searchsearch
Attorney Shay Lawson Talks #TheShowMustBePaused & Feeling Inspired By Industry Changemakers

Shay Lawson, Esq.

news

Attorney Shay Lawson Talks #TheShowMustBePaused & Feeling Inspired By Industry Changemakers

In a brand-new editorial series, the Recording Academy has asked its membership to reflect on their their career journey, the current state of the music industry and what we can do to collectively and positively move forward in the current social climate

GRAMMYs/Nov 11, 2020 - 10:20 pm

In a brand-new editorial series, the Recording Academy has asked its membership to reflect on their their career journey, the current state of the music industry and what we can do to collectively and positively move forward in the current social climate. Below, entertainment attorney and Atlanta chapter governor Shay Lawson shares her open letter with GRAMMY.com readers.

I’m honestly exhausted with how often I’ve sobbed ugly breathless tears seeing images of people who look like me, my brother, my father, my husband on TV being murdered in cold blood as if this is a video game or blockbuster film instead of a real life lost, real carnage in the streets, a real atrocity that is too gruesome to be televised.

The intersectionalities of being Black, being a woman, being an entertainment attorney and holding these identities along with my responsibilities as a member of the legal system and advocate within the music community leave me simultaneously exhausted and inspired.

I’m exhausted with the energy spent pointing fingers and shifting blame that could be used to improve broken systems (including those within the music industry), create access, and nurture the next generation. 

I’m exhausted with an election media cycle using American lives as pawns in a game amid a global pandemic, leaving the public with little to no real hope or guidance in one of the harshest economic realities we’ve faced in years. 

I’m exhausted with all the performative outcry and allyship, only to go back to business in the following weeks with no real work being done, no real change being sparked, no real shift in the internal barometer of how we engage with each other on a day to day basis both personally and professionally.

However, I’m most exhausted with the internal dialogue I have with myself daily on what role I play in all of this and what impact my daily actions and inactions have on the world around me.

In the midst of the comfort and complacency of a less chaotic world we had the luxury to conveniently and selectively ignore the enormous impact we have in the music industry. We love to highlight our impact when we sway locked arms to sing "We Are the World" but somehow have turned a blind eye to "industry standards" that lock music creators into unfair deals for decades and drive profits to mega conglomerates while music creators struggle to make ends meet or have adequate health care, and systematically exclude women, POC and the LGBTQx communities from executive levels and real power. 

Read More: Deep Asymmetries Of Power: How The Recording Industry Spent Decades Denying Fair Payment To Black Artists

But the clock is running out on that era. That is what 2020 has shown me and that is what keeps me inspired.

I am inspired by the bravery of Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas in leading the rallying cry that "The Show Must Be Paused" for us to start to do the work of creating equality in the music industry and in the world around us.

I am inspired by the work of Binta Brown, Jeffrey Azoff, Profit, and the Music Industry Coalition that is putting the funding and manpower in place nationwide to address racism, engage and mobilize young people to vote, and to enact laws that promote social justice.

I am inspired by artists like Offset and how he is using his platform to encourage former felons with restored voting rights to re-engage with the political process, to provide resources for underserved youth to be introduced to STEM through entertainment, to leverage relationships to fundraise for local communities devastated by the pandemic.

However, I am most inspired by seeing the growth and commitment to real impact in the organizations, communities and clients I serve. As a member of the Recording Academy, I can’t describe how the last four years have felt to advocate for legislation like the Music Modernization Act that has directly and immediately began positively impacting music creators. To see the shift in national advocacy conversations to include communities and equality. To be able to host Financial Wellness Open Mic sessions on a local level to give members firsthand access to government grants and resources to survive and thrive in the pandemic. As an attorney to advocate for my clients’ true value in the face of "industry standards," leverage them in positions of ownership and influence, and legally protect the legacy they are building through their works of art and works of the heart. As a regular person at the end of the day taking the opportunity to lean even harder into my humanity and be able to do so alongside my industry peers to have the hard conversations and come up with viable solutions and plans.

So maybe it’s not exhaustion that I feel. Maybe it is a fire that has been stoked inside of me. A fire built up by the disruption to my comfortable complacency when the world was a less chaotic place. A fire built up by the rallying cry put out, and answered by a music industry ready to move mountains. No more water, no more tears, maybe this time its fire to light the path to the best version of ourselves yet.

