The nominations for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced this week, revealing a strong lineup of projects in contention for statues at the upcoming ceremony. Full Sail graduates have had a long history of involvement with Grammy nominees and winners, and we’re proud to see this year continues that trend with alumni from our Recording Arts program featured on hit albums and singles in a range of categories.
Among the year’s most nominated releases is Kelly Clarkson’s fifth LP Stronger and its title track, which were produced with the help of 2001 Recording Arts graduate Orlando Vitto as engineer. This latest effort from the former American Idol is recognized in the Grammy’s biggest category, Record of the Year, as well as Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album.
Rihanna had another strong showing, with her 2011 album Talk That Talk and accompanying singles netting nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Best Short Form Music Video. Working on the album were a group of four grads – Fabian Marasciullo (1998; mixing), Calvin Bailiff (2004; mixing assistant), Jordan “DJ Swivel” Young (2005; vocal engineer), and 2009 Full Sail Hall of Fame inductee Phil Tan (1990; mix engineer).
Additional pop nominees featuring alumni include Katy Perry’s single “Wide Awake” – Best Pop Solo Performance. The track comes from the expanded edition of Perry’s third album, Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, and was supported by Kory Aaron (2005; assistant), Steven Dennis (2005; assistant), Carlos Oyanedel (2006; engineer), Jason Sherwood (2004; assistant), Phil Tan (1990; mix engineer), and Tim Roberts (1991; mixing assistant).
Florence and the Machine’s LP Ceremonials (Best Pop Vocal Album) and single “Shake It Out” (Best Pop/Duo Performance) also saw work from 1991 grad Matthew “Matty” Green as assistant. In addition, Green worked on Bruce Springsteen’s early 2012 release Wrecking Ball, with the single “We Take Care of Our Own” snagging nominations for Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Album.
A number of graduates also contributed to nominees in the R&B and rap categories. “Climax,” the hit single from Usher, is up for Best R&B Performance and featured three grads on its production. This team was Kory Aaron (2005; Assistant), Nathan Burgess (2009; Assistant), and Marcella “Ms. Lago” Araica (2002; Composer, Mixing). Marcella is also a 2012 inductee of the Full Sail Hall of Fame.
Drake’s Take Care was recognized for Best Rap Album and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, while the single “HYFR (Hell Ya F***ing Right)” saw nods for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. 2000 Recording Arts grad John Holmes worked on these sessions as engineer.
Another Best Rap Performance contender is Young Jeezy’s “I Do,” featuring Jay-Z and Andre 3000. Five grads were in the studio for the all-star collaboration, including Andre Lipscomb (2009; arranger/engneer), Brandon Parks (2006; assistant), Elliot Carter (2003; engineer), Nicholas “Nico” Solis (2002; engineer), and 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Leslie Brathwaite (1992; mix engineer).
It was also great to see alumni represented in the country music categories, with 2004 grad Matt Wheeler an assistant on Eric Church’s album Chief, which spawned the hit single “Springsteen,” nominee for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song. Joining it in both categories is Ronnie Dunn’s single “Cost of Livin,” from the album of the same name, featuring alumni Taylor Pollert (2004; Assistant, Engineer) and Chris Utley (2004; Digital Editing).
Blake Shelton’s track “Over” is another contender for Best Country Solo Performance, and included contributions from grads Andrew “Drew” Bollman (1998; Assistant), Bryan Braban (2000; assistant), Andrew Headley (2006; assistant), John Netti (2002; assistant), Mark Hagen (1986; digital editing), and Scott Johnson (1993; production assistant).
Finally, the Best Latin Pop Album nominees included the Juanes smash MTV Unplugged, on which 2004 Recording Arts grad Ron Sharpless worked as audio technician. It’s already been a strong year for the record, which recently won Album of the Year, Best Long From Music Video, and Producer of the Year at the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards.
These are only a portion of the Full Sail alumni who contributed to the music recognized by this year’s Grammy nominations, and we’ll be reporting on the full list when the winners are announced early next year. The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and you can catch the broadcast live on CBS on Sunday, February 10, at 8 p.m. EST.