYs in February, the Recording Academy introduced the inaugural Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category, which recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. One year prior, at the 2023 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy awarded the inaugural Best Song For Social Change Special Merit Award to Iranian singer/songwriter Shervin Hajipour for "Baraye," a widespread protest anthem in Iran. 

Last year, the Latin Recording Academy hosted the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs in Seville, Spain, marking the first-ever international GRAMMY Awards show. "It is our responsibility as an Academy to really support our artists and our creators in their quest to go global," Latin Recording Academy CEO Manuel Abud said, in an interview in 2023, about the global expansion of the Latin GRAMMYs. 

Similarly, the Recording Academy is now establishing local roots in Africa and the Middle East to help develop regional music industries and support music creators on a global scale.

"We are spending the next few years working directly with our local partners and stakeholders to better understand the needs of each of these creative scenes and establish the Recording Academy's role in serving these regions in a long-term strategy," Panay said. "Our plan is to use these collaborations as a platform to create connectivity and community. We strongly believe the Academy's mission and membership can ultimately have an impactful role in the development of these global industries."

The global expansion will benefit current and future Recording Academy members, too, Panay said. 

"As the creative community, including our Recording Academy membership, is seeing its income streams come under pressure, expanding opportunities for our existing membership is imperative for the organization," he said. "The expansion is informed by both the Academy's mission to go global, but also by the commitment to serving our existing membership at the highest possible level. That's what's informing every step that we've taken over the last two years in these explorations as well as the last 50 years as we've built the organization to think and act more globally." 

Both Panay and Recording Academy CEO Mason jr. took a direct, hands-on approach to establish the Academy's footprint across the Middle East and Africa. They met with governmental ministries, cultural leaders and music creators across both regions, participating in listening sessions and high-level briefings.

For Panay, it is essential for the Recording Academy to learn about the local cultures on an intimate level and cater the Academy's strategy to the regions' specific needs.

"I was once told a great expression: 'If you don't go, you don't know,'" Panay reflected. "Ultimately, for us to better serve those creative communities, the Academy's strategy has to involve us spending time in these regions, which is what we are committed to keep doing over the next few years as we develop our specific plans and implementations for each market." 

To accomplish this, the Recording Academy is working closely with Ministries of Cultures and key stakeholders to build a framework that will bolster the Academy's presence and services in these rapidly growing music regions. The strategy also posits music at the nexus of art, commerce and diplomacy: These partnerships are aimed at driving economic growth, cultural exchange and sociopolitical ties between the partner nations.

"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," Kenya's Hon. Ababu Namwamba, EGH said in a statement about the partnership with the Recording Academy. "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."  

Read More: The Recording Academy Partners With U.S. Secretary Of State Antony J. Blinken To Launch The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative; Quincy Jones Awarded Inaugural Peace Through Music Award 

As part of its multifaceted global expansion, the Recording Academy is exploring several key initiatives focused on supporting and protecting music creators around the world, with an emphasis on advocacy, cross-cultural learnings, and economic growth, among many other measures. These initial priorities — informed by the local creative communities, music industry leaders and government officials — are the direct result of the Academy's on-the-ground learnings and exchanges over the past two years. 

"We took what we learned from our meetings with the local creatives and industry players and envisioned how and where the Recording Academy could be the most helpful in developing a sustainable ecosystem," Panay explained. "Sometimes, people don't recognize or understand how policies that are shared between states or countries accelerate the growth of an industry and help creators generate income. We think the Academy can play a role in all this with the help of our partners in these local governments and industries."

Education remains one of the key pillars of the Recording Academy's global expansion. Already, the Academy has made immense progress in this area via the recently launched GRAMMY GO, the Recording Academy's first-ever creator-to-creator platform and online learning experience. With GRAMMY GO, the Academy uses the collective knowledge base of its membership to spread industry expertise and help music creators enhance their careers. GRAMMY GO now serves as a bridge connecting the Academy and its members with local scenes around the globe.

"The programs we're already developing with GRAMMY GO are meant to begin introducing the Academy's prospects, abilities, and collective knowledge of its membership to these new regions," Panay said. "We see GRAMMY GO as the tip of our mission expansion into these areas because you got to lead first and foremost with education and skill development. These are critical to the development of creators and the growth of industries, and we think we can help accelerate that."

In the future, the Academy plans to offer enhanced training opportunities and educational programs specifically tailored to the needs of music creators in these regions and users worldwide.

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

As the Recording Academy sets its plans for global expansion into motion, the organization is keeping creators from all over at the forefront — exactly as it's done over the decades. 

