Texas Chapter Block Party

Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy


Revisit The Action At The Recording Academy’s Texas Chapter Block Party During SXSW 2024

Held annually at South By Southwest, the Texas Chapter Block Party brought Lone Star State-sized energy to a night of music and mingling.

Recording Academy/Mar 18, 2024 - 09:33 pm

Everything is bigger in Texas, and with SXSW back in town, the Recording Academy’s Texas Chapter proved this adage right with their annual party. Held on March 13 in the heart of downtown Austin, the Texas Chapter Block Party offered a night of diverse music and fruitful creative connections.

Recording Academy members from across the country partied like Texans inside the Four Seasons Austin, which sparkled with radiant lights and colorful blooms. With the red carpet rolled out and a massive signature gramophone encased in flowers,  guests dressed to impress for an evening of performances from an array of different artists.

As guests entered, MusiCares offered Recording Academy members free custom earplugs and shared important information on initiatives that can help protect both the mind and physical body. Traveling all the way from GRAMMY House in LA, the Latin Recording Academy brought a special exhibit honoring the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMYs.

The evening kicked off with a funky performance from local duo the Vapor Caves. Next up, Jordan Curls — winner of the GRAMMY U contest searching for a member to perform at the event — took the stage for an energetic performance of her signature mix of jazz, neo-soul, and hip-hop. Curls and her band are members of the DC Chapter of GRAMMY U, and traveled to Texas just for the Block Party.

Fresh off their performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk, Austin-based BLK ODYSSY's electric set had the entire place dancing. The band took the entire night to another level, rocking the stage with songs like “GHOST RIDE” and “Lay Low" late into the evening,  DJ OG Ron C kept the good vibes going under the Lone Star State night sky.

The Texas Chapter Block Party was one of several Recording Academy events held at SXSW 2024. Other activations and occasions included the RA x Tunecore Industry Meet & Mix, GRAMMY U Media Lounge, and Marshall Funhouse. 

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Women In The Mix 2024 SXSW
(L-R) Gina Chavez, Christine Albert, Caren Kelleher and Yolanda Adams at Women In The Mix brunch during SXSW 2024

Photo: Ken Eke


Finding Your Voice At Women In The Mix Brunch During SXSW 2024

Held during SXSW 2024, the Recording Academy's Women in the Mix brunch brought together industry leaders for a panel on confidence and community.

Recording Academy/Mar 21, 2024 - 01:18 pm

While the 2024 edition of  South By Southwest roared in the streets of Austin, women from the Recording Academy’s Texas Chapter matched the festival's enthusiasm during the Women In the Mix brunch.

Held March 15 at the Four Seasons Hotel, the brunch and intimate mixer focused on the importance of leadership amongst women within the Recording Academy and music industry at large. The event concluded with a stunning, live acoustic performance by GRAMMY U member and winner of the Texas Block Party competition Jordan Curls.

Following a moving Women in the Mix event during 2024 GRAMMY Week, the Texas brunch brought together a diverse panel of industry experts. Panelists were Christine Albert, the Academy's Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees; Yolanda Adams, a Texas Chapter Trustee and multi GRAMMY-winning gospel artist, actor, and activist; and Gina Chavez, the Texas Chapter Vice President and Chapter’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Representative.

Texas Chapter Board Secretary Caren Kelleher moderated a conversation about the power of women serving in leadership roles, and the many ways women are breaking barriers in the music industry.

"We are seeing that change of voting women coming into the Academy, and are proud of the work we are doing together," said Christee Albino, Executive Director of the Texas Chapter. "It’s all about community, the relationships between music makers and professionals," added Chavez.

The Latin GRAMMY nominee asserted the value of building relationships amongst industry professionals with the same goals of elevating women and underrepresented communities.

