Updated: Berklee Alumni and Faculty Earn 26 Grammy Award Nominations

By 
Liz Lupton
December 6, 2012
Claude Kelly '02 visits Berklee in 2010.
Phil Farnsworth

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences nominated 18 Berklee alumni and faculty for a total of 26 Grammy Awards. The nominees were recognized for their outstanding contributions across the spectrum of music, including pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz, Latin, and musical theater. Producers, engineers, arrangers, and composers were also nominated. To date, Berklee alumni have won 222 Grammy Awards. The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 10, 2013, and will be broadcast on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Berklee alumni boast nominations in the prestigious top three categories for the second year in a row. Producer, songwriter, and engineer Jeff Bhasker ’99 is nominated in the categories of Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year for his work on fun.’s Some Nights. In addition to his top three category nominations, Bhasker could also be named Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for Some Nights. Engineers Andrew Dawson ’01 and Pawel Sek ’00, who also worked on Some Nights, are up for awards in both Record and Album of the Year. John Mayer ’98 is also a contender for Album of the Year, as he was a featured artist on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange.

Esperanza Spalding ’05, 2011’s Best New Artist, is once again making a splash with three nominations. Spalding, who released Radio Music Society this year, is up for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), and Best Long Form Music Video. Spalding not only performs on the nominated work, but she also served as the album’s arranger and producer for the video.

A number of Berklee alumni are up for prestigious performance-based awards spanning a range of genres. Mark Kelley ’03 could bring home an award for Best Rap Album as the bassist for the Roots. Nicky Sanders ’02 of the Steep Canyon Rangers is once again nominated for Best Bluegrass Album. Clay Cook ’98, a multi-instrumental member of the Zac Brown Band, is once again nominated for an award: the group’s Uncaged could win Best Country Album.

As in years past, Berklee is well represented among jazz nominees. Six-time Grammy Award–winner Gary Burton ’62 is nominated for two jazz awards for his album Hot House with Chick Corea. Alumna Luciana Souza ’88 is nominated twice, once for her album The Book of Chet, which could bring home an award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and once for her album Duos III, which could be named Best Latin Jazz Album. Another contender for Best Latin Jazz Album goes to Bobby Sanabria ’79 for Multiverse. Alumnus Antonio Sanchez ’97, the drummer for the Pat Metheny Unity Band, is nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Berklee alumni also are nominated for their behind-the-scenes roles. Claude Kelly ’02 is nominated for Best R&B Song for writing Tamia’s “Beautiful Surprise.” Film scoring legend Howard Shore ’69 could win Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for the soundtrack to Hugo, and engineer Tony Maserati ’85 could bring home the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album for Jason Mraz’s Love Is a Four Letter Word.

Contemporary Writing and Production associate professor Bill Elliot could have a gramophone to show his class in 2013, as he is up for Best Musical Theater Album for his work as a producer on Nice Work If You Can Get It.  Fernando Gonzalez’ ’84 album notes for the Pablo Aslan Quartet’s Piazzolla in Brooklyn are up for Best Album Notes.

Berklee alumni also contributed to nominated items. Engineer and mixer Miles Walker ’03 mixed Lupe Fiasco’s Food And Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, nominated for Best Rap Album, and engineered Rihanna’s “Talk That Talk,” nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Brian Warwick ’03 was an engineer on Michael BublĂ©’s Christmas, which is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. This is the twelfth nominated work to which Warwick has contributed.

Liz Lupton is a publicist in Berklee's Office of Media Relations. She can be contacted at llupton@berklee.edu.

The full list of Berklee alumni and faculty Grammy Award nominations follows:

Category 1 – Record of the Year

“We are Young” (Fun.) – Jeff Bhasker ’99 (producer), Andrew Dawson ’01, Jeff Bhasker ’99, and Pawel Sek ’00 (engineers, mixers)

Category 2 – Album of the Year

Some Nights (fun.) – Jeff Bhasker ’99 (producer), Andrew Dawson ’01, Jeff Bhasker ’99, and Pawel Sek ’00 (engineers, mixers)

Channel Orange (Frank Ocean) – John Mayer ’98 (featured artist)

Category 3 – Song of the Year

            “We are Young” – Jeff Bhasker ’99 (songwriter)

Category 19 – Best R&B Song

            “Beautiful Surprise” (Tamia) – Claude Kelly ’02 (songwriter)

Category 25 – Best Rap Album

            Undun by The Roots – Mark Kelley ’03 (member of The Roots)

Category 29 – Best Country Album

            Uncaged by Zac Bround Band – Clay Cook ’98 (member of Zac Brown Band)

Category 31 – Best Improvised Jazz Solo

            “Hot House” – Gary Burton ’62 (artist)

Category 32 – Best Jazz Vocal Album

            The Book of Chet – Luciana Souza ’88 (artist)

            Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding ’05 (artist)

Category 33 – Best Jazz Instrumental Album

            Hot House – Gary Burton ’62 (artist)

Unity Band by the Pat Metheny Unity Band – Antonio Sanchez ’97 (member of the Pat Metheny Unity Band)

Category 35 – Best Latin Jazz Album

            Multiverse – Bobby Sanabria ’79 (artist)

            Duos III – Luciana Souza ‘88

Category 46 – Best Bluegrass Album

            Nobody Knows You – Nicky Sanders ’02 (member of Steep Canyon Rangers)

Category 55 – Best Musical Theater Album

            Nice Work If You Can Get It – Bill Elliot, faculty (producer)

Category 57 – Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media

            Hugo – Howard Shore ’69 (composer)

Category 59 – Best Instrumental Composition

            “December Dream” – Chuck Loeb ’76 (composer)

Category 61 – Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

            “City of Roses” – Esperanza Spalding ’05 (arranger)

Category 64 – Best Album Notes

            Fernando Gonzalez (Piazzolla in Brooklyn)

Category 66 – Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

            Love Is A Four Letter Word – Tony Maserati ’85 (engineer)

Category 67 – Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

            Jeff Bhasker ’99 (Some Nights by fun.)

Category 81 – Best Long Form Music Video

            Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding ’05 (artist, video producer)