16th Annual GRAMMY Foundation Legacy Concert With Gavin DeGraw & Skyler Grey
Los Angeles, January 23, 2014. "A Song Is Born," the 16th Annual GRAMMY Foundation Legacy Concert, presented by Seagate, was hosted at the Wilshire Ebell Theater as part of the intense GRAMMY week. The event explored the history and evolution of songwriting and celebrated the various and invaluable contributions of key players behind the music and their impact on the American cultural landscape. This GRAMMY Week concert promoted the GRAMMY Foundation's mission of recognizing and preserving our musical past, so that future generations can continue to benefit from an appreciation and understanding of those contributions.
After the opening a capella performance by GRAMMY nominated Ryan Shaw, Kristen Madsen, Sr VP Grammy Foundation and Musicares, Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation, and Rusty Rueff, Chairman of the GRAMMY Foundation spoke on the often unrecognized importance of songwriters in the music creation process, as the music we so much love wouldn’t exist without them. In a short video called "Why we Create Music", songwriters talked about their motivation, and Neil Portnow highlighted the work of ASCAP, which would be 100 this year and BMI will be 75.
An historic video with footage of mythic songwriter from the 30’s and 40’s Harold Arlen was shown and President of ASCAP Paul Williams talked about the "music of kids" in the 50’s and 60’s as he said "It requires a lot of sweat equity to stay inspired and sometimes you make all your money from only one or two out of hundreds of songs you write." Legendary songwriter Jeff Barry walked the audience through some of his classic tunes, like "Be My Little Baby", "My Baby Do The Hunky Punky", and "I Honestly Love You" as he said "All cultures have some type of music in their rituals so there must be something in the human brain that needs music." Ryan Shaw sang another Barry’s classic, "River Deep, Mountain High."
GRAMMY® winner Dan Wilson also told the story of how he was introduced to Adele, who started to talk about a very bad breakup, and while Dan told her how sorry he was, he was actually thinking "Boy, we’re going to write a very good song!" Then "Never Mind I Find Someone Like You" was born. The Goo Goo Dolls’ lead singer and songwriter John Rzeznik performed "Slide," and Skyler Grey performed "Love the Way You Lie," which was born in a cabin in the woods, at a time where her career was in trouble.
In the midst of dozens of anecdotes, a fantastic selection of songwriters performed their top hit songs for four and a half hours, such as GRAMMY® winner Jimmy Webb with his tune "Up, Up and Away." GRAMMY® winner Paul Williams has written songs for artist like Barbra Streisand, and has two Golden Globes. He performed his classics "Love Boat," "Dreamers" and "We’ve Only Just Began." JD Souther brought Dan Wilson and Joy Williams to help him sing "Faithless Love" and "New Kid in Town", originally recorded by Linda Ronstadt. Dan Wilson commented on how trio Dixie Chicks, once on the top of the world, were literally disappeared when they opposed the war in Iraq. Coincidentally, while a March 2003 Pew Research Center poll indicated that 72 percent of U.S. adults supported the decision to attack Iraq, by 2008, another poll showed that 63% percent of Americans thought the war on Iraq was a mistake.
Country songwriters Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin played classics which have been recorded by artists like Tim McGraw, and Steve Cropper, who called himself "lucky enough to have had 600 songs recorded and released," brought Gavin deGraw to help him sing classics like "Sitting In the Back of The Bay." In a night with dozen of memorable songs GRAMMY® winner Bonnie Raitt performed "I Can’t Make You Love Me". She introduced her dear friend Kris Kristofferson, who performed three of his classics, including "Me and Bobby McGee."
The GRAMMY Foundation® hosted "A Song Is Born," the 16th Annual GRAMMY Foundation Legacy Concert (formerly the Music Preservation Project), featured live musical performances and archival footage from its preservation archives. Performers included GRAMMY® winners Steve Cropper, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Mike Reid, Jimmy Webb, Joy Williams, Paul Williams and Dan Wilson; current GRAMMY nominees Gavin DeGraw and Ryan Shaw; GRAMMY-nominated songwriters Jeff Barry, Skylar Grey, John Rzeznik, Allen Shamblin, Valerie Simpson, and JD Souther; and GRAMMY Camp® alumni Maybe April. The evening's musical director was Darrell Brown, songwriter/producer and GRAMMY Foundation Board member. In attendance also were prominent music industry leaders and members of The Recording Academy.
Protecting our cultural legacy for future generations is a cornerstone of the GRAMMY Foundation mission. The Foundation recognizes and celebrates the innovation, perseverance and genius evidenced in the stories and music of the pioneers who have woven a rich and colorful cultural fabric. The GRAMMY Foundation Legacy Concert highlights its year-round activities in support of that mission, from preservation grants to its Living Histories archive. The Concert also draws the attention of a wider audience to those efforts, and to the imperiled condition of many of the most historically significant recordings. This event and screening serves to reintroduce works from these major contributors to the public and educates them about the GRAMMY Foundation's role in preserving our rich cultural heritage.
The GRAMMY Foundation® was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy®, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.grammyfoundation.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, please follow @GRAMMYFdn on Instagram and Twitter.