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Third Annual Pensado Awards Winners Announced

One thousand industry professionals and celebrities pack Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City; winners announced in 15 categories.

From left: Gavin Lurssen, Herb Trawick, Chris Lord-Alge, Taryn Manning, Dave Pensado, and John McBride.

Photo: Chris Schmitt Photography.

The Pensado Awards held its third annual awards ceremony on Saturday, August 20, 2016, at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif. Herb Trawick and Dave Pensado of Penwick Media (the producers of Pensado’s Place) created these awards as a means to acknowledge music production professionals and “recognize the faces behind the sound.”

The ceremony saw a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,000 recording industry figures, including nominees, presenters, and guests. Event co-hosts were singer-songwriter/actress/fashion designer Taryn Manning; drummer Samantha Maloney; Chris Lord-Alge; MixedByAli; and mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen.

The musical theme of the awards show was “Celebrate the Guitar,” with live performances by Phil X (Triumph, Bon Jovi), Michael “Fish” Herring (Prince, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera) and Ethan Farmer (Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake).

The audience at the 2016 Pensado Awards.

Photo: Chris Schmitt Photography.

A truly special aspect of the evening saw the audio community banding together to raise funds and increase awareness around David Platillero, a talented young producer/engineer and musician who suffered a severe traffic accident earlier this year while riding his bicycle to attend classes at Nashville’s The Blackbird Academy. Platillero’s injuries require intensive rehabilitation, so supporting Platillero and his family was a key goal of this year’s Awards. Throughout the evening, Trawick, Pensado and the event’s co-hosts drove donations while the Pensado media and PR team helped raise awareness on social media by using the hashtag #WeStandForDavid. The audience went wild at the moment of a surprise appearance onstage by David Platillero with his father John Platillero, and Blackbird Academy founder and producer John McBride, who was one of the first people at Platillero’s bedside in the emergency room at Vanderbilt Hospital. Platillero and his family were truly touched by the outreach of the audio community and thanked everyone for their support and this amazing evening.  

The Pensado Award show drew tremendous attention on social media with the hashtags #PensadoAwards and #WeStandForDavid, having more than 500 posts that garnered over 5.5 million impressions.

From left: Taryn Manning, Gavin Lurssen, MixedByAli, Chris Lord-Alge, and Samantha Maloney.

Photo: Chris Schmitt Photography.

At the ceremony, the following winners were announced:

  • OMG! Mix of the Year: Josh Gudwin/Andrew Wuepper for “Sorry” (Justin Bieber); Vance Powell for “Tennessee Whiskey” (Chris Stapleton)
  • Game Changer of the Year Award: Dave Cobb
  • Break Thru Songwriter: Brody Brown
  • Master of Mastering: Joe LaPorta
  • Tracking Engineer: Steve Genewick
  • Best Non-English Song: JJ Lin, “Twilight”
  • Outstanding Brand:  Indaba Music
  • Break Thru Mixer Award:  Delbert Bowers
  • Live/FOH: Wilberto Madera (Pitbull)
  • Spin Doctor DJ Award: Henry Fong
  • AIR Award (Best Assistant, Intern or Runner): Shamir Nicholas, Chris Galland and Wesley Seidman
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound for Visual Medium Award: Straight Outta Compton
  • Pensado Giant Award: Chris Lord-Alge
  • Dave Pensado Educator Award: Learn from Legends, Recording Connection
  • Herb Trawick Visionary Award: Xfer Records

The culmination of the awards segment was the presentation of the Pensado Giant Award to producer/engineer/mixer Chris Lord-Alge by Focusrite President Phil Wagner and noted industry marketing/publicity professional Lisa Roy, both longtime friends of Lord-Alge and his family. Upon accepting the award, Lord-Alge gave thanks to many of his industry friends and clients, and very special thanks went to his brother Tom Lord-Alge, who unfortunately could not attend, and his mother Vivian, who had flown in from the east coast to watch Chris accept his award. Lord-Alge talked about growing up and the influence and support from his mother, who always encouraged Chris and Tom to pursue their craft.

A special highlight was a taped tribute to Chris Lord-Alge, the winner of the Pensado Giant Award, from Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen, Dwight Yoakam, Scott Borchetta (Big Machine Label Group), Steven Tyler and Chris’s brother, Grammy Award winning engineer/mixer Tom Lord-Alge.

Co-hosts Taryn Manning and Chris Lord-Alge.

Photo: Chris Schmitt Photography.

“The overwhelming response of the industry is that we hit it out of the park with this year’s awards,” says Trawick. “I congratulate all of our winners and nominees and thank our co-hosts, presenters and sponsors. This year’s ceremony gave us a chance to give back to one of our own by taking the opportunity to raise funds, awareness and support around David Platillero, who is one of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. The audio community is one giant family, and both Dave Pensado and I feel so blessed to be part of that family every day. This year’s awards were the best yet, and the Pensado organization continues to grow and expand, so stay tuned, as we have so many exciting things to announce in the coming months.” 

This year’s Pensado Awards drew a list of sponsors including The Blackbird Academy, Vintage King Audio, Avid, iZotope, The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, LANDR, DTS, Westlake Pro, Barefoot Sound, The Recording Connection Audio Institute, Fab Factory, Augspurger, Music Connection, Burl Audio, Gibson Brands, Milkman Sound, Rock N Roll Relics and Shinola Detroit.

In attendance were songwriter/producer busbee; Grammy Award–winning movie scoring mixer Alan Meyerson; hip-hop production collective 1500 or Nothin’; producer and instrumentalist DJ Iz; a contingent from G.O.O.D. Music; vocalist Patti Austin; multiple Grammy Award–winning engineer/producers Ron Fair, Jack Joseph Puig, Ed Cherney, Mick Guzauski, and Al Schmitt; and more.

Find a full list of nominees.