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Meet Ricky Lyon of Recording Academy in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ricky Lyon.

Ricky, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m 26 and grew up in Temecula, California. A city not really known for anything but wine. And life moved at a much slower pace than I’ve become accustomed to in LA. A typical big dream I recall from my classmates at Chaparral High School was usually being a teacher, starting a wine and beer company, or becoming a nurse. I started college in San Diego with a focus on business but felt like I was missing something and wasn’t focused on a true goal. I had to rethink what I wanted to do in life and revisited my fascination in the entertainment industry, particularly music. I’ve always loved singing and songwriting, finding interest in every music genre possible. When my family tried pushing me in to law enforcement, you can imagine how disappointed they were when I told them I was moving to LA to pursue my real passion. Music.

While going to Santa Monica College (and sleeping on my grandma’s couch), I met my mentor, Joe Langford, who worked for the GRAMMY Foundation. After volunteering for some of his events like GRAMMY Camp and becoming a GRAMMYU member, he offered me an internship in 2015 which started my career with the Recording Academy. I learned the perfect balance of patience, repetition and proactivity as well as remembering to always be a student. Each week he would give me a list of big names in the music industry and expected me to return the following week with short bios, lists of achievements and a plan to reach out. There are definitely some executives out there that have most likely thrown a letter from me in the trash. I don’t see that as a failure at all. I met Harmony Samuels (record producer/label head) at an event and introduced myself, he said my name sounded familiar and began to remember the letter he received from me. Same thing happened with Om’Mas Keith (GRAMMY-winning producer) and I now consider him to be a friend and a mentor. The little things are bigger than you think.

From there, I worked in the Awards department as a temp for two summers and the Mail Room. There were times where I felt stuck, watching friends move up the ladder, but I knew that I had to continue practicing patience, I looked at every role as my biggest and took advantage of every possible opportunity which eventually led me to being entrusted with the position of Coordinator for the office of the President/CEO. I knew that I had to take advantage of the opportunity. The learning hit full stride and I found out what trial by fire meant. The workflow reached a pace that I never experienced before but luckily, my time in the mailroom meant that I knew the expectations of every executive and I knew every single person in the company, which made me feel very supported. I was then promoted to Manager of the Executive Office with my main job responsibilities including, but not limited to direct support to the President/CEO, VIP Ticketing during GRAMMY season, networking follow-ups, event support and management of In Memoriam submissions. I’ve come a long way from the Mail Room. My goal in life is to get as far as I possibly can to help as many people get even further. Investing in people is crucial for me.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, I don’t think I’ve had a smooth year yet. Every year it seems like I’m faced with a new challenge whether it be a new boss, a new set of coworkers, a new set of responsibilities or the obstacle that I still seem to face to this day which would be my age. I’m 26 and have had my fair share of battles with people looking down on me. I have a lot to learn but I’m a hard worker and I have the confidence of getting any job done because of my biggest skillsets; finding solutions, utilizing coworkers and gathering information. I’ve taken time watching others work and when it’s my time to shine, I take what I’ve learned from them and implement it in the best possible way.

Recording Academy – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music’s history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards — music’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world’s leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

We’ve recently announced the creation of our Black Music Collective (BMC), a group of prominent Black music creators and professionals who share the common goal of amplifying Black voices within the Academy and the music community. As a part of our commitment to evolving hand-in-hand with our membership, this serves as a space for members to speak openly about new and emerging opportunities in Black music across all genres and identify ways to drive more representation.

We cover a lot of ground in the music industry so the only way we can continue is by focusing on our efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. Throwing money at causes is one thing but creating a vehicle of change is crucial and that is why I am very proud to be a part of this organization.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It’s hard to pick a moment because every year, I am blessed with a new favorite. Once January/February comes around, I really get to see the outcome of what we’ve worked so hard on through the year pay off. So many different events lead to great moments, great music and great artists. I will say that I took over the management of our In Memoriam list three years ago and I am very proud to be able to give those that have passed a moment of remembrance and recognition. Compiling a list of over 600 names over the year is tough, but once I saw the segment on our show and in our program books, I saw the importance and felt a deep sense of responsibility. I’ve also been very proud to take part in work with MusiCares and the GRAMMY Museum. One of my projects for MusiCares included collecting resources for COVID-19 and having them put up on our website. Being able to contribute, even a little, is a great accomplishment.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @Lyon_Ricky

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