True to the Academy's goals, women dominated the 2024 GRAMMYs, winning a majority of the major Categories. This showing at the 66th GRAMMY Awards further demonstrates the Recording Academy’s unwavering commitment to improving women’s representation through Chapter governance and on the GRAMMY stage. Seven of the eight Album Of The Year nominees were women, with Taylor Swift becoming the first four-time winner of the award.

Albert congratulated the exponential influx of female representation on the Texas Chapter’s board, specifically. Their presence had significant impact. "The Music Educator Award and Best Song for Social Change. The idea for Best Song for Social Change first came from the trustees," Albert said. "This is the kind of work that I’m really proud of." 

The Best Song for Social Change is a Special Merit Award established by the Recording Academy’s National Trustees in 2022 to acknowledge songwriters with message-driven lyricism that speaks to current social issues, demonstrating global impact. In 2024, Somali-Canadian artist K'naan won this award for his song "Refugee." 

The Music Educator Award was awarded to Virginia music teacher and orchestra leader Annie Ray for her outstanding commitment to furthering music excellence inside and outside the classroom. 

These new initiatives are designed as opportunities to invite marginalized voices to serve and lead on Chapter committees. The panelists expressed that without expanding the perspectives of their Chapter board members and committee members, expansion of GRAMMY Categories would not have been made possible.

Jordan Curls performs at Women in the Mix brunch

*Jordan Curls performs at Women in the Mix brunch. Photo: Ken Eke*

"My voice had the power to help all of the people I was representing as a Governor," said Adams as she emphasized the collaborative nature between the Chapters and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team at the Recording Academy.

Moving forward, Chavez highlighted that the most important question to ask a fellow Chapter member is, "Have you thought about running? Your voice deserves to be heard at the table."

As this inspiring question of service lingered in the minds of the brunch’s attendees, Sr. Director of GRAMMY U Jessie Allen introduced singer/songwriter Jordan Curls. As a member of the Washington D.C. Chapter, Curls and her band were selected as the winners of GRAMMY U’s Block Party Contest, where they performed at the Recording Academy’s Texas Block Party on March 13. 

Following the performance of an original song "Life After Sunshine" to conclude her performance, Curls was greeted with a standing ovation from all Women in the Mix brunch attendees, including her idol Yolanda Adams. 

Curls and Adams met for the first time following her performance, where Adams shared words of praise for the emerging New-Age/Neo-Soul artist and created a full-circle moment. 

There was no better way to end such an enlightening discussion, and the advice from Albert, Adams, and Chavez came to fruition through the first-hand promotion of mentorship and elevation of women across generations in the music industry.

Revisit The Action At The Recording Academy’s Texas Chapter Block Party During SXSW 2024

Photo of (L-R) Dallas Wilson, Meg Miller and Lainey Wilson speaking to GRAMMY U members at GRAMMY U’s 2023 Fall Summit
Dallas Wilson, Meg Miller and Lainey Wilson speak to GRAMMY U members

Photo: Ed Rode


5 Takeaways From GRAMMY U’s 2023 Fall Summit With Greta Van Fleet And Lainey Wilson

Held in Nashville and supported by the Recording Academy’s MusiCares and Songwriters + Composers Wing, the GRAMMY U Fall Summit provided pivotal knowledge for young adults heading toward a career in live music and touring.

Recording Academy/Oct 24, 2023 - 01:56 pm

Near the heart of Nashville, hundreds of GRAMMY U members eagerly assembled to gain insight from seasoned touring music professionals.

Held at the Johnson Theater at Belmont University on Oct. 21, the GRAMMY U Fall Summit centered on the world of live music and touring. Panel-style discussions from Nashville-based acts Greta Van Fleet and Lainey Wilson touched on topics such as the art of self-care on the road and the intricacies of show production, equipping attendees with invaluable advice toward building a thriving career within the live music industry.

Anticipation and excitement wafted through the air as attendees took their seats to watch the panels moderated by Theresa Wolters, the Vice President of Human & Health Services at MusiCares, and songwriter/producer Dallas Wilson.