-Until the next time,

Shay M. Lawson Esq

Recording Academy Member since 2016
Governor — Atlanta Chapter
Atlanta Chapter Co-Chair Advocacy &  Co-Chair Diversity

Latin Pop Producer Maffio: Why I'm Proud To Be A Voting Member Of The Recording Academy

Latin Pop Producer Maffio: Why I'm Proud To Be A Voting Member Of The Recording Academy

Maffio

Photo by John Parra/Getty Images

news

Latin Pop Producer Maffio: Why I'm Proud To Be A Voting Member Of The Recording Academy

"I'm grateful for the many opportunities and initiatives the Recording Academy sets forth, such as maintaining the traffic and/or providing the platform for composers, producers, songwriters and artists to mingle and exchange ideas"

GRAMMYs/Nov 10, 2020 - 11:50 pm

In a brand-new editorial series, the Recording Academy has asked its membership to reflect on their their career journey, the current state of the music industry and what we can do to collectively and positively move forward in the current social climate. Below, Dominican producer and Florida chapter member Maffio shares his open letter with GRAMMY.com readers.

Dear Recording Academy Members,

Being a GRAMMY member and a voting member has been an honor and privilege and I couldn’t be prouder of being part of this organization. Admittedly, I’m a proud and "diehard" member.

I’m grateful for the many opportunities and initiatives the Recording Academy sets forth, such as maintaining the traffic and/or providing the platform for composers, producers, songwriters and artists to mingle and exchange ideas for the better. In addition, my experience with the Recording Academy has been a supportive and collaborative experience and one in which provides and pushes artists to deliver the very best in music.

In conclusion, as artists, producers and songwriters, we have to make the best in music and ensure there’s quality control in our music. The gold gramophone awarded at the GRAMMYs represents a worldwide recognition from your own music industry colleagues. No other organization recognizes artists in this way. It is for this reason that the Recording Academy continuously pushes artists boundaries and we respond by raising the bar. This is what the GRAMMYs and the Recording Academy represents, and I can't emphasize enough how proud I am of being a part of this.

Maffio 

Doug Emery: Music Creators Have A Unique Opportunity In Polarized Times

VP Of Member & Industry Relations Kelley Purcell On How Recording Academy Members Can Make A Difference

Kelley Purcell

Photo: Ashley Stewart of ANS Photography

 

news

VP Of Member & Industry Relations Kelley Purcell On How Recording Academy Members Can Make A Difference

Purcell talks to GRAMMY.com about her new role and why it's so important for Recording Academy members to vote in the upcoming Awards cycle

GRAMMYs/Nov 5, 2020 - 08:00 pm

The Recording Academy has announced the appointment of Kelley Purcell as Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations. The appointment follows the Recording Academy's restructure, which aims to streamline the organization and sharpen focus on its service to music. Reporting to Chief Industry Officer Ruby Marchand, Purcell will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of membership outreach, peer review, member account services, and the Academy's Chapter systems, including regional and local teams, Chapter events and programming, and all facets of Chapter service. 

"We are pleased to have Kelley as our Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations," said Marchand. "Her expertise and history of being a driving force within the Membership & Industry Relations department make her a great asset to this organization. This is yet another step towards the Academy's transformational commitment as we strive for greater inclusivity and work to ensure our membership reflects the diverse individuals who make up our music community."

Purcell joined the Recording Academy as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Chapter in 2013. She later transitioned to Senior Director of Member Outreach, leading industry outreach efforts across the Membership & Industry Relations department. During her tenure, she project managed a cross-department team of IT, Digital Media and Communications colleagues over a two-year period and successfully implemented historic changes to the Academy's membership systems. She also led the recruitment efforts to diversify Academy membership and was the liaison to the Academy's first-ever Peer Review Panel, responsible for training this body and serving as its point person.

Below, Purcell talks to GRAMMY.com about her new role and why it's so important for Recording Academy members to vote in the upcoming Awards cycle.

Can you tell us a little about your professional background and what led to your new role at the Recording Academy?

I have loved music since a young age but I think the power of music, and the arts in general, was cemented for me in college. I was an Economics major, but throughout my college career I was also very involved in lots of arts-focused extracurricular activities that gave me purpose and helped me develop a stronger sense of self. During that time I realized that if my career was going to mean something to me, it had to center around the arts in some way, and I committed to using all of my business skills to further something that had real meaning to me.

