Niagara Falls band being considered for Grammy nomination

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — A young Niagara Falls-based band says they’ve received consideration as a possible contender for a 2024 Grammy nomination.

This doesn’t quite make them Grammy nominees, but it’s a step in that direction. Local rockers Hywater, who used to play under the name Tedesco Knows Best, made the announcement on social media Sunday afternoon. Their single, “Up In The Air” was submitted for consideration to be nominated for Best Rock Performance.

Back in June, the band started getting some help from a big name in the music industry, Al Gomes — a man who’s worked with names like Christina Aguilera, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beach Boys, just to name a few.

Singer/guitarist Thomas Tedesco’s connection to The Beach Boys helped build a special bond between him and Gomes. Tedesco is the cousin of a Niagara Falls native who played on The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds”, someone who could be considered royalty in the world of recorded music — Buffalo Music Hall of Famer Tommy Tedesco.

Tedesco was part of the renowned “Wrecking Crew” — a group of studio musicians famous for leaving their mark on countless records over the decades. They also included names like guitarist Glen Campbell, bassist Carol Kaye and keyboardist Leon Russell.

Thomas Tedesco says Gomes helped Hywater rebrand into what it’s become, including the name change after the band was originally founded by Tedesco and Connor Best. Prior to finishing up their upcoming album as Hywater, the band had released a 2021 EP called “All Around Us” under their previous name.

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While listening to their lone EP as Tedesco Knows Best, the singer’s mention of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and America as influences is evident. The sounds of 90s grunge and Black Sabbath are also present.

It was mid-pandemic when the band really became whole, permanently adding drummer Dylan Howard and keyboardist/vocalist Collin Lacki as full members amid the creation of that EP.

In recording their next batch of songs as Hywater, the group worked with engineer-producer RJ DeMarco, known for his music with Buffalo band Fernway. Tedesco called working with him a “great experience.”

“He was like ‘Well, you guys are a rock band. So, let’s rock it out,'” Tedesco said of working with DeMarco.

Gomes helped the band decide on “Up In The Air” as the first single for the full album, which the band hopes to release before the end of the year. The track features Best on both guitar and bass. At a recent show at Elmwood Avenue’s Mr. Goodbar, the band performed as a trio due to Lacki’s commitments to school in Tennessee. In an approximately 45-minute set, Tedesco and Best showcased their multi-instrumentalist talents, each switching between guitar and bass.

A lot of the band’s songwriting typically starts with Tedesco and Best sitting down with a couple of acoustic guitars. “Up In The Air” began as an idea from Best, and as Lacki put it, became “very keyboard forward.”

“Each song is really its own animal as far as the way that you approach it and write it,” Tedesco said.

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With some holes left after the initial writing session, Lacki says he not only put his “keyboard stank” on the track, but filled in needed lyrics in what, at times, felt like the word game “Mad Libs.”

So, where is “Up In The Air” when it comes to one of the most prestigious music award shows on the planet? It’s in the early stage of the nomination process.

“I remember when Al called me last week,” Tedesco said of hearing the news. “It almost didn’t sink in. I’m like, ‘Really?!'”

Lacki said it still really, kind of, hasn’t sunk in” for him.

“I have a musical bucket list, if you will, and getting a Grammy is on my bucket list,” he said.

Hywater, in their announcement on Facebook, broke it down this way:

“Step 1 is contention for nomination. Step 2 would be nomination. Step 3 would be the Grammy Award. The first step is complete.”

What this means is a media company or a member of the Recording Academy, the governing body of the Grammys made up of various music industry professionals, submitted the song to be considered as a nominee for the aforementioned Grammy Award.

“Your First Entry into Online Entry Process (OEP) is the first step towards participating in the annual window in which recordings, video, and artwork are submitted to be included on the GRAMMY ballot,” the Recording Academy website outlines.

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The number of submissions “varies each year, but can exceed 20,000,” according to The Recording Academy, and each one is individually vetted by a member of the Recording Academy’s awards staff.

Right now, through Oct. 20, that first round of voting by members of the Recording Academy is taking place. On Nov. 10, three weeks after the first round of voting is complete, the full list of 2024 Grammy nominees will be announced.

Then, Recording Academy voting members will vote again, but this time, to determine who exactly will take home the trophies. This takes place from Dec. 14 through Jan. 4, with the award show following on Feb. 4.

“It’s a motivator to keep going,” Tedesco said of being considered for nomination. “Like, the job’s not finished. We’re still very young in our career and we still have a lot more to do.”

You can hear Hywater’s “Up In The Air” at the following links:


Apple Music


You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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