In addition to the GRAMMY Awards, The Recording Academy presents Special Merit Awards recognizing contributions of significance to the recording field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award. Each year, The Academy invites friends and colleagues of Special Merit Awards recipients to pay tribute to the honorees' career accomplishments, while also adding colorful anecdotes and personal accounts. In the days leading up to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, GRAMMY.com will present the tributes to the 12 Special Merit Awards recipients for 2011.
Once upon a time, while sitting in a recording studio back in the distant '90s, a strange thing occurred. A computer appeared near the mixing desk and men crowded around the screen, and appeared to be "looking" at the music. I dismissed this as a passing fad and continued with my old-fashioned Luddite way of "using my ears"....
The years passed by and one day I decided to join those men looking at the computer and imagine my surprise when my engineer shared with me what was hidden behind the screen!
I had been producing hits for more than 30 years in top studios on many different consoles and if I had known when I started that one day I could carry every console I had ever worked on in my back pocket, along with as much high-quality outboard gear as I needed, I would have thought I was going crazy. I now arrive at my sessions with my iLok stuffed with the Waves Mercury bundle and I am ready to go!
I still have no idea exactly how the company's wonderful founders, Gilad Keren and Meir Shaashua, and their team managed to put so much stuff in such a small space, but I don't need to know. All I know is that when I compare the Waves version to the "real" version, I cannot tell the difference, especially with my favorite plug-ins, the SSL G-Equalizer and API 550B 4-Band Equalizer.
Today, technology has completely changed the way we make music but Waves has enabled me to stay true to my original roots while retaining a technical standard that we need in today's marketplace. It's a standard that was set when the company was founded in 1992. That same year Waves introduced its first audio plug-in, the Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer. The company has grown now to more than 150 employees with offices in the United States, Israel and China, and is expanding into the consumer electronics arena, as well as film and video games. A true leader in professional audio.
Waves' commitment to safeguarding the intellectual property rights of their clients is something I highly commend and I think our industry could learn a thing or two from them.
As George Martin said, "Waves is synonymous with excellence." I know that without my iLok and my Waves bundle I would not be able to continue making the quality music I still demand of myself.
(Steve Lillywhite is a five-time GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer. He has worked with an array of artists, including Dave Matthews Band, Matchbox Twenty, the Rolling Stones, and U2. He won the prestigious Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical GRAMMY in 2005.)
Presented by vote of The Recording Academy's National Trustees, the Technical GRAMMY Award recognizes individuals and companies that have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the field of recording. The Technical GRAMMY was first awarded in 1994. To view a complete list of Technical GRAMMY Award recipients, click here.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Julie Andrews, Roy Haynes, Juilliard String Quartet, The Kingston Trio, Dolly Parton, Ramones, George Beverly Shea
Trustees Award: Al Bell, Wilma Cozart Fine, Bruce Lundvall
Technical GRAMMY Award: Roger Linn