Drew Taggart, whose musical career started with an independent study project at Freeport High School, was nominated Tuesday for three Grammy Awards for his role in the chart-topping duo The Chainsmokers.

The Chainsmokers were nominated for best new artist, and their smash hit “Closer” was nominated for best pop duo/group performance. The group’s song “Don’t Let Me Down” was nominated for best dance recording. The Grammy Awards will be given out Feb. 12 and broadcast on CBS.

Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering in Portland also was nominated in the category of best-engineered album, non-classical, for “Are You Serious” by Andrew Bird.

Taggart, 26, tweeted Tuesday after the nominations that he was “really proud of my team right now,” and expanded on that sentiment in an email to the Portland Press Herald.

“I’m feeling very grateful for my team and the people in my life who have helped us get to this point,” he wrote. “It’s a huge honor after growing up watching the Grammys all these years.”

Taggart was at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston when he heard of the nominations. He said he’ll probably bring his parents, Mark Taggart and Laura Girr, with him to the Grammy Awards. He’ll ask his mom to be his date.

Although The Chainsmokers have been touring and headlining for a couple of years, the runaway success of “Closer” this year made the group a constant presence on pop radio. It was No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart for most of this fall, and is currently at No. 3. The song features singer-songwriter Halsey sharing vocals with Taggart. It was written by Taggart, Halsey and four other musicians.

Taggart grew up in Freeport and graduated from Freeport High School in 2008. He spent part of his junior year studying in Argentina, where he became fascinated with electronic dance music. When he came back to Freeport High, he created his own electronic dance tracks on a computer for his senior project.

He attended a music business program at Syracuse University, then got an internship at Interscope Records. After college he began deejaying at clubs in New York City, where he met Alex Pall, his partner in The Chainsmokers. The pair began touring and producing music for other musicians.

Their big break came in 2014 with the song “#Selfie,” which poked fun at the self-absorbed types the duo saw in clubs. That song went to No. 1 on Billboard’s electronic dance chart, and the video had some 200 million views on YouTube within six months of the song’s release. It currently has more than 470 million views.

The Chainsmokers’ competition for best new artist includes country singers Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris, plus Chance The Rapper and singer/rapper Anderson Paak.

In the best pop duo/group performance category, the field includes “7 Years” by Lukas Graham, “Work” by Rihanna featuring Drake, “Cheap Thrills” by Sia featuring Sean Paul, and “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots. Other nominees in the best dance recording category include “Tearing Me Up” by Bob Moses, “Never Be Like You” by Flume featuring Kai, “Rinse & Repeat” by Riton featuring Kah-Lo, and “Drinkee” by Sofi Tukker.

For the past two years, The Chainsmokers have toured the world, playing festivals, arenas and large theaters. Taggart lives in New York City but has family in Freeport and comes home for visits and gigs. The duo played Portland’s State Theatre in 2015. They are currently doing holiday shows around the country, and in February will begin a tour of Europe.

Ludwig won a 2016 Grammy in the same engineering category he was nominated in on Tuesday, then for “Sound & Color” by Alabama Shakes.

He has won a total of 11 Grammys in various categories. Mastering engineers are only eligible in five of the 80-plus Grammy categories: record of the year, album of the year, best engineered album non-classical, best surround-sound album and best historical album. Mastering is the final step in creating an album, making the last adjustments in sound after all the recording and mixing is done.

Ludwig and his fellow mastering engineer at Gateway, Adam Ayan, usually master several recordings each year that are nominated for Grammys, even if they themselves aren’t named in nominations for each one. Ayan, for instance, mastered more than a half-dozen recordings that resulted in nominations this year, including works by Morris, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and Barbra Streisand.


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