With all the hype surrounding the Grammy’s, we caught up with Debbie Carroll, Vice President, Health and Human Services at MusiCares, to shed some light on the importance of supporting and honoring musicians. Debbie will go in depth about MusiCares mission and accomplishments, shed light on their Person of the Year and discuss this year’s Grammy Awards.

SWISHER: For those who are unaware, can you please tell us about MusiCares and its mission?

DC: MusiCares was founded to provide a safe place for music people to turn in times of need.  Our services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies. We can provide short term financial assistance for personal or addition needs due to unforeseen circumstances. Funding may be awarded for needs such as rent, utilities, car payments, insurance premiums, medical/dental expenses, psychotherapy, addiction treatment and other personal expenses. MusiCares for music people regardless of the crisis and given such; we have embarked upon several relief efforts surrounding natural disasters or crises that affect music communities. We’ve provided support for Hurricane Katrina, Sandy and Harvey, the California Wildfires, Nashville floods and the tragic Route 91 shootings. Swisher Sweets made a generous donation to MusiCares last year to help support our Hurricane Harvey efforts in Texas and the funds donated made a tremendous difference in many music people’s lives who were affected by that horrific storm.  

Last fiscal year, we distributed more than $6.5 million in aid to approximately 8600 music people. In order to be eligible for MusiCares’ assistance, an applicant must document at least five years in the music industry and/or credited contribution to six commercially released recordings or videos. One doesn’t have to be a member of the Recording Academy or any other trade organization in order to qualify for assistance.

In addition to our financial assistance and addiction recovery programs, we also host a variety of preventative clinics, wellness workshops and addiction support services to help keep the music industry healthy and well. We hosted approximately 350 of these events nationally last year. Visit MusiCares.org for more information.

SWISHER: Tell us about this year’s MusiCares Person of the Year.

DC: Our Person of the Year gala was launched in 1991 and it takes place each year during GRAMMY week. The theme of the event is to honor a recording artist who has made important contributions to the world of music and significantly supported humanitarian and philanthropic efforts. The Recording Academy funds 100% of our operating expenses and our gala raises significant funds for our programs and services, while also drawing attention to the vital work that we do. We are thrilled to be honoring the first member from the Nashville community this year, the legendary Dolly Parton.  Dolly is an artist whom is greatly respected for not only her unparalleled contributions to country music, but also her generous philanthropic spirit. Dolly has supported a multitude of charitable causes from literacy initiatives to natural disasters and she couldn’t be a more perfect honoree for MusiCares.

The gala opens with a reception and silent auction and concludes with a live auction, the tribute concert and the award presentation. Some of the artists scheduled to perform include; Vince Gill, Don Henley, Norah Jones, Pink, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Mark Ronson, Mavis Staples, Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, GRAMMY nominees Leon Bridges, Lauren Daigle, Linda Perry and Shawn Mendes, and more. It is truly going to be a remarkable evening.  

SWISHER: Anything that you can tease us about the Grammy broadcast – any performance you’re excited to see?

DC: Well, each GRAMMY Awards telecast brings extraordinary artists together in spectacular performances. We are thrilled to have Alicia Keys hosting the GRAMMY Telecast for the first time. The numerous talented performers announced to date are in the press release here: https://www.grammy.com/press-releases/brandi-carlile-miley-cyrus-her-and-red-hot-chili-peppers-added-lineup-61st-annual.