Photo: Maury Phillips/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
"Teachers & Artists Together Can Inspire The Next Generation": GRAMMY In The Schools Salute To Music Education Honorees & Organizers Share Why Music Education Is More Important Than Ever
The GRAMMY Week event honored Jeffrey Murdock from University of Arkansas and Stephen Cox from Texas' Eastland High School, the respective 2021 and 2022 recipients. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats also took the stage for a special performance.
During this year's GRAMMY Week, executives, teachers, and students came together for the GRAMMY In The Schools Salute To Music Education. The evening — a collaborative effort from the Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Museum, presented by MGM Resorts International — celebrated the power of music education.
"Music education is now more important than ever. The GRAMMY Museum's preservation of music is so important — we recognize and honor our history, embrace our present and think toward the future," Valeisha Butterfield Jones, co-president of the Recording Academy, told GRAMMY.com on the red carpet. "When we think about tonight's mission, focus on education, focus on young people, it's all about the future — making sure that young people have a creative outlet, have artistic freedom and ways to express themselves. What better way to heal and unify."
Before Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats took the House of Blues Las Vegas stage for a special one-hour set, president and CEO of the GRAMMY Museum, Michael Sticka, presented the Music Educator Award to Jeffrey Murdock from University of Arkansas, and Stephen Cox from Eastland High School in Eastland, Texas, the respective 2021 and 2022 recipients.
As Sticka explained, the award recognizes educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field, and demonstrated a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. He added that they receive about 3,000 nominations each year.
Murdock and Cox both received a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school's music program. Every year, nine additional finalists receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining 15 semifinalists receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.
Prior to the ceremony, Murdock and Cox gave GRAMMY.com perspective on how the honor highlights the work they do in their classrooms, and what it signifies to their students.
"Having done this for the last year — going in and out of schools, watching educators — I am keenly aware that there are so many in the trenches everyday leveling the playing field in music education," said Murdock. "I feel like I'm a representative of all of those people who are doing this important work."
For Cox, it's about giving his students purpose. "I come from a little bitty town and a little bitty community — with 4,000 people — and the kids at my school sometimes think, 'We're in a little town, it doesn't matter.' What I hope this means to them, is that they matter," he said. "What I do in my classroom, I do because I think it's right. And I don't think that changes just because of the recognition. What I hope it does for my community, my kids, is that they know that they matter. They don't have to question it. They know that people in small places, small towns, matter."
Murdock said he told his students the award would not change him or what he does. "Students always say, 'You are going to be big time, and you're going to be doing this and that. No, we do the same work every day," he added. "After the award was announced last year, I went right back to my classroom that same day. 'Let's start over, let's continue to do this work.' I want them to know that they, too, can reach the masses and do so in meaningful ways — while not changing who they are," Murdock says.
Those who helped put on the GRAMMY In The Schools Salute To Music Education also spoke on the formative music experiences that impacted their lives and careers.
"In high school, my first concert was the BeeGees. Right before COVID, we had the awards for lifetime achievement and I got to hand the award to the last remaining Gibb," said Tim Bucher, chair of the GRAMMY Museum Board of Directors. "I told him about that story, and he hugged me. It was really cool. I think a lot of kids, when they experience live music, it really inspires them, as well as teachers — so teachers and artists together can inspire the next generation."
Sticka shared how he found comfort in music growing up. He hopes to bolster the same kind of support for kids through the many programs the Museum offers.
"Everything from Dolly Parton to Neil Young, I've listened to it all. It's something I've always had a passion for. I've always found a lot of solace in music; working in music is a dream," Sticka said. "We foster the next generation of music creators and leaders through GRAMMY Camp." Through GRAMMY in the Schools programming, workshops and tours, more than 25,000 students come through the museum yearly, Sticka noted. "Hopefully, they all find inspiration throughout that," he added. "They love the workshops and music production."
Butterfield Jones — who can relate to Cox's small-town woes — found solace in Salt-N-Pepa. "I remember at seven years old, listening to one of my favorite songs by Salt-N-Pepa, and feeling like it was an outlet, and a way to escape from a very small country town in Wilson, North Carolina," she recalled. "I remember having big dreams through music and the power of radio — listening to women in hip-hop, with so much freedom, liberated and using their voices so boldly."
