Santa Monica, Calif. (February 12, 2018)—Reprising the highly anticipated event that marks the official start of GRAMMY® Week, the Recording Academy™ Producers & Engineers Wing® 11th annual celebration was held for the first time in New York City, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 at Rockefeller Center's iconic Rainbow Room. GRAMMY Week culminated with the Annual GRAMMY Awards® on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018.
This year's gathering featured the presentation by Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow of the President's Merit Award to Alicia Keys and Kasseem Dean, aka Swizz Beatz, recognizing both their commitment to creative and sonic excellence and their ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music. These GRAMMY-winning artists are now added to the decade-plus list of honorees chosen for their singular contributions to music production: Chris Blackwell, T Bone Burnett, Tom Dowd, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, Jimmy Iovine, Quincy Jones, Arif Mardin, Nile Rodgers, Rick Rubin, Al Schmitt, Jerry Wexler, Neil Young, and Jack White.
Guests who enjoyed the unique environment provided by the legendary Rainbow Room, an official New York City historical landmark situated at the top of “30 Rock,” included such notable industry figures as GRAMMY-winning and/or -nominated producers and engineers Peter Asher, Jimmy Douglass, Leslie Ann Jones, Emily Lazar, Chris and Tom Lord-Alge, Justin “Just Blaze” Smith, Tony Visconti and Henry “Circuit” Walker, as well as CBS Good Morning co-host Gayle King, Saturday Night Live music mixer Josiah Gluck and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon music mixer Lawrence Manchester.
A 15-time GRAMMY winner, Keys exemplifies versatility, making her mark in the music world as a singer/songwriter and producer, as well as an actress, author, activist, and philanthropist. Since the 2001 release of her debut album, Songs In A Minor, Keys has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Her impact on music and culture, however, reaches far beyond sales tallies. The New York native's message of female empowerment and her authentic songwriting process have made her an inspiration for women and aspiring creatives worldwide.
Also a GRAMMY Award-winning New Yorker, Beatz has helmed countless important recordings dating back to 1998 when he produced his first hit, DMX's "Ruff Ryders' Anthem." Since then, he's worked in multiple genres with artists including Jay-Z, Madonna, Busta Rhymes, Gwen Stefani, Kanye West and Metallica. His influence on modern hip-hop aside, Beatz has gone on to graduate from Harvard Business School's Owner/President program and has built a body of work and a legacy that includes successful ventures into fashion design, fine art and philanthropy, with a recent focus on the innovative and global No Commission Art Fair platform that lets artists keep 100 percent of the sales proceeds from their works.
Following an opening performance from neo-soul duo Nellybombs, Village Studios CEO Jeff Greenberg – the host of the event in prior years – continued the evening’s program with brief remarks, introducing Maureen Droney, Recording Academy Managing Director, P&E Wing and Recording Technology. Droney welcomed all attendees and also introduced the co-chairs of the P&E Wing – GRAMMY-winning engineer Ed Cherney and Ann Mincieli, GRAMMY-winning engineer and owner of New York’s Jungle City Studios. Droney then introduced Portnow, who presented the Recording Academy President’s Merit Award to Keys and Beatz.
Rounding out the evening was a surprise performance by GRAMMY-winning jazz-fusion pioneer Chick Corea that culminated with an impromptu jam as both honorees joined Corea on stage: Keys for a version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” and an improvised jam with Beatz on beatbox vocals and Keys leading a joyous audience call-and-response.
"This annual celebration, which provides our professional community the acknowledgment it so thoroughly deserves, is a highlight in the P&E Wing's yearly itinerary, and it has been a very special thrill to be able to bring it to New York during GRAMMY Week,” said Maureen Droney. "This unique evening pays tribute to the creative accomplishments that our producer and engineer members achieve day in and day out, in the studio, and everywhere that music is made."
Droney also acknowledged the support the P&E Wing receives for this event from a growing cohort of dedicated sponsors. Iron Mountain Entertainment Services served as Premier Sponsor for the event – an extension of Iron Mountain’s ongoing year-round partnership with the Wing. Event partners also included Rainbow Room, AVID, Jaxsta, Shure, ELS Studio Premium Audio, Audio-Technica, Solid State Logic, The Northeast Group Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, iZotope, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management, and the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund.
Photo file: AliciaKeys_SwizzBeatz.JPG
Photo caption: Pictured L-R: Honorees Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz attend the Producers and Engineers Wing 11th Annual GRAMMY® Week Event at The Rainbow Room on January 25, 2018 in New York City. Photo credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images. © 2018.
ABOUT THE RECORDING ACADEMY
The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music's history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards—music's only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world's leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.
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ABOUT RAINBOW ROOM
Quintessential New York glamour finds its home 65 stories above the landmark Rockefeller Center. Crowning the timeless Manhattan skyline, the iconic Rainbow Room offers a modern twist on classic old-world charm, tailoring special moments for private events and unforgettable evenings of live entertainment. Since its debut in 1934, the Rainbow Room has drawn the world's elite to its curated, elevated and glamorous luxury. First operating as a formal supper club, the venue quickly became a New York City entertainment focal point with greats ranging from Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett to Drake and Lady Gaga having graced the stage. Rainbow Room's name was inspired by the installation of a color organ that automatically converted music into changing colors in harmony with the moods expressed by the music. To mirror this effect, crystal curtains were added to create a light shimmering veil at the windows without hindering the view. In 2012, the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission declared Rainbow Room a New York City Landmark, one of very few interior landmarks found in New York City.