February 5, 2023


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Nirvana, Supreme, will be honored with a Grammy Special Merit Award

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The Recording Academy’s Special Merit Awards ceremony — which will celebrate the best song for the organization’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustee Award, Technical Grammy Award and Social Change Award recipients — will return to Grammy week for the first time since 2020, taking place at night. before the big event on February 4, 2023 at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles.

Bobby McFerrin, Nirvana, Ma Rainey, Nile Rodgers, Slick Rick “The Ruler,” The Supremes and Anne Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart 2023 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients; Henry Diltz, Alice Marsalis and Jim Stewart are trustee award recipients; and Audio Engineering Society and Dr . Andy Hildebrand is a Technical Grammy Award honoree. The award for Best Song for Social Change will be announced at a later date.

“The Academy is proud to celebrate this diverse slate of influential music figures spanning numerous genres and crafts as our 2023 Special Merit Awards honorees,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. “Each creator on this list has had an impact on our industry — from technical to creative achievements — representing the breadth of music’s diverse community. We’re excited next month to celebrate this group of legends who continue to inspire and shape the world of music.”

Full details of the honors, as announced, follow in full:

Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees: This special merit award is presented by a vote of the National Trustees of the Recording Academy to performers* who, during their lifetime, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording. View past recipients here (*Through 1972, recipients included non-performers).

  • McFerrin redefined the role of the human voice through multi-tracking, his collaborations, his improvising singing voicestra and his legendary solo performances.
  • Formed in 1987 by Kurt Cobain* and Krist Novoselic, Nirvana emerged from the Pacific Northwest onto the world stage with the release of their debut album Bleach in 1989. Two years later Nirvana’s sophomore album Nevermind would cause a seismic shift in global youth culture. Rising to number 1 worldwide and featured in the GRAMMY Hall of Fame® The single “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nevermind’s influence would transform Cobain, Novoselic and Dave Grohl into some of the most successful and influential musical entities of all time. Nirvana’s third and final studio album, In Utero, was released in 1993, completing an indefinite run that returned rock ‘n’ roll integrity and passion to the top of the charts. With induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 and over 75 million records sold, Nirvana continues to be a singular inspiration to generations of fans and musicians worldwide.
  • § Often called the “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey* (Gertrude Pridget Rainey) was known for her deep voice and mesmerizing stage presence that captivated audiences in the early 20th century. A songwriter as well as a performer, her lyrics and melodies reflect her experiences as an independent, openly bisexual African-American woman. Rainey signed a recording contract with Paramount Records in 1923, making him one of the earliest recorded blues musicians. Between 1923 and 1928, he recorded nearly 100 records, many of which were national hits that are now part of the American musical canon. Her 1924 recording of “C.C. Ryder Blues” (for which she was accompanied by a young Louis Armstrong) was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2004.
  • Neil Rogers A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and multiple Grammy Award-winning songwriter, composer, producer, arranger and guitarist. As co-founder of CHIC, Rodgers developed a musical language that spawned chart-topping hits such as “Le Freak,” the best-selling single in Atlantic Records history, and hip-hop with “Good Times.” has begun to emerge. Duran Duran Duran Duran Duran Duran (“The Reflex”) has sold over 500 million albums and 100 million singles worldwide while reflecting his innovative, trendsetting collaborations pioneering contemporary hits with Daft Punk, Daddy Yankee and Beyoncé.
  • Known as “the most sampled hip-hop artist in history” and “hip-hop’s greatest storyteller,” Slick Rick “The Ruler” set the pace for rap’s past, present and future. Ruler’s catalog, which includes the songs “La-Di-Da-Di” and “The Show”, from Snoop Dogg’s “Lodi Dodi” to Beyoncé and J.J. Cole’s “Party” has over 850 specimens Referred to as “the third artist signed to Def Jam Recordings” and “the most successful British-American rapper”, his multiplatinum discography includes The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. [1988]behind the ruler [1991]behind the bar [1994]and the art of storytelling [1999]. The VH1 Hip Hop Honors honored him in 2008, and The Source ranked him among the top 3 of the “50 Greatest Lyricists of All Time”.
  • Was a leading act for Motown Records in the 1960s. Founded by Diana Ross, Mary Wilson* and Florence Ballard*, The Supremes were trailblazers in music history, crossing all genres and defining a generation as the first female group. They were leaders at a pivotal time during the American Civil Rights Movement, uniting audiences across racial and cultural differences through their style and music. Named the No. 1 female recording group of all time by Billboard in 2017, the group An unprecedented 12 No. 1 hits from 1964-1965 and five consecutive No. 1 hits were “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Come About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “Back in My Arms Again.” The Supremes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, along with The Beatles, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
  • Recognized as a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree for their creative work with the rock band Heart. Hart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sold more than 35 million records, earned four Grammy Award nominations, had 10 Top 10 albums, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, had several No. 1 hits and was “a female-led band.” longest-running top 10 album on the Billboard charts. Hart’s influence can be felt everywhere from rock and heavy metal to hip-hop and pop. As a result, their music resonates in nearly every corner of pop culture.