Early teaching at home played a pivotal role for Rateliff. "I didn't really have much of a formal education," he said. "My parents were musicians, so I got most of my education and music through them. At a pretty early age, their influence is what made me want to pursue music."
GRAMMY In The Schools Salute To Music Education is just one of the countless ways the GRAMMY Museum shines light on the impact of music, both in and out of the classroom. Looking ahead to the organization's mission for the next five years, Rita George, chief program officer of the GRAMMY Museum, says there will be a continued amplification of the education work being done through the museum.
"We are proud that Billie Eilish and Finneas went through our education programs, as well as Jon Batiste, Maren Morris. They've all been so good to us as we try to work with the next generation of creators and give them a platform and a place to find a community," she said. "The other part is [students] finding a passion, understanding or link to an exhibit — or a music form, production, or a career that isn't just about being the person on the stage. We want to be a resource for students and educators on every level."
Photo: Rebecca Sapp/WireImage.com
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Take Over The GRAMMY Museum
Hip-hop duo discuss their career beginnings and creating their GRAMMY-nominated album The Heist
Current seven-time GRAMMY nominees Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with their manager Zach Quillen, recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's A Conversation With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, the hip-hop duo and Quillen discussed the beginning of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' career, having creative control over their work and recording their GRAMMY-nominated Album Of The Year, The Heist.
"I met somebody [who] had the same dedication as me, [who] put everything into the music, everything into the craft," said Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore) regarding meeting Lewis. "I wanted a career and Ryan was somebody [who] had the same discipline and sacrificed everything."
"I think it took a little while before it became clear to me who [Macklemore] was going to be," said Lewis. "I think the first indication of that was with the song 'Otherside' from the VS. Redux EP]. … That song … embodied so much. It was a story nobody was telling. … It was just somebody who was dying to be on the mike and to say something."
Seattle-based rapper Macklemore and DJ/producer Lewis have been making music fans take notice since they released their debut EP, 2009's The VS. EP. They followed with VS. Redux, which reached No. 7 on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart. The duo made waves in 2011 with the release of their hit single "Can't Hold Us" featuring Ray Dalton. The next year Macklemore was featured on the cover of XXL Magazine's coveted freshman class issue, and Rolling Stone dubbed the duo an "indie rags-to-riches" success story.
Released in 2012, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' debut studio album, The Heist, reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, propelled by the No. 1 hits "Can't Hold Us" and "Thrift Shop," the latter of which reached multi-platinum status and remained on top of the charts for six weeks. The album garnered a nomination for Album Of The Year and Best Rap Album at the 56th GRAMMY Awards, while "Thrift Shop" earned a nod for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. The duo's Top 20 hit "Same Love" featuring Mary Lambert earned a nomination for Song Of The Year and has been adopted by some as a pro-equality anthem. The duo garnered additional nominations for Best New Artist and Best Music Video for "Can't Hold Us."
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Icons Of The Music Industry: Ken Ehrlich (Jan. 14) and A Conversation With Peter Guralnick (Jan. 15).
Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture
The exhibit, opening Dec. 7, will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run" and more
Influential instrumental rock band The Ventures are getting their own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles that will showcase the band's impact on pop culture since the release of their massive hit "Walk, Don't Run" 60 years ago.
The Rock Hall of Fame inductees and Billboard chart-toppers have become especially iconic in the surf-rock world, known for its reverb-loaded guitar sound, for songs like "Wipeout," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run." The Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures exhibit opening Dec. 7 will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run," a Fender Limited Edition Ventures Signature guitars, rare photos and other items from their career spanning six decades and 250 albums.
“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, a founding member of the band, in a statement. "I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being The Ventures. We continue to do that, even today."
Don Wilson, Gerry McGee, Bob Spalding, and Leon Taylor are current band members. On Jan. 9, Taylor's widow and former Fiona Taylor, Ventures associated musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and others will be in conversation with GRAMMY Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman about the band's journey into becoming the most successful instrumental rock band in history at the Clive Davis Theater.
"The Ventures have inspired generations of musicians during their storied six-decade career, motivating many artists to follow in their footsteps and start their own projects," said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum President. "As a music museum, we aim to shine a light on music education, and we applaud the Ventures for earning their honorary title of 'the band that launched a thousand bands.' Many thanks to the Ventures and their families for letting us feature items from this important era in music history."
