A2IM (The American Association of Independent Music), a non-profit that represents over 550 indie record labels, from Taylor Swift’s Big Machine to Bratmobile’s Kill Rock Stars, announced that Aimee Mann, the late Sharon Jones’ band Dap-Kings and hip-hop pioneers Funky 4 + 1 will headline its annual Indie Week awards show, the A2IM Libera Awards, in late June.
“We’ve got a good diversity. The independents have so many different genres, and we want to represent them,” says Richard James Burgess, A2IM’s chief executive officer. “We’re growing exponentially, in terms of the artists we’re putting on stage.”
Funky 4 + 1, influential in the late ’70s and early ’80s for “That’s the Joint” and other singles, started out on two indie labels, Enjoy and Sugar Hill. “They were the first hip-hop group on TV, and although they aren’t so well-known today, they were a very important group,” Burgess says. “And they were wholly independent.”
The show’s centerpiece will be a tribute to Jones and her late soul-singing contemporary, Charles Bradley, starring members of their bands The Dap-Kings and The Extraordinaires as well as indie R&B star Lee Fields. Bradley was the first performer at Indie Week’s Libera Awards in 2015. “Losing both Jones and Bradley within months of each other was very sad,” Burgess says. “It will make this tribute doubly emotional and meaningful to us.”
The member-only Libera Awards show, June 21st at the PlayStation Theatre in New York City, will follow four days of workshops and panels, including keynote speakers Tamara Hrivnak, Facebook’s head of music business development and partnerships, and Kevin Liles, CEO of 300 Entertainment.
This story has been updated.