‘Uptown Funk’ Grammy win for University’s audio production graduate

Published 17 February 2016

London-based Southern Cross University audio production graduate Joshua Blair is celebrating after picking up a Grammy overnight as part of a team of producers, engineers and mixers who created ‘Uptown Funk’ by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.

‘Uptown Funk’, which won Record of the Year at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, was the breakout single from Ronson's 2015 album Uptown Special and features Mars' vocals over Ronson's funky production. ‘Uptown Funk’ also took home the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

It is the first Grammy to be awarded to a SCU graduate.

Two years ago, Josh narrowly missed out on Record of the Year as part of the team who put together the Mars album Locked Out of Heaven, also produced by Ronson.

Josh, who grew up in Lismore and went to Kadina High School, graduated from SCU in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Contemporary Music.

Dr Matt Hill, course coordinator of the University’s music program, said the Grammy was significant.

“The Grammys are the pinnacle of peer-reviewed music awards. For SCU to be a stepping stone for one of our graduates to reach that point in their career, it’s a huge tick for regional universities generally but also for SCU’s music program specifically. It says that a kid can come from anywhere and reach those heights in the music industry.”

Dr Hill said Josh completed the first two years of his degree at SCU and then went to the US to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for 12 months.

“Josh’s lecturers at the time tell me he had a burning desire to excel in music production. He went overseas to be exposed to what was happening elsewhere. He came back to SCU with state-of-the-art technology which set him up to develop his engineering production skills.”

Now based in London as a freelance recording/mixing engineer, Josh records, mixes and produces for albums, films and television. He works from world renowned studios including Abbey Road, Air, Angel, Metropolis & Sphere Studios.

Aside from working with Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson, Josh has produced albums and singles for Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys, Rufus Wainwright, Katy B, Duran Duran and Delta Goodrem. He’s played drums and percussion for Simply Red, guitar for Robin Gibb and Mel C, and the mandolin for Imelda May.

“On ‘Uptown Funk’, Josh is listed as part of a team of 14 artists, engineers and producers involved in the production of the track,” said Dr Hill.

“The heady, creative environment of a recording studio requires a team of people to work collaboratively to make something exciting. Record of the Year recognises that it’s not only the artist performance but also the whole production side that makes a track what it is.

Mark Ronson talks about the single taking seven months to produce and being recorded in different studios around the world.”

Photo: Mark Ronson (right foreground) receives the Grammy for Record of the Year with his team of producers and engineers (credit: Grammys)

Media contact: Sharlene King media officer, Southern Cross University, 02 6620 3508 or 0429 661 349.