Updated: Apr 22
With all the glitz and glamor of the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, it’s easy to forget that many of the nominees share a connection that’s a little closer to home.
The list of award nods for the April 3 show includes current and former Belmont students, as well as faculty in both the university’s school of music and Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.
And while the nominations highlight different accomplishments — from songwriting to production to performance — many of the nominees acknowledge Belmont as their common ground.
Among the most well-known names is Cody Fry, who studied commercial music with a composition arranging emphasis at Belmont. Fry is recognized for his orchestral version of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” for Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals.
The 2012 graduate cited the Belmont community as an important part of his musical foundation.
“The reason you go is for the people you meet. It was the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who were as driven at the vocation of music as I was. And that was just so encouraging and collaborative and fun,” said Fry.
Also recognized in the category are alumni Nick Spezia, who engineered “Eleanor Rigby,” and Jared Fox, who mixed it. The three Belmont graduates hadn’t met prior to their collaboration on “Eleanor Rigby,” Fry said, but they connected at Ocean Way — one of Belmont’s recording studios where students grow in their skills.
Class of 2009 alumnus Allen Parker is also recognized for work on Yola’s “Stand for Myself,” nominated for Best Americana Album, and for The Black Keys’ “Delta Kream,” nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
Parker, who studied music business with an emphasis in production, said Belmont helped make it happen.
“There’s no question that my experience at Belmont and at Ocean Way, where I sort of worked right after school, taught me and equipped me for the career I have now,” said Parker. “Belmont, definitely, and the staff, definitely, sort of fostered that curiosity to go and figure stuff out.”
Prolific songwriter and class of 1999 graduate Ashley Gorley is also honored once again at the Grammys with nominations for Best Rock Song with “All My Favorite Songs” by Weezer and Best Country Song with “Country Again” by Thomas Rhett.
While the majority of nominees affiliated with Belmont are alums, faculty at Belmont also received award nods.
Jodi Marr has been a songwriting instructor at Belmont since August 2015 and co-wrote four songs on Gramps Morgan’s “Positive Vibration,” up for Best Reggae Album.
Marr, a songwriter and an artist developer, said teaching at Belmont has put her back in touch with what is really “cutting-edge.”
Marr also said she has always been more interested in writing with new artists rather than established ones.
“I think what I’ve learned from Belmont is just the magic of seeing … they can literally change the landscape of the music industry if we give them the chance,” she said.
Among current students, Liz Kate Slattery, a songwriting major in the class of 2023, is recognized for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for her contributions to the 2021 film “Dear Evan Hansen,” in which she played a supporting role and soloed on the hit track “You Will Be Found.”
“The professors really take the time to see you and appreciate your art,” Slattery said. “Feeling individually known and loved has prepared me so much for stepping into an industry where you are in a crowd of people trying to stand out.”
Balancing music, acting and college life, Belmont’s professors showed understanding of her busy shooting schedule, she said, and encouraged her work outside of class.
Victoria Banks, a songwriting instructor, shares her nomination for co-writes on four songs with Mickey Guyton on Guyton’s “Remember Her Name,” up for Best Country Album.
Currently in her first year at Belmont, Banks is new to teaching after years of working for Nashville publishers. Now she takes joy in helping students develop and shape their careers.
“I actually just had a student who won a songwriting contest based on one of the assignments in our class… and it was the most beautiful feeling for me,” she said. “I felt as happy for her as I would have been if it were me doing it.”
Also among the nominees are songwriting adjunct Dwan Hill — recognized for contributions on CeCe Winans’s “Believe for It,” nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song and for Best Gospel Album — as well as Tia Scola, a songwriting major who left Belmont in 2016 and co-wrote “Off My Face” on Justin Beiber’s “Justice,” which is up for Album of the Year.
The award show, originally scheduled for Jan. 31 in Los Angeles, will go live April 3 at 7 p.m. CDT in Las Vegas.
PHOTO (R): Grammy nominee Cody Fry, Belmont class of 2012. PR photo used with permission
PHOTO (L): Grammy nominee Liz Kate Slattery, Belmont class of 2023. Rich Fury / Getty Images
This article was written by Emma Halloran. Contributory reporting by Connor Daryani.