Legendary Music Artists Honored for Their Important Career Contributions
At the 2018 NAMM Show in January, Roland and BOSS presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to synth-pop and electronic music pioneer Thomas Dolby and guitar virtuoso, artist, and producer Steve Vai. These annual awards recognize innovative music artists for their important contributions to the industry while using Roland and/or BOSS gear throughout their careers. Dolby and Vai join an exclusive group that includes past recipients Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Andy Summers.
2018 Roland International Press Conference
The third-annual awards presentation was part of the 2018 Roland International Press Conference in Anaheim, California. Held on the eve of the NAMM show, the gala event was attended by artists, musicians, and leading journalists from the music industry. In addition to the awards, the evening featured keynote addresses by Jun-ichi Miki, Roland Corporation CEO and Representative Director, and Yoshi Ikegami, President of BOSS Corporation.
Video Playlist: Keynote Speeches at the 2018 NAMM Show
2018 BOSS Lifetime Achievement Award: Steve Vai
The awards presentation began with Roland Corporation Vice President of Global Key Influencers Brian Alli presenting guitar icon Steve Vai with the BOSS Lifetime Achievement Award. Defying classification, Vai’s unique musical vision has built legions of devoted fans around the globe and universal respect among his peers. He’s won two GRAMMY awards as a player and a third as a producer/engineer, and has been nominated an additional nine times in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance category. Vai has sold over 15 million albums and received accolades and distinctions from the press, music schools, and music foundations.
Vai’s solo discography includes numerous album releases, all of which he wrote, produced, and engineered himself. Many have been released on Favored Nations, an independent record label founded by the guitarist in 1999 to bring his music and that of other innovative artists to the world. To help support his musical voice on stage and in the studio, Vai has used many Roland and BOSS products through the years, including the SDE-3000 Digital Delay, S-770 Digital Sampler, DS-1 Distortion, GR-series guitar synthesizers, and many others.
“It’s very touching to be given this recognition by BOSS, and I am honored,” said Vai as he accepted the award. “They have created many innovative designs over the years for crazy guitar players like me to play with…and dance on! Just about anything they came out with I wanted to feel, I wanted to use. It’s uncanny how year after year the company releases great tools for guitar players. Thank you to BOSS and Roland for all of the brilliance you put into your products.”
2018 Roland Lifetime Achievement Award: Thomas Dolby
Next, Roland Corporation Vice President of Global Marketing Paul McCabe presented the Roland Lifetime Achievement Award to singer, songwriter, producer, and synth innovator Thomas Dolby.
During the 1980s, Dolby forged a powerful new sound that blended his fierce technical chops, love for technology, and passion for music. He rose to international fame during the golden age of MTV with songs like “Europa and the Pirate Twins,” “Hyperactive!,” and “She Blinded Me with Science.” Dolby can also lay claim to being a music technology and software maven and a published author. He was the musical director for TED conferences from 2001 to 2012, and became a Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University in 2014.
After accepting his award, Dolby took guests on an informative and humorous digital tour of his career using photos, videos, and musical tracks. A highlight was the backstory on the original, now-famous sound bite from “She Blinded Me with Science,” followed by a live performance of the iconic ‘80s song.
“As a Roland aficionado for the last four decades, I am honored to accept this award and thrilled to see Roland’s technologies evolving,” said Dolby. “One of the new things I love is that Roland Cloud finally stuck all of Roland’s classic synths into soft synths, which is great.”