Music On A Mission: MusiCares’ Generation-Spanning Night

Music On A Mission might have been a remote event, but it brought people together through song. That is the power and significance of art during challenging times.


The Importance of This Virtual Show

Ahead of the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy put together Music On A Mission. This aptly named event raised money for music industry workers during these challenging times. The state of the industry has changed with few in-person opportunities and live shows going on. MusiCares, from the start, has been determined to benefit those currently out of work or at risk.


The Grammys report that “100% of ticket sales benefit MusiCares’ work supporting those in the music community hardest hit by the pandemic.”


Music is a vital aspect to almost everyone’s everyday lives. Radios are in cars, supermarkets play various in-store stations, and even elevator trips are made entertaining with instrumental tunes. This past year has been hard on everyone, but especially these professionals in a vital industry. The Recording Academy wanted to highlight those issues while still celebrating the spirit and expression of music. 


A press release for the livestream underscores that point immensely. “Mission On A Mission will honour the resilience of the music community, which has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19.” The artists involved ranged in genre, era, background, and style. This means that every charitable viewer and music lover had (at least) a handful of performances to enjoy.


During the Music On A Mission stream, there were an equal amount of music and statistics. Charity events are strongly based in the facts, as well as the entertainment. This was no different. The Recording Academy made sure to include that, “since its inception MusiCares has distributed more than $93 million” worldwide to music industry professionals in need.


$24 million of that was just during these unprecedented coronavirus times. 


There was also no Person of the Year at the event this year. Their plan was to celebrate “just people of the year.” The people behind the scenes who make music and live events possible even during these unprecedented times were being celebrated.


Jamming Out to Every Music On A Mission Act

Quarntine’s premiere DJ, D-nice himself, kicked off the event’s pre show. “We are celebrating music and life. This is Music On A Mission and I am DJ D-nice from quarantine!,” the entertainer began.


He went on to play slick reggae tracks, classic R&B songs, and many more groovy tunes. Hits like “Another Star” by Stevie Wonder and “Borderline” by Madonna were the perfect opening acts. They got fans, even at home, on their feet and ready to enjoy a slew of spectacular performances.


The star-studded show officially opened with none other than Sir Paul McCartney. With help from Cirque du Soleil, “Sergeant Pepper” warmed every viewer’s hearts. The ageless performer then jumped right into The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour.” The year of this archived footage was 2012 – when Sir Paul himself was honored as MusiCares’ Person of the Year.


Jhené Aiko followed up, but even with Beatle-sized shoes to fill, she was stunning. The star sang her hit “LOVE,” which had a perfect message for the night as a whole. “Now we are growing in love,” she sang beautifully.


The beloved Jonas Brothers’ came next, covering “Crazy” by Aerosmith. It was a ridiculously passionate and respectful version of the hit rock track. Footage of this came from just last year – one of the last live performances of 2020. Grammy-winners Aerosmith were 2020’s MusiCares Person of the Year, so the JoBros paid homage to them onstage.


Another Beatle joined in on the MusiCares and pandemic relief action. “Even the clubs are shut, so where can we go?,” Ringo Starr asked viewers. He was adamant about being a 30-year-long supporter of MusiCares. “I can only say one more time: Let’s give it up for the musicians and MusiCares. Peace and love,” the drummer concluded.


Even More Musical Highlights

John Legend hopped on the virtual stage to thank the organization for the resources they offered this year. He then went on to sing an emotive track about being connected with the ones you love. “You move, I move,” was the title, and it was a soulful, warming ballad.


Another “from the vault” performance was next in the livestream’s queue. It was Tom Petty, 2017’s MusiCares Person of the Year. It was one of the classic rock legend’s final performances ever having passed away later that year. The footage included a stellar reunion with fellow rock icon Stevie Nicks for a duet of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart.”


It was once H.E.R. came on that the live audience count went up to a total of 18,000 people. That is 18,000 people who had donated to the wonderful MusiCares cause and were jamming to the hits. H.E.R. came on to the screen and sang “Fight For You” from the movie Judah and the Black Messiah. The new song was not only very moving, but comes from a film that was just nominated for a Golden Globe.


The Recording Academy’s CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., then personally welcomed HAIM to the virtual stage. They sang their spectacular, Grammy-nominated, folksy rock hit “The Steps.” The three sisters made even watching a performance on a computer screen feel big and real. (The concert nostalgia really kicked in for audience members.)


“MusiCares, for me, was one of the most memorable moments of my career,” Lionel Richie came on to say. He was 2016’s Person of the Year, celebrated by his peers and admirers. Since then, he explained that he considers the organization to be more vital than ever. 


Usher, a world class entertainer, performed “Lady” by the Commodores at that 2016 ceremony. The rediscovered clip was fun and immersive, just like both Richie and Usher.


Music On A Mission Closes Out With A Bang!

No performance captured the spirit of live music and the night as a whole like Bruce Springsteen’s. The Boss had reunited with The E Street Band to perform the timeless banger “Born to Run.” The anthemic and rocking performance comes straight from 2013, when Springsteen was Person of the Year. He had fans playing his guitar from the edge of the stage while he shook hands with other audience members. The performance got the then-in-person crowd and the ones at home to dance, sing, and chant along to the powerful track. 


It was a miniature Bruce Springsteen concert in the form of an award ceremony and charity event…. But fans wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. 


South Korea’s very own superstars then hopped on the livestream. That’s right, BTS gave Music On A Mission a special performance of “Dynamite!” With bedazzled microphones, matching suits, and all, the K-pop boys commanded the stage (and screen). Surprisingly little choreography was in this “Dynamite” act, which shows the world another side of the boy band. It was a perfect act to have ahead of their Grammys debut with their nominated song.


The ever-mesmerizing Carole King then introduced Lady Gaga with a surprise final performance. Gaga covered King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” off the seminal album Tapestry. While dressed in all white and sitting at the piano, Lady Gaga stole the show in an ethereal manner. Closing out the event with this song allowed for a somber, but gorgeous conclusion to an important event. 


With almost 19,000 live, remote attendees, it’s clear the turnout for MusiCares’ Music On A Mission was grand. 

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