Luke Laird Honored By MTSU Prior To Grammy Awards

Pictured (L-R): Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment; Beverly Keel, chair of the Recording Industry department; Laird; alumnus Pete Fisher, general manager of the Grand Ole Opry; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; and Erika Wollam Nichols, general manager of The Bluebird Café. Photo: Andrew Oppmann

Pictured (L-R): Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment; Beverly Keel, chair of the Recording Industry department; Laird; alumnus Pete Fisher, general manager of the Grand Ole Opry; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; and Erika Wollam Nichols, general manager of The Bluebird Café. Photo: Andrew Oppmann

Middle Tennessee State University honored Grammy winner and current nominee Luke Laird at a special reception held Sunday (Feb. 14) in Los Angeles, one day before the Grammy Awards.

Laird, who graduated from MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry in 2001, was recognized for his accomplishments by President Sidney A. McPhee, Media and Entertainment college dean Ken Paulson and Chair of the Recording Industry department Beverly Keel.

“This is a really special day for us—and especially poignant for me, personally—because we are here to honor Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer Luke Laird,” said Keel, who taught Laird as a student in one of her classes.

“He continues to make country music history year after year,” she said. “Indeed, our students, who will take our History of Country Music class in 20 or 30 years, will study Luke’s accomplishments and be inspired by how he shaped country music’s sound for more than a decade.”

Laird, in thanking MTSU for the recognition, talked about the encouragement and support he received from the faculty, starting when he first visited the campus as a prospective student.

“Everyone there was so welcoming, I knew I was going to go to school there,” Laird told the audience. “I dreamed to be a songwriter and they never discouraged me. … The people there encouraged me, still to this day.

“My time at MTSU is a time I look back on very fondly.”

Laird is up for Best Country Song in the 58th Grammy Awards on Monday for “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools,” which was performed by Tim McGraw, and Best Country Album, as producer of Kacey Musgraves’ Pageant Material.

He has written 20 Billboard No. 1 hits and has been named BMI’s Songwriter of the Year and the Academy of Country Music’s songwriter of the year. He won a Grammy in 2014 for producing Musgraves’ debut album, Same Trailer, Different Park.

McPhee applauded Laird’s accomplishments and his devotion to his alma mater.

“Luke’s professional success and deep devotion to MTSU makes him a stellar example of the hard work and spirit we strive to instill in all of our students,” McPhee said. “We are proud of him.”

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