New York, NY (February 13, 2018)—The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing held its annual celebration in New York on Jan. 25, marking the official beginning of “Grammy Week.” This year’s gathering—which, like the Grammy Awards themselves, took place in New York—featured the presentation by Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow of the President’s Merit Award to Alicia Keys and Kasseem Dean, aka Swizz Beatz, recognizing their commitment to creative and sonic excellence and their ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music.
Keys and Beatz join a roster of luminaries that includes 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.
A 15-time Grammy winner, Keys exemplifies versatility, having made her mark in the music world as a singer/songwriter and producer, as well as an actress, author, activist and philanthropist. 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 that includes ventures into fashion design, fine art and philanthropy, with a recent focus on the No Commission Art Fair platform that lets artists keep 100 percent of the sales proceeds from their works.
Related: Production Grammy Winners Announced, Pro Sound News, Jan. 29, 2018
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, Recording Academy managing director, P&E Wing and Recording Technology. “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.”
Related: Behind the Scenes of the Grammys’ Sound, by Anthony Savona, Pro Sound News, Feb. 2, 2018
Droney 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 of 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.
Grammy Week culminated with the annual Grammy Awards telecast on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018.
The Recording Academy • www.grammy.com