A 2018 audio production alumnus from the College of Media and Entertainment won his first Grammy for his engineering work on fellow Middle Tennessee State University alumnus Lecrae’s album “Church Clothes 4.”
Connor Back first connected with Lecrae while interning at Reach Records, the record label the award-winning Christian singer co-founded in 2004.
“My whole last semester at MTSU, I stayed in contact with the head engineer at Reach Records. At one point near the end of the semester, he called me and said, ‘Hey, the other engineer here at Reach is leaving, and I want you to come back and work for Reach. So that’s what I did. I’m still at Reach today and still engineering,” he said.
Nearly six years after graduating and continuing his work with Lecrae, Back said he was “happy to be part of something” being considered for a Grammy when he learned about the nomination in late 2023 under the category of Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.
The 26-year-old did not attend the 66th annual Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 4. He was at his apartment watching the awards pre-show when he learned of his win for his engineering mixing work on Lecrae’s most recent album.
“I was cooking dinner when I found out I won,” he said. “I was just not expecting it. In the back of my mind, I was hoping for a win; that it would be cool for a win.”
Days later, Back said the win still seems surreal.
“I don’t have anything physical in front of me to look at yet, so it feels a little enigmatic. But I imagine once I get the physical representation of the award in front of me, it’ll feel very, very real,” he said.
Back also earned a certificate from the Recording Academy for his engineering work on Lecrae’s song “Your Power,” which earned Lecrae a second Grammy this year for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.
Why Connor Back choose MTSU
Back, who is from Atlanta, Georgia, attended MTSU from 2015 to 2018.
“I sought out MTSU for all my schooling. I knew I wanted to study audio production, but there weren’t any great programs here in the state of Georgia,” he explained. “I was able to utilize Academic Common Market to get in-state tuition in Tennessee.”
After graduating, Back quickly began his career at the place where he interned.
“I was fortunate to launch my career like the week after I graduated back home in Atlanta,” he said. “I’m a mixing engineer, so I take the particular elements of a song, and I just try and make them glue together and sound the best they can.”
Back said he works with various musicians, including Christian pop and hip hop, as well as secular music, including David Kushner’s “Day Light.”
About MTSU’s Audio Production program
MTSU’s Audio Production program is one of the most established programs of its kind in the country. Students learn in world-class facilities and are taught by internationally recognized, award-winning faculty.
University alumni have worked for places like the Nashville Symphony, Eight Day Sound, Avid, Elite Multimedia and more.
For more information on the Audio Production program, visit https://www.mtsu.edu/program/audio-production-b-s/.
— DeAnn Hays (DeAnn.Hays@mtsu.edu)