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Sonos One Smart Speaker Launches With Alexa Support
Announced earlier this month, the Sonos One smart speaker became available on Oct. 25. Billed as "the smart speaker for music lovers," golden-ear listeners such as Rick Rubin were consulted during product development to ensure great sound quality. Sonos One is supported by the Amazon Alexa voice assistant at launch with support anticipated for Google Assistant and Apple's Siri next year.
"There are quicker paths to getting the product to market," director of partnerships Ryan Taylor told Billboard, "but there's also the right path to launching the right, intuitive experience that falls in line with consumers' expectations." In this case, make that high expectations, raised by Sonos' emphasis on sound quality and listening experience.
Sonos was in the running to be a bigger player sooner in the voice-controlled, connected home, and they still have relationships internationally and with artists that can help establish a strong market footing. Sonos presently has full voice support for Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and SiriusXM, with plans for Spotify and additional services later this year. Sonos also launched its "Works with Sonos" partnership program and developer portal earlier this month, hoping to reach a higher level both for itself, its partners, and for voice-controlled music at home.
Grab Signed GRAMMYs Memorabilia From Adele, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Halsey, And DNCE On eBay
GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions — in celebration of the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards — is offering more than 100 exclusive items, including once-in-a-lifetime VIP experiences, memorabilia from world-renowned celebrities and official GRAMMY merchandise signed backstage at the GRAMMY Awards, available now through Feb. 23 via www.ebay.com/grammy.
Bid now for your chance to win show tickets, a meet-and-greet, and soundcheck passes to a future Andy Grammer show plus signed merchandise; VIP experiences for the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals; guitars autographed by Beyoncé, Kenny Chesney, DNCE, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Bruno Mars, Paul Simon, Chris Stapleton, Panic! At The Disco's Brendon Urie; and music memorabilia autographed by Adele, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Metallica, Rick Rubin, Linda Ronstadt, Troye Sivan, and many more.
The Producer Of The Year Category Turns 40
Pharrell Williams could be headed for the GRAMMY history book this year. Williams is nominated for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical, an award he previously won in 2003 as a member of the Neptunes (with Chad Hugo). If Williams wins this year, he'll become only the third producer to win in this category both on his own and with a partner. The first two were Quincy Jones (he won twice on his own and once with Michael Jackson) and Babyface (he won three times on his own and once with L.A. Reid).
This year's other nominees are Rob Cavallo, Dr. Luke, Ariel Rechtshaid, and Jeff Tweedy. This is the fifth nomination in this category for Cavallo (who won in 1998), the third for Williams and the second for Dr. Luke. Rechtshaid and Tweedy are first-time nominees in the category.
The 56th GRAMMY Awards will mark the 40th year that the award for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical will be presented. That milestone is a good excuse to look back at the winners and nominees in the category through the years.
The Recording Academy added the Producer Of The Year category in 1974, 16 years after the inaugural GRAMMY Awards. The nominees that first year were Thom Bell, Rick Hall (who will receive a Recording Academy Trustees Award this year), Billy Sherrill, Lenny Waronker, and Stevie Wonder. On March 1, 1975, Bell was announced as the first winner.
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical is now one of the night’s most anticipated awards. (The Non-Classical portion of the title was added in 1980 to distinguish the category from Producer Of The Year, Classical, which was introduced in 1979.)
Babyface has won Producer Of The Year four times, more than anyone else. He and Reid won as a team in 1992, when their credits included the Boomerang soundtrack and hits by TLC and Bobby Brown. Babyface won on his own three years in a row, from 1995 through 1997. (He’s the only producer to win the award in back-to-back years — much less score a “three-peat.”)
Jones and David Foster are close behind, with three Producer Of The Year victories each. Peter Asher, Arif Mardin and Rick Rubin have each won the award twice.
Jones was the first two-time winner in the category and also the first three-time winner.
Foster, who was born in Victoria, British Columbia, has won the award more times than any other producer who was born outside of the U.S.
Mardin holds the record for the longest span of Producer Of The Year awards: 27 years. He first won in 1975 (when his credits included albums by Bee Gees and Average White Band) and again in 2002 (the year of Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me).
Mardin set another record in 2002 as the oldest Producer Of The Year winner. He was 70 at the time.
The youngest winners of Producer Of The Year to date are Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro of Toto and Michael Jackson. All were just 25 when they won.
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis have received the most nominations for Producer Of The Year: 11. Jones and Foster are runners-up, with eight each. Babyface is next in line, with six.
Nigel Godrich, best known for his work with Radiohead, holds the bittersweet distinction of the most nominations without a win: five.
Wonder, who won in 1976, was the first self-produced artist to win. Many others have followed his lead, including last year’s winner, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.
