SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the Recording Academy™ announced that two-time GRAMMY®-nominated saxophonist and vocalist Mindi Abair and four-time GRAMMY-nominated producer and songwriter Harvey Mason Jr. will lead the Academy’s National Advocacy Committee as co-chairs. Joined by Committee members Sue Ennis, Lalah Hathaway, Booker T. Jones, and Nile Rodgers, the Committee’s immediate focus is ensuring that the Senate passes the Music Modernization Act, which would be the first major reform to music copyright law in decades. The Committee is also focused on encouraging participation from the music community in the Academy’s annual District Advocate day, which will take place on Oct. 24 in congressional districts across the country.
“Music creators have witnessed the transformation of the music industry and they deserve a seat at the table,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “They want their voices to be heard when decisions are being made that impact their careers and livelihood, and they know that 2018 is proving to be a landmark legislative year for them. The knowledge these leading creators bring ensures the Committee will continue to be an effective advocate for the next generation, while working to improve everyday lives of today’s music creators.”
Comprised of performers, producers, songwriters, and studio engineers, the Committee serves as a key conduit to the creative membership. Abair’s work with artists across the music spectrum, such as Aerosmith, Gregg Allman, and Mandy Moore, will bring the Committee insight into the perspective of performers. Abair received her first career GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album for her work on the 2013 album Summer Horns, on which she collaborated with Gerald Alright, Richard Elliot, and Dave Koz. She has also been nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her 2014 album Wild Heart. Mason Jr. lends insight into the unique perspective of producers and songwriters, having written and produced songs for Dr. Dre, Michael Jackson, and Britney Spears. He has also produced music for blockbuster musical productions, from Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls and Dr. Dre and Ice Cube in Straight Outta Compton, to the eclectic cast in Pitch Perfect and Mary J. Blige and Ne-Yo in The Wiz Live! The choice of Abair and Mason Jr. to lead the Advocacy Committee demonstrates the Recording Academy’s efforts to advance the interests of all creators and provides the Committee with a full range of expertise and insight into the process of music creation.
In addition to the music creators, John Poppo, producer and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy; Portnow; and Daryl P. Friedman, Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer of the Recording Academy, serve as ex-officio members.
With the overwhelming congressional support for the Music Modernization Act, the Committee will largely focus efforts around this groundbreaking legislation, which provides protection and fairness for all creators, particularly in regard to how they are compensated. This announcement comes as music creators have actively advocated for the bill’s passage throughout social media, which will continue with the Advocacy Committee lending their voice online.
The Music Modernization Act has seen swift movement within Congress. Following the unanimous passage of the House version, H.R. 5447, one week after GRAMMYs on the Hill®, and the Senate companion bill, S. 2823, receiving bipartisan support within the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the bill now waits for a vote before the Senate, expected within the coming months.
ABOUT THE RECORDING ACADEMY
Best known for the GRAMMY Awards®, the Recording Academy is the only organization that exists to champion the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, and engineers. With no corporate members, the Recording Academy directly and solely represents music creators, working tirelessly to protect their rights and interests. From strong representation in Washington, to mobilizing the industry and organizing grassroots movements across all 50 states, we use advocacy, education, and dialogue to raise awareness about pressing music issues, develop policy, and advance key legislation. Our purpose is to give back to music makers by making sure that they’re compensated fairly for their work today and have greater opportunities to prosper tomorrow.