Emily Lazar, Linda Perry & Other Powerful Industry Women Talk Inclusivity In Music

Cheryl Guerin, Lori Feldman, Gabrielle Armand & Stacy Smith

Photo credit: Joshua Applegate


Emily Lazar, Linda Perry & Other Powerful Industry Women Talk Inclusivity In Music

During GRAMMY Week 2020, seven women paving the way for greater inclusion in the music industry shared their stories, statistics and advice on how to reshape the system and make more space for women and other underrepresented groups

GRAMMYs/Jan 26, 2020 - 12:34 am

Two years ago, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, led by Stacy Smith, released their first study of inclusivity in music, provided some eye-opening statistics that revealed the male-dominated status quo of the industry. This week, on Jan. 23, industry professionals and musicians gathered together in a sunny room of MasterCard's special GRAMMY Week One Love Hotel experience on Sunset Boulevard to hear from barrier-breaking women on exactly how we can even the playing field and fix these numbers.  

Split up with two delicious meals and space to chat with fellow attendees on the sunny, L.A. skyline-backed patio, Designing a Better Music Industry for Women: Equality on Both Sides of the Board featured two dynamic conversations that brought forward actionable ways we can all create a more inclusive music industry. The first conversation was a panel moderated by SiriusXM Hits Host Nicole Ryan and featuring Cheryl Guerin, Vice President of Marketing/Communications at Mastercard, Lori Feldman, Chief Marketing Officer at Paradigm, Stacy Smith, Founder/Director of USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Gabrielle Armand, Vice President of Marketing of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The after-lunch "fireside chat," moderated by Andrew Hampp of Variety, featured two behind-the-board powerhouses, GRAMMY-nominated producer, songwriter and former Four Non Blondes lead singer Linda Perry and GRAMMY-winning engineer and The Lodge Founder Emily Lazar. Here are the four major themes that emerged over the course of the day.

Sharing Truth With Data & Taking Action

While the statistics brought forth by the Annenberg studies can feel shocking, angering or even overwhelming, instead it is exactly these numbers that motivate action and can measure change. During her introduction, Smith declared her work's focus is to "disrupt systems of injustice" and later pointed to how the study helped highlight all the work that needed to be done and serve as a rallying point for many people across all touchpoints of the industry, including 2020 GRAMMY host Alicia Keys, who was inspired to start the new nonprofit music network, She Is The Music.

"Collective action only happens when people link arms and say we're going to do this together," Smith shared, pointing to She Is The Music as a perfect example of collective action making change. 

She also noted the improvement they've already seen in 2019, as opposed to 2017's numbers, including doubling the number of female producers that worked on hit songs. While there is still plenty of room for improvement, the shifts prove that change can be made when intention and energy is put towards doing things differently. "I'd never seen something like this happen so quickly and so sustained," Smith stated.

Read: Women In Music And Film Talk Self-Confidence & Inclusion At The GRAMMY Museum

Ryan, who underscored the very male-heavy world of radio, feels that really showing those standing against you how they are wrong, so they can actually understand it and see from your perspective, is one of the most fulfilling things to do. When she became pregnant, one of her coworkers at Sirius told her career was over. While it was an upsetting comment to receive, she later sat him down and explained why his opinion was unfair. When she did become a working mother, she demonstrated exactly how she could continue to achieve work-life balance with a child, like many women do. 

Everyone's stories echoed Ryan's point that not only is it important to stand strong in what you know is right and true, but to also go above and beyond often-limited expectations others may have of you. That in itself will not only bring you forward, but help pave the way for others.

Identifying Barriers & Breaking Them

Armand, who got her start in the industry 30 years ago at a jazz label, said that it was knowing her worth that always kept her on the right path: "I knew what my value, what my truth was." As she moved up in her career, she realized the value of modeling this for everyone around her, especially younger people.

As Feldman said, sometimes in the moment, it's hard to really see how bad things are, especially when others see them as "just how it is." Looking back, she's amazed at some of the behaviors that were left unchecked, like a male college photocopying (in the pre-cell phone days) an unflattering picture of her and passing it to all the other men in the office.

As everyone's stories of perseverance highlighted, you often aren't thinking about the fact that you're a female professional until your "otherness" is pointed out to you. 

For Lazar, who won her first GRAMMY last year for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical on Beck's Colors, the first female mastering engineer to ever win this award, the weight of it didn't hit until she won and was informed of this powerful accomplishment. 

When Hampp asked how they faced challenges in their path, especially when doors sometimes weren't even there, Lazar had a poignant answer grounded in optimism and courage. "It's about seeing the doors, seeing the giant padlock and kicking it down. For me, there's doors everywhere."

Advocating For Yourself & Others 

All the women echoed the importance of mentorship, fostering opportunities and education. 

With The Lodge, the mastering studio Lazar founded back in 1997 in New York City, she has an open-door policy and celebrates doing whatever creative things work best for the art. She also feels a responsibility to educate young engineers, so she speaks on college campuses to kids interested in a career in music "to show that it's okay to follow your dream."

Meanwhile, Perry works with her We Are Hear organization and donates hours of her time to countless panels and workshops across her home city of L.A. "If we can offer you one little nugget that can help your career, that's what we are here for," she said.

Guerin, who is grateful to work at an organization like MasterCard that values diversity both internally and with their many community programs, said it well: "Education is continuously important." Education should be ongoing and ever-evolving and really reflect the people they claim to serve. She shared that while women are opening up businesses at twice the rate of men, they are only receiving two percent of the venture capital funding. 

More: Linda Perry, Natasha Bedingfield & More Talk Creating A Collaborative Community For Female Artists At The GRAMMY Museum

Helping Artists Identify Methods Of Distribution

"When you find people in this field that are really accomplished, they're usually more than one thing," Lazar said. "We need to protect those special people; I'm here to protect artists." She underscored the vital importance of giving artists the space to make good art and to also help them distribute it in ways that allow it to really be heard as they intended. 

The official programming ended on this inspiring high note, but really it was just the beginning of many conversations, meeting new faces and, perhaps, movements that will come out of it.

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY


Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs



Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images


Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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