Why Is This Engineer-Mixer Among the Top 2024 Grammy Nominees?

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taylor-swift-olivia-rodrigo-mixer-grammy - Credit: John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images; Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images
taylor-swift-olivia-rodrigo-mixer-grammy - Credit: John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images; Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

What do Usher’s Confessions, La Roux’s “In for the Kill,” and Taylor Swift’s Folklore have in common? They were all mixed by 45-time Grammy-nominated Serban Ghenea.

You may not have noticed, but the Canadian mixer-engineer has received Grammy nominations for the last 12 consecutive years, taking home 19 awards. His first win was for Justin Timberlake’s Justified at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004, and he’s since gone on to mix every Swift record, beginning with 2012’s Red and including her four rerecordings (with the exception of 2020’s Evermore).

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This year, Ghenea makes a clean sweep with seven more nominations, with three nods for Record of the Year alone: Swift’s “Anti-Hero,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire,” and Jon Batiste’s “Worship.” He earned two nominations for Album of the Year (Rodrigo’s Guts and Swift’s Midnights) and another double for Best Pop Dance Recording (David Guetta’s “Baby Don’t Hurt Me” and Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s “One in a Million”).

“I learned early on that if you try to put a specific sound on something, you end up shortchanging yourself and dating yourself,” Ghenea told Variety in a 2021 interview. “Having worked with so many artists from the beginning of their careers, helping them shape their sound and develop their signature, it’s a matter of making sure you are getting people to where they’re trying to go without imposing your sound. That way you don’t get dated and nobody’s tired of your sound.”

By the looks of it, Ghenea isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He just mixed 1989 (Taylor’s Version) — which contains five excellent vault tracks currently sitting pretty in the Billboard Top 10. The odds are high that he’ll continue this impressive Grammy streak.

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