"Harmony. Unity. Parity." These were the bywords at the 2014 GRAMMYs on the Hill , rallying attendees and advocates at one of the best-attended advocacy events to date.
Music and politics united once again at the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards, held April 2 at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C. Seven-time GRAMMY winners Lady Antebellum were thrilled to receive the Recording Artists' Coalition Award (named for The Academy's artists' rights program founded by Don Henley and Sheryl Crow) from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were honored for their support and understanding of music creators' unique role in American life. GRAMMY-winning artist Dionne Warwick and Recording Academy Chair Christine Albert made the presentation to Pelosi, while McCarthy was feted by Wesley Schultz of GRAMMY nominees the Lumineers and GRAMMY winner Booker T. Jones.
Another presentation was made to Westfield Academy and Central School (Westfield, N.Y.) music teacher Kent Knappenberger, who was honored with The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation's inaugural Music Educator Award during GRAMMY Week in February. GRAMMY-winning trio Los Lonely Boys presented the award, acknowledging Knappenberger's dedication to music education. The band also performed with Knappenberger.
Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow addressed attendees, exhorting them to band together for more legislative efficiency.
"It is time for our industry to take the lead and craft a unified proposal for a music omnibus bill, or if you'll indulge me, the MusicBus proposal," said Portnow, adding, "Imagine the political impact of a united music industry — with artists, composers, producers, and engineers all seeing their interests advance in one piece of legislation. We are an industry of the greatest communicators on the planet and together we can drive the MusicBus to its ultimate destination — harmony, unity and parity for all of our constituents."
Another highlight of the awards presentation was a songwriting segment introduced by The Recording Academy's Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer Daryl P. Friedman. In the segment, attendees witnessed a songwriting session between SESAC songwriters Victoria Shaw and Gary Burr along with Rep. Doug Collins (D-Ga.). The audience then witnessed a live performance of the resulting tune "Fair". The song, which chronicles the plight of today's music makers, was well-received.
The high-profile celebration, which featured a cocktail reception, dinner and awards presentation, was attended by members of the recording and entertainment industries, including GRAMMY-nominated pop trio Hanson, who performed the national anthem, as well as numerous Washington luminaries and policymakers.
The day after the awards ceremony, on April 3, The Recording Academy hosted GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, where hundreds of music professionals from across the country visited with lawmakers to advance policies that improve the environment for American music. Now in its 10th year, the program is the music community's only annual advocacy day in Washington, D.C. Attendees were treated to a morning briefing featuring a keynote by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), an impromptu live performance by Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President Mindi Abair and Albert, and a closing address from Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
The GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards are sponsored by SESAC, and proceeds from the event will benefit the GRAMMY Foundation's GRAMMY Signature Schools, which provides support for underserved music programs throughout the country. For updates and breaking news, visit The Recording Academy's Advocacy social networks on Twitter and Facebook.