On Thursday, February 11, Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing marked the beginning of Grammy Week with its ninth annual celebration at the Village Studios in West Los Angeles. The event celebrates the achievements of recording, mixing and mastering engineers and record producers who have "championed creative freedom" throughout their career, as described by Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.
The signature event also featured the presentation of The Recording Academy President's Merit Award. This year's honoree, Rick Rubin, was presented with the award by Portnow in a special ceremony held in the theater of the Village Studios. Rubin received the award to the applause of hundreds of Academy and P&E Wing members and guests.
Previous honorees at this event have been Chris Blackwell; T Bone Burnett; Tom Dowd; Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun; Jimmy Iovine; Quincy Jones; Arif Mardin; Al Schmitt; Jerry Wexler; Neil Young; and Nile Rodgers.
Rubin has received eight Grammy Awards, including two for Producer Of The Year for 2006 and 2008. His other wins include two for Album Of The Year (Adele, 21; Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way), two for Best Country Album (Taking The Long Way; Johnny Cash, Unchained), Record Of The Year (for Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice"), and Best Rock Album (Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium). Producing critically acclaimed and multiplatinum albums in a wide array of genres, including country, hip-hop, metal, pop, rock, and soul, additional artists Rubin has worked with include the Beastie Boys, Black Sabbath, Neil Diamond, Eminem, Jay Z, Kid Rock, LL Cool J, Metallica, Tom Petty, Public Enemy, Damien Rice, Ed Sheeran, Slayer, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and ZZ Top.
The event's Title Sponsors included Harman Professional brands AKG, dbx, JBL Professional and Lexicon, and Iron Mountain Entertainment Services.
Guests in attendance included Lana Del Rey, Macy Gray, Josh Groban, Rivers Cuomo, Regina Spektor, Columbia Records Chairman/CEO Rob Stringer, Peter Asher, Ed Cherney, Geoff Emerick, Val Garay, Emily Lazar, Leslie Ann Jones, Jack Joseph Puig, Elliot Scheiner, Andrew Scheps, Jim Scott, Al Schmitt, and Dan Wilson.
Grammy Award-winning producer Jimmy Jam served as a surprise special guest emcee. remarking, "He's a legend," Jam said of Rubin, "the way hip-hop is now owes a lot to Def Jam. Rick Rubin has been so relevant for such a long time. He changed the course of music history."
Academy President Neil Portnow also spoke, covering issues of particular interest to attendees, including advances in artists' rights legislation through Grammys on the Hill efforts; the formation of a Creative Affiliates membership program with performance royalty collection agency SoundExchange; and a continuing push for better quality sound on the consumer side of the music-listening experience.
Portnow then focused the night back on Rubin, introducing a video by director Martyn Atkins that paid tribute to the honoree.
"This annual event is a highlight in the P&E Wing's yearly itinerary and also provides our community the acknowledgment it so deserves, especially during Grammy Week," says Maureen Droney, managing director of the Recording Academy's P&E Wing and Recording Technology. "It is a celebration of all the creative accomplishments that members of the Wing achieve day in and day out, in the studio and everywhere that music is made."
Key personnel from sponsors of the 58th Grammy Awards P&E Wing Event Honoring Rick Rubin at Village Studios on February 11, 2016, in Los Angeles.
Photo: Corey Walthall; courtesy of The Recording Academy.
The event received further support from Premier Sponsors Avid Technology, Inc.; DTS, Inc.; ELS Studio Premium Audio Powered by Panasonic; Google Chromecast Audio; LG Electronics; Music Marketing; Shure; and TIDAL HiFi Streaming. Supporting Sponsors included Apogee Electronics; Audeze; Audio-Technica; Capital Bauer Studio Insurance Program; Guitar Center Professional; iZotope; Louisiana Entertainment; Lurssen Mastering; Ocean Way Audio; Prism Sound, Recording, Radio and Film Connection (RRF); Shinola; SONOS; Sound Exchange; and Vintage King Audio.
CÎROC Ultra-Premium Vodka toasted the night as official "Spirit Partner."
"Iron Mountain supports the P&E Wing year-round, in addition to the entire Grammy organization, including the Grammy Museum and the Grammy Foundation," says Jeff Anthony, Sr. Vice President, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services. "We are very proud of this partnership, because the constituents of the P&E Wing represent the backbone of the industry. Working with the P&E Wing gives us a platform to advise on, and advocate for, best practices in asset preservation and creative rights management. Once again, the event at Village Studios was a delight, and Iron Mountain is pleased to be an ongoing supporter of the P&E Wing and its membership."
Peter Chaikin, Recording Solutions, Harman Professional, stated, "The Harman Professional brands support the P&E Wing year-round, as the P&E Wing's goals and values are near and dear to the hearts of the Harman organization. This event at the Village Studios celebrates the accomplishments of the talented producing and engineering community, who are charting the current and future direction of the recording industry. We are honored to be able to contribute to this annual event and others throughout the year."
Grammy Week culminated with the 58th Annual Grammy Awards on Monday, February 15, 2016, airing on the CBS Television Network and available to affiliates nationwide to broadcast live in all four U.S. time zones for the first time.
Visit the P&E Wing at www.grammy.org/recording-academy/producers-and-engineers.