The exhibit will run Dec. 7–Aug. 3, 2020 at the GRAMMY Museum.
Scott Goldman and Julia Michaels
Photo: Rebecca Sapp/WireImage.com
Julia Michaels Deconstructs "Issues," Writing Songs | "Required Listening" Podcast
Go inside the bright mind of one of pop's most promising singer/songwriters and learn about her songwriting process, her transition to the spotlight and the three female artists she admires
Julia Michaels' career has soared within the past year. Already a talented songwriter with writing credits such as Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, and Fifth Harmony to her name, Michaels took a leap of faith with the release of her third solo EP, 2017's Nervous System.
Though Michaels has admitted to being nervous about moving to the forefront as an artist in her own right, the gamble paid off. The single "Issues" went gangbusters all the way to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and her EP cracked the Top 50. Plus, the Davenport, Iowa, native scored two nominations for the 60th GRAMMY Awards: Song Of The Year for "Issues" and Best New Artist.
What makes Michaels tick musically, how did she overcome her trepidation and why does she rely on feelings to guide her songwriting?
"It depends on the person. A lot of the times I'll just talk to them [first]," said Michaels regarding collaborating with other artists. "I mean we're all human. We all cry the same. We all bleed the same. So I try to make people feel as comfortable as possible to be able to tell me things, even if the artist that I'm with doesn't write, just having them talk is lyrics in itself. You know, them explaining their day or expressing how they feel. It's like, "That's amazing ... if that's how you're feeling we should write that.'"
As a matter of fact, Michaels told the host of "Required Listening," GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman, that she lets her feelings pilot her songwriting instead of traditional conventions — a process that has yielded gems such as "Issues."
"I'm not that calculated when I write," said Michaels. "I'm all heart when I write so I don't think about the algorithm of a song or the mathematics of a song. I just think, 'This feels good to me,' and just kind of go with that."
When peppered by Goldman with a question about coming into the limelight as a recording artist, Michaels was quick to point out that she has benefitted from plenty of help and encouragement.
"I think a lot of people have helped me get there," said Michaels. "My manager, Beka Tischker, she's been with me for six years. She's always believed in me. … And this year a lot of people have come into my life. I mean even my band — Dan Kanter, who's my guitar player … he's been with me since the beginning of the artist transition. I can't even do it without him at this point. ... There's a lot of people in my life, especially this year, that have made me feel comfortable and confident."
Speaking of confidence, Michaels has taken cues from plenty of her self-assured peers. She cited three artists, in particular, who have inspired her career path.
"I'm not that calculated when I write. I'm all heart." — Julia Michaels
"[Pink is] a bad*," said Michaels. "I love Fiona Apple. I love a lot of artists that are not afraid to say what they want to say. I love artists that write their own music. Laura Marling — she's very much from her point of view, very much whatever she wants to do. And plus her voice is so haunting and beautiful."
"Required Listening" launched on GRAMMY Sunday, Jan. 28, with the first episode featuring an in-depth conversation with GRAMMY winners Imagine Dragons and the second detailing "The Defiant Ones" with Allen Hughes and Jimmy Iovine.
GRAMMY Museum To Launch Cheap Trick: I Want You To Want Me! Sept. 12
Exhibit to feature artifacts from the private collection of the iconic power-pop band
On Sept. 12 the GRAMMY Museum will launch Cheap Trick: I Want You To Want Me! — a one-of-a-kind exhibit offering visitors an in-depth look at the more than 35-year career of power-pop progenitors Cheap Trick.
Located in the Museum's Mike Curb Gallery on the fourth floor, artifacts on display will include guitars played by Rick Nielsen, including his 1952 Fender Telecaster used during a performance at Budokan in Tokyo; costumes worn on the album cover of 1979's Dream Police; and original lyrics, photographs, and tour ephemera, among other items.
In conjunction with the launch of the exhibit, on Sept. 12 Cheap Trick will visit the GRAMMY Museum's Clive Davis Theater to participate in a question-and-answer session and perform a brief set as part of the Museum's An Evening With series.
Cheap Trick: I Want You To Want Me! will be on display through June 2014.