With additional reporting by Morgan Enos. 

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

Recording Academy: Latest News & Updates

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

Recording Academy Board of Trustees graphic
The Recording Academy welcomes its 2024-2025 Board Of Trustees

Graphic Courtesy of the Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy Elects 19 Leaders To Its 2024-2025 Board Of Trustees

The Recording Academy has elected 19 new leaders of diverse backgrounds and disciplines to add to its 2024-2025 National Board of Trustees.

Recording Academy/Jun 3, 2024 - 01:05 pm

Following this year’s annual Recording Academy Board of Trustees meeting, 19 leaders of diverse backgrounds and disciplines have assumed their position on the 2024-2025 Board of Trustees. Effective June 1, the newly elected Trustees joined the Academy’s midterm Trustees, including National Officers Tammy Hurt (Chair), Dr. Chelsey Green (Vice Chair), Gebre Waddell (Secretary/Treasurer), and Christine Albert (Chair Emeritus) to uphold the Academy's mission to serve and represent the music community at-large through its commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, fight for creators' rights, protect music people in need, preserve music's history, and invest in its future.

Recording Academy members play a key role in shaping the next generation of the organization's leaders on a local and national level. Each year, the Academy's 12 Chapters' Voting and Professional Members vote in their respective Chapter Board Elections to elect their Chapter's Governors. Of the Trustees that serve on the National Board, eight are elected by Voting and Professional Members of the Academy (four each year) and 30 are elected by the Chapter Boards (15 each year). The remaining four seats are composed of the National Trustee Officers serving the roles of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and Chair Emeritus, who are elected by the Board of Trustees once every two years. All positions on the Board of Trustees are subject to two two-year term limits.

The full list of the Academy's Board of Trustees is below: 

2024-2025 RECORDING ACADEMY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Cheche Alara^ Jennifer Blakeman^ EJ Gaines^ Taylor Hanson^ Ledisi Ken Shepherd^
Christine Albert Evan Bogart Kennard Garrett Justin “Henny” Henderson^ Eric Lilavois Jessica Thompson^
Marcella Araica Torae Carr^ Sara Gazarek^ Tammy Hurt Susan Marshall Gebre Waddell
Nikisha Bailey^ Dani Deahl^ Tracy Gershon J. Ivy Riggs Morales Paul Wall
Julio Bagué Maria Egan^ Dr. Chelsey Green Terry Jones^ Donn Thompson Morelli “Donn T” Wayna
Larry Batiste Fletcher Foster^ Dave Gross^ Angelique Kidjo Ms. Meka Nism^ Tamara Wellons^
Marcus Baylor Anna Frick Jennifer Hanson Mike Knobloch^ Ashley Shabankareh^ Jonathan Yip

^Elected or re-elected this year

Bold identifies National Officers

"I'm honored to welcome this amazing group of creatives to our Board of Trustees," said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. "Our Board’s expertise and dedication to helping music people everywhere has been essential to all we have achieved at the Academy. However, the work never stops, and I look forward to working alongside our new and current Trustees on ways we can continue to provide guidance for our music community." 

“Welcoming our newly elected Trustees is always such an exciting time at the Academy,” said Hurt. “With new ideas to contribute to our Board and the eagerness to helping change music, I have no doubt that together this year’s Board of Trustees will continue our commitment to fostering a diverse and representative music industry.” 

Recording Academy members play a key role in shaping the next generation of the organization's leaders on a local and national level. Each year, the Academy's 12 Chapters' Voting and Professional Members vote in their respective Chapter Board Elections to elect their Chapter's Governors. Of the Trustees that serve on the National Board, eight are elected by Voting and Professional Members of the Academy (four each year) and 30 are elected by the Chapter Boards (15 each year). The remaining four seats are comprised of the National Trustee Officers serving the roles of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and Chair Emeritus, who are currently midterm, and are elected by the Board of Trustees once every two years. All positions on the Board of Trustees are subject to two, two-year term limits. 

View the full list of the Academy's Board of Trustees, Chapter Officers and Academy bylaws.

2025 GRAMMYs To Take Place Sunday, Feb. 2, Live In Los Angeles; GRAMMY Awards Nominations To Be Announced Friday, Nov. 8, 2024

Celebrate Women's History Month 2024 with the Recording Academy

Graphic courtesy of the Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy Celebrates Women's History Month And International Women's Day With 2024 "Power In Women" Series

The "Power In Women" series honors the incredible contributions women have made to music and celebrates the women making waves in the industry. Hear from Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., Autumn Rowe, Ebonie Smith, and more leading women in music.

