College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Webmaster by Day, Grammy Winner by Night


Meagan Hennessey leads a double life. By day, Hennessey is the College’s Manager of Business Web Services, responsible for hundreds of pages on the College of Business web servers. In her spare time, she wins Grammy Awards. Hennessey, along with her husband, Richard Martin, manage Archeophone Records, a label dedicated to historical recordings. They were nominated for their album Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922, along with co-collaborators Tim Brooks and David Giovannoni. The ceremony was February 11 in Los Angeles.

Hennessey recently shared her thoughts about the experience:

How did you become interested in historical recordings?
I've always been interested in popular music, and at some point I got curious about what people listened to before the Billboard charts. Once I had a few 78s and began to learn about some of the artists, I became very interested in these people who were very popular in their time but are largely unknown today. Realizing that a lot of the records were rare and at risk of being lost forever, we started a label dedicated to preserving these rare early recordings and making them accessible to a modern audience. That’s a lot of what “Lost Sounds” is all about.
When you heard your name, was it a surreal experience?
Very much so, especially because our category was announced much earlier in the ceremony than we expected. Then, as winners, we were escorted directly to the media center in the Staples Center for print and radio interviews as well as official photographs. The most surreal moment for me was turning around during some photographs and realizing that we were standing in front of the official Grammy backdrop that I’d seen in pictures for years.
Did you chat with any "stars" while you were there?
We spotted a number of stars, but to a large degree, the VIPs were separate. The Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremonies were a lot of fun, though, because we sat directly behind a lot of the artists being honored—Joan Baez, members of The Grateful Dead, Booker T. and the MGs, and Bob Wills’ family. I also had a nice conversation with Bob Wills’ daughter at a hair salon before the event.
Where do you plan to put your award? In the office or at home?
I haven't decided yet. What’s really cool is that all the statues are hand-crafted and engraved by one man in Colorado, and that adds to the specialness. So many of my colleagues have asked to see it that I will definitely bring it into the office once I have it.

What was your favorite memory of the whole experience?
It would be very hard to single out just one; the ceremony and other nominee events were a lot of fun, the performances were great, and the people working the show were very friendly and congratulatory. It’s been a lot of fun being back as well—everyone we know has been really enthusiastic.

Related Information:

Lost Sounds wins Grammy Award for Best Historical Album - Archeophone Announcement

A Grammy Winner in Champaign (RM Audio File) - Interview with Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey on WILL AM 580

UIUC College of Business