Musical Legends Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone, And The Velvet Underground To Be Honored With The Recording Academy® 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Thom Bell, Mo Ostin And Ralph S. Peer To Be Honored With Trustees Award

Alan Dower Blumlein To Receive Technical Grammy® Award

The Recording Academy® has announced its 2017 Special Merit Awards recipients. The Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone, and the Velvet Underground. Thom Bell, Mo Ostin and Ralph S. Peer are the Trustees Award honorees; Alan Dower Blumlein is the Technical GRAMMY®Award recipient.grammy_logo

This year’s Special Merit Awards recipients comprise a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have crafted or contributed to some of the most distinctive recordings in music history,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “These exceptionally inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects, and technical visionaries. Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their respective crafts have created a timeless legacy.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honors contributions in areas other than performance. The recipients are determined by vote of The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are voted on by The Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing® Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by The Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and/or companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significanceTHE RECORDING ACADEMY LOGO to the recording industry.

Additionally, The Recording Academy and Hal Leonard Books will publish A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends, a hardcover book that collects two decades of artist-written tributes to The Academy’s annual Special Merit Awards honorees. Among those who have written tributes in the book are Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Whoopi Goldberg, Ice Cube, Miranda Lambert, Queen guitarist Brian May, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, and Yo-Yo Ma. The tributes were originally commissioned for the annual GRAMMY Awards program book and never published widely until now. A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends will be in stores early January.

A deeply spiritual and affecting gospel singer, Shirley Caesar‘s emotive vocal talents were discovered in a church choir when she was 10 years old. She is arguably best known for her eight-year tenure with the Chicago-based gospel group the Caravans, whom she joined after appealing to Albertina Walker to sing a solo with the group. Electing to pursue a solo career in 1966 alongside her own choir, the Caesar Singers, she subsequently carved out a profile that earned her the title of First Lady of Gospel Music. Caesar’s roll call of achievements includes 11 GRAMMY Awards®, 14 Stellar awards, 15 Dove awards, a NAACP Image Award, a Soul Train Music Award, and two current 59th GRAMMY nominations.

A prodigy who began playing piano at age 3, Ahmad Jamal started performing professionally at 14 and was signed to Okeh Records by age 21. Trained in both traditional jazz and European classical piano styles, Jamal has been labeled as a jazz innovator who helped pioneer “cool jazz,” which had a significant influence on Miles Davis, among others. With a catalogue spanning seven decades, he is known for wonderful renditions of pieces such as “Poinciana” and “Dolphin Dance,” original compositions such as “Ahmad’s Blues,” the fantastic compilation Complete Live At The Spotlight Club 1958, and his most well-known album, 1958’s At The Pershing: But Not For Me.

Three-time GRAMMY winner Charley Pride taught himself to play guitar in his early teens, but he dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. After playing in the Negro American League, he was signed by RCA Victor and in 1967 he became the first African-American singer to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. (Later, in 1993, Pride became the Grande Ole Opry’s first African-American member.) “Just Between You And Me” launched Pride to stardom, earning him his first GRAMMY nomination for 1966. In 1969 Pride scored his first No. 1 country hit with “All I Have To Offer You (Is Me).” The recognition led to a long and auspicious career for Pride, who is considered the first African-American superstar in country music. Continue reading

Clive Davis and The Recording Academy® to Honor BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee During 2017 Grammy Week in Los Angeles

Lee is to Receive The GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons® Award at the 2017 Pre-GRAMMY® Gala

Annual Celebration Will Take Place On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, At The Beverly Hilton Hotel On The Eve Of The 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards®

Clive Davis and The Recording Academy® will present the annual Pre-GRAMMY® Gala on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., the evening preceding the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards®. As part of the celebration, BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee will be recognized as the 2017 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons® honoree for her significant contributions to the music industry.grammy_logo

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording professionals dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.

Sponsored by Hilton, Mastercard, JBL by HARMAN, and Delta Airlines, the invitation-only Pre-GRAMMY Gala has long been one of the music industry’s most prestigious events, having hosted the industry’s top leaders and welcomed the world’s most talented artists on its stage. For nearly 10 years, the gala has also included a presentation to honor industry luminaries through The Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award. Past recipients include Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Irving Azoff, Martin Bandier, Sir Richard Branson, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy, Lucian Grainge, Doug Morris, Mo Ostin, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

Debra Lee

BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee

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National Geographic Channel And Katie Couric Chronicle The Gender Revolution With Moving Human Stories In Two-Hour Documentary

