MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — A dozen of the Grammy nominees in 2021 have Middle Tennessee State University connections.
Some of them include names you know like Hillary Scott, co-lead singer of Lady A. Others, like Jimmy Mansfield and Jason Hall aren't household names, but you probably know the work they've produced. "Little Big Town, with Eric Church, with the Brothers Osborne, and with Brandi Clark, and if they had done any one of those records, they could be mighty proud. But the fact they did all of those is truly impressive," said John Merchant, Recording Industry Management Chair at MTSU.
Other Blue Raider nominees include Jeff Braun, Wayne Haun, Lecrae, Laura Rogers and Lydia Stagle.
Over the school's history, former students and faculty have taken home more than 30 gold trophies. "MTSU’s recording program is one of the oldest in the country and it’s the largest," said Merchant. "It’s a thrill to see our former students go out and just kill it out in the world."
Merchant gives a lot of the credit to their impressive facility and faculty. "We have some really remarkable teachers here that are invested in their students. Like we are all in for our students," he said.
But Merchant argues, the difference maker is the students themselves, that hail from all over the world. "When there are other great students around, you kinda have to bring your A game, don’t you? You can’t just sort of phone it in or do B- level work and hope it’s going to work out," he said.
Only proving, when you get some of the best and brightest to meet in the middle, it can lead to Grammy gold. "Selfishly, it’s just exciting to see people who were just you know students, suddenly become the superstars they were destined to be," said Merchant.
Normally, MTSU sends a group of faculty and students to the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles every year to celebrate their alumni, but because of the pandemic this year, they had to watch it from home like the rest of us.
For more on each nominee, click here: