Middle Tennessee State University starts its sixth annual outreach at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles this weekend, Feb. 8-10, with a series of events for alumni, artists and executives with ties to its Department of Recording Industry.
President Sidney A. McPhee, Dean Ken Paulson of the College of Media and Entertainment and Beverly Keel, chair of the recording industry department, will begin their activities in Los Angeles Friday with a reception for Southern California-area members of the MTSU Alumni Association.
“Our annual outreach at the Grammy allows us an exceptional opportunity to connect with key alumni, executives and artists and celebrate the alumni being recognized during the recording industry’s biggest weekend,” McPhee said.
MTSU’s annual Grammy outreach garnered the attention of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, who plans to air a segment on the network’s national newscast Sunday evening based on weekend anchor Kate Snow’s visit to campus last week to report on the success of the recording industry department.
While at MTSU, Snow interviewed BryTavious “Tay Keith” Chambers of Memphis, Tennessee, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mid-December and who produced rap superstar Travis Scott’s No. 1 track, “SICKO MODE” with Drake, Big Hawk and Swae Lee. The song is nominated for best rap performance and best rap song Grammys and is part of Scott’s also-nominated No. 1 “Astroworld” album.
Snow also spoke with multi-nominated songwriter/producer and 2001 recording industry graduate Luke Laird, who is named in the best country song nomination list for co-writing Kacey Musgraves’ “Space Cowboy” and whose co-written “Butterflies” also earned Musgraves a best country solo performance nomination.
On Saturday, the college will hold a brunch at The Standard hotel in downtown Los Angeles in honor of repeat Grammy-winning songwriter/producer and 2003 music business alumnus Torrance “Street Symphony” Esmond, who’s recognized this year for producing “Hussle & Motivate” on Nipsey Hussle’s best rap album-nominated “Victory Lap” CD.
Then, later Saturday night, MTSU will co-sponsor The Americana Music Association’s pre-Grammy Salute to John Prine, a career-spanning tribute concert set for the legendary Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood, Calif.
And, on Sunday, MTSU will team with Leadership Music for a reception for Nashville-area recording industry executives and artists before the national telecast of the Grammy Awards ceremony.
In addition to Chambers, Laird and Esmond, five other university-connected people contributing to rap, pop, Americana, country and gospel projects will be awaiting the winning word on their projects’ nominations at the awards ceremony.
• 2010 audio production grad Michael Anderson, known professionally as Anderson East, who was nominated in the “Best American Roots Performance” category for his song “All on My Mind.”
• Repeat nominee, winner and 2000 alumnus Jason A. Hall, whose engineering and mixing on the Brothers Osborne’s “Port Saint Joe” album helped it earn a best country album nomination.
• Multiple award nominee and 2000 School of Music alumnus Wayne Haun, who’s part of the best roots gospel album category for producing “Clear Skies” by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound.
• Repeat nominee James “Jimmy” Mansfield, a 2014 audio production alumnus who worked as assistant engineer on both Ashley McBryde’s best country album-nominated “Girl Going Nowhere” and the Brothers Osborne “Port Saint Joe” project.
• Daniel Rowland, a 2008 Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies Program alumnus and an adjunct recording industry professor, who served as mastering engineer on multi-Grammy winner Seal’s 2017 collection of pop classics, “Standards.” The project is nominated in the best traditional pop vocal album category.
The Grammy Awards will air live at 7 p.m. Central this Sunday on CBS. You can read more about the MTSU-connected nominees in this story.
— Andrew Oppmann (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gina E. Fann (email@example.com)