Alumna Receives GRAMMY Nomination for Historical Album

Published: January 23, 2023 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 3 minutes

Marie DouglasSouthern Utah University alumna Marie A. Douglas recently received a GRAMMY nomination for her work as an arranger on musician Sean Ardoin’s album Full Circle. The Zydeco-based album features a historical collaboration with Louisiana State University’s marching band.

“From the very first moments that I began working with Marie in her coursework, I could tell that her career was going to be something special,” said Dr. Steve Meredith, the chair of Douglas’s graduate committee, and founding director of the Master of Music degree program in Music Technology at SUU. “Success as a musician is dependent on a number of factors, but most important are talent, a strong work ethic, and above all, determination. Marie embodied these traits as a student, and continues to do so in her career. We are very proud to have her as an alumna of our program at SUU.”

Released in September, Full Circle is a tribute to Louisiana in both the artists and music. The album features Ardoin’s band, Kreole Rock and Soul, accompanied by the LSU Golden Band from Tiger Land, making it the first time a marching band and a popular genre band have collaborated on a full album. The music is Kreole rock and soul, a genre created by Ardoin that’s based heavily on Zydeco, a musical genre from southern Louisiana featuring accordion and guitar.

“Zydeco is one of those wonderful Americana genres,” said Douglas. “I'm obsessed with American culture, specifically Black American culture, and I have a unique perspective. I was not going to turn down the opportunity when the marching band director at Louisiana State University approached me with an opportunity to write a few of the songs. I feel so proud to say that I was able to capture some of that music.”

Full Circle received a GRAMMY nomination in the “best regional roots album” category along with four other albums: Natalie Noelani, Halau Hula Keali'i O Nalani, Lucky Man, and Live At The 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

“Personally, this nomination means a lot,” said Douglas. “I've always dreamt of doing what I do and it seems kind of surreal to even be this close to something like this. Professionally, the nomination alone gives you a stamp that you work with things of a certain quality. It’s a blessing to have my name in the proximity of that.”

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Douglas knew from a young age that she would be an entertainer and music was her favorite discipline. After joining the high school band, marching with Florida A&M’s Marching 100, and participating in major performances, including a performance with Prince, her career path was solidified.

Douglas chose SUU’s Master of Music Technology program for the great opportunity and affordability of the program. Her time in the program helped build her creative process and realize her voice as a composer who comes from a different demographic than the mainstream.

“For me, education is the only thing that cannot be taken away from me,” said Douglas. “My parents taught me how to read, and told me ‘there was a time when you weren't allowed to read, you weren't allowed to learn.’ That has stuck with me my whole life. I have to push myself to the highest level. I feel like I owe that to my parents.”

Douglas often infuses attributes of her favorite genres of music into her creations. Presently she is fixated on fusing Hip-Hop, specifically, the subgenre “Trap Music” with instrumental ensemble elements. Her work is inspired by the music of modern African American and minority music composers such as R. Nathaniel Dett, Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, and Lili and Nadia Boulanger. She is currently furthering her education and pursuing a composition and music theory doctoral degree at the University of Memphis.

The 65th GRAMMY Awards will air live on Sunday, February 5, 2023, from Los Angeles' Arena, and it will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.

Tags: Music Technology Music Graduate Programs College of Performing and Visual Arts

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