By Punch Playlist Kia Scipio
Powerhouses of the music industry descended onto the Nation’s Capital last Wednesday, April 17 for the Recording Academy’s GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards at The Hamilton. Every year the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards recognize honorees from politics, education and music who exemplify the mission of “improving the lives of members of the music community and using the power of music to improve our cultural life.” This year’s honorees were Jennifer Hudson and the Library of Congress. Hudson was honored for her charity and community service work and the Library of Congress, represented by Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, was honored for its work in preserving historic music over the past decade.
R & B singer Yolanda Adams served as the Mistress of Ceremonies, where House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D, Maryland) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R, California) honored the work of the Library of Congress and mega-producer Clive Davis honored Jennifer Hudson. Remarks were also made by Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy; Daryl Friedman, Chief Advocacy and Industry Relations Officer of the Recording Academy; Kristen Madsen, Senior Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation; and by Pat Collins, President/COO, SESAC—one of three Performing Rights Organizations that licenses the public performance of non-dramatic musical works on behalf of copyright owners.
The awards ceremony began with Zoe Keating’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on the cello, which was particularly moving given the horrific events that had taken place earlier in the week in Boston. However, the first of two highlights of the night were the performances by former American Idol judge and super songwriter Kara DioGuardi, Andrea Hunte, writer of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ ”Empire State of Mind” and country songwriter, singer and producer Victoria Shaw. Each of them picked a song, from the music vault at the Library of Congress, that meant something to them and followed that song with one of their own. Kara chose “White Christmas” because she loves Christmas. She followed the holiday spirit with “Sober” a song that she wrote with its performer Pink, over “a few bottles of wine” in the recording studio.
Andrea chose to sing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” from the vault and then sang her original version of “Empire State of Mind”—“not the Jay-Z version.” Victoria sang “Luck Be a Lady” and followed with one of her own original songs that reminds her of “kissing [her] husband” called “I Love the Way You Love Me”. She wrote it for John Michael Montgomery. When all three songwriters finished singing their selected songs, they invited all of the members of Congress, who were in the audience, to come up on stage for a sing along to “Be My Baby.” The second highlight of the spectacular evening was when Jennifer Hudson graced the audience with two songs, one from her academy award winning performance in Dreamgirls and Hallelujah. The GRAMMYs are like the Academy Awards show for music and for a music lover in DC, GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards is as good as it gets!
Watch a VIDEO HERE.
Punch Playlist Correspondent Kia Scipio believes that “music makes the people come together.” While she’d love to create a soundtrack to go along with her daily activities, Kia is perfectly happy listening to the music created by others, both known and up and coming, and frequently attends concerts and live shows. She is the Manager of Attorney Professional Development at a national law firm in the DC office. She lives in Maryland. For more on Kia’s musings on all things, including music, her blog is HYPERLINK "http://www.thatsjustmytwocents.com" www.thatsjustmytwocents.com and follow her on Twitter @justkia76.