Trustee Award Honorees: This Special Merit Award is presented by a vote of the National Trustees of the Recording Academy to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions beyond performance* to the field of recording. View past recipients here (*Through 1983, recipients included performers).

  • Music photographer Henry Diltz photographed more than 250 album covers and thousands of publicity shots in the 1960s and 1970s, including the iconic Morrison Hotel cover for the Doors. Other artists, known for his fly-on-the-wall style portraits, include the Eagles, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, America, Steppenwolf, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, The Monkees, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and David Cassidy. He was the official photographer at the Woodstock festival in August 1969. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Life, People, Rolling Stone, High Times, and Billboard.
  • § Jazz pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis* is considered by many to be New Orleans’ premier modern jazz pianist. He began formal music studies at Xavier University Junior School of Music at age 11 and graduated from Dillard University in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. In 1986, Marsalis accepted a Commonwealth Professorship at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., where he spent two of three years as coordinator of jazz studies before returning to New Orleans and becoming the first occupant of the Coca-Cola-endowed Chair of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans. be In 2008 he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and in 2011, he was honored with the NEA Jazz Masters Award given to the Marsalis family along with his sons Branford, Winton, DelFayo and Jason.
  • Stax Records founder Jim Stewart* produced some of the best rhythm and blues (R&B) records of the 1960s. Otis Redding, Bar-Case, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, Booker T. And he was instrumental in launching the careers of MG, the Staple Singers, Johnny Taylor, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas and hundreds of others. Under Stewart’s leadership, Stax shifted nearly 800 singles and 300 albums, scored more than 167 hits in the top 100 on the pop chart, and a staggering 243 hits on the top 100 R&B chart. Stewart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 by Booker T. By Steve Cropper of And the MG’s and Sam Moore of Sam & Dave. In 2012, he was inducted into the first class of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
  • Technical Grammy Award Honorees: This special merit award is given by a vote of the producer and engineer wing® Endorsement by Advisory Councils and Chapter Committees and National Trustees of the Recording Academy to individuals and/or companies/organizations/institutions who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the field of recording. View past recipients here.
  • The Audio Engineering Society (AES) The only professional society devoted exclusively to the advancement of audio technology. Founded in 1948 with the primary goals of gathering, integrating, and disseminating knowledge of audio science and its applications, AES facilitates communication and collaboration that brings together audio engineers, creative artists, scientists, and students with hundreds of local departments worldwide. After 75 years, AES members continue to set precedents and standards wherever sound and technology meet, from recording and entertainment to scientific research in emerging fields such as spatial and game audio, networking and streaming, and audio for virtual and augmented reality.
  • Graduated with a Ph.D. EE from the University of Illinois in 1976, specializing in stochastic processes and estimation theory. After studying music composition at the Rice Shepard School of Music, Hildebrand developed an interest in audio data processing and founded Antares Audio Technologies in 1990. At Antares, Hildebrand created Groundbreaking Auto-Tune software program, first released in 1997. In 2011, Hildebrand was inducted into the TEC Foundation’s “Technology Hall of Fame” for inventing Auto-Tune.

*Denotes posthumous honoree.

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