Lionel Richie will be honored as the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, it was announced today by Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and The Recording Academy, and Bill Silva, Chair of the MusiCares Foundation Board.
Proceeds from the 26th annual benefit gala dinner and concert — to be held in Los Angeles during GRAMMY Week two nights prior to the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards — will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
To date, confirmed tribute concert performers include multi-GRAMMY winners Lady Antebellum and Pharrell Williams, as well as singer/songwriter Luke Bryan, reigning Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year. Rickey Minor, current music director for “American Idol” and past two-time music director for the GRAMMY Awards, will be the evening’s musical director. Additional performers will be announced shortly.
Richie is being honored as the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year in recognition of his significant creative accomplishments as well as his career-spanning charitable work, which has included support for an impressive range of causes over the years, ranging from AIDS and human rights to famine, poverty, human trafficking and women’s issues. He is also a longtime contributor to the United Negro College Fund.
“Each year our MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honors an extraordinary artist and humanitarian who lends their considerable time and talents to raising the funds necessary to continue to meet the ever-increasing need for our programs and services,” said Portnow. “And it is truly a privilege to be paying tribute to Lionel, whose musical gifts and philanthropy have touched millions of people around the world.”
“I’m really very proud of this,” said Richie. "As far as I’m concerned, this is the highest honor in our music business because it means you have a career. You’ve survived the journey, if you will. The people who have been there defy categories. When you say Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney — are you kidding me? When I got in this business I wanted to be like them. When you get recognition like this, it’s everything. It really is the top of the mountain when it comes down to what your industry gives as recognition for great work, and the opportunity to help raise funds to sustain MusiCares’ critical safety net of programs for members of the music community is momentous to me."
The 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year gala will begin with a reception and silent auction offering an exclusive and unparalleled selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. The reception and silent auction will be followed by a dinner, the award presentation and a tribute concert featuring renowned musicians. The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The celebration culminates with the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT.