The cloakroom of the House of Representatives is generally considered one of the hallowed, exclusive spaces in Congress. It's a special room, just off the floor of the House chamber, where Members of Congress huddle for private conversations, plan legislative strategy, or simply take short breaks during a busy day. So imagine the surprise of many Members of Congress when they finished casting their votes on the House floor, exited into the cloakroom, and found GRAMMY-nominated group The Band Perry there waiting for them and visiting with their congressional colleagues.
This unique scene was the capstone to an eventful day in January when The Recording Academy welcomed the new 114th Congress with a special musical briefing featuring The Band Perry and congressional leaders.
The centerpiece of the day's events took place in the Capitol Visitor Center, where the normally staid Congressional Auditorium was transformed into a state-of-the-art concert venue for a special performance. The auditorium full of congressional staff and nearly two dozen Members of Congress not only enjoyed hearing a few of The Band Perry's most popular songs, they also listened as siblings Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry described the challenges facing music creators today. In a discussion moderated by Daryl P. Friedman, the Academy's Chief Advocacy and Industry Relations Officer, Kimberly told the audience, "We're not only speaking out on behalf of the artists whose faces are on the cover of albums, but rather the army of people that are underneath that. We're trying to make sure that music can be a living that we can all make -- a practical living -- and leave an artistic legacy behind."
The briefing, presented in partnership with the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus, featured opening remarks from Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), both long-standing champions for the music community. The Band Perry was later joined on stage by the co-chairs of the caucus, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) as well as by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The three congressional leaders rushed over to the event from a meeting at the White House so they could personally encourage their fellow Members of Congress to join the caucus and stand up for artist rights.
Throughout the rest of the day, the 57th Annual GRAMMY Award® nominees met with congressional leaders of both parties to advance a variety of issues, including some important to them personally as well as others shared by the entire music community. In the morning, they met with Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and other members of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus to discuss their desire to help youth struggling with this difficult issue.
In the afternoon, they met with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and other members of the House Judiciary Committee, to discuss the committee's ongoing review of copyright law. They even managed to fit in a brief visit with the Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio).
By the end of the long day, as they greeted Members of Congress in the House Cloakroom, it was clear that The Band Perry's artistry and advocacy had, quite literally, opened new doors.