Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Kathryn Bostic, Doreen Ringer-Ross, Laura Engel, Frankie Pine and Tracy McKnight
Women In Music And Film Talk Self-Confidence & Inclusion At The GRAMMY Museum
In partnership with Women In Film, on Wednesday, Jan. 22 the GRAMMY Museum presented "A Celebration Of Women And Film," a panel discussion focused on the women who bring film and television to life through music
In partnership with Women In Film, on Wednesday, Jan. 22 the GRAMMY Museum presented "A Celebration Of Women And Film," a panel discussion focused on the women who bring film and television to life through music. Moderated by Tracy McKnight (music supervisor, Women in Film board member/former head of film music for Lionsgate), the all-female panel comprised of Doreen Ringer-Ross (Vice President of Creative Relations/ BMI), Frankie Pine (music supervisor/Whirly Girl Music), Laura Engel (co-owner Kraft-Engel Management) and Kathryn Bostic (composer/singer-songwriter), who spoke for an hour about their careers, their humble beginnings, the importance of self-confidence, commitment and inclusion.
Read More: Linda Perry, Natasha Bedingfield & More Talk Creating A Collaborative Community For Female Artists At The GRAMMY Museum
Pine, whose music supervision credits include TV shows "Nashville" and "The Newsroom" and the films "Magic Mike" and "Love Hurts," said she "tripped and fell" into her job after originally possessing pop star aspirations. "I realized that if that is something that you really want, you have to put 200 percent into it and that if you can envision yourself doing anything else, you won’t be successful as an actual artist, so I was like, 'Alright, so I know I’m not going to be able to do that, but I love music and what can I do to help promote music?" While living in New York City, she began her career working in music licensing for Muscle Mixes Music, an aerobics music company, before landing a job at PolyGram Records where she was promoted to film and TV licensing. After a move to PolyGram Films in Los Angeles, she worked with music supervisor Dawn Soler (currently Senior Vice President of Music/ABC), soaking up all she could before branching out on her own.
Ringer-Ross confessed that she initially didn’t want the job that was being offered by BMI. Assuming it would be boring, tedious and solely comprised of paperwork and royalty statements, she turned it down. But BMI circled back to Ringer-Ross, clarifying that her position would be to work in artist relations, a field in which she had experience, having previously been employed at record labels where she had initially started working as a college rep.
Once she began working at BMI, Ringer-Ross said she was surprised at how truly, madly and deeply she fell in love with her job. "I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with composers. Truly. They are the most incredible hybrid artist because it’s not about writing a three-chord song, It’s about a depth of talent, both musically and personally, that makes these extraordinary individuals, who are the most compelling individuals I’ve ever met. That’s really what hooked me." Drawing upon her experience from her artist relations days at record labels, the highly innovative Ringer-Ross reached out to the Sundance Institute with whom she established the Sundance Institute Film Music & Sound Design Lab which connects composers and directors.
Engel, who manages music supervisors, songwriters and composers including Danny Elfman ("The Simpsons," "Batman," "Milk") and two-time Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat ("Little Women," "The Shape of Water"), said she was so passionate about music as a little girl that despite having no musical or singing talent whatsoever, she'd find herself standing in her bedroom singing very loudly into a pink hairbrush. She revealed that she got her GED at 16 years old just so she could go on the road with bands. She initially came out to L.A. to be an actress after having spent years immersed in New York City's music scene and organizing block parties. She set aside her acting dreams, however, when a musical troupe rented out the theater and she became their stage manager. As it turned out, the troupe became new wave band Oingo Boingo, led by Danny Elfman, for whom she worked for 18 years in various capacities including guitar roadie, tour manager and manager until the band broke up. When Elfman began scoring films, Engel became his production coordinator and manager before joining Elfman's film music agent Richard Kraft with whom she formed Kraft-Engel Management.
Bostic, the sole creative artist on the panel, whose film scores include the documentary "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am" and the film "Dear White People," stressed the importance of fiercely and firmly believing in oneself. "We're so hard on ourselves for reasons that have nothing to do with anything. Try not to second guess your desires. You have nothing to lose. Put one foot in front of the other and understand the value of your relationships, your relationship with yourself and others." Bostic also encouraged budding composers to persevere in the face of rejection. "Do you know how many 'no's I’ve had? To the point that I might as well not be alive if I let that define what I do."
