Less than a decade after doing his senior project on electronic music at Freeport High School, Drew Taggart is now a Grammy winner.

The pop duo The Chainsmokers, consisting of Taggart and partner Alex Pall, won the best dance recording Grammy for “Don’t Let Me Down,” featuring Daya. The win was announced Sunday on the Grammy Awards website.

Taggart and Pall also were nominated in two other Grammy categories: best new artist and best pop duo/group performance for their smash hit “Closer” – the No. 1 song in the country last year.

Chance the Rapper won for best new artist at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Twenty One Pilots won the best pop duo/group performance category for “Stressed Out.”

Although The Chainsmokers have been touring and headlining for a couple of years, the runaway success of “Closer” last year made the group a constant presence on pop radio. It was No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart for most of the last quarter of 2016. The song features singer-songwriter Halsey sharing vocals with Taggart. It was written by Taggart, Halsey and four other musicians. In the past year the group also has had three other songs in the Top 10: “Roses,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Paris.”

Taggart, 27, is a Freeport native and a 2008 graduate of Freeport High School. He lives in Hollywood and his band tours the world. He was planning on bringing several family members to the Grammys on Sunday. His mother, Laura Girr of Freeport, was to be his “official date,” the person who gets to sit next to him during the ceremony and among the other music stars. The Grammy Awards show was televised live on CBS.


The group recently signed a three-year deal to be the band-in-residence at Wynn resorts in Las Vegas, and in April will start a 40-city tour headlining arenas and civic centers. The duo has performed on late-night talk shows and at music awards shows, including MTV’s Video Music Awards.

After high school, Taggart enrolled in a music business program at Syracuse University and later got an internship at Interscope Records, before starting to deejay and create electronic music – music made with computer software. He paired with Pall and began deejaying in New York City clubs. The duo’s big break came in 2014 with the parody tune “#Selfie” about self-absorbed club-goers. The hit led to a recording contract.

Maine’s Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering in Portland was nominated for a 2017 Grammy for best-engineered album, non-classical, but did not win. He took home the Grammy in the same category last year and has won 11 in all.

Another Mainer nominated for a Grammy was Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering in Portland, in the category of best-engineered album, non-classical, for “Are You Serious” by Andrew Bird. Ludwig did not win. David Bowie’s “Blackstar” took the best-engineered album category.

Ludwig won a 2016 Grammy in the same category he was nominated in this year, then for “Sound & Color” by Alabama Shakes. He has won 11 Grammys in various categories, even though 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. Ayan, for instance, mastered more than a half-dozen recordings that resulted in nominations this year, including works by Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and Barbra Streisand.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:


Twitter: RayRouthier

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