Hanging With Neil Young vs. Full access To Village Studios? #winwin
The Producers & Engineers Wing event has been one of my favorites since blogging for The Recording Academy. Every year they celebrate someone who represents producers and engineers in order to highlight the importance of those ‘behind the boards.’ This year's recipient was multiple GRAMMY Award winning singer-songwriter Neil Young. The event is held at the famous state-of-the-art Village Recording Studios which not only gives it instant cred, but guests were also given full access to wander about. Let's just say you would be hard pressed to find an artist who hasn't recorded there.
Following the red carpet arrivals and tour of the facilities, the party moved to the studio's second floor theater where the presentation honoring Neil Young began. First, a montage video showcased a man who has repeatedly set the bar for artistic excellence over the course of his accomplished 49-year career. His timeless acoustic songs, such as "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," "Old Man," and "Heart Of Gold," are essential listening to the country rock genre. Young's hard-hitting tunes such as "Cinnamon Girl," "Hey Hey My My," and "Rockin' In The Free World" have also inspired some critics to declare the singer the Godfather of Grunge.
The President and CEO of The Recording Academy Neil Portnow took the podium to applaud the room before welcoming Young to the stage.
"This is one of my favorite events because it's so unique. It really has its own special heart and soul,” he said. “It pays homage to the people. You people. Who work behind the scenes and devote their lives to not only make great recordings but to making great sounding recordings."
I could go on, and share with you Young’s response, but it wouldn't give justice to his speech if I simply transcribed and wrote down his words verbatim. The way this man talks about recording the moment, and the compromises made to create that moment, is something you have to be in the room for. Young spoke about the writing process behind "Like A Hurricane," hinted at the launch of his music service, Pono, debuting at next month's SXSW, but mostly shared the importance of always continuing to strive for magic. Before leaving the stage, he humbly ending with:
"I'm one of you. You're honoring me. You're honoring you."
We should all be so lucky.