(LOS ANGELES) A gathering of Blue Raider College of Media and Entertainment students flew to "Tinsel Town" over the weekend and soaked-in the career for which they are being trained. Middle Tennessee State University students learned first-hand from the giants of the entertainment industry.
Dean of the College of Media and Entertainment Beverly Keel said, "In addition to being immersed in our state-of-the-art communication and technology facilities led by our world-renowned faculty, students go where the action is."
Middle Tennessee State University’s students, administrators and friends gathered in Los Angeles prior to the Grammy's to cheer on its five former students nominated for awards and deliver honors to one of them, Grammy-winning sound engineer Brandon Bell.
Bell, a 2004 recording industry graduate, earned multiple nominations in this year’s awards for his mixing work on Brandi Carlile’s “In These Silent Days.” He is up for album of the year and best Americana album, plus record of the year for “You and Me On The Rock.”
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Dean Keel presented Bell with a special certificate during MTSU’s traditional pre-Grammy gathering of recording industry executives and alumni in the music business.
“Brandon has been doing important work for years, so I am delighted that he received multiple nominations for this year’s Grammy Awards,” Keel said. “He is building a body of work that is shaping popular music and will stand the test of time.
“Brandi (Carlile) is one of the most important and influential artists in popular music. She could work with anyone in the industry, so her collaboration with Brandon speaks volumes about his excellence and reputation, as well as our internationally known audio production program.”
Bell grew up in a small Arkansas town and said that his uncle, a sound engineer for a radio program, convinced him to attend MTSU. A visit to the campus and seeing the breadth and diversity of Nashville’s music scene tipped him toward True Blue.
“It was amazing, the campus was amazing,” he said of his time at MTSU. “To get to see that the depth of music really existed around MTSU, and in Murfreesboro specifically, and to get to learn that Nashville was a lot broader than just country music, it was an easy decision.”
Bell, who’s engineered projects for artists ranging from Amythyst Kiah to The Lonely Island to the Zac Brown Band, plus Aaron Raitiere’s new album, won the bluegrass album Grammy for mixing “Nobody Knows You,” the Steep Canyon Rangers’ 2012 release.
Bell also was busy at the 64th Grammys last year. Carlile’s album’s lead single, “Right on Time,” released in 2021, earned three nominations for last year’s ceremonies, including record of the year. Bell also mixed the 2021 best country album nominee “The Marfa Tapes” by Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall.
He also has been twice nominated for the Grammy for best nonclassical engineered album: “Like Red On A Rose,” Alan Jackson’s 2006 CD, and Sarah Jarosz’s 2011 release “Follow Me Down.”
MTSU alumni, former or current students, and faculty from across the university have been a part of more than 134 Grammy Award nominations in the last two decades.