What It Takes to Become a Grammy® Award-Winning Engineer


It’s that time again. Grammy season. When the mainstream music awards give honored recording artists not only the recognition to reach a wider audience, but a major boost in album sales. Learn how our Dark Horse Institute graduate was nominated for a Grammy Award twice and won.

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Engineers Make It Happen

It seems obvious, but people often forget. The fully amplified creative expression of performers during a studio session or live show couldn’t reach us without an audio engineer. Nor could the elaborate Grammy Awards production that explodes our most celebrated artists into the mainstream once a year. Whether listened to online or on television, you can thank recording engineers for making it possible.

Training Makes the Difference

So what does it take to be nominated for such a prestigious award? Dark Horse Institute graduate and Grammy Award winner Paul Rossetti knows. He won in 2015 for his engineering work on For King and Country’s album, ‘Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong.’ He also received a nomination for David Crowder’s recent album, ‘American Prodigal.’ Excellent training from experts in the field was crucial to his success.

‘Dark Horse Institute was truly essential for this career and the list of talented people I’ve been blessed to have worked with,’ said Rossetti.

After graduating, the learning and determination doesn’t end there.

‘Understanding gear and honing in different recording techniques is great, but it’s only the beginning,’ the 2012 graduate elaborated. ‘The way I see it, the engineer is a translator between the producer and the studio technology. Understanding what the producer wants and utilizing whatever tools you have available to achieve desired results is paramount.’

Grammy Award Guidelines

According to Grammy.org, the Recording Academy outlines basic guidelines to be nominated as an award-winning engineer in any of the 84 categories within 30 fields (including the newly introduced Digital/Streaming-Only music releases).

Before nomination can take place, the producer must first submit the full credits to an authorized label representative. Then anyone credited on a Grammy-winning recording can receive a certificate from the organization, but only the producer and engineer that contributed 85% or more to a song or album can receive the coveted statue. Winning ‘Best Engineered Recording’ in a category is one of the most difficult Grammy Awards to obtain.

In a competitive industry, hard work must remain part of the equation. Dark Horse Institute instructor and former Grammy winner Steve Lamm knows the winning formula for audio engineers. He won the honor for his work on the 2008 album ‘Alive and Transported’ by tobyMac.

‘You must become a master of your craft. Never settle for average even if it takes more time,’ Lamm advised. ‘You have to go the extra mile. Pride has no place in this quest. Humility is the key that opens the door to success in this business. If you do this, you will find yourself in a position to work with the best in the business and you just may find yourself with a Grammy with your own name on it.’

Download here more information on the eligibility crediting definitions for being nominated. Click here for the voting guidelines.

Be sure to watch the 59th Grammy Awards on CBS, Feb. 12, 2017.


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