Recording Academy President Neil Portnow / Image via Getty

On Monday Neil Portnow, Recording Academy president and CEO, told press that women artists who wanted to be engineers, producers, musicians, needed to “step up” because they’d be more than welcome. He said this after a particularly dismal Grammy awards in which only one woman, Alessia Cara, took home an award for her work alone.

Artists like Charli XCX and P!nk disputed his comments and now Portnow is understandably walking back his statement on what women need to do in order to be considered award-worthy. In a statement published on Variety, Portnow writes:

Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.

Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it. I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.

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Sounds great Neil! A good first step would be to release how many women are eligible voters in the Recording Academy so the public can understand exactly who exactly gets to choose the winners (and how many women I suspect are shut out from that process.)