2020 New Member Class Roundtable
Recording Academy Invites & Celebrates Its 2020 New Member Class
Academy President/CEO Harvey Mason jr. says, "We'll continue to fight to achieve inclusive representation across gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, and beyond within our community"
Today the Recording Academy invited more than 2,300 music professionals the join as its 2020 new member class. The invitees come from wide-ranging backgrounds, genres and disciplines. They have made important contributions to music and posess the potential to influence progressive changes within the music industry.
By the numbers, the 2020 class of invitees is 48 percent female, 21 percent African American/African descent, 8 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Asian American and Pacific Islander. The representation of this class also spans ages, genre and region. The Recording Academy's current membership is 26 percent female and 25 percent from traditionally underrepresented communities.
"We are proud of the strides we've made toward ensuring our membership is diverse and inclusive, which is reflected within this new pool of invitees,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. "While this progress signifies meaningful impact, there's still more work to be done. We'll continue to fight to achieve inclusive representation across gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, and beyond within our community. Furthermore, we’re excited to see how the contributions of the incoming new member class will help inspire meaningful change within the music industry."
Ensuring that the Recording Academy's membership is fully representative of the music community has been a longstanding goal of Recording Academy Trustees. In December 2019, the Recording Academy pledged to implement 17 of 18 reforms set forth by the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, including increasing outreach to diverse communities and doubling the number of women voters by 2025. Specifically, this means 2,500 new women voters by the year 2025.
To celebrate the incoming new member class, GRAMMY.com Editor-In-Chief Justin Joseph hosted a roundtable discussion on June 24 titled "Your Academy: Welcoming the 2020 New Member Class." Featuring new invitees and existing members, the conversation showcased an authentic look into what it means to be a member of the Academy, the important initiatives worked on year-round, progress members hope to see within the Academy, and diversity and inclusion in the music industry at large.
“As part of the Membership Committee for the last year for the LA Chapter… this is what I tell everyone when we’re talking about Membership in the Recording Academy," GRAMMY winner John Legend explained. "As much as we all complain about who won the GRAMMY this year for this or that, and how we’re not being represented in the right way, we literally can change it by being there—by showing up, by telling or collaborators to show up and be there…We can literally be the change that we want to see in the Academy.”
Coming from the opposite coast, GRAMMY-winning mastering engineer Emily Lazar also weighed in on the importance of the duty and value of being an active Recording Academy member during the roundtable.
“I became a governor in my local Chapter in New York, and the second I engaged on that level, everything really changed for me as far as understanding what the Academy had for me and what I could bring to the Academy," she said. "That give-and-take was very important to me, personally.”
This message of service resonated with the new members, such as Ozuna, the Latin trap/pop hitmaker who has been hailed as the "New King of Reggaeton."
“I’m entering the Recording Academy as a new member—even though I thankfully have had success early on and throughout my career—but I am still new to experiences in the music industry," Ozuna said. "On this zoom call, I’ve learned that I can influence in the music industry by doing more than just producing and making songs.”
“At first I had the idea that the Academy was more of over 40, non-black men who would base all action on popularity and stats," admitted versatile singer/songwriter Victoria Monet during the roundtable. "Now learning more about what is actually happening, I think that’s important to communicate to my peers, because I think they also have no idea—they just want the GRAMMY—if they don’t get it, they complain and have no idea about the process.”
With this diverse new class enriching the landscape of the Academy, showcasing more talents from more areas of the music community than ever before, the view for many incoming members feels more like home, somewhere anyone can see themselves making a meaningful difference.
“I had a realization one day," said rising artist Kiana Ledé. "Why can’t I be the girl that represents all the other girls that feel like me? I think that coincides with how I felt about the GRAMMYs and the Recording Academy. I have definitely been the person to sit back and complain, and cry, and be upset when I haven’t seen myself being represented. And then I realized I have so much power within myself—to put myself in that position—to represent people like me. I can be that person to step out and do that.”
Seconding Lede's empowering words, GRAMMY-winning gospel legend and ardent advocate for music creators' rights Yolanda Adams talked about the education and opportunities Academy membership can help unlock.
