“Kuya Ryan got nominated for a Grammy!”
shouted The Daughter. While annoyed at her shouting (“indoor voice please” I keep telling her), I was happy to hear that news and I wasn’t surprised. “Kuya Ryan” is her cousin and my nephew Ryan Buendia, a producer working with Apl.de.Ap and the Black Eyed Peas. We’ve profiled Ryan before, regarding his career as a producer and as an artist, DJ, and turntablist in his own right. He and Apl.de.Ap are nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy for the Black Eyed Peas’ album The E.N.D. Ryan is listed with his DJ name, DJ Replay. I wondered if Jay Sean would be nominated after getting a number #1 song, but he did not.
Apl and the Black Eyed Peas have won Grammys before and are nominated for some other ones, but this is Ryan’s first Grammy nomination, and it is definitely the first in our family! In addition to Apl, notable Asian American grammy winners include Cellist Yo-yo Ma, No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, and singer Norah Jones, daughter of another Grammy winner Ravi Shankar. Ne-yo, Grammy winner and a favorite of my daughter (“he’s so fine!” she says ad nauseum), is part Asian.
As for Ryan, he continues to work for Apl.de.Ap’s company Jeepney Music. I think Apl is wise to own and manage the production end of the business, as this gives him more artistic control and a bigger share of music profits, something that few Asian-Americans in the music business seem to possess. At Thanksgiving, in between large helpings of food, Ryan said that he had just done some work for Chris Brown and Rihanna (separately of course!). Looks like his influence is growing as a producer is growing. We’ll be rooting for Ryan on January 31, 2010 to see if he can join the list of Asian American Grammy winners.