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In Performance at the White House - Approved Artists Bios (Gershwin/McCartney Show)

Talent Biographies
(As of 5/25/10)

“Paul McCartney: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House” is a PBS music special in the White House East Room that WETA will produce in association with the Library of Congress, Mark Krantz Productions and CoMedia.  President and Mrs. Obama will host the concert event on June 2 in honor of musician Sir Paul McCartney’s receipt of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.  The evening will include performances by McCartney himself and Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Jonas Brothers, Herbie Hancock, Emmylou Harris, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dave Grohl, Faith Hill, Lang Lang and Jack White, with remarks by Jerry Seinfeld.  (Program subject to change.)  President Obama will present the Gershwin Prize to McCartney during the event.  The ninety-minute music special, part of the PBS “In Performance at the White House” series, will feature the concert event, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.  The program airs Wednesday, July 28 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide, followed by an encore presentation at 9:30 p.m.  (Check local listings.)

An electronic press kit, including downloadable talent photos for promotional use,
is available at

Sir Paul McCartney
Recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Since writing his first song at the age of 14, Liverpool native Paul McCartney has dreamed and dared to be different.  In the 1960s, as the writer and co-author of The Beatles’ greatest songs, he changed the world of music.  Legendary albums include Please Please Me, Revolver, Help!, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White Album.  McCartney has continued to push boundaries of music over the last 30 years, first as a solo artist, then with the band Wings, and following that as a solo artist again, with recent highlights including 2007’s Memory Almost Full.  Most recently he received critical acclaim as “The Fireman,” a collaborative project between McCartney and revered ambient producer Youth, and for his 2009 work Good Evening New York City.  Equally renowned as a live performer as he is a songwriter, McCartney is also an accomplished, award-winning classical composer.

McCartney performs sold-out concerts to millions of people all over the world, with his 2009 line-up including The GRAMMY Awards; David Lynch Foundation’s benefit concert; headlining the Coachella Festival; and a five-week tour of the United States.  The U.S. tour included the inaugural run of shows at New York’s Citi Field Stadium, the site of the former Shea Stadium where The Beatles made history in 1965, playing a concert that defined the modern-day stadium rock show.

Among his many honors, McCartney was awarded a special Outstanding Contribution Award at the 2008 BRIT Awards at Earls Court in London and an honorary doctorate of music from Yale University.  He is a Lead Patron of The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and he was also appointed Fellow of The Royal College of Music in 1995 by The Prince of Wales.  In 1996, McCartney was knighted by H.M. the Queen of England for his services to music.
Additional Artists

Corinne Bailey Rae
In 2006, Bailey Rae launched onto the music scene with her self-titled debut album, garnering worldwide acclaim and multiple GRAMMY and BRIT Award nominations.  The album made it into the Billboard Top 20 in the U.S. — with Bailey Rae the first British female singer-songwriter to do so in decades.  Her latest album, The Sea, includes a collaboration with The Roots’ drummer Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson and keyboard player James Poyser.  Bailey Rae is also the central ambassador for international water and sanitation charity, Pump Aid.

Elvis Costello
An English singer-songwriter, Costello has followed his musical curiosity in a career spanning more than 30 years.  He is widely known for his performances with The Attractions, The Imposters and for concert appearances with pianist Steve Nieve, yet his interests span a wide range of musical styles.  In 2003, he began a songwriting partnership with his wife, the Jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall.  Costello has received two Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting, the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award, a BAFTA a GRAMMY Award.

Dave Grohl
This former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman is considered by many as one of the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time.  With multiple hits to his name, Grohl’s band Foo Fighters has won two GRAMMY Awards, including Best Rock Album in 1999.  In addition to leading Foo Fighters, Grohl’s other bands includes Queens of the Stone Age, Probot, and the recently formed Them Crooked Vultures.  His recent release is with Slash on their self-titled 2009 album.

Herbie Hancock
A true icon of modern music, Hancock’s illustrious career spans five decades and includes 12 GRAMMY Awards, including the 2007 Album Of The Year.  A pianist and composer, there are few artists in the music industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronic Jazz and R&B than Hancock.  In 1963, he joined Miles Davis’s “second great quintet,” regarded as one of the finest Jazz ensembles of all time, and Hancock’s career has included many critically acclaimed collaborations and solo work.

Emmylou Harris
An American singer-songwriter, Harris is an eloquent composer and an inveterate musical explorer who has been able to discover, rescue, and give new life to many a beautiful country, bluegrass and folk tunes.  This GRAMMY Award-winner has been a recording artist for nearly 40 years, as both a bandleader and solo artist.  Over her career, she has collaborated with many musicians, including Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, Dolly Parton and Neil Young.  Since 1999, Harris has organized the annual benefit tour Concerts for a Landmine Free World. 

Faith Hill
This American county singer has established herself as one of the music industry’s top vocalists.  Hill is a five-time GRAMMY Award-winner, who has also won three Country Music Association Awards, 12 Academy of Country Music Awards, four American Music Awards and she has hosted a number of music specials.  Hill’s philanthropic efforts work towards children’s literacy and she established, with her husband Tim McGraw, Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation, which provides funding for community charities to assist with basic humanitarian services in the event of a natural disaster.

Jonas Brothers
This American pop boy band consists of brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas.  Jonas Brothers have become a true global touring powerhouse, selling out arenas throughout North and South America and Europe.  In 2009, Jonas Brothers received their first GRAMMY Award nomination, and have won numerous awards from around the world, including an American Music Award, as well as multiple Kids’ Choice and Teen Choice awards.  Worldwide, Jonas Brothers have sold over 8 million albums, and have garnered 36 gold and platinum album certifications.

Lang Lang
A popular classical musician, Lang has played sold out recitals and concerts in every major city and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by all the top American orchestras.  In 2008, over 5 billion people viewed Lang’s performance in Beijing’s opening ceremony for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.  He is devoted to bringing classical music to young people worldwide and he founded The Lang Lang International Music Foundation to enrich the lives of children through a deeper understanding and enjoyment of classical music.

Jerry Seinfeld
An Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner and entertainment icon, Seinfeld has enjoyed critical acclaim and vast success as a stand-up comedian, television actor and best-selling author.  He is one of the leading stand-up comedians in the business and a co-creator of the award-winning Seinfeld.  When the series concluded after nine seasons, Seinfeld returned to what he loved most — performing stand-up comedy, and he now is seen across the country, offering his fans a constant flow of new material.  He is also currently an executive producer for The Marriage Ref.

Jack White
This American musician, record producer and actor is largely known as the guitarist, pianist, and lead vocalist of The White Stripes.  The band has had a series of critically acclaimed albums, and White has additionally worked as a solo artist with such musicians as Beck, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys and Bob Dylan.  White is also a founding member of the bands The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.  His acting credits include Cold Mountain (2003) and Walk Hard (2007).

Stevie Wonder
This beloved musician gained prominence in the early 1960s, and Wonder’s dance hits and love songs have segued over the years into thoughtful commentaries on the joy and injustice in our world.  Wonder has garnered 25 GRAMMY Awards, as well as the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.  He has also earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song, been inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, and received Kennedy Center Honors.  Wonder was the second recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, presented by President Obama in 2009.

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