Photo: Ashley Stewart of ANS Photography
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
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!
Pre-Order The 2013 GRAMMY Nominees Album Now
Latest edition of best-selling series available Jan. 22, 2013; fans can pre-order the album and enter to win a trip for two to the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards
The Recording Academy's GRAMMY Recordings and Capitol Records have teamed to release the 2013 GRAMMY Nominees album, which will be available Jan. 22, 2013, in stores and via digital retailers. The 19th installment of the best-selling series will feature a bevy of this year's GRAMMY-nominated artists and hit songs across multiple genres. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the album will help support the year-round efforts of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares Foundation — two charitable organizations of The Recording Academy.
Following the success of last year's contest, music fans can log on to www.grammy.com/2013grammyalbum to pre-order the 2013 GRAMMY Nominees album and enter to win a trip for two to the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
"It's an honor to join forces with Capitol Records to deliver a truly diverse collection encompassing a variety of genres and highlighting today's most talented musicians," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "After the success of last year's pre-order enter-and-win sweepstakes, we're once again thrilled to give music fans the opportunity to experience Music's Biggest Night firsthand. And, it's gratifying to be able to continue our support of the crucial work that MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation carry out year-round."
Dan McCarroll, president of Capitol Records, added, "Capitol is honored to collaborate with The Recording Academy on this prestigious series. This year has been a remarkably strong year in music, and encompassing the highlights of 2012 on a single release supporting these charities is immensely gratifying."
The road to Music's Biggest Night begins with "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!" and culminates with the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, and broadcast on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
Fear Of Flying
Lost or damaged musical instruments inspire musicians to seek a national policy for instruments carried onboard airplanes
If you thought the worst part about being a traveling musician was jet lag and bad food, then you've never tried to carry an instrument onboard a commercial airplane.
From lost or damaged instruments to hassles with flight attendants and gate agents, musicians of all stripes complain that inconsistent airline policies make traveling with their instruments nearly impossible.
"Try traveling with a $5,000 guitar that they won't let you carry onboard," says Los Angeles-based guitarist Michael Andrews, who tours as a solo artist and as part of the Greyboy Allstars. "It's just a nightmare."
"Every airline is so different with their rules, we don't ever know till we get there if we'll be allowed to carry our instruments on the plane or not," says country artist Terri Clark. "Sometimes it depends on the agent. And sometimes you can have the exact same airline and have two different agents telling you two different things."
The issue has ruffled enough feathers that The Recording Academy and the American Federation of Musicians have taken it to Congress. The Senate version of the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, S. 223, includes language that sets a national policy for musical instruments carried onboard airplanes. A House version of the bill does not address musicians' needs.
S. 223 was an issue lobbied on at April's GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, the music industry's only annual music lobby day. The goal is to ensure the Senate bill's musician-friendly language survives conference committee and makes it into the final legislation.
"We need a consistent policy, not airline by airline [or] gate by gate," says Daryl Friedman, The Recording Academy's Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer. "Right now musicians are faced with the choice of checking their instruments or buying a ticket for them — and even that is airline by airline."
Cellist Matt Walker learned that the hard way when his chamber ensemble traveled from Nashville to St. Paul, Minn., last November. Despite purchasing a ticket for his cello, and repeated assurances by the airline that a ticketed instrument posed no problem, a flight attendant still demanded Walker's cello be placed in the cargo hold.
Walker had no choice but to relinquish his cello and hope for the best. But airline employees failed to properly tag the instrument, and upon arriving in St. Paul it was left on the tarmac in 30-degree temperatures for more than half an hour.
"These things are not put together with screws and bolts, it's just wood and glue," Walker says of his cello. "You don't want to be looking at your cello sitting out on the tarmac in 30-degree weather."
Bluegrass musician Del McCoury found himself in a similar predicament last year when his prized 1957 Martin guitar was broken in airline transit, despite its fiberglass case.
"The thing is, the airline doesn't [care] about your instrument, they just don't," says Clark. "I've watched them through the window throwing guitars onto the belt. Not long ago they left ours out in freezing rain, just sitting on the tarmac. We had to watch while the guitars were getting rained on. You know, these are like $4,000–$5,000 instruments."
Los Angeles-based composer/musician Brian Tyler "cuts out the middleman" and ships his instruments ahead when traveling.
"I cut out the airline as much as possible," says Tyler. "I find the shipping companies are pretty careful with stuff. Their whole company relies on the fact that stuff has to get delivered safely."
Unfortunately, even employing due diligence offers no guarantees.
"You get a good flight case, you do all the right things, you hope for the best, but you can never absolutely count on it being there when you fly," says veteran artist manager Monty Hitchcock Jr.
