(CNN) - The head of the Recording Academy has clarified his comments about women in the music industry.
After #GrammysSoMale trended during Sunday's awards ceremony in reference to the dearth of female winners, Recording Academy President and Chief Executive Officer Neil Portnow was asked by Variety about the underrepresentation.
He told the publication that female artists need to "step up."
"It has to begin with... women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level," he said. "[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome."
Pink, who performed at the Grammy Awards, had some thoughts on that suggestion.
"Women in music don't need to 'step up,'" Pink said in a handwritten note she tweeted Monday. "Women have been stepping up since the beginning of time."
"When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women step up every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal," the singer added.
Sheryl Crow also defended female artists.
"To put it on women not tapping into their creativity and not pushing for roles in the business of music such as producing, it seemingly comes off as sexist," she tweeted. "It is a strangely insensitive thing to say, particularly at this juncture of women standing up for themselves."
Portnow issued a statement to CNN on Tuesday, clarifying his earlier remarks.
"Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year's Grammy Awards," it said. "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," the statement continued. "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."
Some Grammy viewers were not happy with the lack of female artists represented on stage at the event.
There were some boos from the audience when Ed Sheeran -- who was not present -- won best pop solo performance for "Shape of You," topping Kelly Clarkson, Kesha, Lady Gaga and Pink.
Singer Sza, who was highly touted as one of the year's top new talents, received five nominations but no awards. Lorde, the only woman nominated for best album, was not invited to perform.
Alessia Cara was the only woman to win a Grammy during the televised ceremony.