Two-Hour Documentary Hosted and Executive Produced by Couric to Premiere Feb. 6 at 9/8c Timed to National Geographic Magazine January Single-Topic Issue Exploring Gender Issues Around the Globe

It used to appear so simple for many of us: you were a boy or you were a girl. Girls wore pink, and boys wore blue; girls played with dolls, and boys played with trucks. Yet around the globe, these traditional notions of gender are changing rapidly, and labels are no longer so clear cut. National Geographic sets out to explore this evolving concept of gender through the lens of science, society and culture in the groundbreaking new two-hour documentary Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric, premiering Monday, Feb. 6, at 9/8c. Produced by Katie Couric Media with National Geographic Studios and World of Wonder Productions, the special will also air on National Geographic around the globe in 171 countries and in 45 languages.gender-revolution-ngm-covers-transparent-adapt-1190-1

Gender Revolution will explore the complexities of gender in everyday life, from the moment we are born through our twilight years. To better understand this complex social and scientific issue, Couric crisscrossed the U.S. to talk with scientists, psychologists, activists, authors and families to learn more about the role of genetics, brain chemistry and modern culture on gender fluidity. With conversations that range from the scientifically enlightening to the deeply personal, Couric’s unflinching search for truth sheds light on countless untold stories of struggle, understanding, ignorance, hurt and love.national-geographic

It’s hard to avoid hearing about some aspect of gender these days. Every time you check your phone, turn on the TV or scan Twitter, there’s another story that’s challenging our preconceived notions of what gender is, how it’s determined and the impact these new definitions are having on society,” said Couric. “I set out on a journey to try to educate myself about a topic that young people are living with so effortlessly — and get to know the real people behind the headlines. Because the first step to inclusiveness and tolerance is understanding.”

Among those Couric meets on her journey are the following:

  • Georgiann Davis, an activist who explores how intersex traits are defined, experienced and contested in contemporary U.S. society; intersexuality is a condition doctors estimate affects one in every 1,500 to 2,000 births
  • Dr. Joshua Safer, an endocrinologist engaged in clinical research who addresses a lack of knowledge on medical topics regarding transgender-identified individuals
  • Prof. Kristina Olson, who is conducting a 20-year study of hundreds of young transgender and gender-nonconforming kids
  • Transgender individuals of almost every generation — from a 4-year-old in Washington, D.C., to a retiree in California — who with their families face unique challenges as the result of their evolving gender identities
  • Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman who owns six franchise businesses around Los Angeles and who, in response to tragically high jobless rates among transgender people, has dedicated her efforts to hire and promote trans workers at her restaurants
  • Celebrity activists and pioneers such as tennis star Renee Richards and model and actress Hari Nef
  • Gavin Grimm, a trans teen whose lawsuit seeking equal bathroom access is headed to the Supreme Court
  • Countless other doctors and scientists who are on the frontlines of gender issues helping shape medical, social and psychological well-being

Further enhancing Couric’s intimate conversations are innovative graphics and animations that will help viewers understand the physiological nature of sex and gender like never before.

The broadcast premiere of Gender Revolution will come on the heels of the January 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. The entire single-topic issue will be devoted to examining gender from different perspectives, providing a 360-degree look at what gender means in science and in social systems and civilizations throughout the world. With powerful storytelling through text, photographs, maps and graphics, pairedimages with video and other content online, the issue will address gender identity and sexuality, coming of age for children in various cultures and the threats that those with certain gender identities face worldwide, among other topics. The January issue will be available on print newsstands beginning Dec. 27 and was uploaded online in its entirely at www.natgeo.com/genderrevolution on Dec. 19.

National Geographic is also developing a comprehensive discussion guide for schools and young adult groups to help guide conversation around the themes and topics covered in both the documentary and the magazine. This guide will be available for download beginning in January on www.natgeo.com/genderrevolution.

Gender Revolution is produced by Katie Couric Media, World of Wonder Productions and National Geographic Studios for National Geographic. For Katie Couric Media, executive producers are Katie Couric and Mitch Semel. For World of Wonder, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Jeremy Simmons serve as executive producers. For National Geographic Studios, executive producers are Jeff Hasler and Brian Lovett. For National Geographic, Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production, and Michael J. Miller is executive producer.

