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Tennessee State University makes musical history: Grammy Style

Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands is continuing to add to its legacy and can now include the title “Grammy-nominated” to its long list of accomplishments. The Recording Academy announced the nominations for the 65th Grammy Awards and Tennessee State University appeared on the list two times. The first nomination is for the marching band’s album The Urban Hymnal in the Best Roots Gospel Album category.

The Grammy Award is presented by the Recording Academy to recognize "Outstanding Achievement in the music industry" of the United States. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. How do you win a Grammy Award? It's not only top artists and producers who have the honor of voting. But it's also not every dude who works in the industry either. You must apply to be a Voting Member, and in order to be eligible you must have released a commercial recording in the U.S. (either in stores or “recognized” online music retailers).

The Urban Hymnal has 10 tracks filled with sounds that were all created on the campus of Tennessee State University and features gospel music powerhouses such as Jekalyn Carr, Fred Hammond and Kierra Sheard. The Aristocrat of Bands received a second Grammy nomination for their collaboration on a spoken word single with artist J Ivy.

To be eligible for a Grammy from NARAS, the recording or music video must be released in the United States between October 1 of the previous year and midnight September 30 of the given Grammy year. Entries are submitted by record companies as well as members of the academy and are reviewed to determine eligibility and category placement. The voting members of NARAS, through a series of ballots, select five nominees for each award and ultimately the winner; the voters cast ballots only in their areas of expertise. The winners are announced during a televised ceremony.

Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands is the first collegiate band in history to earn a Grammy nomination. Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of bands, said the nominations are a huge accomplishment for the university.

The nomination sets the stage for future opportunities in music but HBCU's have continued to build a powerful presence on TV and especially in the music industry. Whether it be Drake shouting out Jackson State and Grambling’s marching bands or If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, or Beyonce bringing the traditional black homecoming experience to Coachella Valley, the culture’s biggest superstars have always displayed appreciation for black universities, even in spaces where there may not be a single HBCU grad in sight. The Grammys will take place on February 5, 2023, at arena in Los Angeles.

Tennessee State University (or TSU) is a public historically black land-grant university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1912, it is the only state-funded historically black university in Tennessee. Tennessee State University offers 41 bachelor’s degrees, 23 master's degrees, and eight doctoral degrees. Today, TSU is divided into eight schools and colleges and has seen steady growth since its inception. It remains the only public university in Nashville and its health science program is the largest in the state and one of the largest in the nation. The 500 acre main campus has more than 65 buildings with its main campus with the most acres of any college campus in Nashville.


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