She stressed the importance of staying open to opportunities and recounted an amusing anecdote in which she landed a film composing gig after having made a contact while grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.
When talk turned to being a woman in male-dominated industries, Prine said she endured experiences in which she found a male executive sitting across a table staring at her breasts instead of her face. But she said she persevered and focused on doing a good job and working hard. She said she feels that being a woman brings a special and unique aspect to her job. "I feel, as a woman, what I do bring to the table is a little bit more of an emotion that comes with watching something and feeling something. Throughout the six years on 'Nashville,' the big joke was, 'Is this episode going to make Frankie cry?' I would be in the playback and I'd watch the episode and these were original songs and I found all these original songs. If I cried that, to me, means I did a good job. I think being a female brings a little more emotion into the picture."
Engel said she’d always been a bit of a bull in a china shop, and a workaholic who has blinders on and who never really thought twice about gender as she'd always focused on her work to the exclusion of all else. But when she began to work with composers, she noticed a huge disparity in the ratio of men to women in the field and felt obligated to do something about it. “I thought, ‘I actually have a responsibility to look to my left and look to my right and to reach a hand and help out and so I started making a more conscious effort to sign more women composers."
McKnight, whose music supervision credits include the films "Beasts Of No Nation" and "Hunger Games" added, "The best people should always get the job. I truly believe that. And that has nothing to do with gender but, sometimes, it’s about making sure the list is well-rounded and making sure there are opportunities. We all need to champion each other."
Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Inside Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years Of Hip-Hop At The GRAMMY Museum
"Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop," Jimmy Jam said during the celebratory event Resonance, which honored the legacy of hip-hop at the GRAMMY Museum.
The Recording Academy is continuing to honor the legacy of hip-hop, to one of the most popular genres of music in America. Held on Dec. 4 at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles, Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop was presented by the Academy's Black Music Collective and sponsored by City National Bank.
The Resonance event took over the Museum's fourth floor, which is home to the recently unveiled "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit." There, members and leadership from the Academy and BMC, along with musicians and industry professionals, celebrated 50 years of music that has transcended boundaries, inspired advocacy and fostered impactful social change.
Guests were welcomed into the space by an unparalleled collection of artifacts — an ode to the genre through memorabilia and interactive displays showcasing the evolution of hip-hop music and culture. Tupac’s all-white suit — worn in the last video he made — is displayed next to Notorious B.I.G.'s red leather pea jacket worn in the music video for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s "Players Anthem." The impact of the museum’s intentionally curated collection evokes the extended struggle of the Black experience in America, while celebrating its culture, creativity, and endurance against all odds.
The power of connection and representation was emphasized by five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, an R&B songwriter, music producer, and illustrious GRAMMY Museum Board Member. "The idea of 'resonance' struck a chord in me because the mission is unification, amplification and to celebrate Black music. Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop."
"I'm proud to have known my partner Terry Lewis for 50 years. We were raised on hip-hop," he told the crowd. "Hip-hop inspires, it embodies transcendence. Hip-hop advocates and fosters social change, and the cultural significance is astounding."
Jimmy Jam highlighted the integral role of partnerships between the Black Music Collective and sponsor/supporters such as City National Bank and Amazon Music. Such relationships have enabled the third year of the Amazon Music-sponsored Your Future Is Now, a scholarship program.
"We have the opportunity to pour knowledge, resources and many opportunities into the young talent and the young creatives of the future. And that's what we're here to do," he continued.
GRAMMY Museum Board Member and Executive Vice President of City National Bank, Linda Duncombe, who was introduced by Jimmy Jam as "music’s best friend" spoke to the critical work of support.
"We protect and celebrate those who have shared their gift as well as ensure their artistic contributions are accessible for people of all walks of life around the world and for future generations," she said, adding that as a Museum board member, "educating the next generation of artists and teachers is always top of mind. The 'Mixtape Exhibit' really will inspire students to pursue hip hop and the music industry."
Host Lady London, a rapper and songwriter from The Bronx summed up the power of hip-hop and its ability to transcend music. A hyped crowd enthusiastically received her words.
"It's beautiful to see what we have been able to cultivate in such a short amount of time. We are the culture, we have the power to shift the culture and we continue to move mountains," she said. "We are influences in fashion and design and the Black family education, economic empowerment, the arts. We're limitless.
"We have balanced everything and there is nothing that is quite parallel to that," Lady London continued. "I'm so proud to be a part of the culture."