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Kicks Off Season 31 with Exclusive U.S. Broadcast Premiere of By Sidney Lumet, Tuesday, January 3 on PBS

Exclusive Interview With Treat Williams, Star Of Lumet’s Prince Of The City, And Emmy-Winning Filmmaker Nancy Buirski Follows The Documentary

Prolific and versatile filmmaker Sidney Lumet (1924-2011) made 44 films in 50 years, earning the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement after four Oscar nominations. Considered a quintessential New York filmmaker, Lumet frequently used New York City’s urban mettle to infuse his films with a realism and intensity that kept audiences in suspense while prodding them to consider their own morality. In American Masters: By Sidney Lumet, he tells his own story in a never-before-seen interview shot in 2008 by late filmmaker Daniel Anker and producer Thane Rosenbaum. With candor, humor and grace, Lumet reveals what matters to him as an artist and as a human being. Launching Season 31, American Masters: By Sidney Lumet premieres nationwide Tuesday, January 3 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and features a new, exclusive interview with Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-nominated actor Treat Williams, who starred in Lumet’s Prince of the City, afterward.by-sidney-lumet_poster_goldposter_com_1-jpg0o_0l_800w_80q

Peabody and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Nancy Buirski (Afternoon of a Faun, The Loving Story, Loving) weaves Lumet’s personal stories and commentary with scenes from his films to create a portrait of one of the most accomplished, influential and socially conscious directors in the history of cinema. Clips spanning his canon, from 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Prince of the City, The Verdict, and many more, reveal the spiritual and ethical lessons at the core of his work.

Looking back over his career, Lumet speaks intimately about the experiences that informed his work, which he loved. His Depression-era, working-class Lower East Side beginnings as a child actor with his father in Yiddish theater, on Broadway, and his gradual transition to directing live TV, informed the stories he chose and his ability to translate important stage works into film, such as The Sea Gull, The Fugitive Kind and Long Day’s Journey into Night. In clips from these films, American Masters: By Sidney Lumet underscores Lumet’s own journey: his relationship with his father mirrored in Long Day’s Journey into Night, Daniel, Running on Empty and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

Marching for workers’ rights in the 1930s, standing up to McCarthy-era blacklist interrogation and finding ways to employ his blacklisted friends, Lumet developed an appreciation for people who question authority. His movies often featured characters fighting for justice, standing up to the crowd and questioning personal responsibility. First and foremost a storyteller, Lumet’s strongly moral tales captured the dilemmas and concerns of a society struggling with essentials: how does one behave to others and to oneself? (You can read the full biography here.) Continue reading

Kendra Scott Design Announces Investment from Berkshire Partners

Kendra Scott Design, Inc. (the “Company”), a leading fashion accessories brand led by founder Kendra Scott, announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm. Kendra Scott will continue as majority shareholder and CEO**. The Company’s senior leaders will remain in their current positions, focused on growing the brand’s omni-channel presence. Norwest Venture Partners will continue as a minority investor.2772772_ks_logo

(**Berkshire has a long history of partnering with management teams to build market leading growth companies.)

The brand is well-known for its comprehensive suite of elegantly designed jewelry pieces as well as lifestyle categories such as beauty, home goods and fine jewelry. The brand also offers the Kendra Scott Color Bar™, an innovative jewelry customization experience available in all Kendra Scott stores as well as online at www.KendraScott.com. Kendra Scott is sold at premiere retailers including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Von Maur and over 600 specialty boutiques worldwide.

Scott, Designer and CEO, founded Kendra Scott Design with $500 from a spare bedroom in her home in 2002. Under her leadership, the Company has grown into a leading jewelry, home and beauty brand with more than 50 stores throughout the United States and significant wholesale and e-commerce operations. As the brand continues to grow, the company remains true to its founding philosophy of “Family, Fashion, Philanthropy” and “Kendra Gives Back: You Shop, We Give” initiatives to benefit both local and national charities across the country.bp_logo_grey_highres

Kendra and her team have built an authentic brand that is widely loved,” said Marni Payne, a Managing Director at Berkshire Partners. “The Company’s deep focus on its customers, commitment to product innovation and culture of giving back has led to impressive growth. We look forward to partnering with Kendra and her team to support their continued success.

We are delighted to have Berkshire invest with us at a very exciting time for our company,” said founder and CEO Kendra Scott. “Berkshire has significant experience in helping leading brands maximize their potential and a deep appreciation for the Kendra Scott culture and organization.”

Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, has made over 115 investments since its founding in 1986 and has raised nine private equity funds with more than $16 billion in aggregate capital commitments. Berkshire has developed industry experience in several areas including consumer and retail, communications, business services, industrials and healthcare. Other investments in the retail sector have included Aritzia, Bare Escentuals, Carter’s and Party City. For additional information, visit www.berkshirepartners.com.