“It is up to us as artists to educate ourselves," Adams said. "We need to get ourselves informed, and the great place to do that is start with the Recording Academy’s websites, their webinars, all of those things are there just for you to make sure that your transition from non-member to member is worth it, because there’s so many things that are afforded to you through the Academy.”
Ultimately, the power is in the hands of the members, which underscores the importance of this year's class becoming involved in the process.
“As much change as you want to see, you can be the voice that makes it happen," said Legend. "If you want to get involved, if you want to make difference, you really have the ability to do so right away. You don’t have to wait until you have more seniority... You can come into these meetings right away, have your voice heard, and folks really want to be responsive to what you have to say.”
Tammy Hurt, Vice Chair of the Academy's Board of Trustees, backed up Legend's powerful words with some insight on what's keeps her passionately involved in the process. "One of my favorite things about the Academy is that everything we do is 100 percent peer-driven," she shared. "The process is driven specifically by the Members who serve the Academy. If there’s something that you love, that you want to get involved with, you’re passionate about, by all means. If there’s something you want to change, by all means. It’s rolling up your sleeves, showing up, engaging and being part of the process.”
In fact, the more than 2,300 new invitations extended today represent the continuation of the Academy's community-driven and peer-reviewed membership model, which was implemented in 2018 in an ongoing effort to be more representative and relevant.
"Building out our membership body is a process that encourages inclusivity from start to finish, and it's a privilege to extend invitations to the 2020 class of invitees that represent the wide-ranging backgrounds and crafts that makes the music industry so unique," said Kelley Purcell, Senior Director of Member Outreach at the Recording Academy. "These individuals will become the driving force behind the Recording Academy, and it's encouraging to see how our membership continues to evolve each year as we take steps toward building a more inclusive and vibrant community."
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images
Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream
Proceeds from the event will be go toward loans to small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, via Accion Opportunity Fund
This Saturday, June 20, artists including Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and more will come together for Small Business Live, a livestream fundraiser event for small businesses facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proceeds from the livestream will go to Accion Opportunity Fund to support small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.
“Entrepreneurs of color are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia said. “We have to decide what we want our Main Streets to look like when this is over, and we must act decisively to keep small businesses alive and ready to rebuild. This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia and oppression.”
Tune in for Small Business Live Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on smallbiz.live. The site also provides a full schedule of programs and links to watch the livestream on all major digital platforms. To learn more about Accion Opportunity Fund, visit the organization's website.
DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend take home Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards
DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend, has won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher" at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The single was featured on DJ Khaled's 2019 album Father of Asahd and featured Hussle's vocals and Legend on the piano. DJ Khaled predicted the track would win a GRAMMY.
"I even told him, 'We're going to win a GRAMMY.' Because that's how I feel about my album," DJ Khaled told Billboard. "I really feel like not only is this my biggest, this is very special."
After the release of the song and music video -- which was filmed before Hussle's death in March -- DJ Khaled announced all proceeds from "Higher" will go to Hussle's children.
DJ Khaled and co. beat out fellow category nominees Lil Baby & Gunna ("Drip Too Hard"), Lil Nas X ("Panini"), Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch ("Ballin") and Young Thug featuring J. Cole & Travis Scott ("The London"). Hussle earned a second posthumous award at the 62nd GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle."
Along with Legend and DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to Hussle during the telecast, which concluded with "Higher."
Check out the complete 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees and winners list here.
Fleetwood Mac in 1975
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Poll: From "Dreams" To "The Chain," Which Fleetwood Mac Song Is Your Favorite?
"Dreams" experienced a charming viral moment on TikTok after a man posted a video skateboarding to the classic track, and now it's back on the charts, 43 years later
In honor of Fleetwood Mac's ethereal '70s rock classic "Dreams," which recently returned to the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to a viral TikTok skateboard video from Nathan Apodaca, we want to know which of the legendary group's songs is your favorite!
Beyond their ubiquitous 1977 No. 1 hit "Dreams," there are so many other gems from the iconic GRAMMY-winning album Rumours, as well as across their entire catalog. There's the oft-covered sentimental ballad "Landslide" from their 1975 self-titled album, the jubilant, sparkling Tango in the Night cut "Everywhere" and Stevie Nicks' triumphant anthem for the people "Gypsy," from 1982's Mirage, among many others.
Vote below in our latest GRAMMY.com poll to let us know which you love most.