"Resilience on the Road is such an important initiative," Wolters said. "Through conversations like we had at the Grammy U Fall Summit, we have an opportunity to get resources and support into the hands of more music professionals and shape the way we approach life on the road."

Laykin Milton, GRAMMY U member from the Nashville Chapter, arrived more than an hour early to secure a front row seat for the panel discussions. She expressed her appreciation for the exclusive insights shared by the touring professionals, as the advice aligns with her aspirations of pursuing a career in the live music industry.

GRAMMY U members also had the opportunity to collect exclusive branded merchandise, network with their fellow peers, and attend a lively afterparty at Riverside Revival. GRAMMY U member Peedy Chavis kicked off the afterparty festivities, and local country artists Lindsay Ell and Lily Rose gave electrifying performances while attendees got a glimpse into the live music space.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can still catch the panel discussions on YouTube here. Read on for the five pieces of advice from the 2023 GRAMMY U Fall Summit in Nashville.

Family Comes First

5 Takeaways From GRAMMY U’s 2023 Fall Summit greta van fleet

Greta Van Fleet with moderator Theresa Wolters ┃Ed Rode

Greta Van Fleet consists of three brothers, though Josh, Jake, and Sam Kiszka still consider their additional bandmate, Daniel Wagner, to be part of their family. 

Building upon the idea of keeping a tight circle, the band mentioned how family goes beyond blood relation and that it is paramount to surround yourself with the right people.

"There is a tight-knit nature to what we do," said Jake when asked about how to navigate the maintenance of relationships while on tour. "Family, I think, is at the peak of it."

Prioritize Taking Breaks 

Many might expect actual live performances to be the most exhausting part of touring, but for Greta Van Fleet, it’s a different factor: the constant traveling. When you’re constantly bouncing from one place to another, it can become easy to get stuck in a dizzying loop.

"As fun as [touring] can be, it can also be equally as exhausting," Josh said. "It is about finding the time for rest and exercise, which is integral."

The band emphasized the importance of taking a step back to regain clarity. Whether it be physically exercising or connecting with nature, Greta Van Fleet stressed the significance of disconnecting every once in a while from the fast lifestyle that accompanies touring. Without stepping back or taking breaks, that touring would be unsustainable.

There’s Never An 'I' In Team

Although Lainey Wilson may be a solo artist, the country singer made a point to mention the crucial role of her behind-the-scenes touring crew. Assembling the right touring team can make or break a run, she noted, and should be one of the most important considerations when going on tour.

"It’s gotta be the right vibe," Lainey said when asked about her approach toward the crew selection process. "One bad egg can throw it all off."

Moderator Dallas Wilson noted that you're with your tour crew around the clock — making it imperative to prioritize good character and connection above all else.

Embrace Your Roots & Unique Quirks

Renowned for her eclectic style, Lainey characterizes her musical and sartorial aesthetic as "Bell Bottom Country." It’s also the title of her fourth studio album.

"[Bell Bottom Country] is about finding whatever it is about you that makes you unique and different and leaning into it as much as you possibly can," Lainey said. "It can be where you’re from, the way that you talk, the way that you dress, your story — whatever it is, it’s about embracing that."

Self-expression through wardrobe is just as key as self-expression through music. For Lainey, it’s imperative to embody your own "Bell Bottom Country," in whatever form that resonates for you. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Assert Yourself

Meg Miller, Lainey's tour manager, acknowledged that the industry can still feel like a "boy's club." However, Miller spotlighted the importance of confidently occupying space in the live music arena.

"You’re meant to be there," Miller stressed. "You’re a part of it."

Miller was firm in rejecting the notion that women in the industry should alter their behavior to please others. She emphasized that she approaches every situation with the same confidence and composure, as any other established professional would.