Jefferies LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to Kendra Scott Design and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Kastner, Huggins, Reddien & Gravelle LLP served as legal counsel to the Company. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to Berkshire Partners. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2017.

Give the Gift of the Ultimate Culinary Experience This Holiday

All You’ll Really Want for Christmas is Food and Wine

Still looking for a unique, affordable and delicious gift idea this holiday? Give the gift of the ultimate Seattle culinary experience with tickets to the Seattle Wine and Food Experience (SWFE) weekend of events on February 24 – 26, 2017. The newly-expanded weekend features three events: POP! Bubbles & Seafood, Comfort (NEW) and the Grand Tasting. A total indulgence for foodies, thedownload weekend includes more than 300 of Seattle’s best chefs from gastro pubs to fine dining establishments, distillers, local cider and brew masters with more than 600 wines making this Experience the perfect holiday gift for the food and wine lover in your life.

The Seattle Wine and Food Experience, presented by Seattle magazine, brings the city’s vibrant culinary and beverage scene to life. The Weekend Pass ($220) is the best deal for that special foodie on your holiday shopping list. Need more convincing? Here are the top 5 reasons to attend each event:

POP! Bubbles & Seafood: Friday, February 24, 2017 at McCaw Halloysters-833x630-768x581

  • Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Cava, Cremant and more than 40 kinds of bubbles to sample
  • World-class seafood, including oyster bars, from 20 of Seattle’s best chefs
  • Saber-Off Competition featuring local celebrities and incredible tunes by DJ Dubreezy
  • The Callebaut Belgium Chocolate Lounge featuring bites from Seattle’s top pastry chefs
  • Dozens of Reserve Red wines from the region’s top wineries

Comfort: Seattle’s Best Feel-Good Foods and Crafty Brews: Saturday, February 25, 2017 at Fremont Foundryburgers-833x630-768x581

  • Comfort is the newest and coziest addition to the Experience
  • Mac & cheese, burgers, doughnut wall, fried chicken and many more comfort foods
  • More than 50 craft beers, ciders, bubbly and more to quench your thirst between tasty bites
  • Do-It-Yourself Bars: Hot Toddy, Bloody Mary, S’mores, Fry Bar and more
  • Rock out with your friends to tunes by DJ Branden Landon and take photos in the Shutterbus

The Grand Tasting: Sunday, February 26, 2017 at McCaw Exhibition Hallswfe_featured_std2

  • More than 500 wines, plus tastes from distilleries, beer and cider, Oh My!
  • Fare from 25 local chefs and 25 specialty food makers
  • Explore the Celebrity Modern Luxury Lounge for a chance to win a cruise!
  • Yakima Valley Craft Food and Beverage Exhibit
  • The Savor Experience from San Luis Obispo County
  • The Sweet Suite–Indulge to your heart’s content
  • The “Pearls” of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates with wines from Canon 13, Intrinsic, Mamma Mia and more
  • Taste from Nicky Farms exotic meats, Heritage Meats Butchery Block and Sustainable Alaska Seafood
  • Buy your favorite wine, beer, cider and spirits from the QFC product store benefiting Les Dames d’Escoffier, Seattle****

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2017 Inductees For Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Announced

rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-logoThe names of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2017 Inductees have been released. They are:

  • Joan Baez
  • Electric Light Orchestra
  • Journey
  • Pearl Jam
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Yes

Award for Musical Excellence: Nile Rodgers

The 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Klipsch Audio, will take place on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for the third time. Ticket on-sale dates will be announced in January. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Ceremony will again have its television premiere on HBO, and a radio broadcast on SiriusXM. Broadcast details will be announced in early 2017.

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Rock Hall with Hall Of Fame Wing

A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members in advance of the public sale date. To be eligible for the member pre-sale, you must be an active Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member by December 31, 2016. Additional public ticket details and presale offers will be announced in the future.

The special exhibition on the 2017 Inductees will open at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on March 30.

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The Elvis Presley Exhibition at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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The Beatles Exhibition at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording. The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Performer Inductees were chosen by more than 900 voters of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, as well as the aggregate results of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s online fan vote. The top five artists from the fan vote comprised the fans’ ballot that was tallied along with the other ballots to determine the 2017 Inductees. Four of the groups from fans’ ballot (Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Pearl Jam, and YES) will be inducted as performers in 2017.

Klipsch Audio, a leading global speaker and headphone manufacturer, is a strategic partner and presenting sponsor of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, its Induction Ceremony events and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Main Stage. Klipsch’s renowned products deliver the power, detail and emotion of the live music experience throughout the iconic museum.

All images courtesy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.