Two singers with CWU ties honored at Grammy Awards ceremony

  • February 5, 2024
  • David Leder

Central Washington University was well-represented on the Grammy Awards stage Sunday night in Los Angeles, when one alumna and one former athlete were honored for their musical talents.

Brandy Clark, who played basketball for Central in 1994-95, won her first-ever Grammy for Best Americana Performance. She had been nominated 17 times since her debut album in 2013, including six this year. She finally broke through in 2024 for “Dear Insecurity,” a duet she sang with Brandi Carlile.

According to an article in The Seattle Times, Clark had just performed a solo rendition of the song at the awards ceremony before being called up to accept her award.

“Thank my mom for always believing in me, whatever my crazy dreams have been,” Clark said during her acceptance speech. “And mostly, I want to thank Brandi Carlile for making this record with me and … for championing so many of us.”

grammy-awards-2024-2.pngAmanda Taylor, who graduated from CWU in 2013, also won her first Grammy Award on Sunday, along with her vocal quartet säje. Their song, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” won for Best Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals. The group received its first Grammy nod in the same category in 2021.


Taylor has become an internationally known composer, arranger, performer, studio singer, and teacher. Her passion for mentoring young vocalists led to the launch of Wicked Pigeon, a Seattle-based vocal arranging company that writes accessible, fresh arrangements for young jazz ensembles.

A 2021 article in the Ellensburg Daily Record noted that Taylor also works with the Seattle Girls’ Choir and A Cappella Academy, a teen summer program for aspiring vocal performers.

Clark’s journey has been a long and winding one since she came to Central from the small town of Morton, Washington, in 1994 on a basketball scholarship. The former shooting guard didn’t finish her degree at CWU, choosing instead to pursue a career as a recording artist. She moved to Nashville at the age of 22 to follow her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter.

grammy-awards-2024-3.pngAccording to a feature last week on CBS News, her dream of becoming a country singer came from watching films like Coal Miner's Daughter about Loretta Lynn and Sweet Dreams about Patsy Cline.


“I saw that as a little girl and thought, I wanna be that,” Clark told Anthony Mason in a profile for the CBS Mornings series titled “Road to the Grammys.”

In 2013, she released her solo debut “12 Stories,” which earned her Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Country Album. This year’s six nominations span three genres: country, Americana and theater. 

Eleven years later, she can add one very special win to her collection of achievements.

“I’m not even gonna try to play it down. It's pretty cool,” Clark told CBS. “It was not what I even dreamed.”

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