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Texarkana talent shines in Grammy nominations

Texarkana talent shines in Grammy nominations

January 8th, 2019 by Aaron Brand in Texarkana Region


The upcoming Grammy Awards on Feb. 10 may include two winners from Texarkana.

Two Texarkana natives have seen their work nominated, both for their production roles. This includes Benjamin Rice, producer, who is nominated for Record of the Year with Lady Gaga and others for the single "Shallow" on the "A Star is Born" soundtrack.

Music producer Kyle Lee produced the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album nominee "Surrounded" for recording artist Michael W. Smith. While Lee is not listed as an official nominee, he'd receive an award if the album wins, he said.

Rice co-produced several songs on the "A Star is Born" soundtrack and shares album producer credits, too, all of it an extension of his previous work with Lady Gaga on albums like "Artpop."

Gaga and her fellow songwriters for "Shallow" just won a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, making Rice a co-producer of a Golden Globe winner.

"There's been a long relationship of building trust and building camaraderie and spending a lot of personal time together in the studio making music and recording her vocals," Rice told the Gazette back in September just days before the movie premiere.

"A Star is Born" and its music have to be considered among the frontrunners for Academy Award nominations, too.

Lee actually worked on two albums for Smith that were released within days of each other last year. "I produced this album and co-wrote a couple songs on the album," he said about "Surrounded," describing it as "another full worship offering from him."

They did a live recording of it and that's nominated for a Grammy, he explained. For the producer, working on a live album is a little different, requiring work with different musicians as he produces the songs and the entire live event, which is what essentially becomes the album.

"It's more about really managing the talent," Lee said. His most important job in this situation is choosing all the players.

"It was assembling the right guys for the event, for his band," Lee said, noting he was "shocked" to see the nomination because a Grammy nomination is hard to come by and this category of Christian music in particular is a small one.

"It's a huge honor," Lee said of this Grammy nomination. He's won a Dove Award for his work with Smith.

"Michael's great to work with, just on many levels. He is a musical genius on every possible level. He understands songs. He knows what goes into making a hit song," Lee said, adding that he's still an artist who's humble and approachable.

"He is respected in so many areas by so many people across the world," Lee said, adding, "There is a camaraderie that he and I have even though we're two different generations in age."

According to his online bio, Lee's musical passions were ignited at his church here in Texarkana. He joined the band Pocket Full of Rocks, moved to Nashville and then got more involved in the production area of music. He appreciates what Texarkana has given him, saying friends here are friends for life, no matter what you've done, great or small.

"Texarkana is a great city it's a blessing to be from a small town," Lee said.


(On the Net: Grammy.com.)

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