As guests mingled among the exhibits many displays and highlights like original lyric sketches, mixtapes, and an interactive "sonic playground" where guests could interact with recording devices, make 808 beats and record tracks. Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. reflected on the culmination of a year celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
"Hip hop has been a defining force in our culture and it is so important to be able to honor it in this way" he said. "This is the end of a year that started with us celebrating at our GRAMMY Awards show last season."
Los Angeles' DJ Jadaboo — who has performed for Tommy Hilfiger at New York Fashion Week and a slew of celebrity parties and high profile events — set the vibe all night. Her mix spanned all five decades of the genre and beyond, from R&B to hip hop classics by Jay-Z and Drake, stacking much-sampled songs like Curtis Mayfield’s "Pusher Man" into the set.
As the event carried on, Jimmy Jam’s earlier remarks echoed between the museum’s walls. "Look at what's been done in the last 50 years. You see it all around here," he said. "Now take a look at each other and know all that is happening right now… is because we are the people that are gonna continue to carry this on for another 50 years."
The GRAMMY Museum’s "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit" runs through Sept. 4, 2024. "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop" will air Sunday, Dec. 10, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. ET and 8 to 10 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network, and stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Watch: "A History Of L.A. Ska" Panel At The GRAMMY Museum With Reel Big Fish, NOFX & More
Featuring musicians, DJs, curators and more, the multi-part series "A History Of L.A. Ska" explores the genre's deep history in Southern California. The latest installment included members of Hepcat, Ocean 11 and others.
Ska — as any lover of the genre will tell you — is far from dead.
In fact, the genre that burst forth in Jamaica at the time of the nation's independence in the early 1960s (and, crucially, is the musical seed from which reggae grew) is alive and well around the globe. Call it a fourth wave, a revival or a scene of stalwarts, but the horn-heavy, grooving and uptempo music continues to march forward — and the GRAMMY Museum is all-in on the celebration.
For several years, the GRAMMY Museum has hosted "A History Of L.A. Ska" — a discussion and performance series featuring local musicians, DJs, journalists, and others. Panelists reminisce about their early years in ska, working with legends, and the important role Southern California has played in the development of the culture. The most recent panel was held on Nov. 7 (but more on that later).
Although born in Jamaica, ska migrated to the UK in the latter half of the '60s and, the following decade, mixed with burgeoning punk sounds to create the genre's second wave: Two Tone. Bands such as the Specials, Madness and the Selecter struck a chord with local audiences as well as those in Southern California — which saw its first ska band, the Boxboys, debut in 1979. Then by the late ‘80s, California-based bands such as the Untouchables, Fishbone, Hepcat and Let’s Go Bowling were building a distinct scene.
As the ‘90s began, Southern California was the focal point of ska's third wave. Helmed by bands like Reel Big Fish, the Aquabats and, early on, No Doubt, a new generation further enmeshed punk and ska to become faster, catchier and more memeable. While third wave groups of the era came from all corners (see New Jersey's Catch-22, Florida's Less Than Jake and Boston's Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Southern California remained a stronghold for ska music and was buoyed by a strong subculture of mods and non-racist skinheads.
Today, Los Angeles remains a hotbed for a new generation of ska acts — many of which harken back to the sounds of the '60s. Southern California has also played host to ska legends, including Derrick Morgan (whose song "Forward March" became an independence anthem), Pat Kelly, the Pioneers and more.
"When I was first introduced to ska in Southern California, I was blown away by the level of musicianship and the love that these young talents had for the music that I grew up listening to in Jamaica,” shares Junor Francis, a moderator and veteran radio DJ/emcee who co-curates the "A History Of L.A. Ska" series with Eric Kohler. The two also host a video interview series of the same name. [Editor's note: Author Jessica Lipsky has appeared on this series.]
"While many fans of American third wave ska were introduced to the sound in the 1990s, more casual listeners may not be aware that ska in Southern California dates back four decades," notes Kohler. "To that end, Junor and I have made it our mission to celebrate and highlight the scene’s rich history, vibrancy and uniqueness."
Part four of the series — and the most recent — featured seven panelists representing a broad swath of L.A. ska history: Hepcat drummer Greg Narvas (Hepcat), singer Karina Denike (Dance Hall Crashers, NOFX), keyboardists Matt Parker (the Donkey Show) and Paul Hampton (the Skeletones), DJ and drummer Nina Cole (the Cover Ups), drummer Oliver Charles (Ocean 11, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Gogol Bordello), and multi-instrumentalist Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish, the Littlest Man Band). The panel was moderated by Junor Francis.
