On April 13 the 2011 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards celebrated its 10th anniversary while drawing nearly 400 people to the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel in Washington, D.C., to help honor Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and eight-time GRAMMY-winning musician Don Henley, who received the inaugural Recording Artists' Coalition Award in recognition of his work advancing the rights of music creators. Kicking off the evening, which was once again emceed by ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams, was GRAMMY-nominated artist and Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Board member Dave Koz, who played an instrumental rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the saxophone.
Last year's GRAMMYs on the Hill included a visit to the Oval Office with Garth Brooks and Recording Academy representatives. This year, legendary 25-time GRAMMY winner Stevie Wonder and Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow visited Joe Biden in his office and presented him with his GRAMMYs on the Hill Award prior to the event.
During his remarks, Wonder praised Biden's strong commitment to protecting intellectual property, both as a senator and as vice president. Bob Crawford of the Avett Brothers, helped by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Henley, presented a check to Flower Mound High School, a Texas-based 2011 GRAMMY Signature Schools recipient. A $5,500 grant was represented to Flower Mound's music teacher Adela Martinez and a music student Ryan Youngblood. Crawford also used his time onstage to inform the audience of music and political leaders about the good work of the GRAMMY Foundation, which administers the GRAMMY Signature Schools program.
Between the presentations of awards, The Recording Academy's Vice President of Advocacy & Government Relations Daryl Friedman addressed the audience. He spoke about an event that took place a week prior to the GRAMMYs on the Hill ceremony during which four musically talented legislators joined top producers and Academy Trustees Darrell Brown, Mike Clink and James McKinney to record a track at Sirius XM Radio's studios in Washington, D.C. The final track was played for the first time for the GRAMMYs on the Hill audience, including the band members: Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), vocals/guitar; Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), keyboards; Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), drums; and Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), backing vocals/percussion. In addition, a short film documenting the process was shown, and CDs of the song were given out at the event. Friedman's remarks set up the film clip noting the importance of producers and engineers. Following the video, the final produced track, "A Little Revival," was played for the first time for the audience and the GRAMMY Congressional Band members.
GRAMMY-winning artist Michael W. Smith presented Corker with his award, saying, "I've come to know Senator Corker both as a leader and as a friend. Without leaders like Senator Corker and so many other champions here tonight many performers, songwriters and studio professionals would never be able to practice their craft."
In accepting his award the senator noted that in his travels throughout the world, he hears the music of Tennessee playing and moving people of all cultures. Thus, he takes the responsibility of protecting the intellectual property of its creators seriously.
The last award was presented by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) to Henley, who was given the first Recording Artists' Coalition Award as a nod to the group of the same name that he co-founded with Sheryl Crow in 2000, which is now part of The Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill Initiative. In accepting the award, Henley stated that making music is not a hobby for him, it is a profession.
"It's so important for all of us in this room to continue to keep fighting and advocating and carrying on this mission," said Henley. "I want to thank The Recording Academy for carrying on this very important work, and I think the Academy is unique equipped to do this job."
Henley followed his speech with a set with fellow GRAMMY winner Bruce Hornsby, including a performance of Henley's hit "The End Of The Innocence," which Hornsby co-wrote.
On April 14 more than 150 Recording Academy advocates arose early to participate in a full day of lobbying at GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day. Focusing on the many new members of the new 112th Congress (nearly 25 percent of House members are freshmen), Academy advocates met with more than 50 freshmen officers. The meetings served the purpose of both introducing The Recording Academy as the entity that represents music creators and educating the officers on the issues that matter to music makers. Timed specifically to coincide with GRAMMYs on the Hill, a House resolution, was introduced that same day by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). H. Con. Res. 42, the Creativity and Innovation Resolution, expresses Congress' support for innovative technologies that deliver music while paying all music creators. The resolution also opposes government mandates on devices, such as the National Association of Broadcasters' attempt to require mobile phone companies to include FM receivers in smart phones.
Click below to see the introductory remarks by Friedman and the video.
To hear the final produced track, click play on the video below.