While scrolling through Twitter in November 2020, Ben Thomas’ finger stopped on his screen.
“Lady Like,” an Ingrid Andress album he worked on during its production, was nominated for best country album at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards.
“I honestly forgot about it, I was in shock,” said Thomas, a 2018 entrepreneurship and innovation management alumnus.
The Grammys will take place on March 14 this year. Thomas worked as an assistant audio engineer for the the album’s producer, Erik Madrid, on the album’s first track “Bad Advice.” He also edited, arranged music and created instrumental and acapella versions of “The Stranger,” “Life of the Party” and “Anything But Love.”
The album, released in March 2020, is Andress’ debut album. In addition to a nomination for best country album, its sixth track, “More Hearts Than Mine,” was nominated for best country song and Andress was nominated for best new artist, Rolling Stone reported.
“I felt excited but I was mostly happy for [Andress] and [Madrid] because the nomination is really theirs,” Thomas said.
Assisting with “Lady Like” helped Thomas do what he loves: making artists’ sound and vision come to fruition.
“I learned a ton about how to manage clients, organize files correctly and just how to be a more professional engineer,” he said.
Thomas was in Los Angeles, California doing freelance production work in November and December 2019 and was offered a job to assist with production on Andress’ album, he said. While country is not a genre he normally works in, he was excited for the opportunity, he said.
After he learned about the Grammy nomination, Thomas immediately called his mom to let her know about the news because she is one of his biggest supporters.
His love of producing music started during his freshman year of high school when he recorded a mixtape with a friend in his music teacher’s classroom during their lunch period, he said.
Before graduating from Temple, Thomas worked with rap artists Ty Dolla Sign and Lil Dicky. His work was also featured in the HBO comedy series, “Insecure,” The Temple News reported.
At Temple, Thomas was close to Timothy Welbeck, an Africology and African American Studies professor he met his freshman year at an open mic event at Bourbon and Branch, a bar on 2nd Street near Fairmont Avenue.
“He is a consummate professional, extremely hardworking and those traits are what have distinguished him from his peers and even people who have entered the industry before him,” Welbeck said.
Thomas works with Philadelphia artist Chill Moody at Moody’s independent record label and management company, nicethingsMUSIC, an independent record label and management company.
Moody wasn’t surprised Thomas contributed to a Grammy-nominated album, he said.
“I don’t know anyone personally more dedicated to their craft,” Moody added. “He’s going to go down as one of the greats.”
Thomas opened his first commercial studio, “After5 Studios,” located at Martha and Huntingdon streets, in October 2020 to create a space for artists to edit and produce music, he said.
Although he was not individually nominated for the award, the experience of working on a Grammy-nominated album was a big win for Thomas, he added.
“These opportunities don’t come along very often,” Thomas said. “I’m looking forward to hopefully getting more of a role in the project or more of a relationship with the artist, which would be even more special.”