The roster of artists set to perform at the 2023 Persons of the Year tribute concert honoring Motown founder Berry Gordy and one of its greatest stars, Smokey Robinson, includes both Motown royalty (The Temptations, Four Tops and Lionel Richie) and non-Motown artists paying their respects.
Persons of the Year 2023 will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 3, two nights before the 65th annual Grammy Awards. This marks the first time that there have been co-honorees. Gordy is also the first executive to receive the honor.
The roster of performers includes The Isley Brothers, who recorded two albums for Motown’s Tamla subsidiary in the 1960s but achieved their greatest success elsewhere; Valerie Simpson, who teamed with her late husband Nick Ashford to write many of Motown’s greatest hits; and Michael McDonald, who received a 2013 Grammy nomination for best pop vocal album for Motown, a tribute album to the label.
It also includes EGOT recipient John Legend whose huge crossover success owes a great deal to the trails blazed by Motown in the 1960s.
The roster includes three artists who are Grammy-nominated in Big Four categories this year – Brandi Carlile, who is vying for record and album of the year, and best new artist nominees Samara Joy and Molly Tuttle.
“I am so excited to share the always wonderful MusiCares event with my best friend Smokey Robinson and I can’t wait to hear these wonderful artists celebrate the Motown music,” Gordy said in a statement.
“I’m so excited for this year’s MusiCares lineup,” Robinson added. “These artists are my friends and I not only love them, but I’m honored that they will be performing my music, along with hits from the Motown catalogue.”
“We are thrilled to see such an incredible array of talented performers coming together to honor Smokey and Berry, two legends who have helped define modern music,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy.
“We’re bringing together such a unique lineup of artists not only to pay tribute to Mr. Gordy, Mr. Robinson and Motown, but also to raise awareness of the critical health and social service needs within the music community,” said Laura Segura, executive director of MusiCares.
The event includes a reception and silent auction, followed by a dinner and tribute concert. Since 1991, money raised from this gala has gone toward MusiCares programs that assist the music community, including physical and mental health, addiction recovery, preventative clinics, personal emergencies, and disaster relief.
The event will again be produced by live event broadcast company Lewis & Clark, comprised of Joe Lewis and R.A. Clark. Greg Phillinganes, who hails from Detroit, Motown’s home town, will serve as musical director. Phillinganes won a 2015 Primetime Emmy as music director of Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life – An All-Star Grammy Salute.