From left: Maureen Droney, Senior Executive Director, The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing; Neil Portnow, President, The Recording Academy; and honoree Neil Young.
Photo: Courtesy of The Recording Academy/WireImage.com © 2014
The Producers & Engineers Wing’s seventh annual Grammy Week Celebration was held on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles. This year’s event, which preceded the 56th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, January 26, 2014, honored Neil Young.
The event honors the contributions made by producers and recording, mixing and mastering engineers whose technical expertise and creative brilliance play a key role in recordings and often earn them Grammy Awards of their own. The event also highlights individuals who, in the words of Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow, have "championed creative freedom and sonic integrity" throughout their career. During Grammy Week, the Recording Academy President's Merit Award is presented. This honor has previously been bestowed upon Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine, producer/musician T Bone Burnett and Island Records' Chris Blackwell, among other luminaries.
Dave Matthews and Neil Young at the 56th Grammy Awards P&E Wing event at The Village Recording Studios on January 21, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Photo: Michael Kovac/WireImage; courtesy of The Recording Academy/WireImage.com © 2014
Portnow presented the award to Neil Young with hundreds of Academy and P&E Wing members and guests in attendance, including Grammy Award nominee Alex Da Kid, two-time Grammy Award winner Colbie Caillat, two-time Grammy Award winner Andrew Dost (of fun.), Grammy Award winner Jakob Dylan, multiple Grammy Award winners Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, three-time Grammy Award winner Kris Kristofferson, and Grammy Award winner Stephen Stills.
Young took the stage after an introduction delivered by Portnow, the P&E Wing’s Co-chair Mike Clink, founding member Ed Cherney, and Senior Executive Director Maureen Droney. A short biographical film chronicled Young's 49-year career, including his contributions as co-founder of Farm Aid and The Bridge School, which helps physically challenged children overcome their impairments via the use of technology.
Technology remains part of Young’s diverse activities, and after a heartfelt and often hilarious discourse on how the technology of music can get in the way of what an artist wants to say, he took the opportunity to announce that he would donate a 1-percent equity stake in Pono, his soon to debut high-resolution digital music project, to the MusiCares Foundation, an arm of The Recording Academy that offers musicians a place to turn in times of financial, personal, or medical crisis. Despite his accomplishments, which include multiple Grammy Awards and landmark recordings such as Harvest and After The Gold Rush, Young proved himself to be profoundly humble, when he told the audience, "I'm just one of you. You honor me, you’re honoring yourselves. It's not me—it's what you do."
Young's appearance was followed by a three-song solo set by Grammy Award winner Dave Matthews, closing with Young's "Hey Hey, My My." Audience members then circulated throughout The Village Studios, home to countless classic and Grammy Award-winning recordings, including Fleetwood Mac's Tusk and the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Key personnel from sponsors from the 56th Grammy Awards P&E Wing event at The Village Recording Studios on January 21, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Photo: Courtesy of The Recording Academy/WireImage.com ©2014
Attendees were also able to experience wares displayed by the evening's sponsors, many of whom are from the world of professional audio.
Visit the Producers & Engineers Wing at www.grammy.org/recording-academy/producers-and-engineers.