Harvey Mason Jr.
From Advocate To Board Chair: Harvey Mason Jr.'s Tireless Quest For Creators
Last week, the Recording Academy announced its new National Officers, with producer/songwriter Harvey Mason Jr. elected Chair of the Board of Trustees effective June 1. His selection not only brings passion and experience to this critical leadership role in music's most influential membership organization, but it also means music makers will be represented by a proven strong advocate for their rights.
ICYMI #RecordingAcademy announced @HarveyMasonjr, @tammyhurt, Terry Hemmings, and Christine Albert (@texaschanteuse) as newly elected national officers: https://t.co/blVW3C2H8X pic.twitter.com/1r9p3GLLyx
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) June 7, 2019
Mason Jr. most recently served as the Co-Chair of the Academy's National Advocacy Committee this past year, ensuring he is not only aware of the issues nearest and dearest to music creators, but he's knowledgeable of their nuances and adept at enacting change for the betterment of musicians livelihoods.
"If you are in the music business and not paying attention to advocacy and what the [Recording] Academy is doing, you are sleeping," Mason Jr. told us last year. "Unless you are doing music as a hobby, everyone should be putting energy into advocacy."
As a five-time GRAMMY nominee, nominated most recently for his work on "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert," which was up for Best Music Theatre Album earlier this year, Mason Jr. was one of several 61st GRAMMY Awards nominees to put his energy to Advocacy issues—in addition to leading the Advocacy Committee, he has been supporter of and participant at GRAMMYs on the Hill, District Advocate Day and other Academy advocacy initiatives. Also, bringing this level of awareness and fire to the platform of Chair bodes well for making sure Advocacy issues remain high on the minds of music makers, especially in today's music industry landscape. As a very active working producer, songwriter and advocate, Mason Jr. has an intricate understanding of the double-edged complexities of the modern model.
"It has been both harmful and helpful," he said of how the streaming era has affected his business. "Obviously, the reduction in royalties generated has affected our bottom line, but the opportunity to release more music faster and more efficiently has been a huge benefit."
Mason Jr.'s lament about reduced royalties pinpoints one of the main creators' issues at hand. In fact, last year happened to mark a pivotal time for the Recording Academy's Advocacy, as it saw the passage of the Music Modernization Act, a historic step forward for all music creators to ensure they are properly credited and paid.
"Music is such a valuable part of our society and our country's culture," he said. "Creators need to be treated fairly. People who make music shouldn't have to be concerned if they are ever going to get the money that they are owed."
— Harvey Mason, Jr. (@HarveyMasonjr) April 19, 2018
That vision is the very goal of the Recording Academy's Advocacy efforts. Looking ahead, Mason Jr. will be joined in his new position by fellow newly elected National Officers Tammy Hurt, who will serve as Vice Chair, Terry Hemmings, who returns as Secretary/Treasurer and Christine Albert, who assumes the position of Chair Emeritus. With the wind of a successful year of meaningful policy change in its sails, the Academy's Advocacy efforts continue to make a meaningful difference every day as its leaders keep their eyes on the horizon in pursuit of a better system for all.