This year, three studio pros each have three Grammy nominations in a marquee category: record or album of the year.
Manny Marroquin has three album of the year nods as an engineer/mixer on Jon Batiste’s We Are, H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind and Lil Nas X’s Montero.
Serban Ghenea and John Hanes each have three record of the year nods as engineer/mixers on Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open” and the Doja Cat/SZA collab “Kiss Me More.”
Remarkably, this is the second time that Ghenea and Hanes have had three record of the year nominations in one year. And the last time they did it, in 2015, there were just five nominees in the category. (There are 10 this year.) Ghenea and Hanes were nominated that year as engineer/mixers on the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars collab “Uptown Funk!” (which won), Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.”
In recent years, we’ve seen several cases where studio professionals have received three nominations in marquee categories in the same year. This has gotten easier to accomplish since 2018, when the number of nominees in each of the Big Four categories (album, record and song of the year, plus best new artist) jumped from five to eight. The number jumped from eight to 10 this year. But note that several of these cases pre-date the expansion in 2015.
Working backwards, here are some prime examples of people with three nominations for record or album of the year in the same year. (No songwriter has ever had three song of the year nominations in one year.)
2020: Emily Lazar received three album of the year nominations as the sole mastering engineer of Coldplay’s Everyday Life and HAIM’s Women in Music Pt. III and one of two mastering engineers on Jacob Collier’s Djesse Vol. 3. (She teamed with Chris Allgood on Collier’s album.) Note: There were eight nominees in the category.
2018: Mike Bozzi received three record of the year nominations as the sole mastering engineer of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” (which won), Kendrick Lamar & SZA’s “All the Stars” and the Post Malone/21 Savage collab “Rockstar.” Note: There were eight nominees in the category.
2015: Tom Coyne received three record of the year nominations as the sole mastering engineer of the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars collab “Uptown Funk!” (which won), Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.” Note: These are the same three records on which Ghenea and Hanes were credited as engineer/mixers, as noted above. There were just five nominees in the category. Coyne died in April 2017 at age 62.
2014: Pharrell Williams received three album of the year three album of the year nominations as a producer of Beyoncé’s Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran’s X and as the sole producer of his own album, GIRL.
2014: Andrew Coleman received three album of the year nominations as an engineer/mixer of those same three albums — Beyoncé’s Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran’s X and Pharrell Williams’ GIRL.
2006: Rick Rubin received three album of the year nominations as the sole producer of Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way and Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium and as one of five producers of Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds. (His co-producers on the latter album were Timberlake, Nate (Danja) Hills, Jawbreakers and Timbaland.)
Producers have received nominations for their contributions to album and record of the year contenders since 1965 – the eighth year of the Grammy Awards. Engineer/mixers and mastering engineers were added to the ranks of nominees more recently. Engineer/mixers became eligible for album and record of the year nods in 1998. Mastering engineers became eligible for album nods in 2001 and for record nods in 2012.
The first producers to win for record of the year were A&M Records co-founders Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss, who co-produced Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’ sleek instrumental “A Taste of Honey.” The first producer to win for album of the year was Sonny Burke, who produced Frank Sinatra’s reflective September of My Years.
The first engineer/mixers to win for record of the year were Simon Franglen, Humberto Gatica and David Gleeson, who worked on Celine Dion’s film megahit “My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic).” The first engineer/mixers to win for album of the year were Commissioner Gordon, Matt Howe, Storm Jefferson, Ken Johnston, Tony Prendatt, Warren Riker, Chris Theis & Johnny Wydrycz, who worked on Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the first hip-hop album to win for album of the year.
The first mastering engineer to win for record of the year was William Bowden, who did the honors on Gotye featuring Kimbra’s quirky alt-pop smash “Somebody That I Used to Know.” The first mastering engineer to win for album of the year was Gavin Lurssen, who worked on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, a rare bluegrass blockbuster.