First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Austin Wintory

  • Austin Wintory
    Photo: JB Lacroix/

(The Recording Academy asked some of this year's first-time GRAMMY nominees to collect their thoughts and share what it feels like to be nominated for a GRAMMY.)

"GRAMMY-nominated composer Austin Wintory." I have heard that phrase dozens of times since the nominations announcement on Dec. 5, and yet it still seems to lack believability. I can't seem to look at those words with matter-of-fact acceptance the same way I could any other description of me.

In other words, it remains quite unreal. My fellow nominees are a pair of highly acclaimed "newcomers" (relatively speaking), a pair of deeply established industry leaders, and one bona fide living legend. No amount of interviews, congratulatory emails or Twitter high-fives will ever make the side-by-side listing of Austin Wintory and John Williams feel like part of this reality.

All of that said, the way I found out about the nomination was quite wonderful and something I relish as being part of this reality. Christopher Tin, a two-time GRAMMY-winning composer and dear friend, bears the distinction of being the first to successfully bring video game music into the GRAMMY world. His ever-popular song "Baba Yetu," originally written for the PC game "Civilization IV," made its way onto his album Calling All Dawns, and the song and album earned him two GRAMMYs. Because of this music's origins, he became the first to bridge the GRAMMYs with the world of video games. By total chance, Chris spotted the news of the nomination before anyone else I know and emailed to congratulate me. I promptly called him (I was driving at the time) and he broke the news. It was not something I'd planned, and yet wouldn’t change a single detail: The world's first composer to ever have GRAMMY-nominated (and winning!) video game music was the one to inform the composer of the first GRAMMY-nominated video game soundtrack in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media category.

Nonetheless, everything since that moment has felt completely unreal.

(Austin Wintory is nominated for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Journey, marking the first video game soundtrack to receive a GRAMMY nomination in that category.)

Come back to tomorrow as we hear from first-time GRAMMY nominee Chano Domínguez. Tune in to the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10 from 8–11:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Meanwhile, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Facebook and Twitter for updates and breaking GRAMMY news.


Email Newsletter