The 66th annual Grammy Awards were held Sunday night and, during the ceremony, an Upstate New Yorker made history.

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5 Wins, 12 Nominations...

66th GRAMMY Awards - Premiere Ceremony
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Congratulations are in order to Rochesterian and Ithaca College graduate, Elaine Lee Martone! She just collected her fifth overall Grammy Award on Sunday night, this time for Classical Producer of the Year.

She said during her acceptance speech:

I’d like to thank all of the artists who have given me trust over my long career, especially the Cleveland Orchestra’s Franz Welser-Möst, who gave me work during the pandemic when I thought I’d be cleaning my closet, cooking, and gardening for the rest of my life.

Martone graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and began shaking up the music industry in the 80s, when she joined Telarc Records and served as Executive Vice President of Production.

With five Grammy wins, that makes her one of the most decorated women in the music industry. She also is the woman with the second-most wins for Producer of the Year, Classical, which is the most-coveted award in that field.

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Martone has won the award twice, with her first being handed out during the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in 2007. She is tied with Joanna Nickrenz for having the second-most awards in that category.

Judith Sherman is the woman with the most Producer of the Year, Classical wins with 7 awards.

No woman has ever won the Grammy for Producer of the Year, which covers all music genres.

Women in the Industry

Martone opened up in a intimate Grammy interview about the challenges women face in the music industry and how she became a powerhouse of her own.

Martone, who is married to multi-Grammy winner Robert Woods, said she vowed to win her first Grammy by age 50.

My husband has 13 GRAMMYs, and he started winning them when he was 30.  "So, I had a long way to go to 'catch up'.  In 2006, I won Classical Producer of the Year, which is the most coveted award in my field. I also have a Latin GRAMMY, and I won a jazz GRAMMY for McCoy Tyner's 'Illuminations.' Especially as women, we denigrate ourselves thinking that if we hide a little bit, people won't take shots at us. But I decided I wasn't going to do that back then, that I was going to play full out, and that I was going to win. Five GRAMMYs later, it's a big honor and a privilege.

Martone also reflected on how women are represented in the music industry by speaking about her own personal journey.

66th GRAMMY Awards - Premiere Ceremony
Leon Bennett/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

She said:

I never felt held back as a woman. I felt very lucky to grow a department and hire the right people. A key skill for my work as a producer is that I'm nurturing. I like being of service, including mentoring young women. Women represented about half of my staff.

Martone is thrilled to have five Grammy wins to her name, but is more excited of the over 200 records she's had a hand in creating. "Making a difference for others and having fun makes a life well-lived," she closed.

Aside from production work, Martone is also a member of the Grammy Producers and Engineers Wing.

And while she may live in Shaker Heights, OH, she is still an Upstate New York girl at heart.

Congratulations, Elaine!

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