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Meet GRAMMY U's 2023-2024 Student Representatives

GRAMMY U has kicked off its program year. Meet the latest class of GRAMMY U Representatives, who work together on events and benefits including behind-the-scenes production tours to masterclasses.

Recording Academy/Aug 22, 2023 - 09:27 pm

Carlie Anderson contributed to this story.

Following GRAMMY U’s recent membership expansion, the Recording Academy is thrilled to welcome the 2023-24 GRAMMY U Representative class.

These 14 college students are rising leaders in the music industry, dedicated to pushing forward inclusivity and creativity. Serving up to three consecutive years, each GRAMMY U Representative works closely with their local Chapter as well as the national GRAMMY U team to support membership projects and diverse programs for creators.

Founded in 2006, GRAMMY U has been supporting college students pursuing careers in music for nearly two decades — and now, as of Aug. 15, the program’s membership is extended not just to college students, but to those between 18 to 29 hoping to work in the music industry.

This exciting expansion means that GRAMMY U’s year ahead will offer more opportunities than ever, and the program’s latest class of Reps is ready to be your guide. Read on to get to know the 2023-24 class of GRAMMY U Representatives.

Jasmine Gordon

Jasmine Gordon | Atlanta

Jasmine is studying at Spelman College as a comparative women’s studies major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

My favorite genre of music is R&B because this genre has a unique ability to evoke deep emotions and create a powerful connection between the listener and the artist. R&B’s remarkable versatility seamlessly blends elements from gospel, jazz, funk, pop, and more, ensuring it caters to a wide range of musical tastes. This genre consistently offers me a diverse spectrum of musical experiences, making it an endless source of enjoyment.

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

My favorite part about the music industry is the opportunity for boundless creativity, allowing me to translate a multitude of ideas into expressive realities. As a person driven by creativity, it was crucial for me to find an industry that allows me to express my creativity in multiple different realms. 

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would center the event around Sylvia Rhone, discussing the evolution of the music industry in honor of hip-hop's 50th anniversary. Sylvia's influential role in shaping the industry, fostering talents like Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Busta Rhymes, Travis Scott, and more, makes her a remarkable choice. Her impact on artists spanning generations, from Lil Wayne to 21 Savage, reflects her enduring significance and wisdom of the music industry.

Connect with Jasmine:

Email: grammyu.atlanta@recordingacademy.com

IG: @jazzy.gord

Rachel Owen

Rachel Owen | Chicago

Rachel is studying at Columbia College Chicago as a music business major with a focus in artist management. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

Why did you become a GRAMMY U Representative?

I had the immense pleasure of being a GRAMMY U Ambassador for two years before I had this position. As an ambassador, I got to experience all the wonderful events we had in Chicago. I was inspired to become a GRAMMY U Representative because I felt the desire to become involved in the national programs as well as the Chicago chapter programs. I saw the Representatives before me traveling to different places for conferences and meeting other like-minded music lovers across the country, and I felt really inspired to take the leap to becoming a representative to connect with members in other parts of the country.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

Although the song could be perceived as sad, I want "You’re Gonna Go Far" by Noah Kahan to define my time as a GRAMMY U Representative. A song about having big dreams, moving away from home to pursue them, and validating the bittersweet reality of growing up into who you were always meant to be, "You’re Gonna Go Far," feels like a perfect anthem for this period in my life. 

Being the GRAMMY U Representative has been a dream of mine for a few years now, and that song reminds me of my biggest supporters back home who helped me get where I am.

Who is a music industry creator or professional that inspires you?

I am very inspired by musician Chappell Roan. She is a queer artist who has built herself authentically and unapologetically. She has a keen eye for artistry and has learned to adopt many personas while remaining simply and purely herself. She also makes music that I believe to be profound, beautiful, and masterfully made.

