Emily Lazar made Grammy history this year, becoming the first mastering engineer to land three album of the year nominations in the same year. Lazar was the mastering engineer on Coldplay’s Everyday Life, Haim’s Women in Music Pt. III and Jacob Collier’s Djesse Vol. 3. (She shared the credit on Collier’s album with Chris Allgood.)
The Grammys added mastering engineers as nominees in that category in 2002, four years after they added engineers/mixers.
But this isn’t the first time that one person has had three album of the year nominations in the same year. Two producers have achieved the feat.
Fourteen years ago, Rick Rubin was nominated as producer of The Chicks’ (formerly known as Dixie Chicks) Taking the Long Way and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium and one of five co-producers of Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds. (Rubin won for The Chicks’ album.)
In both of those years, there were just five nominees in the category. For the last three years, there have been eight nominees in each of the “Big Four” categories, including album of the year.
Lazar was first nominated for album of the year nine years ago (along with Joe LaPorta) as mastering engineers of Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light. She was nominated again last year, this time on her own, for her work on Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride.
While Lazar is the first mastering engineer to receive three album of the year nominations in one year, two mastering engineers have each received three record of the year nods in one year.
Five years ago, when there were just five nominees in the category, Tom Coyne was nominated as mastering engineer of Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk!” (which won), Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.” Coyne died in 2017 from multiple myeloma at age 62.
Two years ago, the first year that there were eight nominees in the category, Mike Bozzi was nominated as mastering engineer of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” (which won), Kendrick Lamar & SZA’s “All the Stars” and Post Malone featuring 21 Savage’s “Rockstar.”
The Recording Academy added mastering engineers as nominees for record of the year in 2012, 10 years after they added them as nominees for album of the year.
Lazar has been nominated once for record of the year, as mastering engineer of Sia’s “Chandelier” (2014).
Lazar is the founder, president and chief mastering engineer of The Lodge, an audio mastering facility that has operated in New York since 1997.
Lazar first made Grammy history two years ago when she shared the award for best engineered album, non-classical for Beck‘s Colors with three other mastering engineers. She was the first female mastering engineer to win in that category — a milestone that host Alicia Keys mentioned on the Grammy telecast. (Mastering engineers were first credited as nominees in that category nine years ago.)
No artist has ever had three album of the year nominations in the same year. Frank Sinatra and Tom Petty have each had two. Sinatra doubled up in 1958, the Grammys’ first year, with Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely and Come Fly With Me. Petty had two album of the year nods in 1989 with his solo debut album, Full Moon Fever, and as part of the quintet Traveling Wilburys on their debut album, Volume One.