Many of the songwriters, producers and artists behind the most prominent music in 2018 were on hand at the Grammy nominee party in Nashville on Thursday (Jan. 24) to express gratitude for their nominations and offer insight into the high caliber projects worthy of music’s prestigious honor.
For Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian, co-producers behind Kacey Musgraves’ glimmering Golden Hour, scoring nominations for the coveted Album of the Year, Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance validates the integrity of following their intuition. Working alongside Musgraves, they created a masterpiece of eclectic melodies and pure lyrics. “It just is validation that you don’t have to follow a formula…it doesn’t really matter how you get there, the end goal is something that moves people,” Tashian tells Sounds Like Nashville and other media. “We had a lot of trust from Kacey,” adds Fitchuk. “We had to earn that trust a little bit and that’s an important ingredient I think in making art is either trusting yourself or trusting the people that you’re working with who are going to be alongside you in that process.”
For Christian singer Jason Crabb, the Grammys have a poignant meaning. He was on his way to pick up his daughters from school when he found out about his sixth nomination. “They were so excited because the Grammys is like the deal,” he recalls of their enthusiasm in attending the awards show with him. “That’s the most exciting thing probably for me is for them to experience this, people to love on them, for them to feel like real princesses for a moment.” Crabb is nominated for Best Roots Gospel Album with Unexpected, produced by Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus that also features Gary LeVox on “You Chose to Be My Friend.” “Jay DeMarcus is one of the greatest guys on the planet,” Crabb praises. “The Flatts have been really kind to me. I did the Dove Awards this last year and Gary LeVox said ‘you make sure that I get to come out and sing with you on that.’ And so for them to do those kinds of things and me do what kind of music that I do… I was very honored, so thankful.”
Songwriter Jordan Reynolds experienced a monumental year in 2018 with the success of Dan + Shay’s “Tequila,” co-written with Dan Smyers and Nicolle Galyon. “Tequila” scored Reynolds his first nomination at the revered awards show in the categories of Best Country Song and Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Reynolds recalls that the idea for the song came when he heard somebody say it in passing and was intrigued by the line “when I taste of tequila,” which ultimately became the song’s hook. It’s since become a massive hit for the duo, crossing over to pop radio and garnering more than 100 million streams. “I think one of the biggest things is nostalgic songs hit everybody. I am happily married but I love that feeling, everybody loves that feeling of missing someone. Even if you’ve never broken up with someone, you just know that feeling of missing,” Reynolds says of the song’s impact. “To see people respond to something that you love, as a songwriter, that’s the biggest win.”
For music veteran Brenda Lee, being a part of the Recording Academy has always held resonance. Lee received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and her famous hit, “I’m Sorry,” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Now, 20 years later, her iconic holiday staple “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” has been bestowed with that same honor. “I recorded it when I was 12, and it’s still here, it’s still relevant. That speaks to the talent of Owen [Bradley] and the A-Team and the Anita Kerr Singers. It’s wonderful,” Lee reflects on the success of the iconic Christmas song and its Grammy Hall of Fame induction. “It’s always an unbelievable thing.”
The 2019 Grammy Awards air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 10) at 8PM ET on CBS.