5 Questions With...Diplo

January 22, 2013 -- 10:09 am PST

GRAMMY-nominated DJ/producer Diplo was the recent guest for an installment of The Recording Academy's 5 Questions With … series. Held at The Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., Diplo discussed his 55th GRAMMY nomination for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical, working with GRAMMY winner Beyoncé and life on tour, among other topics.

"I was in Asia touring [when I found out about my nomination] and my manager called me so flabbergasted," said Diplo. "It took me a while to accept it, and then all the Twitter [congratulations] starting rolling in … and it started sinking in how huge of a deal it is. … I think [Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical] is one of the most important awards because we're the guys who are back there putting our heart and soul in the music."

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Born Thomas Wesley Pentz in Tupelo, Miss., but raised in South Florida, Diplo emerged onto the Florida music scene with a sound combining elements of '80s pop, electronica, Dirty South hip-hop, and Miami bass. In 2003 he partnered with DJ Low Budget to form the party music crew Hollertronix, with whom he released the mixtape Never Scared, which was named one of the top albums of the year by The New York Times. His debut solo effort, Florida, was released in 2004 on Big Dada Records. That same year he collaborated with GRAMMY-nominated artist M.I.A. to release the mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1. In 2005 Diplo was named DJ of the Year by Spin magazine. That same year he launched his Mad Decent Records, on which he released Guns Don't Kill People … Lazers Do, his first album under the moniker Major Lazer.

Diplo earned his first GRAMMY nomination in 2008 for producing M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." He is nominated for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical for the 55th GRAMMY Awards for his work with Big Sean, Justin Bieber, Alex Clare, No Doubt, and Santigold, among others.