After building my career in arts administration in various positions, I was thrilled to join the Recording Academy as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Chapter where I could focus my professional energies in support of music makers, specifically. Since joining the Academy I have held several roles within the Membership & Industry Relations team and am honored to now become the Vice President, where I can apply everything I’ve learned thus far for the greater good of the department as a whole.
 
What specifically do you hope to bring to your new role in Membership?

I want to ensure that every member of the Recording Academy understands that their membership can make a difference. Whether that’s participating in the GRAMMY Awards process, advocating for the rights of the music community in Washington D.C., or raising money for MusiCares or standing up for music education, this membership body plays a huge role in shaping the music industry that we want to see. Every member's voice counts and we are stronger together.    
 
Why is it so important for current Recording Academy members to vote in the upcoming Awards cycle?

The GRAMMY award represents what professional music creators decide are the best musical works of the year. Because it’s the only award that is peer-to-peer, it is ideal when all peers are reflected in the process.
 
What can you tell us about the benefits of membership at the Recording Academy?

Membership is the lifeblood of the Recording Academy and the foundation of all that we do. Recording Academy members have the opportunity to play a part in creating a better world for music and its makers. In addition to advocating for the rights of music makers, supporting the next generation of the music industry and helping fellow music people in times of need, members can submit projects for GRAMMY Awards consideration, propose amendments to GRAMMY Awards rules, run for a Recording Academy Board, participate in member-only programs and more. The Recording Academy is a very special community of people who are united by how much they care about the music industry and want it to thrive.
 
What can you tell us about how all 12 Chapters engage RA members on a year-round basis?

Each of the 12 Chapters are a great resource for members to learn more about the best ways in which to get involved in all the Recording Academy does. Board members are elected at the local level to represent their communities and provide connective tissue between each member and the organization as a whole. In addition to producing local events and programs, Chapters help members become aware of all Academy initiatives and how each person can be of service to the greater mission.
 
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

To learn more about how to join the Recording Academy, please visit grammy.com/join!

Recording Academy Invites & Celebrates Its 2020 New Member Class

Recording Academy Moves To A Community-Driven Membership Model

Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images

news

Recording Academy Moves To A Community-Driven Membership Model

Two key elements have been added to the new member submission model in an ongoing effort to build a more representative and relevant membership body

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2018 - 02:41 am

In order to continue building a diverse and more representative membership group, the Recording Academy has announced it will implement a new community-driven and peer-reviewed membership model that will shift it into an annual cycle and add two new elements.

The membership's key elements will now include industry recommendations and peer review. Beyond the Recording Academy's basic requirements, new membership submissions must include two professional recommendations to be considered. In addition, a Peer Review Panel of music creators will gather every spring to assess new member submissions with diversity in mind, craft and genre in mind.

"The GRAMMY Awards are already renowned for being a peer-awarded honor, and our new membership model further reinforces that peer-driven commitment to excellence," said Laura Segura Mueller, Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations in a statement.

"Membership is the lifeblood of the Recording Academy and a privilege we strive to uphold. Our new membership model puts the power in the hands of the music community and is designed to build an active, representative membership base that reflects our broader culture. By changing the process to Recording Academy membership, we remain committed to setting a positive example for the music industry as a whole."

These changes are a part of a continuing effort from the Recording Academy to make its membership more inclusive. The shift to an annual membership review cycle is in hopes of looking at both existing members and prospective submissions and, "Be thoughtful about how each individual new member decision stands to shape the collective body."

In October, the Recording Academy announced that it would be inviting 900 music creators to join it as voting members.

The official statement from the Recording Academy can be found here.

Recording Academy Announces 61st GRAMMY Awards Update

T-Pain, Ari Lennox & More Heat Up Atlanta At Recording Academy Member Celebration

T-Pain

Photo: Marcus Ingram/WireImage

news

T-Pain, Ari Lennox & More Heat Up Atlanta At Recording Academy Member Celebration

What do you get when Blanco Brown, Baby Rose, Ari Lennox, Michelle Malone and T-Pain show up at the Atlanta Chapter's membership celebration? The hottest party of the summer!

