The twinkling holiday lights around Los Angeles are being replaced by red carpets cordoned off by velvet ropes, which only means one thing: it’s award season! For the next few months, our city will be at the epicenter of an international spotlight, as Hollywood is renowned for the annual ceremonies that acknowledge the efforts of the entertainment industry’s top contenders. One of the most celebrated of these events is the Grammy Awards, the annual presentation of the most prestigious accolade a musician can receive.
When the program airs live on Sunday, January 31, likely it will be a flawless celebration of the music industry, complete with fantastic performances by the likes of Lady Gaga, Green Day, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and other A-listers who have been dominating the airwaves and Billboard charts for the past year. At least Neil Portnow hopes it will be flawless.
That’s because Portnow is the president and CEO of The Recording Academy, the organization behind the award ceremony. The Recording Academy is made up of 18,000 members, all of whom are involved in the music industry. Unlike other music award programs that are based on album sales and charts, Grammys are peer-presented accolades. Only those academy members with creative or technical credit on a minimum of six tracks that have been commercially released in the U.S. are qualified to vote for the Grammys.
“We celebrate the art of recording every year,” Portnow explains. “When you win a Grammy, you are winning an award from our members who are qualified peers. This is really meaningful, and that’s why the Grammy Award is the one that’s most coveted.”