Berklee Alumni Win 13 Grammy Awards

By 
Liz Burg
February 16, 2011
Producer Makeba Riddick '99 receives her first Grammy at the 2011 ceremonies.
Photo provided by the artist

Berklee alumni and faculty performers were honored with 13 Grammy Awards on music's biggest night for their outstanding contributions to some of last year's top releases. The winners were recognized for their work in varied categories and fields, including jazz, Latin, country, and production. With Sunday night's wins, Berklee alumni have now received a total of 205 Grammy Awards. One Berklee faculty member also joined the ranks of Sunday night's winners.

Esperanza Spalding '05 won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. As a jazz bassist, Spalding was a long shot for the award, competing against Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford and Sons. Spalding has served as a Berklee faculty member, and she stays in touch with students by making campus visits.

In country, Clay Cook '98, a member of the Zac Brown Band, took home a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for "As She's Walking Away."

The award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album went to keyboardist Ruslin Sirota '03 and pianist Hiromi Uehara '03 of the Stanley Clarke Band for the group's self-titled album.

Producer Makeba Riddick '99 along with engineers/mixers Brent Kolatalo '03 and Ken Lewis '91 took home an award for their work on Eminem's Recovery, which won Best Rap Album. 

Two Berklee graduates, engineer/mixers Chuy Flores '97 and Marco Gamboa '96, both won Grammy Awards for their work on Intocable's Best Norteño Album, Classic

Tommy Torres '94 won an award for his work as a producer on Alejandro Sanz's album, Paraiso Express, which was named Best Latin Pop Album. 

For his work as a producer/mixer on Buddy Guy's Living Proof, which was deemed Best Contemporary Blues Album, Tom Hambridge '83 took home an award.  

In R&B, Alex Venguer '02 won a Grammy Award as an engineer for John Legend and the Roots' Best R&B Album, Wake Up!

Tom Schick '95 took home a Grammy Award as an engineer/mixer on Mavis Staples's album You Are Not Alone, which was named Best Americana Album. Coincidentally, Berklee is awarding Staples with an honorary doctor of music degree at the college's commencement on May 7, 2011.

Berklee faculty cellist Eugene Friesen is also a Grammy Award recipient. Friesen was awarded a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for his performance as a member of the Paul Winter Consort on the group's album Miho: Journey to the Mountain

Read about more alumni Grammy winners.