Recording Academy/Mar 8, 2024 - 10:55 pm

As the world's leading community of music professionals, the Recording Academy understands the importance of diverse experiences. All year long, we work to address and improve the challenges that marginalized communities and creators face every day in the music industry, especially by women and other marginalized gender identities. In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day this year, we're recognizing and celebrating the contributions of every woman in music via our 2024 "Power In Women" series. 

The "Power In Women" series is a social and digital media campaign aimed at honoring the incredible contributions women have made to music and celebrating the women making waves across the industry. We've partnered with a diverse range of Recording Academy members and music industry creators and professionals to highlight the power and influence of women across every facet of the music industry. Via exclusive social media interviews that are personal yet universal and impactful stories about the women who are shaping the future of the music industry, the "Power In Women" series is giving women the stage they deserve. 

"On International Women's Day, I find myself thinking about the evolution of the Recording Academy and our steadfast commitment to inclusivity, equity, and empowering women in music," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said in a special video message to the music community published on International Women's Day 2024. "At last month's GRAMMY Awards, female stars completely shined." 

Below, hear from Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., Autumn Rowe, Ebonie Smith, Emily Bear, and some of the brightest women in music in our 2024 "Power In Women" series, and learn more about the Recording Academy's recent achievements and actions to further amplify women empowerment and representation in our industry. Make sure to check out GRAMMY.com for more content celebrating some incredible women in music all throughout Women's History Month and beyond.

Women in music have indeed had a phenomenal year, with the 2024 GRAMMYs serving as a landmark year for the Academy recognizing and awarding women in music. Women dominated in the majority of the General Field Categories and broke records at the 2024 GRAMMYs: For the second time in four years, women won Album Of The Year (Taylor Swift), Song Of The Year (Billie Eilish), Record Of The Year (Miley Cyrus), and Best New Artist (Victoria Monét).

As the most winning artist of the night, Phoebe Bridgers took home four GRAMMYs in total: three with her all-woman band boygenius and one for her collaboration with fellow woman artist SZA

Taylor Swift broke the all-time record for most Album Of The Year GRAMMY wins when she secured her fourth GRAMMY in the Category for Midnights. She still holds the position as the only woman to ever win the Album Of The Year Category more than twice. 

Kacey Musgraves also made history by becoming the first artist ever to win in all four Country Categories. Paramore became the first rock band fronted by a woman to win Best Rock Album, and Karol G became the first Latina to win Best Musicá Urbana Album. The 2024 GRAMMYs also marked the third consecutive that a woman won the Producer Of The Year, Classical Category, with Elaine Martone taking home the golden gramophone last month.

Prior to the 2024 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy honored and amplified the voices of women in music at the A Celebration of Women In The Mix event, present in partnership with PEOPLE and Sephora and held at GRAMMY House during GRAMMY Week 2024; Dyson and The Hartford were participating sponsors of the event

In addition to these history-making achievements, the Recording Academy has also welcomed more women into our leadership and membership ranks than ever before. Under the guidance of Ruby Marchand, Chief Awards & Industry Officer, and Kelley Purcell, Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations, the Recording Academy is now 98% of the way to reaching our goal of adding 2,500 women Voting Members by 2025; we are set to achieve this milestone in 2024 — a year ahead of schedule.

Last year, the 2023 New Member Class had a record-breaking, diverse group of 2,400+ music creators join the Recording Academy, with women making up 37% of this group. (See the full statistics surrounding the demographics of the 2023 New Member Class.) 

Later this month, the Recording Academy will host additional events and programs in celebration of Women's History Month. Presented by our Membership & Industry Relations and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) teams, the Recording Academy is hosting a Women In The Mix Brunch at SXSW 2024. Also, the Recording Academy Washington D.C. Chapter will host "Blueprints in Leadership with Ruby Marchand," an intimate conversation with Academy executive Marchand, alongside Washington D.C. Chapter Trustee WAYNA, about her the guiding principles that have driven her dynamic professional career and Recording Academy journey. Both events are private events not open to the public.

As a leading organization championing equity, inclusion, and empowerment of women in the music business, the Recording Academy has made commendable progress in women's representation among our Voting and Professional Membership ranks as well as our GRAMMY winners and nominees. Beyond our rigorous efforts to recruit and retain women members, the Academy is also committed to amplifying women in music through providing curated events, mentorship, networking opportunities, recognition, and more. 

But our work is not done, and our mission remains ongoing. And we can't do it alone — it takes every one of us. Download our "Power In Women" social media toolkit to support and amplify women in music on your social and digital media channels. Stand with us in empowering women in music and help us create a more inclusive and fair music industry. 

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