Grammy Preview: Producer of the Year
Kathryn Bigelow made Oscar history three years ago when she became the first woman to win for Best Achievement in Directing. By contrast, a woman has yet to win a Grammy as Producer of the Year. (A movie director and a record producer both take the lead in setting the overall creative direction.)
It won’t happen this year, either. Five men are competing for Producer of the Year (Non Classical): Dan Auerbach (whose credits during the year included his own band, The Black Keys, and Dr. John), Jeff Bhasker (who produces fun.), Diplo (whose credits included Usher’s “Climax” and Alex Clare’s “Too Close”), Markus Dravs (whose credits included albums by Mumford & Sons and Coldplay) and Salaam Remi (whose credits included Nas’ Life Is Good and “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys featuring Nicki Minaj).
The picture changes if you look at nominations instead of awards. Six women have been nominated for the Grammy for Producer of the Year, compared to just four that have been nominated for the Oscar for directing.
Janet Jackson was the first woman to receive a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year. She scored, along with her collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, for 1989—the year of her hit-laden album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. Jackson won her first Grammy that year for Best Music Video—Long Form for her video of the same name.
Mariah Carey was the second woman to receive a Producer of the Year nomination. She scored, along with her collaborator, Walter Afanasieff, for 1991—the year of her sophomore album, Emotions.
Paula Cole was third, and the first woman to score on her own (without a collaborator). She was nominated for 1997, the year of her top 10 hit “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” Cole was nominated for each of the “Big Four” awards that year—Album, Record and Song of the Year and Best New Artist. (She won the latter award, but hard a hard time following this burst of acclaim.)
In 1998, for the first (and only) time, two women made the Producer of the Year finals: Sheryl Crow and Lauryn Hill. Hill won five Grammys that year, including Album of the Year for The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. Crow won one—Best Rock Album for The Globe Sessions. (It was also nominated for Album of the Year.)