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MD Disc: Alicia Keys Earns GRAMMY Nod For “Diary” Re-Release

A 15-time winner and 31-time nominee, Alicia Keys is again up for consideration at the 66th GRAMMY Awards, this time for the reissue of her seminal sophomore album, Diary of Alicia Keys.

Alicia Keys & Diary‘s 20th Anniversary Update Brings In Nomination

Released 20 years to the day after Keys’ sophomore album originally dropped, the re-release certainly arrived with the customary bells and whistles. A few of the original 15 tracks got new remixes, including an orchestral arrangement of “If I Ain’t Got You” and a house remix of “Diary.” Similarly, some of the album’s biggest hits show up in the tracklist twice—live versions in their second appearance taken from the AOL Broadband sponsored show at Webster Hall late in 2003. However, no doubt the reason for the album’s consideration in this category is the audio engineering facelift it received. Remixed and remastered to fit in with the Dolby Atmos sound specifications that streaming services like Apple Music boast for choice releases, there’s an unmissable crisp quality to the tracks that adds an additional layer of depth as compared to 20 years ago.

Alicia Keys holding the vinyl reissue of her 2003 record, Diary of Alicia Keys, up for a GRAMMY in the Best Immersive Audio Album Category. Taken from @aliciakeys on Instagram.

The Stacked Crowd That Diary Will Compete In

Additional intrigue comes into play with this award given how its field boasts arguably the most diverse field of any honor to be given out in February. Two, including Diary of Alicia Keys, are reissues, one is a video game soundtrack, leaving just two that are new releases—Ryan Ulyate’s Act 3 and Madison Beer’s Silence Between Songs.

Were Diary to take home the award, Michael Romanowski would bear the brunt of the mastering credits for the reissue—and a win would add to an already stacked awards cabinet for the industry vet. In addition to taking home back-to-back trophies for Keys’ Alicia in 2022 and Leslie Ann Jones’ Soundtrack of the American Soldier, this year’s awards have already born fruit. All but one of the nominees in this field list Romanowski as a credit (Madison Beer’s Silence Between Songs being the exception.)

Similarly, Eric Schilling and George Massenburg, who chiefly handled the mix engineering, are looking to add to their resume with a win for Keys. As an engineering duo, they took home gold in 2021 for the Soundtrack of the American Soldier, and Shilling nabbed an award last year for Stewart Copeland & Ricky Kej’s Divine Tides.

While Alicia Keys’ name will certainly take precedence in the headlines, the Immersive Audio category again highlights the Recording Academy’s renewed efforts in recent years to give credit to “below-the-line” talent sometimes unacknowledged in the bigger awards. Considering the stacked field of nominees, it’s hard to pick a clear favorite, but what Keys and her team accomplished with the Diary reissue makes them as deserving of the win as anyone else.

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