LMU Choruses Spotlight Industry Inequalities in Recording Academy Video

Female members of the Loyola Marymount University Choruses recently participated in the 2020 Grammys’ Underdog Choir, highlighting the underrepresentation of women in the music production industry. Produced by the Recording Academy in conjunction with the recent Grammy Award Ceremony, the video features women from LMU Choruses performing an arrangement of “Underdog” by Alicia Keys, raising awareness that women only make up 2% of the music production profession. Over the course of the video, the singers begin to slowly sit down to symbolize the marginalization of women in the industry. At the end, only a single woman – representing the 2% of female music producers – is left to sing alone.

“I was absolutely delighted that the women from the LMU Choruses were presented with an incredible opportunity to work with the Recording Academy and the Grammys,” said T.J. Harper, director of choral activities at LMU. “Opportunities of this nature are rare and speak directly to the talent and ability of the singers within our choral ensembles. Each student was hired as a professional artist, allowing them to experience what it meant to work on a professional studio set, with experts in the field of music production.”

For the choruses, it was a fast-past process that took place over a long weekend, with a day-long rehearsal on campus followed by the filming at a Los Angeles-based staging area. The connection was made possible through a new initiative that Harper and CFA Dean Bryant Keith Alexander have developed called The Young Choral Scholars Program, which invites talented high school students to participate in the choruses. The mother of one of the high schoolers in the chorus is the Chief Digital Officer for the Recording Academy and reached out to Harper with the incredible opportunity.

“Being a part of this project was very eye-opening – most of [the chorus members] only had experience performing live before doing the shoot, so getting to work on camera was such a new thing for us,” said senior music major Megan Masson of her participation in the video. “The message of the Underdog video is extremely important in today’s world and really hits close to home for me. I think if we are able to help shine a light on the existing industry gender discrepancy in an impactful way, we can help change the narrative and inspire women – including ourselves – to keep doing what they love.”

 

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The LMU Choruses are open to anyone who wants to audition within and outside of the LMU community, regardless of background or level of experience. Visit our website for more information.

LMU Choruses/Underdog Choir participants:

Angela Samstag – community member, Meara Boughey – student, Tina Brauneck – staff, Claire Donnelly – student, Fran Hentz – community member, Carolyn Gerrior – student, Jillian Farris – community member, JoAnne Custer – alum, Maiko Olson – alum, Karlie Carbone – alum, Katie Balderama – alum, Natalie Kawasaki – student, Megan Masson – student, Lillian McCarty – student, Anna McCollum – student, Camille Orozco – student, Michelle Pak – student, Gabrielle Poma – student, Rosalva Lara – alum, Ashley Salisbury – student, Samantha Merevick Stegemeyer – alum, Jade Tinio – student, Carmen Venegas – student, Haven Watts – student.