Department of Recording Industry: Current News

MTSU Represented at the Grammy Awards

MTSU alums Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, Torrance Esmond, Wayne Haun, The Secret Sisters, and Jason A. Hall were nominated at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, which took place recently in New York City.

Sam Hunt was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for his song “Body Like A Back Road.” The track peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is quadruple platinum, selling over 1.8 million copies.

MTSU alumnus Hillary Scott of the country group Lady Antebellum was nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “You Look Good” as well as Best Country Album for “Heart Break.” The album peaked within the Top Five of the Billboard Top 200 chart. The single off of the album, “You Look Good,” reached No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

Matt Foglia at the 2018 Grammys
Photo: LB Rogers, Siara Strickland, artist Chip Taylor, Michael Ryan May, Foster Riggs, and professor Matt Foglia.

"I would never be able to do what I do had I not gotten the training from my MTSU professors," said Wayne Haun, who was nominated three times in the same category: Best Roots Gospel Album. He produced "The Best of the Collingsworth Family — Volume 1" by the Collingsworth Family, "Resurrection" by Joseph Habedank as well as "Hope for All Nations" by Karen Peck & New River. Haun also played an integral part in writing five songs for “Hope of All Nations” as well as two songs for the album “Resurrection.”

Torrance Esmond, an MTSU graduate, was nominated in the Best Children’s category as a producer for the album “Rise Shine #Woke” from the group Alphabet Rockers. Jason Hall, a 2000 MTSU graduate, engineered Little Big Town’s album “The Breaker,” which was nominated for Best Country Album.

The Secret Sisters were nominated for Best Folk Album for “You Don’t Own Me Anymore,” their third studio album. MTSU honored The Secret Sisters at the annual Pre-Grammy event held by the College of Media and Entertainment the night before the awards ceremony. “The great thing about MTSU is that they aren’t stuck in one old way of doing things. They keep up with an ever-changing industry so that they are modern and up to speed on everything, ” said Laura Rogers, a member of The Secret Sisters.

“The Secret Sisters' success story is one of ups and downs that is truly a lesson in perseverance and believing in yourself,” Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel said. “Instead of giving up, Laura and her sister Lydia kept fighting for what they believed in, driven by their passion for music, and their hard work has resulted in this Grammy recognition.” Even the President of MTSU, Sidney McPhee, praised the group, saying that they are, “a perfect example of what we mean when we talk about True Blue spirit.”

MTSU students worked alongside the Grammys’ MusiCares Foundation, which assists musicians and those who work in the music industry during times of need. MusiCares honored the band Fleetwood Mac as its Person of the Year for their music as well as their continuing support of charities. “The students were so excited to be even just a tiny part of something as big and known as MusiCares and the Grammys,” said Matt Foglia, a professor at MTSU who chaperoned the trip. “Being able to see the pride in their faces was a thrill as a teacher.”

Graamy MusiCares after-party
Photo: Michael Ryan May, Foster Riggs, Siara Strickland, LB Rogers at the Grammy MusiCares after party.

Students worked the silent auction as well as assembling gift bags and being VIP concierges. “MTSU continually outdoes itself with the opportunities it presents to the student body,” said senior Michael Ryan May.

Grand Central Station enroute to Grammys
Photo: Michael Ryan May, Foster Riggs, Siara Strickland, LB Rogers in front of “the clock” at Grand Central Station.

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