Four self-produced artists have won in tandem with creative partners: Bee Gees (with Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson), Jackson (with Jones), Lionel Richie (with James Anthony Carmichael) and Phil Collins (with Hugh Padgham).
Other twosomes to have won are Jam & Lewis, who had played together in the Time; Babyface & Reid, who had played together in the Deele; Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois; and the Neptunes (Williams and Hugo), who are members of N.E.R.D.
Producer Of The Year winners have diverse backgrounds. Before becoming a top producer, Asher played a part in the British Invasion as one-half of Peter And Gordon. Foster and the members of Toto were in-demand studio musicians. Jones was a top arranger and Hollywood film scorer.
Prior to winning Producer Of The Year, many recipients had previously won GRAMMYs in other capacities. Phil Ramone and Neil Dorfsman had won as engineers; Steve Lillywhite and Brendan O’Brien as engineer/mixers; and Larry Butler, Toto’s David Paich and Narada Michael Walden as songwriters.
Producer Of The Year winners have come from all over the world. Asher, Collins & Padgham, Eno, Lillywhite, Mark Ronson, and Paul Epworth were born in England. Foster and Lanois were born in Canada; Bell in Jamaica; Mardin in Turkey; Bee Gees in Isle of Man; Ramone in South Africa; and Walter Afanasieff in Brazil.
Six women have been nominated for Producer Of The Year (though, as yet, no woman has taken home the award). Janet Jackson was the first woman to be nominated. Jackson, Jam and Lewis were cited as a team in 1989 — the year of her hit-laden album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814.
In a similar fashion, Mariah Carey and Afanasieff were nominated as a team in 1991 — the year of her sophomore album, Emotions.
Paula Cole was the first woman to make the Producer Of The Year finals on her own. She was nominated in 1997, the year of her breakthrough album, This Fire.
In 1998, for the first (and, so far, only) time, the Producer Of The Year finals included two women: Sheryl Crow and Lauryn Hill. Crow was nominated for her work on The Globe Sessions; Hill for her work on The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill and Aretha Franklin's "A Rose Is Still A Rose."
The sixth and most recent instance of a woman receiving a Producer Of The Year nomination came in 2003 when the writing/producing team the Matrix, which includes Lauren Christy, were nominated. The team's work that year included tracks by Liz Phair and Hilary Duff.
There have been two ties for Producer Of The Year. In 1984 Foster tied with Carmichael & Richie. In 1992 Babyface & Reid tied with Eno & Lanois.
Sadly, seven past winners for Producer Of The Year are no longer with us: Larry Butler, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb, Jackson, Mardin, Jeff Porcaro, and Ramone.
As noted above, The Recording Academy added the Producer Of The Year, Classical category in 1979. James Mallinson was the first winner. Robert Woods and Steven Epstein are tied for the most wins in the category with seven each. There have been three female winners: Judith Sherman (three times), Joanna Nickrenz (twice) and Elaine L. Martone (once).
View a complete list of winners for the Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and Classical categories.
(Paul Grein, a veteran music journalist, writes for Yahoo Music.)
Rick Rubin To Be Honored During GRAMMY Week
The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing will celebrate its ninth annual GRAMMY Week event by honoring eight-time GRAMMY winner Rick Rubin for his commitment to creative and sonic excellence and ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music. The event will be held on Feb. 11, 2016, at The Village studios in West Los Angeles.
Rubin joins the past list of Producers & Engineers Wing honorees that includes Chris Blackwell, T Bone Burnett, Tom Dowd, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, Jimmy Iovine, Quincy Jones, Arif Mardin, Nile Rodgers, Al Schmitt, Jerry Wexler, and Neil Young.
"Rick Rubin has said he has one rule regarding his recording process, 'The only rule is that it's not done until it's great,'" said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "His contributions to music and to the artists he's worked with prove that Rick is beyond simply great. He is remarkable. We look forward to celebrating this musical icon and his pioneering career, which continues to inspire and climb to new heights."
Rubin's GRAMMY history includes two wins for Producer Of The Year for 2006 and 2008. His other wins are two for Album Of The Year (Adele, 21; Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way), two for Best Country Album (Taking The Long Way; Johnny Cash, Unchained), Record Of The Year (Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready To Make Nice"), and Best Rock Album (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium). Producing critically acclaimed and multiplatinum albums in a wide array of genres, including country, hip-hop, metal, pop, rock, and soul, additional artists Rubin has worked with include the Beastie Boys, Black Sabbath, Neil Diamond, Eminem, Jay Z, Kid Rock, LL Cool J, Metallica, Tom Petty, Public Enemy, Damien Rice, Ed Sheeran, Slayer, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and ZZ Top.
One of the highlights of GRAMMY Week, the Producers & Engineers Wing event gathers passionate behind-the-scenes music makers in celebration of their efforts and advancements in the pursuit of sound perfection. GRAMMY Week culminates with the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, airing live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT.