WASHINGTON. – The Grammys may have been earlier this month, but there are still trophies to be awarded.
R&B songwriting duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were honored Wednesday for defining the sound of pop music for the past 40 years at the Recording Academy’s Grammys on the Hill Awards at The Hamilton. The pair will be celebrating 50 years of friendship this year and in half a century, they’ve contributed to more than 100 gold, platinum and diamond albums and have written for artists like Usher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey and George Michael.
“It’s always an honor to be honored,” Jimmy Jam told USA TODAY. “The Grammys (are) known as a one night a year awards show, and back in my days as chairman of the Recording Academy, I always used to say, ‘It’s the other 364 days of the year that’s important.’ “.
Watch:Iconic producers Jam & Lewis talk debut album, working with Prince.
Jimmy Jam added that music advocacy was always a priority for the Grammys, noting that being honored at an event where musicians and politicians alike are trying to raise awareness for the American Music Fairness Act and other ongoing music policy progress “couldn’t be better.”.
“We’re servants of music,” Terry Lewis said stressing the significance of pay equity for songwriters and producers. “It’s very important that we stress to those who are coming behind us that we have a voice and we have to use it to better their circumstances and the circumstances of those who come behind them.”.
The American Music Fairness Act is a bipartisan bill that would require radio stations to pay artists for the songs they broadcast. And it’s a bill many at the Grammys on the Hill Awards were advocating for.
Fran Drescher, also in attendance Wednesday night, was pushing for the bill, which is now in the House of Representatives, to go to the Senate.
“Even the biggest of the stars, unless they hold the copyright, don’t get paid every time (the song) airs and maybe 50 years ago that made sense, but right now it no longer applies to our time,” Drescher, who currently serves as SAG-AFTRA’s president told USA TODAY.
Dionne Warwick:Hey, radio stations, if you play my music, then pay me for my work.
“The Nanny” star noted that as an actress whenever she does work on a project, she gets paid when it airs and that right should be extended to musicians, songwriters, producers and others in the music industry as well.
” ‘Uptown Funk’ is the most played song in radio history and all of those people that were involved in making it that day don’t see a dime,” Drescher said. “The idea of using any kind of intellectual property and not paying for it seems very outmoded.”.
Congressmen Ted Deutch, D-Fla. And Michael McCaul, R-Texas were also honored Wednesday for their support of the American Music Fairness Act and Help Independent Tracks Succeed Act, respectively.
Wednesday’s event also brought out rapper Cordae who joked that one of the reasons he was at Grammys on the Hill was simply because “it’s convenient” since he lives in the city.
Aside from his proximity to the event, Cordae told USA TODAY he’s a proponent of those in positions of power using their influence to advocate for artists’ rights.
The “From a Birds Eye View” artist is no stranger to doing the right thing. Last year the rapper donated his proceeds from “Liberated: Music for the Movement Volume 3” to scholarships for historically Black college and university students.
“When you receive blessings, you got to be a blessing to others. That’s just how the world works… It’s each one teach one,” Cordae said.