PEOPLE, the Recording Academy and Sephora are co-hosting two events ahead of the 2024 Grammy Awards to honor and spotlight the voices of women in music
The 2024 Grammy Awards are days away, and ahead of the Feb. 4 celebration of the biggest names in music, we're also recognizing some of the more underrepresented artists as well: Women musicians, producers and more.
For the second edition of the Recording Academy’s Grammy House event series, PEOPLE and Sephora present “A Celebration of Women In The Mix,” dedicated to uplifting and spotlighting female voices in the music industry.
On Thursday, Feb. 1, Grammy-nominated guests will attend the luncheon, which includes a panel discussion between singer and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, country singer-songwriter Carly Pearce and recording engineer Marcella Araica, who has mixed tracks for Britney Spears and Madonna. Sephora Sounds artists Rawan Chaya and Beth Million will perform, with Dounia soundtracking the afternoon as DJ. PEOPLE editors Janine Rubenstein and Melody Chiu will host and moderate the event.
Later that night, PEOPLE will support Sephora Sounds in amplifying the “Beats & Blooms Emerging Artist Showcase.” Hosted by comedian Matt Friend, the event will see performances by rising artists including Aint Afraid and Tiana Major9.
Sparks, Pearce and Araica are among the many talented and impactful female artists who are making sure their voices (and those of other women in the industry) are being heard.
Last year, Sparks, 34, partnered with Women Who Rock — a female-led brand that seeks to support and fund women’s music endeavors — and nonprofit Hard Rock Heals Foundation to raise awareness for women’s health.
“Anywhere that I can encourage another woman in this industry, or just another woman in general, I want to be a part of,” the “No Air” singer said to PEOPLE.
And in an interview with radio host Kyle Meredith on his podcast, Pearce, 33, talked about becoming the first solo female country artist to top the country radio charts in 80 weeks with her song “What He Didn’t Do.”
“You have to have the people like myself and the few others that are getting there continue to show people that people want to hear women on the radio,” Pearce said.
Says Ruby Marchand, the Recording Academy's Chief Awards & Industry Officer (who will be providing closing remarks at the event Thursday), it's not just enough to get women equal representation — women should also not have to sacrifice having a full life outside of the industry as well.
"The biggest challenges have to do with parity for women in the industry and the difficulty of maintaining a work/life balance, especially throughout the arc of a full career," she says. "The industry has come a long way in recognizing women as innovators, entrepreneurs, executives and creators, but we’re nowhere near the point of parity with men. There is no question in my mind, though, that this will come, [but hopefully with] a personal sense of maintaining a healthy identity alongside a professional persona that we are each comfortable with."
"A Celebration of Women In The Mix” is part of PEOPLE and the Recording Academy’s ongoing initiative to bolster female representation in the music industry; Sephora is also committed to putting the spotlight on female musicians through their Sephora Sounds program and elevating up-and-coming artists with events like these.
As part of their dedicated Women In The Mix initiative, the Recording Academy asked top-charting artists to pledge to consider at least two women when searching for an engineer or producer. The Academy also devoted funds to promoting young girls’ involvement in music, and it has nearly doubled female representation in the voting body.
Maureen Droney, the Vice President of the Recording Academy's Producers and Engineers wing, says it's a platform near and dear to her heart, based on her own experience.
"I started my professional career as a music recording engineer when women engineers were extremely rare. Things have changed, and the recording industry not only has more women producers and engineers, it has many more up-and-coming women in the areas of production and engineering," she tells PEOPLE. "To me, Women In The Mix means women from all areas of the industry coming together to help, mentor, and encourage each other to realize their full potential and to succeed in their chosen area."
And though progress has been made, Susan Stewart, the Senior Managing Director of the Recording Academy's Songwriters and Composers wing, still sees some key challenges for women to overcome.
"I think there is a tendency for the industry, and society in general, to try and lump women musically into one category, making it more difficult to celebrate and encourage individual greatness. Women deserve more opportunities on playlists," she says. "And women songwriters can bring you to your knees. We need to hear even more of these songs."
Vice President of Membership and Industry Relations Kelley Purcell summarizes the initiative and its potential best: "I believe in the purpose and power of the arts in our society. And the arts are that much more powerful when there are diverse voices represented in all roles — from performers to producers to songwriters to executives and more. Women in the Mix endeavors to raise awareness about the importance of women’s voices in the music industry, to ensure a balanced, equitable, and representative industry for all."
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