Harvey Mason, Jr., Neal Avron, Tommy Sims, RedOne, Adam Anders.
Any of these names ring a bell? No?
OK, how about Jennifer Hudson, Fallout Boy, Jonny Lang, Lady Gaga, and a little TV show called "Glee"?
If you've heard of the latter, you should get to know the former.
This year, our GRAMMY Weekend briefings focused on the role of the record producer. A bipartisan delegation of nearly 20 members of Congress and staffers came to L.A. to attend a series of briefings by The Recording Academy's Advocacy & Government Relations Office and Producers & Engineers Wing. They went to famed L.A. studio Ocean Way Recording to watch a demonstration recording session with three-time GRAMMY-winning songwriter/producer Tommy Sims and GRAMMY-winning artist Jonny Lang. Sims, who won for Song Of The Year in 1996 for co-writing "Change The World," led Lang and fellow musician Chris Stills through a mock recording session of Lang's hit "Red Light." Following the session (and the obligatory picture snapping with Lang and Sims), our group retreated to an adjacent studio for the GRAMMY Industry Roundtable where Sims was joined by producers Harvey Mason Jr. (Hudson), Neal Avron (Fallout Boy), RedOne (Gaga), and Adam Anders ("Glee").
Like many music fans, the role of the producer was a mystery for the congressional delegation. But by the end of the session they began to understand the importance — and the sheer genius — of the magic producers make in the studio. Everything was fair game at the off-the-record discussion, from how technology is used to how the artists and producers interact.
We were riveted.
The Recording Academy will continue to help educate policy makers on the producer's role, including a very unique recording session in Washington, D.C., next month (more on that to come). Meanwhile, you can learn more about the P&E Wing's work here.
While most producers aren't household names, to us at The Recording Academy, they're all rock stars.