Connect with Rachel:

Email: grammyu.chicago@recordingacademy.com

IG: @rachelgraceowen

Sam Kopec

Samantha Kopec | Florida

Samantha is studying at the University of Miami as a music industry major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

Classical music will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve played piano and clarinet for over 10 years, and being a classical musician was how I got my start in the industry. I’m always intrigued by genre-blending compositions, and I've performed pieces that incorporate electronics, DJs, rappers, and vocalists into a traditional wind ensemble setting. 

As a listener, I gravitate towards indie and alternative music since it gives artists the freedom to experiment with different production styles and arrangements while still getting melodies stuck in your head.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I can’t wait to strengthen the sense of community among GRAMMY U members and the team of GRAMMY U reps. As a Florida native, I am particularly excited about engaging members across the state through informative events, mentorship, and networking opportunities. By sharing experiences and resources, we can all grow, gain new perspectives, and inspire each other to make an impact in the music industry.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream job is to work in entertainment law. I’m passionate about advocating for artists and strive to empower, support, and educate them. The dynamic and fast-paced environment of the legal field would give me the opportunity to work on different tasks and challenge myself every day.

Connect with Samantha:

Email: grammyu.florida@recordingacademy.com

IG: @sam_kopec

Jade Bacon

Jade Bacon | Los Angeles

Jade is in her third year at the USC Thornton School of Music as a jazz voice major. This is her second year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

Going into my second year in this position, I'm excited to use my skills and experiences to innovate this program even more. I've been able to see how much our work at GRAMMY U impacts the young minds of the music industry and gives them the platform needed to follow their passions. I see it as a privilege to have this opportunity and I'm excited to keep pushing the envelop to see what's possible.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Can't Get Out of this Mood" - Samara Joy

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would make an event around Tyler, the Creator. He has been able to cultivate such a specific brand around himself that surpasses his music. This allows his fanbase to really feel within a community as a follower of him. His artistic influences in all his creative endeavors are so specific to himself but also full of ingenuity. I think he's a great person to inspire young artists and entrepreneurs.

Connect with Jade:

Email: grammyu.la@recordingacademy.com  

IG: @jadembacon

Shannon Conte

Shannon Conte | Memphis

Shannon is a business management major at Tulane University. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream is to be managing some of the biggest musicians in the industry. Being that I am studying management, legal studies and music, I am hopefully preparing myself to be able to hold such a position in music. I have always loved music, but never been musically inclined myself so being able to take what I am good at and still pursue my passion for music is my ultimate goal. 

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

I love neo-soul music. I think the genre completely changed the music industry during the mid 90s and to this day has a lasting impact on the industry. I love listening to modern R&B and hip-hop music and being able to hear elements of the neo-soul genre peaking through. 

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

I love how versatile the industry is. A professor of mine told me that every musician needs a manager, accountant, lawyer, etc. This opened my eyes to how many opportunities there are in the music industry no matter what you are interested in. I admire how anyone, no matter their interest or musical abilities can find their place in music if it is something they love. 

Connect with Shannon:

Email: grammyu.memphis@recordingacademy.com

IG: @sconte_

Della Anderson

Della Lewis | Nashville

Della is studying at Belmont University. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I'm most excited to connect with members and facilitate a positive environment for creativity, community and fun. One of my favorite things is to connect people who have similar interests, and can help each other. I can't wait to bring this energy into GRAMMY U this year! Overall, I'm excited to watch relationships form and go from strangers to friends throughout the course of the year. 

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

Growing up going to open mic nights has made my favorite aspect of the music industry the supportive community within it. I was lucky to be surrounded with kind people who welcomed me into the world of performance and live entertainment. I look forward to returning the same encouragement and acceptance that I was once given to the GRAMMY U community. 

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream job has a lot of aspects to it. I would be a medium-sized artist that also manages and produces a female-focused studio that creates a safe and welcoming environment catered to female artists. I would also create a clothing line based off of my albums as a separate stream of revenue to harness my love of fashion design. 

