A Grammy nomination that's had many national news sites scratching their heads could put the Gramophone award into an Englewood resident's hands.
Wright State graduate Troy Hayes is up for a Grammy nomination for "Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella" for his work on a medley of Bruno Mars songs (named, understandably, "Bruno Mars,") by his group, Vocally Challenged.
Though the group's relative nonexistence on social media confused many national news sites, including Mashable and Rolling Stone, Hayes, who is a writer, arranger, producer and singer in the group, shed some light on the relatively new group.
"Vocally Challenged is the combination of producers/writers and singers of (Detroit-based songwriting and production team) PAJAM," he wrote in an email to Dayton.com. "We wanted to create something different that showcased our versatility and ability as writers/artist/producers."
Though Hayes was never professionally trained, he's been playing drums since the age of 10. As a teenager and young adult, he traveled the country touring with his father's contemporary Christian group, New Harvest, which was nominated for three Dove Awards (aka, the Grammys for Christian and Gospel music) in 2007-2008. He signed on with PAJAM as an associate producer and songwriter in 2013.
And why the "Bruno Mars" mashup?
"(It) was an idea to take some of the most popular musical hits from Pop/Soul artist Bruno Mars and put our own twist to it a-capella," Hayes said. "We narrowed a list of at least 10 of his top songs down to just three ('Uptown Funk'/'If I was Your Man'/'It Will Rain')." You can hear Hayes' pipes at the start of the track as the lead vocalist for "Uptown Funk."
Vocally Challenged plans to release an album, "Vocally Challenged: Singers Challenge," in February 2016.
"It is simply our way of showing that behind all the production and drums and keyboards and synths, we are artists at heart and true musicians to our core," Hayes said.
Dayton native and songwriter Morgan Taylor is also up for a Grammy nomination in the Best Children's Album Award category for 2015's Gustafer Yellowgold: Dark Pie Concerns CD/DVD set. Congrats to both our hometown nominees! Bring us home the awards!