MusiCares — the Recording Academy’s nonprofit health and human service organization which helps members of the music industry through their financial, medical and personal hardships — is continuing to support artists.
The organization will honor Aerosmith as the Person of the Year during the 30th Anniversary MusiCares benefit gala on Jan. 24 in Los Angeles. The iconic band — made up of Steven Tyler, 71, Joe Perry, 69, Tom Hamilton, 68, Brad Whitford, 67 and Joey Kramer, 69 — is being recognized for their countless years of charitable work.
Ahead of the honorary celebration, complete with live performances from the band (with a drummer stepping in for Kramer) and other musicians, MusiCares vice president Debbie Carroll gave PEOPLE an inside look at this year’s gala and explained the importance of the work that the organization continues to do.
“The Person of the Year event is really one of the most prestigious events held during Grammy week,” she says. “It’s a star-studded gala that begins with a reception and silent auction that offers an exclusive selection. It really is an amazing, magical evening.”
Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammys coverage to get the latest news on music’s biggest night.
Carroll also explained why Aerosmith has been named this year’s Person of the Year.
“Aerosmith has done so much in terms of their philanthropic efforts for the past five decades,” she says. “They’ve done a tremendous amount to help support charities and they’ve made a tremendous impact in the music world. Their legacy is legendary and they are an amazing band so we felt that they would be the perfect honorees for this year.”
Aerosmith is connected with MusiCares for another reason, in addition to their charitable work. Tyler, the band’s lead vocalist, has been candid about his own battles with addiction and his rocky road to sobriety.
“Steven has been very, very forthright about his own journey with sobriety which always helps others who may be struggling,” Carroll says. “If someone’s struggling with addiction and they don’t have the resources to get the treatment that they need, they can contact MusiCares and we can get them into treatment almost immediately.”
The organization, which was established in 1989, has contributed more than $66 million towards the support of more than 66,000 clients in need. More than 170,000 people have received assistance from MusiCares since its inception. The organization has also provided aid towards relief after natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the California wildfires and more. Additionally, MusiCares has provided free healthcare services to more than 15,000 people.
“Music people and their work improve our lives, and our work and our mission is to improve theirs and to keep the music industry healthy and well,” Caroll tells PEOPLE. “The music industry is not always an easy road. Music people can be faced with many challenges, including long grueling hours which can lead to isolation, depression and addiction issues.”
Concurrently, MusiCares is working to de-stigmatize both addiction and mental health.
“Mental health and addiction are two topics that we take very seriously and I think the nation as a whole takes very seriously,” Caroll says. “In my opinion, mental health is somewhat of a branding issue in that there’s so many negative connotations associated with it. The more we can do as an organization to get people more comfortable with uncomfortable topics like these, the more we enable individuals to reach out to us when they need us.”
“We all have moments where we need a helping hand,” she continues. “But if we’re able to have honest dialogue about it, we can help more people get the help that they need.”
Join PeopleTV live from the MusiCares Person of the Year event honoring Aerosmith on Friday. Hosts Jeremy Parsons and PEOPLE’s Deputy West Coast News Editor Melody Chiu will be broadcasting from the red carpet.
The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards are broadcasting live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.