Who is Neil Portnow and why is he in news right now? Read on to find out more about this record producer, his net worth and controversies.
Who is Neil Portnow?
Neil Portnow has been in the news recently for having made derogatory remarks about women in the music industry. Portnow, aged 70 years, is a record producer and the president of The Recording Academy. The Recording Academy also known as NARAS (from its former name) National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), is the institution that hosts the Grammy Awards, or the Grammys. Before working as the president of the Recording Academy, Portnow served as one of the vice presidents of the Jive Records. His career span as a record producer has seen the launch of many successful music albums and artistes. Portnow has caused major uproar when he said at the Grammys this year that women should “step up” in order to get recognition. Enraged female artistes and executives have demanded that Portnow resign from his presidential post. Celebrity artistes have also slammed Portnow on social media.
Neil Portnow’s net worth
As a super successful record producer, combined with the salary he receives from The Recording Academy, Neil Portnow has amassed a net worth of millions. The last known figure of Portnow’s net worth is reported to be around 102 million dollars.
Neil Portnow’s Life and Career as a Record Producer
Neil Portnow was raised in New York and has been engaged in music since he started school, performing as a bass guitarist in high school for a rock band named The Savages. Portnow and his band also ended up releasing a record; however, it did not become successful. Portnow started out as a record producer after graduating from The George Washington University. He worked with such labels as RCA Records, Arista Records and EMI America. He also worked at 20th Century Records, first as senior vice-president and later as president. Portnow’s stint with Jive Records started with him overseeing operations at its West Coast division. During this time, Portnow helped shape the careers of many influential artistes like Britney Spears, NSYNC, and others of the 1990’s era. Portnow succeeded C. Michael Greene in 2002 to become the president of the Recording Academy. Portnow addressed his first Grammy night as the president at the 45th Grammy Awards.
Neil Portnow Controversies
More than his net worth or his career path as a record producer, Neil Portnow has been making headlines lately for his derogatory remarks on women working in the music industry. As president of the Recording Academy, Portnow made a speech at the Grammy Awards this year, where he made these remarks. After the ceremony concluded, Portnow was asked why only 17 out of 86 awards were handed out to female artistes. His response stirred both the media and the artists who held his views as sexist. Answering the question, Portnow said that he believed that the change (of women getting more awards and recognition) had to begin with the women. He said that women needed to “step up” in order to be recognized. This response from Portnow, who is at the helm of the music industry was severely criticized by women worldwide, who wanted to know what it meant to step up, as if women around the world and in the music industry haven’t already been doing it. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the “me too” hashtagging, female artists decided not to take Portnow’s words lightly. His response triggered the discussion over how sexism in the music industry needed to be outed. Celebrity artistes like Pink, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson took to Twitter to condemn Portnow’s words. Other artists and female executives from the music industry have written open letters slamming Portnow’s instructions to ‘step up’, and demanding that he “step down” instead, that is, resign from his post as the Grammys executive. Many believe, having someone with false gender notions at the helm of the music industry is damaging to the future of the careers of both female artistes as well as female executives. Singer Fiona Apple, even made her message clear with a slogan tee shirt which said, “Kneel Portnow”. Following this unrest and all the backlash he received, Portnow proceeded to clarify his statement. Portnow explained that his words, “step up” were not meant in the same context as they were being interpreted as. He said that those two words, when taken out of context, were not reflective of his belief, and that he recognizes that “women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced”, and adds that the music industry should “actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music.” However, Portnow hastily added that he regrets saying those two words which in his opinion, were just, “poor choice of words” and not his belief per se. Not very long ago, Portnow was also left scrambling for words trying to answer for why Harry Styles wasn’t nominated for a single Grammy, in spite of high anticipations, and why Ed Sheeran just had two nominations. Enraged fans of both Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran took to their Twitter accounts to demand a justification of their favorite artistes being snubbed even after a successful run. It seems controversies have a way of following Neil Portnow!