Alumnus Merrill wins 6th GRAMMY Award

Roger Coda
Randy Merrill

Randy Merrill

Randy Merrill, who earned a degree in Sound Recording Technology at SUNY Fredonia in 1997, has reached a GRAMMY milestone of six awards with his latest triumph, for Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open,” winner of the 2022 Record of the Year at the 64th edition of the GRAMMY Awards.

“An exceptional amount of work went into the making of this record, so I’m very thankful to have won this award. I’m so grateful to regularly work with many talented artists, producers, engineers and label executives,” Mr. Merrill said. That made it “particularly sweet” to receive the award, he added.

“I'm still very grateful to be doing what I love to do, and thankful to the creators who put their trust in me.” - GRAMMY award-winner Randy Merrill

“I'm still very grateful to be doing what I love to do, and thankful to the creators who put their trust in me,” added Merrill, who is a senior mastering engineer at Sterling Sound in Edgewater, N.J.

Merrill also garnered four other nominations: Record of the Year, “driver’s license,” by Olivia Rodrigo; Album of the Year, for “Sour,” by Olivia Rodrigo, and “Montero,” by Li Nas X; and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, for “Dawn,” by Yebba. Merrill was mastering engineer on all the selections.

This latest GRAMMY honor comes on the heels of Merrill winning two GRAMMY awards in 2021, for Album of the Year, for “Folklore,” by Taylor Swift, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, for “Hyperspace,” by Beck. He was also mastering engineer on these selections.

In a brief five-year span starting in 2017, Merrill has been nominated 15 times and won six GRAMMY awards – two for Album of the Year, two for Record of the Year, and two for Best Engineered, Non-Classical. There are only six categories where a mastering engineer can win a GRAMMY. Those categories are Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Historical Album, Best Immersive Audio Album, Best Engineered, Non-Classical, and Best Engineered, Classical.  

Merrill also contributed to other GRAMMY winning projects in categories for which he did not personally win the award. In 2022 those include Best Pop Vocal Album, "Sour," by Olivia Rodrigo, and Best Rock Album, "Medicine At Midnight," by Foo Fighters. 

“I graduated from Fredonia in 1997, so it was 20 years before I reached this place in my career,” Merrill reflected.

Merrill encourages anyone who strives to “make it” in their field of interest or is struggling to even find their field of interest. 

“I was fortunate to have worked in the recording field in some manner since college, but it wasn’t until I discovered a love for the specific area of mastering that things started to click. By that point I had worked in studios for almost 10 years before finding what it is I truly love to do,” Merrill said.

“Not only that, but I also didn’t work on a hit record until I was 41 years old. So, I say these things to young people so that they don’t become discouraged if they don’t know what to pursue in life or think they should have ‘made it’ already but haven’t. For some of us it takes time to figure out what we're meant to do, and time for it to come to fruition.”

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