Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
Neil Portnow Champions MusiCares, Recording Academy Advocacy, GRAMMY Museum | 2018 GRAMMYs
The 60th GRAMMY Awards proved to be a show for the ages. The show not only featured a variety of colorful performances, it took place in the backdrop of the Big Apple, marking a return to New York for the first time in 15 years. The monumental evening represented a full-circle moment of sorts for Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, who championed themes of celebration and excellence during his telecast remarks.
"How do you top the milestone of a 60th anniversary? Well, you celebrate it in New York City," said Portnow. "It was a big night for me 15 years ago, right here on this stage, as I began my first year as President of the Recording Academy."
Delving back to the organization's beginning, Portnow raised a toast to the thousands of recipients who have earned a GRAMMY Award.
"So what do 60 years of excellence look like? We have awarded more than 9,600 GRAMMYs, music's highest accolade, and we are the most-watched music event in the world," said Portnow.
The Recording Academy's work year-round extends into health and human services. Through its affiliated charity, MusiCares, the Academy helps musicians who are in dire need of financial, medical and emergency assistance. MusiCares is also there in the face of terrible tragedy in providing relief to victims of natural disasters.
"Our MusiCares charity has provided nearly $58 million dollars in aid and served more than 125,000 people in our community," said Portnow. "And this includes saving lives with addiction recovery and sober living help.
"We're in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and now California helping music people recover from devastating hurricanes and fires. And as a nation, we must help all of our brothers and sisters until they are back on their feet."
From midterm elections to music licensing and funding for the arts, there are many advocacy storylines music creators should keep their eye on in 2018. The Recording Academy keeps a constant pulse on any new policy developments affecting the livelihood of music creators, a point Portnow underscored.
"The Academy's work on Capitol Hill improves the lives of music creators, and thousands participate in all 50 states in the largest grassroots movement for music in history," he said. "The time is right, and we are working closely with Congress to pass comprehensive music licensing reform, which began with a GRAMMY-timed congressional hearing where I had the privilege to testify, right here in New York, just two days ago."
More than just a museum with amazing exhibits, the GRAMMY Museum raises the flag for music education. Millions have gone through the Museum's collective turnstiles and received a taste of the rich programming offered 365 days a year. Portnow took a moment to reference the incredible work the Museum undertakes to ensure music remains a vital part of our nation's education system.
"The GRAMMY Museum has welcomed more than 5 million visitors to our locations in Los Angeles, Mississippi, Nashville, and New Jersey, and traveling exhibits in 29 cities and 8 countries," said Portnow. "And we've provided over $10 million for our music education programs and opportunities for students.
"The recently launched GRAMMY Music Education Coalition is dedicated to building universal music participation in schools nationwide. Just imagine every student in America having access to music programs; with your help and support, we can make that dream a reality."
Before signing off, Portnow punctuated his remarks with a reminder that music — now, more so than ever — has the power to serve as a uniting force.
"Our music community stands strong and committed to providing hope and inspiration in difficult and divisive times. You can count on our music to soothe our souls, or issue a clarion call to action, as our voices will remain an indelible part of our culture and future."