Berklee Alumni Win Top Prizes at the 2022 Grammy Awards

Ten alumni, including Esperanza Spalding, Charlie Rosen, and Arooj Aftab, were honored on music’s biggest night.

April 4, 2022

Ten Berklee alumni took home trophies at the 64th annual Grammy Awards held on Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. 

Brooklyn-based vocalist and composer Arooj Aftab B.M. ’10 made history as the first Pakistani woman to win a Grammy Award, for her song “Mohabbat” in the Best Global Music Performance category. A meditative song about love and letting go, “Mohabbat” is one of seven tracks from Aftab's latest album, Vulture Prince. The record is her third since graduating from Berklee, where she majored in jazz composition and music production and engineering.

Esperanza Spalding B.M. ’05 picked up her fifth Grammy, for her release Songwrights Apothecary Lab in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category. In 2011, Spalding made history as the first jazz musician to capture the Grammy for Best New Artist, edging out Justin Bieber, Florence and the Machine, Drake, and Mumford & Sons.

Aubrey Johnson

Faculty member Aubrey Johnson accepted a Grammy on behalf of her uncle, the late Lyle Mays.

Image by Lindsey Byrnes

Jaclyn Sanchez B.M. ’12 (engineer/mixer) and Michelle Mancini B.M. ’08 (mastering engineer) received Grammys for their work on Jon Batiste’s We Are, which won Album of the Year. Sanchez was also nominated in the same category for her engineering and mixing work on H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind.

Charlie Rosen ’12 scored his first Grammy, for “Meta Knight’s Revenge” by the 8-Bit Big Band featuring Button Masher in the category of Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella. The win caps a big year for Rosen, who won his first Tony Award last year in the Best Orchestrations category for co-orchestrating Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

In the Best Alternative Music Album category, St. Vincent (Annie Clark ’04) took home the Grammy for her latest release, Daddy’s Home, which marks her second win in the category, having previously taken home the award in 2015 for her self-titled album, St. Vincent.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee alumna Sangeeta Kaur M.M. ’08 won Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for her 2021 release with Hila Plitmann, Mythologies, which was coproduced by Latin Grammy–winning alumnus Emilio D. Miler ’95, who, along with Nadeem Majdalany B.M. ’06, was also a featured percussionist on the record. 

Billy Cumella M.M. ’15 became the first alumnus of Berklee's campus in Valencia, Spain, to receive a Grammy, winning in the category of Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, for his work on Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's Love for Sale.

Aubrey Johnson, an instructor in the college's Voice Department, accepted a Grammy on behalf of her uncle, the late Lyle Mays. The posthumous award was for his piece "Eberhard," which won Best Instrumental Composition. Johnson co-executive produced, self-released, and sang on the record. 

Below is the full list of Berklee alumni winners. This list will be updated as additional Grammy winners are confirmed.

Album of the Year

  • We Are, Jon Batiste
    • Jaclyn Sanchez B.M. ’12, engineer/mixer
    • Michelle Mancini B.M. ’08, mastering engineer

Best Metal Performance

  • “The Alien,” Dream Theater
    • John Petrucci ’86
    • John Myung ’86

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Daddy’s Home, St. Vincent 
    • Annie Clark ’04

Best Jazz Vocal Album

  • Songwrights Apothecary Lab, Esperanza Spalding
    • Esperanza Spalding B.M. ’05

Best Global Music Performance 

  • “Mohabbat,” Arooj Aftab B.M. ’10

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella

  • “Meta Knight’s Revenge,” The 8-Bit Big Band featuring Button Masher
    • Charlie Rosen ’12, arranger

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

  • Love for Sale, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga 
    • Billy Cumella M.M. ’15, engineer

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

  • Mythologies, Sangeeta Kaur and Hila Plitmann
    • Sangeeta Kaur M.M. ’08, vocalist