GRAMMYs/Aug 10, 2019 - 12:10 am

Atlanta loves a good party, and the Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter especially loves its Summer Celebration — always a raucous reunion of friends and colleagues, clients and collaborators, and performances by artists at the top of their craft.

On Thursday, July 25, Atlanta's music community came out in force to Terminal West, a popular music venue in trendy West Midtown, who took a night off from hosting some of the industry's hottest acts to welcome Recording Academy members, special guests and honorees. Chapter-affiliated artists Baby Rose, Michelle Malone, Ari Lennox, Blanco Brown, and T-Pain took the stage in individual sets, heating up the joint just when guests thought they'd cooled from the hot Georgia heat.

Atlanta Chapter Executive Director, Michele Caplinger, started off the evening welcoming the standing room only crowd and recognizing Josh Bonner (R – Fayetteville), Beth Moore (D - Peachtree Corners) and Matt Dollar (R – Marietta) — members of the Georgia House of Representatives in attendance, who supported the Music Modernization Act nationally and House Bill 347 locally, revising certain tax laws and exemptions aiming to bolster the music industry and associated spending within Georgia.

Newly elected Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Tammy Hurt, announced that earlier in the day local advocacy group, Georgia Music Partners, in partnership with Sound Diplomacy, a global music strategy expert, unveiled the launch of a comprehensive study of recording studios, rehearsal spaces, music festivals, and music venues within Fulton County. The study will map related businesses across the geographic area and assess the economic impact of the music industry within Fulton County. Al Nash, CEO of Select Fulton, and Robb Pitts, Chairman of the Fulton County Commissioners, were on hand to announce the study in the morning, and they celebrated the announcement alongside the supportive Recording Academy in the evening.

With essential business concluded Jorel "J-Fly" Flynn, Atlanta Chapter president, took the stage and reiterated what has become the mantra of his tenure: engagement. Flynn explained afterward that he wants active and prospective Recording Academy members to know that the Recording Academy, "Reflects working musicians and artists, and with that comes connectivity. We meet musicians and artists at their place of understanding, and the new membership models validate inclusion through intimate conversations where we make connections with one another. Together we balance new innovation and industry experience that can be shared."

Baby Rose, a young performer who embodies Flynn's message, performed first. Afterward she excitedly said, "Performing for the Atlanta chapter of the Recording Academy was a dope experience! I am honored and happy to have been able to share my music with them."

Diane Durrett, stalwart of the southern Blues scene and Atlanta chapter VP 2019-20, kept the excitement going when she stepped up to the mic and crooned, "Diversity is unique, soul is deep," enticing the crowd to sing the line with her before introducing another of Atlanta's favorite female musicians, Michelle Malone.

Commanding the stage in her full-on rock-n-roll set, Malone later echoed Durrett's call, saying "It's always an honor to be asked to perform, but it's a special treat to perform for a room of [Recording Academy] members, music industry peers who love music as much as we do. Plus it's a kind of reunion, because I don't often get to see a lot of these folks. Then there's the added plus of playing to members in other genres who would've never otherwise heard us."

Recording Academy members continued grooving the night away to performances from Ari Lennox, 2-time GRAMMY winner, T-Pain, and Blanco Brown. Ian Schumacher, Atlanta chapter Secretary, welcomed Brown to the stage and presented him with a plaque commemorating Brown's first single, "The Git Up," reaching gold status. 

Just when you thought the night couldn't get any hotter, DJ Pierre and Ian Live took the stage and had the crowd on their feet, bringing home an unforgettable night with a dance-ready closing set.

Said Brown about performing at Summer Celebration, "It's a blessing. From the day I can remember seeing my first GRAMMY show on television, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (Off the Wall), TLC… I was always figuring out, and I tried to wonder, how would I ever make such an impact to be a part of that stage. And I just followed my dreams and my goals. To be here tonight and to perform and have the love in the room filled — and the purpose in the room — feels so magical to me."

That magical feeling was everywhere at the Atlanta Chapter's summer celebration, from the passionate performers to the supportive veteran industry professional to the aspiring future moguls of music, everyone in attendance could feel the warmth of the good vibes and rejuvenating feeling music provides. Or as Brown so eloquently put it, "Every time I touch the edge of that stage, I touch a new life."

Atlanta Rapper J.I.D. Talks Working With J. Cole & Dreamville, New Music & More