Ann & Nancy Wilson, Nirvana and More Accept Recording Academy Special Merit Awards at Intimate Grammy Week Event

Sometimes smaller is better. The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award returned to Los Angeles’ Wilshire Ebell Theater on Saturday (Feb. I was. ran the course.

Perhaps the Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony was always intended to be a small, intimate affair in which the Academy presents the Lifetime Achievement Award, Board Member Award, Technical Grammy Award, and Music Educator Award. Just like before the pandemic shut down the event entirely, we get a personal glimpse of the emerging artists.

Nancy Wilson, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award with her absent sister Ann Wilson, remembered wanting to be the Beatles when she formed Heart in 1974. She said, “She’s not going to marry them or be their girlfriend. Become the beatles. “

Wilson added, “What an honor to stand next to this force of nature (referring to Anne) and shake our butts.” She thanked industry boosters like Don Passman, Rob Wright, and John Sykes, telling the audience, “For helping me survive this rock and roll circus madness. I couldn’t care, and I still don’t.”

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs, accepted the award on behalf of Ann Wilson. He recalled hearing Heart’s first hit “Magic Man” on the radio in Canada when he was 12, and said he’s been a fan ever since. He said Anne is still doing well and is featured on her new album tracks for Disturbed and Dolly Her Parton’s upcoming rock album.

Several artists and executives have been honored for challenging gender and racial norms. Stax Jim Stewart on his record was awarded the Trustees Award for Stax’s progressive stance in forming the interracial band Booker T. & the MG’s in Time and Place (Memphis).

Stewart passed away on December 5, 2022 at the age of 92. Her niece said she advocated equal rights for all. Borrowing from the title of her 1966 Otis Redding hit “Try a Little Tenderness,” released on her Volt label in Stax, she said, “We should all ask for a little more tenderness.” It is.”

The Supremes won the Lifetime Achievement Award in part because they literally broke down the barriers that separated white and black fans in segregated theater and culturally.

Diana Ross, who was in attendance when she received the Solo Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy in 2012, was not present to receive the trio’s honor despite her being the only surviving member. Instead, the daughters of Mary Wilson, who died in 2021, and Florence Ballard, who died in 1976, were awarded.

It was a moving moment when Wilson’s daughter Julquessa and Ballard’s daughter Lisa Sabrina (both now middle-aged women) embraced each other.

Jacquessa Wilson said, “The Supremes changed perceptions of how the world viewed black people.” She also thanked Ross, who she pointed out was her godmother.

“I don’t have many memories of my mother,” said Lisa Sabrina Ballard. “She died when I was just three years old. But she was so loved all over the world.”

Krist Novoselic presents Nirvana, a Lifetime Achievement Award winner. 18-time Grammy Award winner Dave Grohl also rallied for the award, but let his former colleague take the lead. said he discovered that there is a new generation of fans who have discovered

Novoselic quoted the line, “Teenage anxiety paid off,” adding, “Well, that’s right.”

Slick Rick has not yet been nominated for a Grammy or inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he is honored. The rapper’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by his Lyor Cohen, a veteran industry executive and current head of global music at YouTube. Cohen has stated that Slick Rick was the first act he signed with his Def Jam Records.

Slick Rick in a purple coat appears. “Do you like the coat?” he asked the audience before announcing where he had purchased it. women’s division. “

Raised in England, he sang Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By” and The Supremes’ “Baby Love” before identifying other favorites like The Beatles, Jamaican dancehall and hip-hop. He said he wanted to be a singer. .

Nile Rodgers has won so many awards, and you might think his Trustees Award is something else to put on the shelf, but he was emotional throughout his acceptance speech, and it’s been a long time since I’ve worked with him. “I don’t want to cry, so I try to be strong,” he said, concluding, “We are part of a great and wonderful group of musicians.”

Bobby McFerrin won the Lifetime Achievement Award and demonstrated his talent by playing seemingly impromptu a cappella voicebox bits. He was a bit like the Robin Williams of music. He is an inspiring and talented person who seems to listen from one thing to the next.

McFerrin said his father was the first African-American to sign a contract with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. So Bobby grew up listening to Beethoven, Brahms and Basie.

Blues legend Ma Rainey, who died in 1939, has finally been honored. Her awards were perhaps given new impetus by the 2020 film. Ma Rainey’s Black BottomViola Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Rainie.

Henry Dilts, who became the second photographer (after the late Jim Marshall) to win the Trustees Award, recalled that his career nearly stumbled. “I was happy to be a hippie folksinger,” he said. “I saw a little thrift store with a table full of tiny used cameras. I decided to get one, put some film in it, and take pictures of all my friends. Well, they all became famous.” And when Dilts rattles off just first names like Graham, Steven, Joni, Jimi, James, and Jackson, you realize he was really in the right place at the right time.

Mr. Diltz concluded his acceptance with two good pieces of advice: be happy. “

Dr. Andy Hildebrand, creator of the groundbreaking Auto-Tune software program for pitch correction, admitted he didn’t realize the economic impact it had on the recording studio. Whereas a singer used to have to retake a song take after take, he now sings it once and producers can autotune it. “It’s been a great trip. I’m still writing software,” he says, Hildebrand.

As in years past, the selection can seem random. The best way to look at each year’s class is not necessarily the seven most valuable artists yet to be honored, but as a representative sample of greatness across a wide range of genres.

The Academy had said that the social change award song would be unveiled at the event. It wasn’t even mentioned. It will likely be announced during Sunday’s Grammy Awards telecast.

Here is the full list of 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award winners:

lifetime achievement award



Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson

Nile Rodgers

Slick Rick

Bobby McFerrin

Ma Rainey

Trustee Award

Jim Stewart

Ellis Marsalis

Henry Dilts

Technical Grammy Award Winner


Dr. Andy Hildebrand

music educator award

Pamela Dawson, Director of Choral Activities, DeSoto High School, DeSoto, Tex.

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