Falconer Native Receives Another Grammy Award

Randy Merrill is no stranger to Grammys, but that doesn’t make his latest award any less sweet.

Merril, a former resident of Falconer and Sterling Sound senior engineer, said he was very pleased to have been recognized in this way for his work on Silk Sonic’s song, “Leave The Door Open.”

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

Merrill attended Falconer Central School and graduated in 1992. He continued his education at Jamestown Community College, followed by his attendance at the State University of New York at Fredonia. During that time, he said he was involved in various music programs at each educational institution.

“Some remarkable teachers I credit as influences are David Kerzner and Dr. Kay Stonefelt (SUNY Fredonia), Michael Kelly at JCC, and Ralph Rasmussen, Ann Marie Mogenhan, and Russ Germaine (FCS),” he said. “I developed an interest in recording in high school and started taking studio classes at JCC. At SUNY Fredonia, I majored in Sound Recording Technology.”

After graduating from SUNY Fredonia, Merrill took a job at the Eastman School of Music where he worked in the recording department.

“In 1999, I moved to New York City and pieced together work as an assistant, engineer, and studio maintenance technician,” he said. “I shifted lanes and moved into the specialty of mastering in 2006. I worked at Scott Hull Mastering from 2006 to 2013, then moved to Sterling Sound where I now work. At the beginning of my time at Sterling, I assisted the legendary engineer, Tom Coyne, until his passing in 2017. I have worked as a senior engineer at Sterling since then.”

Over his career, Merrill has been nominated 15 times for a Grammy award, taking home six: 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),” he said. “I have also contributed to other Grammy-winning projects in categories for which I do not personally win the award. This year those include Best Pop Vocal Album (Sour by Olivia Rodrigo), and Best Rock Album (Medicine At Midnight by Foo Fighters).”

Merrill said he is thankful for his experiences and the opportunities he’s had over the years to make these awards possible.

“I’d like to say that I’m grateful to God for the opportunities and skills I’ve been given, and for the relationships I’ve been fortunate to have had since the beginning of this journey,” he said.

Merrill also said he’d like to remind people that success is not often instantaneous — sometimes it takes some time to find your passion and be recognized for it.

“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,” he said. “By that point, I had worked in studios for almost 10 years before finding what it is I truly love to do. 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. Sometimes it takes time to figure out what you’re meant to do, and time for it to come to fruition.”

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