TCU alumni receive Grammy awards

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    The iconic gold gramophone is the symbol of musical success in the industry, and for TCU alumni Mark Lettieri and Jordan Richardson, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was their time to shine.

    Walking alongside some of his musical heroes on the red carpet was a surreal experience, Lettieri said.

    “It was like walking in a dreamland because we are just a little ol’ garage band from Texas,” he said.

    But Lettieri’s experience became even more memorable.

    “When we were watching the awards being read off, it kind of felt like we were at a graduation but once they called our names, it was all pandemonium,” he said.

    Lettieri, guitarist for the band Snarky Puppy, won the Grammy Award for Best R&B performance. The band was nominated for its song “Something” featuring singer Lalah Hathaway.

    His guitar-playing days may have begun at the age of 11, but it was during his TCU years that he first performed. His band, consisting of his college buddies, frequently played at The Aardvark and other local venues.

    When he was not playing or studying, he was representing the Horned Frogs on the Track & Field team as a long jumper.

    “I came to Texas to play sports and stayed for music,” he said.

    The 2005 graduate studied advertising and public relations, but after finding himself jobless after graduation, he decided it was the time to pursue a music career.

    Almost ten years later, after many local gigs and long rides on the band’s trailer-attached van, he is now playing for the award-winning band with growing international popularity.

    It was also during his time at the university that he stumbled upon Jordan Richardson, a TV and film studies major and a then-drummer for the TCU Jazz Band. A drummer, Lettieri said, who was exceptionally talented.

    Ever since then, Lettieri has followed Richardon’s career. As soon as Lettieri heard his fellow Horned Frog also won a Grammy award he made sure to congratulate him.

    Richardson, a 2003 graduate, won the Grammy Award for Best Blues Album of 2014 with Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite.

    Since graduating from the university, he has worked alongside artists such as Ringo Starr and John Paul Jones and has appeared on PBS specials and late-night talk shows.

    The Los Angeles-based producer and drummer took to social media to announce his big win.

    “Well, I won just won a Grammy (Best Blues Album),” he wrote on Facebook. “That’s pretty neat and amazing.”

    “Thanks go out to Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Jason, Jesse and Sheldon,” he continued. “It was a very special album to be a part of, and I feel very lucky and honored. Thanks also to the nice people that voted.”

    This was the first nomination and award for both Richardson and Lettieri.