First-Time Nominee: Denise Donatelli

The Recording Academy asked this year's first-time GRAMMY nominees to collect their thoughts and share what it feels like to be nominated for a GRAMMY. Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13 on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

I was on my way to meet up with friends for dinner, and just as I was walking into the restaurant I received a text from my producer/arranger/pianist and dear friend, Geoffrey Keezer. Geoffrey told me he had been nominated for his arrangement of "Don't Explain," a cut on my album When Lights Are Low. My friends and I were toasting his nomination along with Bill Cunliffe's nomination for Best Instrumental Composition, who was also having dinner with us, when I got another text from Geoffrey saying, "You got a nom too, for Best Jazz Vocal Album."

I've saved the text and haven't been able to delete it yet. I'm still in shock! I've been fortunate to have released three albums, but a GRAMMY nomination was not only a goal, it is now a dream fulfilled. To be acknowledged in this way by The Academy is beyond my wildest expectations — especially given that I am in the company of such great artists who I have admired over the years.

Having been nominated also opens many doors, including the fashion ones. What do I wear to the GRAMMYs? To my pleasant surprise, I was contacted by an extraordinary designer, Sherri Hill (whose dresses have been worn by the likes of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood), to see if I would be interested in checking out her collection, which I did. Not only did I get to try on fabulous designer clothes that I am definitely considering for the GRAMMYs, I got to have my hair and makeup done by Paul Anthony, and photos taken looking red carpet-ready by famed photographer Fadil Berisha, who was there for a photo shoot with former Los Angeles Lakers star Rick Fox and his girlfriend Eliza Dushku.

I'm so looking forward to GRAMMY Weekend and attending the GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 13. It doesn't get any better than this! Well, maybe a win.

(Denise Donatelli is nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for When Lights Are Low at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. Donatelli released her debut album, In The Company Of Friends, in 2005, and her sophomore release, 2008's What Lies Within, reached No. 11 on the JazzWeek national radio airplay chart.)

Email Newsletter