SANTA MONICA, CALIF. — The Recording Academy™ and Clive Davis will present the annual Pre-GRAMMY® Gala on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at The Beverly Hilton, the evening preceding the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards®. As part of the celebration, Clarence Avant will be recognized as the 2019 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons® honoree for his groundbreaking contributions to the music industry.
Sponsored by Delta, Hilton, JBL by Harman, IBM, and Mastercard, the invitation-only Pre-GRAMMY Gala has long been one of the music industry’s most prestigious events, having hosted the industry’s top leaders and welcomed the world’s most talented artists to its stage. For the past decade, the gala has also included a presentation to honor industry luminaries through the Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award. Past recipients include Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss, Irving Azoff, Martin Bandier, Sir Richard Branson, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy, Lucian Grainge, Debra L. Lee, Doug Morris, Mo Ostin, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.
“We are incredibly excited to honor Clarence Avant with this year’s GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Award,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “His pioneering work in the industry has redefined what it means to be a leader and opened countless doors for musicians from all backgrounds.”
“For several decades Clarence Avant has been the quintessential adviser to almost every successful African-American music executive and artist,” said Clive Davis, co-host of the Pre-GRAMMY Gala. “He defined the term master mentor and definitely has played a vital role in music history.”
Known as the Godfather of Black Music, Clarence Avant is one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry. Avant began his incredible career as a manager in Teddy P’s Lounge in Newark, New Jersey, during the 1950s, which led to him managing the careers of some of the most talented musicians during that time, including Sarah Vaughn, Freda Payne, Jimmy Smith, and Lalo Schifrin. Avant later worked at Venture Records and eventually started his own label, Sussex Records, which housed artists such as Bill Withers and guitarist Dennis Coffey. In 1976, he launched Tabu Productions, where artists such as the S.O.S Band, Alexander O’Neal, Cherrelle, and many more built their reputations. Avant continued on the artist management side as well, working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Kenneth “Babyface Edmonds,” and L.A. Reid. With more than 50 years in the business, the esteemed entrepreneur has been celebrated in various publications and by respected industry insiders. He has also received many professional accolades and awards, including a Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, an NAACP Image Awards Hall Of Fame Award, a BET Honors Entrepreneur Award, and many more. In 2008, the Recording Academy awarded Avant its Trustees Award
ABOUT THE RECORDING ACADEMY
The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music’s history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards® – music’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world’s leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.
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ABOUT CLIVE DAVIS
Clive Davis began his career at Columbia Records where he was appointed president in 1967 and signed such legendary rock artists as Janis Joplin, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Earth, Wind & Fire. In 1974 Davis co-founded Arista Records where he signed Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, and Whitney Houston, and further developed the careers of the Kinks, the Grateful Dead, Dionne Warwick, and Aretha Franklin. His business ventures include forming LaFace Records in 1989 with Babyface and L.A. Reid, and creating Bad Boy Records in 1994 with Sean “Diddy” Combs. In 2000 J Records was born (in partnership with BMG) and emerged as a dominant force, producing the works of Alicia Keys and Maroon 5. Davis was then appointed chairman/CEO of BMG U.S. Label Group where he oversaw an expanded RCA Music Group, including J Records, RCA Records and Arista Records. After BMG and Sony Music merged, in 2008 Davis was appointed chief creative officer, Sony Music Worldwide, where he continues to nurture and develop talent. In 2000 Davis received the Trustees Award from the Recording Academy and was recognized with the President’s Merit Award at the 2009 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons. As a humanitarian, Davis has made tireless efforts in the battle against AIDS, spearheading donations of millions of dollars for AIDS research. In 2002 the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music was created at his undergraduate alma mater, New York University. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School. His autobiography, The Soundtrack Of My Life, published in 2013, has become the largest-selling book involving music in history. The Ridley Scott firm has produced, and Chris Perkel has directed, a documentary film on his life: Clive Davis: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, which Apple TV, Apple Music and iTunes launched worldwide in 2017 and debuted at No. 1 on iTunes
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