Recording Academy Launches Amplifier Center Stage: A GRAMMY U Initiative

New program, in partnership with Hyundai, to unite aspiring musicians with established artists; Robert Glasper, Ariana Grande, Hunter Hayes, and Kendrick Lamar will curate
  • Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
    Robert Glasper
  • Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
    Hunter Hayes
  • Photo: Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images
    Ariana Grande
  • Photo: Bill McCay/
    Kendrick Lamar
November 05, 2013 -- 6:30 am PST

The Recording Academy and Hyundai today announced the launch of Amplifier Center Stage: A GRAMMY U Initiative — a catalyst for music innovation and artist development in the digital era. The program, which unites emerging and aspiring artists with established artists to mentor their careers, will run through the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards season with the winners announced at an official GRAMMY Week event on Jan. 23, 2014. 

The 2014 program will include curators from an array of musical genres: GRAMMY-winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper, pop singer Ariana Grande, GRAMMY-nominated country artist Hunter Hayes, and hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar. This diverse and celebrated group of musicians builds off the highly successful 2013 program, which featured Mike Shinoda, member of two-time GRAMMY-winning band Linkin Park, as the program's ambassador. The 2014 ambassador for Amplifier Center Stage will be announced at the beginning of December. 

"We are excited for The Recording Academy and GRAMMY U to partner with Hyundai for this initiative," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "With more than 5,000 students in 400 universities across the nation, GRAMMY U is becoming the fastest-growing level of membership within our organization. We are grateful to be able to help educate and encourage those students who aspire to be part of the music community, and we are looking forward to receiving and reviewing a vast collection of hopeful, talented participants with this year's Amplifier Center Stage."

The Amplifier Center Stage online platform allows emerging artists to share their songs via SoundCloud for a chance to have their music vetted by a panel of music icons. Curators select talent based on criteria including quality as well as an emerging artists' "amplification" — the amount of shares/likes they achieve. The four curators narrow the entrants down to the top eight, with two artists selected per curator. An Amplifier Center Stage ambassador, to be announced in December, then selects the final three winners and chooses which prize package each winner is awarded. The winning packages include a recording session and professionally produced track with a leading GRAMMY-winning producer, production of a music video with a noted producer and/or director, or a key live performance slot on a major tour and/or festival. Amplifier Center Stage is part of Hyundai's multiyear partnership as the "Official Vehicle Partner" of the GRAMMY Awards. Hyundai teamed with The Recording Academy and GRAMMY U to create an innovative online platform designed to provide professional mentoring and exposure for artists discovered and amplified through Amplifier Center Stage.

"Hyundai's partnership with The Recording Academy ties music's biggest brand with Hyundai's passion for creativity and innovation," said Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing, Hyundai Motor America. "We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with the Amplifier Center Stage program, which celebrates the next generation of musical talent and connects with an audience with a shared love of musical innovation."

For additional information about the program and how to participate, visit Membership in GRAMMY U is not required to participate.

GRAMMY Week culminates with the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, and broadcast on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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