Mississippi and the Grammys | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Mississippi and the Grammys

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On Aug. 8 at Hal and Mal's, I had the chance to attend a meet-and-greet with the Memphis chapter of The Recording Academy, whose members decide who receives Grammy awards each year. The chapter's president, singer Susan Marshall, was there along with senior project manager Reid Wick of New Orleans and senior executive director Jon Hornyak of Memphis. It was an opportunity for those in the local and state music scene to pitch ideas and attain career advice from some heavy hitters in the industry.

The Recording Academy has 12 chapters in the United States, and the Memphis chapter is doing a great job at promoting the South's music to other cities and venues around the country. For almost 40 years, the chapter has presented countless workshops and programs throughout the South, featuring all types of music, ranging from blues to zydeco and even ragtime. The group has worked with Gov. Haley Barbour to honor Mississippi's Grammy winners. Our state has the most Grammy winners in the United States (Go, Mississippi!). The Memphis chapter also teamed up with the Grammy Foundation—which works to cultivate understanding, appreciation and advancement of recorded music's cultural contributions—to host the 2006 New Orleans Rising concerts in New Orleans and Los Angeles, Calif., which raised money for Gulf Coast-based musicians who lost everything when Hurricane Katrina hit the previous year.

Not only does The Recording Academy support every aspect of the music industry, it has created a musical network of organizations under its umbrella. Grammy U, for example, is for college students seeking a degree in the music industry and connects students with everyone from songwriters to sound engineers. For a membership fee of $50 a year through graduation, this provides music-industry hopefuls unlimited opportunities to work with record executives; direct involvement with artists such as Beyonce, Timbaland and John Mayer; and members-only tours to studios such as Sun Records, programs like Austin City Limits and even Fox Studios to learn about scoring films. If you are a college student and are interested in Grammy U, please visit the website to sign up at http://www.grammy365.com.

MusiCares is a foundation for musicians who may need assistance with medical care or finances due to unforeseen circumstances. It helped many Mississippi and Louisiana music makers recover or replace their instruments after Katrina. It also helps musicians who are recovering from addictions, getting the likes of Slash from Guns and Roses and Ozzy Osbourne to lend their talents and time to raise funds and help musicians get clean. To help down-on-their-luck musicians, go to http://www.grammy.com/musicares to become a part of MusiCares.

The Grammy Foundation has helped thousands of students follow their dream of becoming musicians through the Grammy in the Schools Program. In 2011, the program selected 36 high schools nationwide to receive cash grants from $2,500 to $15,000 for the schools' music programs. The Recording Academy also sponsors Grammys on the Hill (which represents musicians in Washington, D.C.), The Latin Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles, Calif.

For $100 a year, musicians can join The Recording Academy, which enables you to vote or nominate your favorite artists for a Grammy Award. The website grammy365.com also has information on the different types of memberships. Email any of The Recording Academy Memphis chapter's awesome staff if you have questions for them. Marshall, Wick and Hornyak are super nice, helpful and would be more than happy to help you in any way.

This week's music lineup in the Capital City is going to be awesome, so check out the music listings in this week's print edition and on our website at jfpmusic.com for any last-minute performances.

Have a great week, and if you see me out and about, please say hello!

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