The four-part series is available to view on the GRAMMY Museum's website, or you can immerse yourself in the "History Of L.A. Ska" panel by panel below:
Featuring: Greg Lee, Persephone “Queen P” Laird, Joey Altruda, Brian Dixon and Luis Correa
Featuring: Angelo Moore, Chris Murray, Darrin Pfeiffer, Kip Wirtzfeld, Tazy Phyllipz
Featuring: Jerry Miller, Chuck Askerneese, Ivan Wong, Greg Sowders, Norwood Fishe, Greg Lee, Bill Bentley, Howard Paar, Marc Wasserman, Karena Sundaram Marcum, Laurence Fishburn
If the excitement on display during the "History Of L.A. Ska" panel sessions isn't enough to convince you of the genre's staying power, consummate emcee Junor Francis shares words of affirmation:
“After being baptized into this scene and welcomed with open arms, I realized this was absolutely the right place for me!”
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo Courtesy of the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum
25 Semifinalists Announced For The 2024 Music Educator Award
Twenty-five music teachers, from 25 cities across 17 states, have been announced as semifinalists for the 2024 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum. One ultimate recipient will be honored during GRAMMY Week 2024.
Twenty-five music teachers have today been announced as semifinalists for the Music Educator Award, an annual award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, that supports and celebrates music education and music educators across the U.S. The 25 semifinalists, who hail from 25 cities across 17 states, were selected from a pool of more than 2,000 initial nominations from across all 50 U.S. states. Finalists will be announced in December, and the ultimate recipient of the 2024 Music Educator Award will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2024, days ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs.
Nominations for the 2025 Music Educator Award are now open.
Presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, the Music Educator Award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The Award is open to current U.S. music teachers. Anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators — while teachers are also able to nominate themselves; nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.
Each year, the recipient of the Music Educator Award, selected from 10 finalists, receives a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school's music program. The nine additional finalists receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining 15 semifinalists, among the group announced today, will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.
The Music Educator Award program, including honorariums, is made possible by the generosity and support of the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.
The full list of the 2024 Music Educator Award semifinalists is as follows:
|Dawn Amthor||Wallkill Senior High School||Wallkill||New York|
|Jeremy Bartunek||Greenbriar School||Northbrook||Illinois|
|William Bennett||Cane Bay High School||Summerville||South Carolina|
|Meg Byrne||Pleasant Valley High School||Bettendorf||Iowa|
|Ernesta Chicklowski||Roosevelt Elementary||Tampa||Florida|
|Michael Coelho||Ipswich Middle and High School||Ipswich||Massachusetts|
|Drew Cowell||Belleville East High School||Belleville||Illinois|
|Marci DeAmbrose||Lincoln Southwest High School||Lincoln||Nebraska|
|Antoine Dolberry||P.S. 103x Hector Fontanez||Bronx||New York|
|Jasmine Fripp||KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School||Nashville||Tennessee|
|J.D. Frizzell||Briarcrest Christian School||Eads||Tennessee|
|Amanda Hanzlik||E.O. Smith High School||Storrs||Connecticut|
|Michael Lapomardo||Shrewsbury High School||Shrewsbury||Massachusetts|
|Ashleigh McDaniel Spatz||Rising Starr Middle School||Fayetteville||Georgia|
|Kevin McDonald||Wellesley High School||Wellesley||Massachusetts|
|Coty Raven Morris||Portland State University||Portland||Oregon|
|Trevor Nicholas||Senn Arts at Nicholas Senn High School||Chicago||Illinois|
|Vicki Nichols||Grandview Elementary||Grandview||Texas|
|Annie Ray||Annandale High School||Annandale||Virginia|
|Bethany Robinson||Noblesville High School||Noblesville||Indiana|
|Danni Schmitt||Roland Park Elementary/Middle School||Baltimore||Maryland|
|Kevin Schoenbach||Oswego High School||Oswego||Illinois|
|Matthew Shephard||Meridian Early College High School||Sanford||Michigan|
|Alice Tsui||New Bridges Elementary||Brooklyn||New York|
|Tammy Yi||Chapman University||Orange||California|
Learn more about the Music Educator Award and apply to the 2025 Music Educator Award program now.