Black Hole Zion: July 2023

Monday, July 31, 2023

Alternate Realities in the Recording Academy

 A bit of a long post here.  

I was accepted as a full voting member in the Recording Academy sometime in maybe 2014 or 15.  I worked on a couple of releases that made it through all the “consideration” stages, but didn’t get fully nominated.  Still cool. In 2017, I submitted two albums for Grammy consideration One was our release, The Great Repression.  No nomination, but we DID make it through all the consideration stages.  That felt neat since we are talking about a weird heavy metal album that wasn’t released by a record label, let alone a major label. I didn’t tell anyone because we ultimately weren’t “good enough” to get a full nomination.  The other was a classical album I engineered and co-produced called Mademoiselle.  That one clicked with enough “important” people and I was able to say I worked on a Grammy nominated recording.  What?!  I even got to attend the ceremony, walk the red carpet, go to the parties, etc…  Was I finally a legitimate musician, producer, and audio engineer?

Truthfully, I didn’t think I was.  There are a lot of mental health reasons behind it for me that I won’t get into right now.  However, one reason was just pointed out to me by my friend, Eric, on this most recent trip.  Impostor syndrome.  I didn’t feel like I was good enough to be there and I didn’t feel like my off-center musical background and tastes would fit in with all the “real musicians and engineers”.  I still don’t completely believe what I’m about to type, but that previous statement about being good enough or whatever is just not true. I’m working on it.  

Fast forward to this past weekend.  I was invited to the DC chapter of the Recording Academy’s Block Party event.  That is considered my home chapter. This is for members and their guests to attend informational panels, network/plan collaborations, and have fun. I almost didn’t go.  I literally requested my ticket at the last possible day because I was still thinking I didn’t really belong.  I was wrong.  

The folks at the DC chapter were kind and welcoming to me from the initial phone call, until I left the party, and even days after now.  It didn’t matter to them that I was from West Virginia and not a big city.  It didn’t matter to them that I was mostly a heavy metal, electronic, and classical music person. They wanted to know more about what I was doing and be as inclusive as possible geographically and stylistically.  Samiyah and Sharon were fantastic.  The emcee even gave me a direct shout out on stage.  I can’t speak for other areas, but the folks running the DC chapter were kind and friendly.  Because of this impostor syndrome, I probably missed out on a lot of nice interactions with this group in the past.  I will try not to make that mistake again. 

Outside of the chapter administration, I met several kind and interesting people.  Good conversations, and possibly a few collaborations to come from it.  Also, the food and musical entertainment were incredible.  Massive thanks to all of them.  Extra special thanks to my friend, Eric, for being an awesome date and travel partner.  

My takeaway:  Don’t let too much self doubt get in the way of really cool experiences.  Live long and prosper. ❤️🖖