For the First Time, Gala Will Honor Two Greats While Celebrating the Legacy of Motown
SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MusiCares® has named Motown founder, GRAMMY® Award nominee, Recording Academy® President’s Merit Award honoree, and recipient of the GRAMMY Museum®’s Architect of Sound®: Vision Award Berry Gordy and GRAMMY Award winner and seven-time GRAMMY Award nominee Smokey Robinson to be honored at 2023 MusiCares® Persons of the Year. Gordy and Robinson are the honorees of the 32nd annual Persons of the Year benefit gala.
Proceeds from the event will provide essential support for MusiCares, the leading music charity providing music professionals health and human services across a spectrum of needs. The tribute will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Fri, Feb. 3, 2023, two nights before the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards®.
“MusiCares is thrilled to be honoring Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson at the 2023 Persons of the Year gala, which will be the first time we are honoring two legends together,” said Laura Segura, Executive Director of MusiCares. “With Mr. Gordy as the creator of the Motown Sound, and Mr. Robinson as his first writer and artist, their music, along with the many others who joined Motown, reached out across a racially divided country to transform popular music, creating a musical legacy like no other.”
The MusiCares Persons of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY® Week. It includes a reception and silent auction, offering an exclusive selection of one-of-a-kind items for bidding guests, followed by a dinner and tribute concert, featuring renowned musicians and other artists paying tribute to Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson.
“Wow! How honored I am to be named the MusiCares Persons of the Year, and together with my best friend of over 65 years, the great Smokey Robinson. How special is that!” said Berry Gordy, songwriter, producer and founder of Motown Records. “I am grateful to be included in MusiCares’ remarkable history of music icons. The work they do is so critical to the well-being of our music community, and I look forward to a most exciting evening.”
Adds Smokey Robinson: “I have supported MusiCares for many years and know what great work they do for our creative community who need our help. Recently, when no one could tour, they were a lifeline to those in the touring industry for monetary help and mental health services. I am honored that they have chosen me and my best friend and Motown founder Berry Gordy to share this beautiful honor and celebrate with you all together.”
Since 1991, money raised from this gala goes toward MusiCares programs and services that assist the music community, including physical and mental health, addiction recovery, preventative clinics, unforeseen personal emergencies, and disaster relief. The safety of our honorees, guests, performers, and staff is our first priority. The event will follow all necessary COVID-19 precautions, safety guidelines and requirements set forth by health officials.
The event will again be produced by live event broadcast outfit Lewis & Clark, made up of Joe Lewis and R.A. Clark. Fellow Detroit native, Greg Phillinganes, will join the special evening as Musical Director.
MusiCares helps the humans behind music because music gives so much to the world. Offering preventive, emergency and recovery programs, MusiCares is a safety net supporting the health and welfare of the music community. Founded by the Recording Academy in 1989 as a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) charity, MusiCares safeguards the well-being of all music people through direct financial grant programs, networks of support resources, and tailored crisis relief efforts. For more information please visit: www.musicares.org.
A man of vision, drive, talent, and determination, Berry Gordy started out as a boxer and songwriter, and founded Motown in Detroit in 1959. In a house that came to be known as Hitsville USA, his unique leadership generated an atmosphere of freedom of expression, and Hitsville soon became a 24-hour hit-making factory. Gordy built Motown into a record company with the most impressive roster of artists in the history of pop music by discovering, building and nurturing the artistic talent of singers, writers, producers – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie and the Commodores, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, the Temptations, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and many other music greats and is responsible for the “Motown Sound” that reached out across a racially divided, politically and socially charged country, to transform popular music.
In the 1960s, Gordy moved his artists into television, being among the first Black artists on shows like “American Bandstand” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, he released the recorded speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including “I Have A Dream.” Expanding to films, his movies include Mahogany, his directorial debut, and Lady Sings the Blues, which garnered five Academy Award nominations.
Over the years, Gordy has received five honorary doctorates, and numerous awards and inductions, including most recently, the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.
Berry Gordy’s unparalleled contribution to music and popular culture is chronicled in his autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown. It is the basis for his play “Motown the Musical,” which premiered on Broadway in 2013, garnering four Tony nominations. 2019 marked a year-long celebration of Motown’s 60th Anniversary, with the CBS special “Motown 60: A GRAMMY Celebration,” the release of his critically acclaimed documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown and wrapping up the year in Detroit where it all began, with Gordy being awarded the Motown Museum’s Legacy Award at the Motown 60 Weekend and Hitsville Honors. Find the Motown playlist here.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson’s career spans over six decades of hits. He has received numerous awards including a GRAMMY, Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts Award, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Born and raised in Detroit, Robinson founded the Miracles while still in high school. The group was Berry Gordy’s first vocal group and their single of Robinson and Gordy’s “Shop Around” became Motown’s first million seller. In the years following, Robinson continued to pen hits for the group including “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Ooo Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “Going to a Go-Go,” “More Love,” “Tears of a Clown” (co-written with Stevie Wonder), and “I Second That Emotion.” In addition to writing hits for the Miracles, Robinson wrote and produced hits for other Motown artists, including the Temptations’ signature song, “My Girl,” their first No. 1 hit, inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame®. As a solo artist, he continued his tradition of chart-topping hits with “Just to See Her,” “Quiet Storm,” “Cruisin’,” and “Being with You,” among others. Following his Motown career, he continued his impressive touring career and released several successful solo albums. Recently, Robinson co-wrote and appeared on “Make It Better” from Anderson .Paak’s album Ventura and the new Rita Wilson album Now & Forever: Duets, joining for “Where Is The Love.”
During the course of his 60-year career in music, Robinson has accumulated more than 4,000 songs to his credit and continues to thrill sold-out audiences around the world with his high tenor voice, impeccable timing and profound sense of lyric. Find the Smokey Robinson playlist here.
ABOUT LEWIS & CLARK
The live broadcast production outfit, Lewis & Clark, brings together Joe Lewis, founder of the Joe Lewis Company (JLC), and R.A. Clark, president and Emmy-nominated executive producer of Lion’s Heart Entertainment. As a team, the two have overseen thousands of hours of live television programming and thousands of live consumer and fan-facing events including 2022 MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Joni Mitchell, the Academy Awards Pre-Show, the GRAMMYs®, The Academy of Country Music Awards and all NFL tentpoles to include the Super Bowl, NFL Draft, Pro Bowl, and NFL Kick-Off Concert.
The company offers full-service TV production, live event production and creative services. Their Los Angeles campus offers in-house scenic fabrication, design and printing facilities, and an entire logistics staff. Find out more at: lewisandclark.tv