Four more seats will be voted on next year – and every year thereafter.
Voting commenced Thursday (June 4) to elect four “trustees at-large” to the Recording Academy’s national board of trustees. Balloting will continue until June 10 at midnight PST. This marks the first time in the academy’s history that rank-and-file voting members can have a direct role in electing trustees — though the majority of the seats on the board (32 out of 40) are still being elected the traditional way, by the board of governors in each of the academy’s 12 chapters.
(Trustees serve two-year terms, and those terms are staggered, which is why only four seats are being voted on this year by the general membership. Four more seats will be voted on next year — and every year thereafter.)
Harvey Mason jr., chair of the board and interim president/CEO of the academy, said in a note to voting members, “For the first time in the Recording Academy’s six decades of history, you—our members—will directly elect trustees to our national board. This new process is part of our ongoing commitment to diverse and inclusive leadership.
“The accomplished music creators on the ballot have honored us with their willingness to serve. Let’s honor them by taking the appropriate time to review and vote in the ballot linked below.
“Voting is one of our most powerful mechanisms for inclusion and change. This will only succeed if we all do our part and vote.
“Today more than ever, it is critical that diverse voices be heard and represented at all levels of our industry. I thank you in advance for taking time to make your vote count and helping us add important voices to our board of trustees.”
These “trustees at-large” elections will result in three women joining the board, as three of the four contests pit two women against each other. And two of those women will be African American, as two of the contests pit two African American women against each other.
Here’s a quick look at the eight candidates competing for these four trustee at-large seats. Each candidate supplied a biography and photo which accompanies the ballot. These capsule summaries draw from those bios and Billboard‘s own research.
Seat #1 — Chelsey Green and Maimouna Youssef: Both women are African American; both have also served as governors in the Washington, D.C. chapter. Green, a violinist, backed Lizzo on her telecast-opening performance at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 26. Youssef, who in her bio notes that she “happens to be a Muslim woman,” sang lead vocals on The Roots’ Grammy-nominated recording “Don’t Feel Right!” (2006).
Seat #2 — Sarah Hudson and Natalia Ramirez: Hudson has written hit songs with such artists as Dua Lipa, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. She has also served as a governor of the Los Angeles chapter. In her bio, she says her priority is “fighting for women, POC [people of color] & LGBTQ visibility.” Ramirez is a musician, arts manager and audio engineer. She also works as marketing manager for the Sony Music Latin-Iberia regional office. Ramirez has served as governor in the Florida chapter the past two years.
Seat #3: Camilo Landau and PJ Morton: Both men are past Grammy nominees. As guitarist for the Nicaraguan band La Cuneta, Landau was nominated for best Latin rock, urban or alternative album for Mondongo. He has served as a governor from the San Francisco chapter for eight years, including a term as vice president and a term as president. Morton, a member of Maroon 5 and also a solo artist, is a two-time Grammy winner and a 13-time nominee. He was nominated for best R&B album three years running (2017-19). He is completing his second term as a governor from the Memphis chapter.
Seat #4: Carolyn Malachi and Kelly Price: Both women are African American; both are past Grammy nominees. Malachi was nominated for best urban/alternative performance for her 2010 album Orion. She served as a Washington, D.C. governor for four years, holding the vice president’s chair for one. Price has received nine nominations, including best R&B album for her 2011 album Kelly. She has served as a governor in both the Atlanta and Los Angeles chapters.