Connect with Della:

Email: grammyu.nashville@recordingacademy.com

IG: @dellalewismusic

Sara Hudson

Sara Hudson | New York

Sara is studying at Pace University as a business admin in arts & entertainment management major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream career in the music industry is somewhere in touring and live events. Since my first concert when I was 11, I always wanted to be more involved in live shows; the inner working of it all always intrigued me. There’s no better feeling than being in a room with 20 or 20,000 people and getting to sing the music you love with the artists you love, and there's no better feeling than getting to be a part of the team that makes moments like that happen. 

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Long Live (Taylor's Version)" by Taylor Swift 

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

One of my favorite genres of music has to be alternative rock music. This genre has paved the way for many independent artists and labels over the years. But most importantly, this genre allows many artists to push boundaries when it comes to making music.

Connect with Sara:

Email: grammyu.ny@recordingacademy.com

IG: @sarahudson__

Chloe Sarmiento

Chloe Sarmiento | Pacific Northwest

Chloe is studying at University of Washington as a journalism and public interest communication major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I'm eager to form meaningful connections with other students in the industry, as well as aid those who are looking for a way into the industry. Also, I'm looking forward to working alongside my other representatives to create impactful experiences and to share insightful resources.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream career is to be a tour manager! I'm at a concert at least once (if not more times) a week, and there is no other feeling like being surrounded by a bunch of strangers who share the same love of an artist and their music. It is also infectious seeing the joy that other people hold at concerts, so being a tour manager would allow me to take part in the behind the scenes of these shows while helping create a memorable show for others.

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would pick Jai Paul. His path in the industry was marked by setbacks, including the unauthorized leak of his debut album. With these challenges, he maintained his artistic integrity and eventually released his official debut album, which received praise all around. He has also been said to have influenced a generation of artists and producers, making an overall mark on popular culture.

Connect with Chloe:

Email: grammyu.pnw@recordingacademy.com

IG: @chloe.sarmiento

Tamara Tondreau

Tamara Tondreau | Philadelphia

Tamara is studying at Drexel University as an entertainment and arts management major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your dream career in the music industry? 

I always wanted to have a creative side of my career and a business side of my career for duality! For the creative side of my career, I aspire to continue songwriting, as I have been doing it since middle school. For the business side of my career, I hope to dabble in brand partnerships, A&R/artist management, and eventually own my own record label.

What is your favorite genre of music and why? 

My favorite genre of music I would have to say is rhythm and blues. Rhythm and blues, or R&B is so versatile and has been the foundation for popular genres such as rock and roll. Just in the R&B genre alone, I have been exposed to many other genres and subgenres such as alternative R&B, hip-hop, and soul. Some of my favorite artists are in the R&B genre!

What skill(s) are you looking forward to gaining as a GRAMMY U Representative? 

The leadership aspect of the program is the biggest skill I hope to gain. Being able to represent all of Philadelphia for one of the largest music companies in the world is extremely rewarding! While being a Rep, I hope to gain and enhance skills such as digital marketing, public speaking, graphic design, artist discovery, public relations, data analysis, business management and more. 

Connect with Tamara:

Email: grammyu.philly@recordingacademy.com

IG: tuneoftheyear

Taila Lee

Taila Lee | San Francisco

Taila is in her fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley as a media studies major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I’m most looking forward to fostering a close-knit community with my fellow Representatives and with my Chapter. I’m beyond excited to see how we can all share resources and insights to build a supportive, inspiring network within the music industry!

What is your dream career in the music industry?

