Seventeen-time GRAMMY®-winning recording artist Aretha Franklin will be honored at the 2008 MusiCares® Person of the Year dinner and concert it was announced today by Neil Portnow, President of the MusiCares Foundation® and The Recording Academy®, and Les Bider, Board Chair of the MusiCares Foundation. Proceeds from this annual GRAMMY Week gala — to be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, in Los Angeles two days prior to the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards — provide essential support for MusiCares®, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
The recipient of a 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom honor (the United States' highest honor), the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, a GRAMMY Living Legend Award and numerous other awards and accolades, Franklin is being honored for her extraordinary artistic achievements as well as her philanthropic efforts, which include Save The Children, Easter Seals and various churches and food banks in the Detroit metropolitan area.
"As we celebrate the milestones of 50 years for The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards, it is most fitting that we honor one of the most influential and legendary talents in music — the incomparable Aretha Franklin," said Portnow.
"Aretha's musical legacy spans more than four decades and we feel it is an ideal moment to honor her career achievements," added Bider. "We look forward to paying tribute to her during GRAMMY Week."
The evening will begin with a special reception and silent auction that will offer an unparalleled range of luxury items, VIP experiences and unique memorabilia. The auction will be followed by a gala dinner, an award presentation and a star-studded tribute concert. The event is being chaired by Clive Davis, Berry Gordy and The Recording Academy's 50th Celebration Ambassador Quincy Jones. The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute dinner is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week, a celebration that culminates with the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10, 2008, from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The telecast will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Aretha Franklin began singing in the Detroit church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, while growing up in the 1950s. She made her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14 and has gone on to have a luminous career. Known the world over by her first name and as the undisputed, reigning "Queen of Soul," Franklin is incomparable. In 1987, she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1979 she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has received countless international and national awards and accolades and has achieved global recognition on an unprecedented scale.
She has influenced generations of singers from Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole and Chaka Khan to "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino and Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson. Her ever-distinctive soulful, to-the-bone vocal style has graced the music charts for more than four decades and while her live performances have touched the hearts of literally millions since she began her musical journey as a gospel-singing child prodigy, it is her rich legacy of recordings that are a testament to the power, majesty and genius of this one-of-a-kind artist of the first order.
Beyond the timeless classic hits such as "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain Of Fools," "Think," "Day Dreaming" and "Freeway Of Love" among the dozens of chart-topping records that have established her as a cultural icon, Franklin's catalog of more than 40 albums, many of which have achieved gold and platinum status, informs listeners of her unmatched, unparalleled artistry as an interpreter of song, bar none. Showing no signs of slowing down, she is preparing to launch her own Aretha Records. In addition, plans for a Broadway musical and a major motion biopic are in the works based on her autobiography, Aretha Franklin: From These Roots.
Established in 1989 by The Recording Academy, MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares' services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community. For more information, please visit www.musicares.com.
Established in 1957, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., also known as The Recording Academy, is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards, The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs — including the creation of the national public education campaign What's The Download® (WhatsTheDownload.com®). For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com.
For information on purchasing tables and tickets to the event, please contact Dana Tomarken at MusiCares, 310.392.3777.