Finneas Is One of the Youngest Grammy Nominees Ever for Producer of the Year

Luke Fenstemaker


At 22, Finneas is one of the youngest producers ever nominated for producer of the year, non-classical, at the Grammys. And he's the youngest to be nominated on his or her own -- not alongside a collaborator. That distinction was previously held by Lauryn Hill, who was 23 when she was nominated on her own in 1998.

Here are all the producers who were 25 or younger when they were nominated for producer of the year, non-classical. (They're shown in chronological order.)

Stevie Wonder, 1974. Wonder was 24 when he was nominated in this, the category's first year. He lost to Philly Soul master Thom Bell. Wonder won five Grammys that year, including album of the year for Fulfillingness' First Finale. The Motown legend won producer of the year two years later, when he was 26, as part of his Songs in the Key of Life sweep. He was nominated for a third time in 1980.

Steve Porcaro, Bobby Kimball, Steve Lukather, 1982. These three members of Toto were each 25 when they won producer of the year alongside the other members of the group: Jeff Porcaro and David Paich (both then 28) and David Hungate (34). The group won two other Grammys that year: album of the year for Toto IV and record of the year for "Rosanna."

Michael Jackson, 1983. Jackson was 25 when he won in tandem with Quincy Jones, then 50. Jackson won a record eight Grammys that year, seven of them for his blockbuster album Thriller and its singles. (Santana tied the record in 1999.) Weirdly, Jones was also nominated for producer of the year on his own: Jackson & Jones beat Jones solo. Jackson & Jones were nominated again in the category four years later for their work on Jackson's follow-up album, Bad.

Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Brownmark, 1984. These three members of Prince & The Revolution were 21, 24 and 22, respectively, when they were nominated alongside the other members of the group: Prince (then 26), Matt Fink (27) and Bobby Z (29). The award went, in a tie, to David Foster and the team of Lionel Richie and James Anthony Carmichael. Prince & the Revolution were nominated for two other Grammys that year: album of the year and best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal, both for Purple Rain. They won in the rock performance category.

Janet Jackson, 1989. Jackson was 23 -- two years younger than Michael had been when he was first nominated in this category -- when she was nominated alongside Jimmy Jam (then 30) and Terry Lewis (then 33). Peter Asher won the award. Jackson was nominated for three other Grammys that year. She won for best music video—long form for Rhythm Nation 1814.

Mariah Carey, 1991. Carey was 21 when she was nominated alongside Walter Afanasieff (then 34). Foster won the award. Carey was nominated for one other Grammy that year, best pop vocal performance, female for her sophomore album, Emotions.

Teddy Riley, 1992. Riley, who was at the forefront of the new jack swing sound, was 25. The award went, in another tie, to two teams: L.A. Reid & Babyface and Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois. Riley was nominated in two other categories, best engineered album, non-classical, for his work on Michael Jackson's Dangerous and best R&B song for co-writing "Jam," a hit for Jackson. He won the engineering award.

Lauryn Hill, 1998. Hill was 23, eclipsing Wonder as the youngest person to be nominated on his or her own. As noted above, Finneas now holds the distinction. Rob Cavallo won the award. Hill won five awards that year, including album of the year for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She was nominated primarily for her work on that album, but also for producing Aretha Franklin's "A Rose Is Still a Rose," a top five hit on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart.

Bruno Mars, 2010. Mars was 25 when he was nominated as a member of The Smeezingtons, along with Philip Lawrence (then 31) and Ari Levine (26). Danger Mouse won the award. The Smeezingtons produced two record of the year nominees that year—Cee Lo Green's "F*** You" and B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" (featuring Mars). Mars was nominated for a total of seven Grammys that year, winning for best male pop vocal performance for "Just the Way You Are." The Smeezingtons were nominated for producer of the year again the following year.

Finneas, 2019. Finneas has five nominations, including album, record and song of the year for his work on his younger sister Billie Eilish's When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? He is also nominated for best engineered album, non-classical.

2020 Grammy Awards