“I am here tonight because I am so proud and so honored to pay tribute to a women who’s songs light up my iPod. No, no… They keep me going through some long rides and some long trips,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “[She’s] a woman whose service is an inspiration to me and to millions of people across the globe. My Friend, my Girl — Alicia Keys.”
On hand Wednesday night at what’s been dubbed Washington’s most interesting mix of music and politics, GRAMMYs on the Hill® (this year held at Washington, DC’s The Hamilton Live venue), the First Lady was the night’s special surprise guest, joining a line-up that already featured such notable names as Keys and country star Hunter Hayes (the evening’s emcee) as well as politicians from both sides of the aisle. She presented Keys with the Recording Artist Coalition Award.
“Now over the years, I have rocked out to Girl on Fire. I have tried — and failed — to sing along to Fallen. I have truly cried my eyes out at The Inevitable Feat of Mr. Pete. I have loved every minute of Alicia on the big screen and I have watched this woman sell tens of millions of albums and win countless awards,” Obama shared.
“But when I first finally got to meet this woman in person face to face, what struck me most was her seriousness,” she told of the artist she also described as “overflowing with a Stevie Wonder kind of love.”
“She’s not just a giver herself, she’s a force multiplier, encouraging others to give more,” she said. “I love this woman… This woman couldn’t be a diva if she tried.”
As for Keys’ response? “The whole time I was there sitting like, how can I have this transcribed somewhere that I can keep in my library? Wow…”
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy — internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Keys and others recognized at Wednesday’s awards event will take to Capitol Hill to advise Congress of mission of The Recording Academy’s mission to recognize musical excellence and advocate for the well-being of music makers.