Since 2008, the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing has held an annual celebration to honor music studio professionals and officially kick off GRAMMY Week. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the P&E Wing; however, the event was a departure from years past. Ultimately, the proceedings were jam-packed with the P&E Wing's highlights and accomplishments from the last two decades, along with excitement for the future of the more than 4,400—and growing—group of dedicated music professionals.
The hour-long program—which featured clips from previous honorees, including Jack White, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, and Willie Nelson, among others—kicked off with P&E Wing co-chairs Ivan Barias and Piper Payne introducing Recording Academy Chair & Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason Jr., who offered a surprise for Maureen Droney (Senior Managing Director, P&E Wing), honoring her 15-year stewardship. Mason presented a certificate of appreciation and thanked Droney for her "tireless dedication to bettering the lives of music creators."
Reflecting on past GRAMMY Week celebrations, and the 20-year history of the P&E Wing, Droney remarked, "The P&E Wing doesn’t just throw parties, of course; we have a lot of fun, but we’re also dead serious about many things. For instance, proper recognition and crediting for creators, along with education about best practices in recording, are very important to us. And when it comes to our overall cultural heritage as it relates to music, proper archiving and preservation of recordings are definitely part of our mission."
A variety of laughs, gravitas, information, and education was on tap, kicked off with a little history. Jeff Greenberg, Owner and CEO of the storied Village Studios in West Los Angeles (where the annual event has typically been held), joined Droney to set the stage for some colorful P&E Wing history, courtesy of a video of Al Schmitt and the late Ed Cherney. The pair told the tale of The Wing as a group that began as the Music Producers Guild of the Americas. Congratulations were also on tap for George Augspurger, the 2020 Technical GRAMMY recipient, who shared some words of advice for technical hopefuls: "If you like music but are curious about how things work and why things sound the way they do, recording technology can be an awful lot of fun. It certainly is for me."
Stellar, newly found and restored footage of Bob Dylan backstage and performing while facing down initially hostile fans during his legendary 1966 electrified tour—courtesy of the Bob Dylan Archives and Iron Mountain Entertainment Services (IMES)—thrilled the virtual attendees. Introducing the clip, Lance Podell, Senior Vice President and GM of IMES, remarked, "IMES has worked very closely with the P&E Wing to bring the art of archiving and preservation to the forefront of industry discussions. IMES’s mission is to help preserve our shared cultural heritage. We are so excited to be a part of this program and to share with you the excitement of the Bob Dylan Archive."
Other highlights included intimate performances from past events at The Village Studios by Skylar Grey, Nile Rodgers, Dave Matthews and Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals. The event also paid tribute to members of the recording community who passed in 2020, including Shure executive Mark Brunner and audio icon Rupert Neve.
The event was sponsored by the P&E Wing’s sustaining partner Iron Mountain Entertainment Services (IMES), alongside sponsors L-Acoustics, Audio-Technica, Fraunhofer and Lurssen Mastering.
For more, visit recordingacademy.com.