The Michael Greene Grammy Speech of 1999
The 1999 Grammys were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and the major categories were all about girl power! Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” won Record and Song of the year, and newcomer, Lauryn Hill took Best Album and Best New Artist honors. Stevie Wonder was the Musicares honoree and Elton was presented with a Living Legend Award. My speech started in the audience where the Grammy audience behind me said thanks to the fans with a standing ovation. I spoke about arts education, music therapy and announced two new Academy programs. The first was a program we produced in partnership with Mead Johnson called “Smart Symphonies”. We saw to it that millions of new moms went home from the hospital with a special take-home bag containing lots of baby goodies and most importantly an Academy produced special classical CD. This CD contained Grammy winning tracks that had been hand-picked by researchers who had conducted the ground breaking research connecting playing classical music for babies and an increase in their spatial intelligence. The second announcement concerned the Academy’s partnership with the then 1st lady, Hillary Clinton called “ The Arts through Education Initiative”. This program saw to it that every child received arts classes in schools, especially concentrating on the inner city and rural school systems. The Academy was rapidly becoming one of the most prolific non-governmental education program producer in the world.
Mr. Michael Greene Grammy President and CEO of the Recording Academy
Good evening folks and on behalf of the Recording Academy, we hope you are enjoying the 41st Annual Grammy Awards. There’s over a billion of you out there in more than 180 countries. You’re the fans, you are the music lovers, the main reason that we are all here tonight, and before the last chance of the new millennium slips away, all of these wonderful and talented people here, want to say thanks. Thanks for buying our music. Thank you very much for coming to our concerts, and for making us reach higher by always demanding our very best. So from all of us here to all of you, our partners, a great big thank you.
Thank you folks, this partnership, that’s so very nice. This partnership between you and the arts grows stronger every year in new and exciting ways. Recent groundbreaking scientific research astounds us. Building upon a compelling body of evidence that music is fundamental. Music is magic. Music therapists prove every single day that music is powerful medicine. Tearing down the walls of silence and affliction of Alzheimer’s, depression, Parkinson’s, and autism. And did you know the kids who study the arts, do an average of 40 points higher in math and science? Yep. And that music education is superior to even computer instruction in enhancing early childhood mental capacity and spacial intelligence. Soon the Academy is going to be announcing a groundbreaking nationwide program in support of early childhood development. Seeing to it that mothers of newborns leave the hospital with a very, very special resource kit; it includes education materials and a classical CD, produced specifically to help build the very fertile minds of newborns. And we’re also pleased that the Academy has joined with first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to celebrate the Arts Through Education Program. This will ensure that the arts will be made available for every child with special emphasis on those kids who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, because the arts provide self-esteem, self-reliance, and instill hope in these very places where hope and dreams are in short, short supply. So let’s fight for the arts because the arts advance our society, they speak to the soul, they bring different cultures together and now we know they just make us a lot smarter.