Skidmore Alumna Wins Grammy
(Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
On Feb. 10th, the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles was flooded with rows of paparazzi, artists in extravagant ball gowns, and gold award trophies in honor of the 61st Annual Grammys Awards Show. Despite the drama surrounding some disappointing results, this year’s Grammys proved to be a successful year for multiple female artists. Out of the seventeen performances of the night, there were only four male acts — a significant difference from last year’s show. Women ruled the night with appearances from Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama, Kacey Musgraves, and Miley Cyrus to name a few. Emily Lazar, a Skidmore alumna, was among the women to grace the Grammys stage.
Lazar, who graduated from Skidmore in 1993, won the Grammy for the Best Engineered Album Non-Classical for her work on Beck’s Colors Album, after having been nominated once before. She is the first female mastering engineer to win in this category. Lazar told Saratoga Living, “The additional historic relevance of this win is actually hard to believe as it’s 2019 and has certainly been a long time coming.”
This is not, however, her first Grammy nomination.
During her time at Skidmore, Lazar took advantage of the music and producing opportunities that the college had to offer. She recounts memories of writing music, participating in student bands, as well as working as a freelance engineer, producer, and mixer. She graduated cum laude with a degree in Creative Writing and Music with an honors distinction.
When reflecting on her time at Skidmore, Lazar disclosed to Saratoga Living, “I’m very grateful to have studied in an environment where ‘Creative Thought Matters’. The Skidmore College motto is an idea that remains in hyper-focus both in the studio and out, and in everything that I do.”
After Skidmore, she went on to pursue a Master of Music degree from New York University in their prestigious Music Technology program, where she was awarded a Graduate Fellowship. Following that, she enjoyed a successful career in New York City, working with various music producing companies, such as Sony Classical, Sonic Solutions, and Masterdisk. As of today, Lazar has worked on over 2000 albums. Some artists that she has worked with are the late David Bowie, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, John Mayer, and Destiny’s Child. She has been nominated for three other Grammy awards in the past, one for her work on the song “Chandelier” by Sia.
Currently, Lazar holds the position of President and Chief Mastering Engineer at The Lodge, a New York based audio mastering company that she founded back in 1997. She worked on three albums this past year from the bands All Hail the Silence, Panic! at the Disco, and Speedy Ortiz, as well as Vampire Weekend’s upcoming album to be released later this year.
For Emma Berkowitz ‘20, who is an English and Music double major, Lazar’s win gives her a sense of hope: “It’s pretty amazing seeing Skidmore women achieving greatness after graduation. It really speaks to the innovation of students, and the support of faculty. It’s very inspiring.”
There is no doubt that Emily Lazar is a powerful figure for aspiring female engineers, and young women in general. In her acceptance speech at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony, she said, “I am so grateful to get to be one of the people…that young women see and can say, ‘I see it. I can be it. That’s a cool career, I want to go do that.’” Lazar has paved a pathway for many to follow in the future, normalizing women’s success in the competitive field of the music industry.