Advocacy Day Unites Artists, Lawmakers
GRAMMYs on the Hill provides a day of music advocacy and a celebration of the art
The Recording Academy hosted its annual GRAMMYs on the Hill music advocacy day, which connects music makers and members of Congress, on Sept. 6 in Washington, D.C. This year's activities included a unique recording session on Capitol Hill with two-time GRAMMY winner and What's The Download Honorary Board member Kelly Clarkson and members of Congress, and an evening gala honoring Clarkson, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.).
Recording Academy Vice Chairman Jimmy Jam served as the narrator of the first-ever recording session on Capitol Hill, explaining the steps for creating a master recording to lawmakers and guests in attendance. Songwriters Aben Eubanks and Jimmy Messer, who co-wrote Clarkson's "Maybe," spoke with the audience about the song and the songwriting process before the pop songstress joined them onstage to perform it.
After the basic track was complete, a backup team of House members joined in to lay down percussion and finger-snaps.
Later that evening, Clarkson, Feinstein, Foley and the Brooklyn Center (Ill.) Junior/Senior High School music departments were feted at the GRAMMYs on the Hill tribute and dinner hosted at the Willard Hotel. Los Angeles Chapter Governor/producer Randy Jackson co-hosted the event with award-winning entertainment reporter Shaun Robinson.
During his keynote speech at the dinner, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow called for a "truce" in the ongoing disagreements between the consumer electronics and copyright industries, and outlined a new vision for mutual cooperation.
"How did these two mutually dependent industries become entangled in what author Howard Rheingold called 'the war over innovation?' Or more importantly, how can we become disentangled?" asked Portnow. "Well, if we really are in the midst of 'a war over innovation,' then it is time for a truce. A Music & Technology Truce."
Before an audience consisting of the top executives from nearly every music association in the country (AFM, AFTRA, ASCAP, BMI, NARM, NMPA, RAC, RIAA, SESAC and SoundExchange, among others) and numerous members of Congress, Portnow encouraged the audience to end the "zero-sum game" between the two industries. He concluded his remarks by a challenge to the two industries' leaders "to prove that we can be both pro-copyright and pro-technology. Let the truce begin."
The Academy's first initiative will be to hold a major Music & Technology Summit at its Santa Monica headquarters, inviting leaders from both industries in a first-ever meeting to find common ground.
Please click here for the full text of Portnow's speech.