Bobby McFerrin is one of several music icons to receive the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023.
A 10-time Grammy winner, McFerrin has spent a career spanning more than 50 years as one of the world’s most renowned, innovative and technically proficient vocalists.
McFerrin has continually blurred the lines between pop, folk, jazz and classical music, exploring uncharted vocal territory through the use of scatting, polyphonic effects, vocal percussion and more. He’s known for his being a master of improvisation with exceptional range, fluidity and control. His legacy already lives on in a new generation of a cappella singers and the beatbox movement.
In 2020, McFerrin was named an NEA Jazz Master.
This year’s other recipients are Nirvana, Ma Rainey, Nile Rodgers, Slick Rick, The Supremes, and Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
In the Recording Academy’s other Special Merit Awards, the Trustees Award will go to Henry Diltz, Ellis Marsalis, and Jim Stewart, and the Technically Grammy Award honourees are the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and Dr. Andy Hildebrand.
“The Academy is proud to celebrate this diverse slate of influential music people spanning numerous genres and crafts as our 2023 Special Merit Awards honourees,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “Each creator on this list has made an impact on our industry — from technical to creative achievements — representing the breadth of music’s diverse community. We’re excited to celebrate this group of legends next month that continues to inspire and shape the music world.”