Honoring the musicians and politicians who lend their support the music community year-round was the central theme of the 2017 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards in Washington, D.C. on April 5. Dubbed Washington's "most interesting mix of music and politics," the event doubled as an opportunity both to celebrate the cultural institutions of music and the arts, and to highlight the critical issues affecting music creators' rights, including the Fair Play Fair Pay Act.
"Music and the arts are among the forces that define us as a nation," said Recording Academy President Neil Portnow.
GRAMMY winner Keith Urban, a force in country music, was recognized with the Recording Artists' Coalition Award for his contributions to the music community and music education programs. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) were also saluted for being "incredible supporters" of music and the arts.
"I'm really grateful to be here and … bring attention to things like music education programs," said Urban.
Hosted by GRAMMY-nominated country singer/songwriter Martina McBride, performers included Wynonna, composer Jonathan Wolff, and a special performance by Urban himself alongside Blues Traveler's John Popper, who turned in a rough-and-ready rendition of Urban's "Wasted Time."
More than 60 members of Congress were in attendance to mingle with members of the music community, including Jesse & Joy's Joy Huerta, the Four Tops' Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Pentatonix's Kirstin Maldonado, and Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen.
"This is one of my great causes to be here representing the music industry and … fighting for their rights," said Fakir.