Keel chats with band Secret Sisters during Grammy week

beverly keel secret sisters

Beverly Keel (right), chair of MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry, asks a question of MTSU alumna Laura Rogers (center), whose band The Secret Sisters with her sister Lydia (left) was nominated for Best Folk Album at the 60th annual Grammy Awards. Photo by Andrew Oppmann.

The Secret Sisters, an Americana duo that includes MTSU alumna Laura Rogers, was honored by the College of Media and Entertainment at its annual industry event preceding the Grammy Awards, held this year in New York City.

Recording Industry graduate Laura Rogers and her sister, Lydia, were nominated for Best Folk Album in the 60th annual Grammy Awards (the award went to fellow nominee Aimee Mann for her album “Mental Illness”). They shared their excitement, and some life lessons, at a Manhattan venue crowded with industry executives and university alumni.

“We’re shocked, we feel like deer in the headlights, and we don’t know what to expect, so we’re just taking it moment by moment and trying to relish each in the sense of excitement,” Laura Rogers told Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel in an on-stage interview.

“More than anything, I feel a sense of redemption,” she said. “It’s a big honor for us.”

The sisters from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, had a difficult path to the success celebrated during the Grammy week festivities. Catching on shortly after Rogers graduated from MTSU, they went from touring with Bob Dylan to losing their label, purging their team and filing bankruptcies.

Yet those hardships became the material for the songs for their third album, a crowd-funded project that would garner the nomination.

“The Secret Sisters’ success story is one of ups and downs that is truly a lesson in perseverance and believing in yourself,” Keel said. “Instead of giving up, Laura and her sister Lydia kept fighting for what they believed in, driven by their passion for music, and their hard work has resulted in this Grammy recognition.

“That is certainly something we want to instill in our students. Laura continues to make MTSU proud, and I am thrilled we are honoring her in this way.”

Laura Rogers described her years at MTSU as “really transformative,” adding, “It put me in a place where I had absolutely, continuous access to music on every level.

“The great thing about MTSU is that they aren’t stuck in one old way of doing things. They keep up with an ever-changing industry so that they are modern and up to speed on everything,” she said.

Laura Rogers was among an array of MTSU former students honored at this year’s Grammys:

  • Wayne Haun, (’94), from the School of Music in the College of Liberal Arts, produced three of the Best Roots Gospel Album nominees.
  • Jason Hall, (’00), who engineered Little Big Town’s “The Breaker,” was included in the Grammy nomination for best country album.
  • Former student Sam Hunt’s chart-busting “Body Like a Back Road”  was nominated for best country solo performance and best country song Grammys.
  • Country trio Lady Antebellum, which includes former MTSU student Hillary Scott, was nominated for Grammys in the best country duo/group performance and best country album for “You Look Good” and “Heart Break,” respectively.
  • Two-time Grammy winner Torrance Esmond, the 2003 MTSU music business graduate who’s known professionally as “Street Symphony,” was nominated for his work on best children’s album nominee “Rise Shine #Woke” by the Alphabet Rockers.

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Categories: Alumni, Events, Faculty, News

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