Given these potential pitfalls, many musicians avoid flying completely. If a show is less than a 15-hour drive away, Clark takes a tour bus. Likewise, Walker will drive or, as on a recent trip to the Cortona Sessions in Cortona, Italy, use a rented instrument when he arrives. Playing an unfamiliar instrument is not ideal, "but it was the compromise I had to make, because I wasn't about to put myself through that ordeal again," he says.
Singer/songwriter Dylan LeBlanc, who is one of Hitchcock's clients, recently had his guitar destroyed en route to London for a European tour because a flight attendant wouldn't allow the instrument to be treated as a carry-on. The guitar arrived crushed, and LeBlanc had to tour with a replacement provided by Gibson. While he was grateful, the new instrument just wasn't the same.
"He said it was like wearing someone else's underwear," Hitchock recalls.
That's why The Recording Academy and AFM are working for a more permanent, legislative solution. Clark says a consistent airline policy would be a huge help.
"It would alleviate the stress," says Clark. "I just hope it doesn't take 10 years to get passed."
(Lisa Zhito is a Nashville-based writer covering country and contemporary Christian music.)
Photo: Getty Images
GRAMMY Museum To Host GRAMMY Cultural Exchange Program Celebration
Weeklong program for Chinese music students to culminate with a performance at the Museum on July 20
On July 20 The Recording Academy, GRAMMY Foundation, Gucci Timepieces & Jewelry, and China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, together with Gucci retail partner, Chong Hing Jewelers, will host an exclusive musical performance at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles to celebrate the students of the GRAMMY Cultural Exchange Program. A finale performance by the CSCLF Gucci Timepieces & Jewelry Music Fund Quintet will conclude a weeklong program, recently established in partnership with The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation, that's dedicated to nurturing talented young musicians across Greater China.
In January 2012 Gucci Timepieces & Jewelry, in collaboration with CSCLF, announced the launch of the Gucci Timepieces & Jewelry Music Fund, an initiative that provides scholarships to talented students from prestigious Chinese music establishments such as the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Xi'an Conservatory of Music and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The most exceptional students from the CSCLF Gucci Timepieces & Jewelry Music Fund Quintet were invited to participate in the GRAMMY Cultural Exchange Program taking place July 16–21 in Los Angeles.
As part of the GRAMMY Cultural Exchange Program, today the students participated in the GRAMMY Foundation's GRAMMY Camp Guest Professionals Day, which featured artists and music industry professionals conducting question-and-answer sessions, workshops and master classes with participants of GRAMMY Camp's interactive 10-day residential summer music experience at the University of Southern California. Additionally, the exchange students will participate in several community music clinics and performances with alumni from the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session program. On July 18 the two groups will perform for students from three Southern California youth music programs, including the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center, Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District's Beyond the Bell Branch at the Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy. On July 19 students will perform at the Expo Center for students from the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra.
Additionally, a special behind-the-scenes video documenting the exchange students' unique journey will be shot and produced by students participating in the GRAMMY Camp's Music Journalism track, and will be available to view beginning July 20.
A limited number of tickets to the GRAMMY Cultural Exchange Program finale performance on July 20 at the GRAMMY Museum are available exclusively at Chong Hing Jewelers' three Southern California locations in San Gabriel, Los Angeles' Chinatown and Rowland Heights. For addresses and store hours, visit www.chonghing.com.
Pre-Order The 2015 GRAMMY Nominees Album
Best-selling series available Jan. 20; pre-order the album now and enter to win a trip to the 57th GRAMMY Awards
The Recording Academy's GRAMMY Recordings and RCA Records have teamed to release the 2015 GRAMMY Nominees album, which will be available Jan. 20, 2015, in stores and via digital retailers. The 21st installment of the best-selling series will feature an array of this year's GRAMMY-nominated artists and hit songs across multiple genres. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the album will help support the year-round efforts of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares Foundation — two Recording Academy-affiliated charitable organizations.
"We are truly proud to partner with RCA Records to present our annual compilation featuring a group of highly talented artists across a variety of genres," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "This great collection of music, coupled with the sweepstakes opportunity that will allow two lucky fans a chance to experience Music's Biggest Night firsthand, constitutes an extremely fulfilling project, with proceeds supporting the crucial work our charitable foundations perform throughout the year."
"It is an absolute honor to work with The Recording Academy on the 2015 GRAMMY Nominees album and celebrate Music's Biggest Night," said Tom Corson, president and COO of RCA Records. "This album will showcase the year's top nominated songs by artists from across all genres. We are also proud to participate in The Academy's charitable endeavors, which include the continuing support of music education across the country."
In conjunction with "A Very GRAMMY Christmas," which airs Friday, Dec. 5 at 9–10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, music fans can log on to www.grammy.com/2015grammyalbum to pre-order the album and enter for a chance to win a trip for two to the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (No purchase necessary to enter or win.)