For Dominic Fallacaro, hard work from 2015 paid off on Monday.
The former Niskayuna resident won a Grammy award for his work on Tim Kubart’s “Home,” which won the music award for best children’s album.
The four-man Team Kubart was clearly charged up by the time it reached the stage seconds after victory was announced. Kubart’s joyous thank you speech drew most of the attention.
“It’s surreal,” record producer Fallacaro said in a telephone interview today. “It’s a total rush and it’s a really good feeling, and validation for those absurdly, ridiculous long hours that he put into it. So it was really a treat.”
Kubart, best known as the host of the Sprout channel’s “Sunny Side Up” show for kids, has described “Home” as a collection of songs “about all new adventures — the kind you can find in your home and in your heart, with your friends and with your family, in the little moments we live every day.”
The 29-year-old Fallacaro, who graduated from Niskayuna High School in 2004 and now lives in Brooklyn, spends much of his time producing records, performing gigs and touring. He has bunches of different styles in his repertoire: In 2011, he was the pianist with Jon Sandler and the Fancy Band, which won the Hornitos Tequila Mariachi Mash-Up video competition and took home the $10,000 grand prize.
As a producer on “Home,” Fallacaro had plenty of work to do.
“The fun thing about the project is it entailed everything from kind of shaping some of the songwriting and really getting to work on everything from the infancy of the project because it really started with the artist, myself and another songwriter, just kind of in a room making these new songs,” Fallacaro said. “That carried on to involve everything from writing up parts for a horn section — because there are some horns featured on the record — to writing out parts for a cello player, everything from working on arrangements for the songs and anything technology-wise, like doing drum programming.
“The fun part about the project was that it was extremely varied and you got to wear a lot of hats with it.”
It also helped that the music was just fun to perform and listen to.
“Tim’s vision is so clear and his heart is in such a wonderful place,” said Fallacaro, who studied piano at the New School for Jazz in Greenwich Village. “There’s a lot of really wonderful children’s music that comes from a folk background and that’s really lovely and totally relevant, but our vision for this record was kids are smart, and pretty early on, kids are listening to pop music. We wanted to meet kids where they were and make the music we liked listening to. So it sounds very much like a Top 40 record. It happens to be about having breakfast with your family and being on a swing set.”
A shock and a blur
The Grammy Awards have recognized excellence in children’s records since 1959. Music observers said the 2016 nominees were special, because five independent artists represented styles such as jazz, indie-pop, folk and bilingual Latin American.
Fallacaro said the award also came with a few seconds of “pure shock.”
“And then, a lot of it is a little bit of a blur,” he said. “I had someone ask later, ‘What song did the band play when you guys ran up on stage?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know, I have no idea.’ We were just so jubilant and bouncing-off-the-wall crazy.”
A Grammy can open doors. Fallacaro is curious what doors might now open for him.
“I’m always hoping for the next step, the next level, and keep making music with not only my friends I am already making music with and am proud of,” Fallacaro said, “but to try and get working with the people I have really admired. I’m hoping this could be a gateway to meeting some of the people I’m a fan of, my musical peers. That would be really, really great.”
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