By John Lynds
East Boston resident and former East Boston Chamber President Scott Heigelmann was accepted Friday by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) as an official voting member of the Grammys.
As the Founder and CEO of Boston-based entertainment marketing firm Heavy Inc., Heigelmann’s work in the industry includes producing, branding, marketing and creative direction for several prominent talent acts, independent and major record releases and entertainment brands across a wide range of genres. AXS.com recently named Heigelmann one of the 25 Most Powerful People in the $6 Billion EDM industry, alongside industry titans Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Skrillex and Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber’s agent and manager).
“It is an honor and a privilege to join the ranks of the many accomplished and influential people who drive and oversee the progress and vitality of the music industry,” said Heigelmann, who fronted a hardcore punk band before moving into his career in advertising. “To be a member of such an esteemed process and organization is humbling. I’m beyond excited and look forward to participating in the voting process, to helping shape the future of recognizing musical excellence, and to perpetuating the important message and causes The Academy has established.”
Voting Members of The Grammys are recognized music industry professionals including producers, vocalists, songwriters, composers, art directors, engineers, instrumentalists, arrangers, narrators, music video artists and other essential recording industry experts.
As a Voting Member, Heigelmann will be responsible for participating in the nominating process that determines the five finalists in each category, and the final voting process which determines the actual Grammy winners.
“My love for music began basically when I was born,” said Heigelmann. “My father was a musician and played in a number of rock bands throughout the 60s and 70s. My first birthday cake was in the shape of a guitar, and I got a different musical instrument almost every birthday between the ages of two and five. My father spent a lot of time showing my brother and I how to play and create music. My parents listened to a lot of 50s music, and there was never a day when music wasn’t played in the house. Dion and the Belmonts, Frankie Valli, Del Shannon, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, Buddy Holly… I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I’ve stopped listening to that stuff.
In high school Heigelmann and his brother started a punk-hardcore band called Facedown. I was sixteen and he was fourteen.
“We sent out some demos and started getting gigs at places like the Rat in Kenmore Square and the Middle East in Cambridge,” he said. “My parents really worked hard to foster our love for music and encouraged us to keep at it. When we started getting offers to tour the East Coast we knew we had something. After releasing two EPs on our own, we eventually started getting offers from labels for a record deal. We eventually signed with a German label called Lifeforce records who then took us on tours in Europe where we got to play sold out shows in Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Geneva and a ton of other European cities.
When the group got back to the States, their European fame followed and the group started selling out larger venues here at home, such as the Palladium in Worcester and the legendary CBGB in New York.
“By the time I was twenty, I knew that life on the road was not going to work for me,” he said. “Being on a cramped tour bus for weeks on-end is not comfortable. Road food is terrible, it’s very difficult to get exercise, and you almost always have a cold. I met my wife, and wanted to build a business – and knew that I didn’t want to tour anymore.”
Heigelmann said his rock days were a lot of fun, and gave him a great education in the production, creative and marketing disciplines of the music business.
“I’m able to apply those lessons everyday now in the work we (Heavy, Inc.) do for emerging and established talent brands across the globe,” said Heigelmann.
The Recording Academy was established in 1957 as an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording industry professionals dedicated to improving the culture of music and quality of life for those who make it. Known globally for its Grammy Awards–the prestigious peer-recognized award for musical excellence and undoubtedly the most credible brand in music–The Recording Academy is known for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education, and other human services programs. The mission of The Academy is to recognize musical excellence, advocate for the well-being of music makers, and ensure that music remains an indelible part of our culture.