Everything to know about GRAMMY Africa as Recording Academy expands globally

Everything to know about GRAMMY Africa as Recording Academy expands globally

The Recording Academy, renowned for its annual GRAMMY Awards, is making significant strides in its global expansion, particularly with the introduction of GRAMMY Africa. This initiative aims to support music creators worldwide, focusing on Africa and the Middle East. The Academy has forged partnerships with key cultural and governmental bodies in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, the UAE, Rwanda, and South Africa, among others. These collaborations are designed to enhance educational resources, promote cross-cultural learning, advocate for intellectual property rights, and bolster the music economy in these regions.

The Academy’s mission is to champion music creators at all levels, providing them with a platform and advocacy. Through its online learning platform, GRAMMY GO, the Academy will offer tailored educational programs and resources to meet the specific needs of music creators in Africa and the Middle East. This initiative also includes producing original content that celebrates the rich musical heritage and dynamic emerging scenes of these regions.

The expansion is not just about supporting new members but also enhancing the experience for existing ones. Cross-cultural learnings will benefit all music creators, providing numerous advantages to the Academy’s current and future members. The Academy is also committed to advocating for strong intellectual property legislation and protections for music creators, ensuring their work is safeguarded.

The Recording Academy’s efforts to fuel the music economy involve collaborating with partners to develop and strengthen the creative economy in Africa and the Middle East. As part of this initiative, the Academy will publish a series of reports highlighting its research and insights into these music markets.

For the past two years, Recording Academy leaders, including CEO Harvey Mason jr. and President Panos A. Panay, have traveled extensively throughout these regions. They have participated in listening sessions, received high-level briefings, and obtained insights directly from governmental ministries and local music creators. This hands-on approach has allowed the Academy to understand the unique challenges and opportunities in these markets.

Harvey Mason jr. expressed his excitement about the global expansion, emphasizing the importance of supporting music creators worldwide. “Music is one of humanity’s greatest natural resources,” he said. “It is critical that the people who dedicate themselves to creating music have support, resources, and opportunities, no matter where they are from.”

Panos A. Panay echoed these sentiments, highlighting the Academy’s commitment to fostering a truly global music community. “Our expansion efforts into these fast-growing regions reflect our commitment to fostering a truly global music community, where creators at every stage of their careers and from every corner of the world have the resources and support they need to thrive,” he said.

This expansion into the Middle East and Africa coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMY Awards, which will take place in Miami this November. Earlier this year, the Academy introduced the inaugural Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category, recognizing recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Additionally, the Academy partnered with the U.S. State Department on an initiative to promote peace through music.

The Recording Academy’s global expansion has received positive feedback from various stakeholders. Hon. Ababu Namwamba from Kenya emphasized the importance of the creative economy in driving economic growth and job creation. He highlighted Kenya’s commitment to fostering innovation and creativity through this partnership.

In the UAE, H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with the Recording Academy to amplify local artists’ voices and celebrate the region’s music. He noted the government’s commitment to infrastructure development and investments in educational institutions to support local talent.

Paul Pacifico, CEO of The Music Commission in Saudi Arabia, highlighted the potential benefits of the partnership for the Saudi music community. He emphasized the importance of developing an inclusive and sustainable music industry that fosters diverse talent from around the world.

Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, spoke about Rwanda’s dedication to celebrating and sharing its culture and spirit with the world. He emphasized the significance of promoting diverse talents and enriching the global creative community.

Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman of Arena Holdings in South Africa, expressed excitement about the opportunity for African music to be recognized and celebrated on the global stage. He highlighted the potential for this partnership to advance African music.

Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, President of Afrexim Bank, recognized the immense potential of Africa’s creative industries to boost GDP and create employment for the youth. He expressed gratitude to the Recording Academy for this opportunity to blend its experience with Africa’s vibrant music and creative ecosystem.

Recording Academy members have also expressed their support for the global expansion. John Legend emphasized the importance of music transcending cultural, political, and language barriers. Angelique Kidjo highlighted Africa’s readiness to embrace the Academy’s efforts, noting the continent’s passion for music. Kat Graham applauded the Academy’s visionary move to amplify the role of music as a force for good in the world. Davido expressed excitement about the recognition of African talent and the opportunity to elevate cultural expressions through this initiative.

The Recording Academy’s global expansion marks a significant milestone in its mission to support music creators worldwide. By fostering partnerships and providing resources tailored to the needs of music creators in Africa and the Middle East, the Academy is taking meaningful steps to create a truly global music community.

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