I aspire to work full-time in the music industry’s editorial space, whether that be as a music journalist or digital content producer. I’m a writer at heart, though I love taking on any creative role, and one of my favorite things in the world is speaking with musicians about what’s special about their work.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Green Light (Chromeo Remix)" - Lorde

Connect with Taila:

Email: grammyu.sf@recordingacademy.com

IG: @taila.lee

Pierson Livingston

Pierson Livingston | Texas

Pierson is studying at University of Texas at Austin as a public relations major and media and entertainment industries major. This is his first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I am most excited to really connect with everyone and meet so many new people. I can't wait to get to meet with all the members in my chapter and build more relationships with my peers. I also am super excited to be able to get new perspectives on the music industry and learn from those already in it.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

Right now, my dream career inside the music industry is to work in the publicity sector of music. I have always had an interest in writing and the creativity behind journalism and publicity, so combining that with my passion for music has led me down this path where I see a way to have both. 

I am still unsure the exact route I want to take — working for an agency, at a label, with one artist or at another music focused organization — but I think there is still time for me to learn and narrow it down.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

Even though it’s hard for me to narrow down to one song that I want to define my time as a GRAMMY U Representative, I think my pick would be "Don’t Stop Me Now" by Queen. As I enter into my senior year and this role with GRAMMY U, I am so excited for everything that is happening and the places it will take me. Plus, this song is super fun to jam out to!

Connect with Pierson:

Email: grammyu.texas@recordingacademy.com

IG: @pierson.jl

Shaneel Young

Shaneel Young | Washington D.C.

Shaneel is studying at Howard University as a business marketing major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I’m looking forward to sharing resources and career development opportunities to my local community. I want to make the music industry more accessible to students just starting out in their careers and wanting to get their foot in the door by creating further awareness around what GRAMMY U has to offer. I’m also looking forward to the mentorship and professional development that I will receive as a Representative.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Persuasive" - Doechii

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

My favorite part about the music industry is watching artists grow, develop, and transform throughout their careers. I am an avid music listener and have witnessed so many of my favorite underrated artists "blow up" and reach mainstream success. Also, the creative aspect of the music industry is something that I am obsessed with. I love the fact that anything is possible and the next big thing could be something (or someone) that no one was able to predict. 

Connect with Shaneel:

Email: grammyu.dc@recordingacademy.com

IG: @seasonsofshai

Roy Gantz

Roy Gantz | National Membership

Roy is studying at University of Southern California as a public relations major, along with minors in songwriting and theatre. This is his first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I'm excited to use my creative talents to find ways to make GRAMMY U membership even more exciting and enriching. Coming off a dream-come-true year as a GRAMMY U ambassador, I'm looking forward to expanding my prospects and deepening my involvement as a representative. 

I can't wait to sink my teeth into creating huge national programs and finding opportunities for GRAMMY U members to experience everything music has to offer!

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream career in the music industry is to be an artist. I want to continue using my voice to tell stories. I also want to continue fostering myself as a multi-hyphenate — someone who can handle all aspects of the industry, whether it be business or creative, to build a brand for myself and what I stand for.

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would plan an event centered around Lady Gaga because of her hustle, commitment to social justice, and unique perspective. I think Lady Gaga is one of the greatest artists alive, and her perspective on not just the music industry but the world at large is worth listening to. I'd love to hear her opinions on how young artists should be using their voices and hear about how she found her own.

Connect with Roy:

Email: grammyu.membership@recordingacademy.com

IG: @roy.gantz

Carlie Anderson

Carlie Anderson | National Projects

Carlie is a music business and entertainment industries major at University of Miami. This is her third year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

My favorite part about the music industry is how it is constantly changing and so fast-paced. It forces you to stay updated on what is trending and current events. I also love how much more inclusive the industry has become in recent years and the idea that there is no set mold of someone who wants to be a music creator or professional.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Speed Drive" - Charli XCX

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

My dream GRAMMY U event with any music creator or professional would probably have to be an Up Close & Personal with Sampha. I think he has so much knowledge and insight to share with up and coming music creators as someone who is not only an established artist in his own right but is regularly featured on large-scale artists' music.

Connect with Carlie:

Email: grammyu.projects@recordingacademy.com

IG: @carlieanderson

GRAMMY U Membership Expands: How The Program Increases Inclusivity Beyond College Enrollment