Following the lead of fellow female artists, Pink and Kelly Clarkson, Lorde has now responded in her own special way to the ill-informed remarks of Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, who, when asked about why more females didn’t win GRAMMYs, said, “It has to begin with … women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level. [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome. I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that [women] face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”
Lorde, who was nominated for Album of the Year, but was not asked to perform during the show (the only female nominee in the category and the only nominee not asked), took out a full-page ad in the New Zealand Herald as a letter to everyone who believes in female musicians.
The ad read:
Oh hi there! I’m writing this from New York City. Angelo and I sat in Madison Square Garden last night and saw a lot of crazy and wonderful things. I just wanted to say thank you, for loving and embracing Melodrama the way you did. My nomination belongs to you. Thank you, also, for believing in female musicians. You set a beautiful precedent! All my love, Lorde.
Portnow has released a statement apologizing for what he said, but there’s still a petition going around asking him to step down from his current position.
Portnow’s statement read:
Last night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s GRAMMY Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, “step up,” that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make,” he said in the statement. “Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it. I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.