Scotty Wilbanks, right, pictured in his production studio, will travel to Los Angeles for Sunday night’s Grammy Awards. He has been nominated as producer of the year in the Rock/Gospel category.
CHS Grad Scotty Wilbanks Is Up For A Grammy Award
Producer/Musician Heads To LA For Awards Presentation
No one could have predicted when Scotty Wilbanks started taking piano lessons at age 8 that he’d wind up as a guest of honor at the 49th annual Grammy Awards celebration Sunday night.
But the 1988 Commerce High School graduate and son of Johnny and Patsy Wilbanks of Commerce has been nominated for two of the music industry’s highest awards.
A record producer and Christian musician, Wilbanks, 36, was nominated as producer of the year in the Rock/Gospel category for his work on the album, “DecembeRadio,” by a new group of the same name. He also plays keyboards for the Grammy award winning band Third Day, which is also nominated for a Grammy in the Pop/Gospel category. This is Wilbanks’ first Grammy nomination.
“The DecembeRadio nomina-tion is pretty wild, because they are a brand new band, and it’s their first album,” said Wilbanks. “To be nominated with your first album is pretty cool.”
Third Day has won two Grammys, but that was before Wilbanks joined them.
Wilbanks got word of the nom-ination when he was at a studio in Atlanta producing for another group, and DecembeRadio’s record company called with the announcement.
“I was, like, that’s pretty cool, now I’ve got to get back to work,” Wilbanks recalled. “It didn’t sink in until I went back in and told the other band I was producing. They were, like, ‘man, that’s awesome.’ It’s just one of those things where I’ve watched and followed the Grammys and I’d think, ‘Man, if I could go to that awards show some day, that would be amazing,’ and then here we are, going to fly out to LA Saturday to the Grammys and see if we win. It’s kind of a dream come true.”
Wilbanks got into music at age 8 when he took piano lessons in Commerce from Darrell Kinsey, “who really just inspired me and helped teach me the love of music.”
At age 10, he started playing the saxophone in the Commerce Band program.
“I never would have thought just playing those instruments would end up taking me all over the world and in front of millions of people, doing TV shows and all kinds of crazy stuff,” Wilbanks laughed.
He went to Truett-McConnell College and the University of Georgia, from which he received a music education degree. Shortly after receiving that degree, he stepped on the tour bus with NewSong and has been a full-time musician ever since.
He stayed with NewSong for a decade, traveling the world. The band had 15-17 top-ranked hits and even did a couple of CBS TV movies, and Wilbanks met his wife, Dede, on tour. They have a 17-month-old son, Levi, and live in Canton.
He also started Juke Box, his own production studio, for which he produces bands - mostly Christian rock, but also some mainstream.
“I do a lot of developing of up-and-coming bands,” said Wilbanks. “I developed and produced a band, Echoing Angels, from right around Commerce. They’ve got the number five song in the country right now.”
Wilbanks and Third Day just returned from a tour of Australia and New Zealand. They are going to Europe in May, and among their venues will be Royal Albert Hall in London where the likes of The Beatles and Eric Clapton have performed. Third Day, said Wilbanks, has sold more than six million records.
Win or lose, the nominations will help Wilbanks’ career.
“It is kind of a perception is reality thing,” he says. “It gives you more credibility. Now you can put ‘Grammy-nominated producer’ or “Grammy-winning producer,’ and hopefully, that credibility will open more doors in the future.”