MINT HILL – A Nashville singer-songwriter with ties to Mint Hill has a shot at winning a Grammy Award.
Mason Zgoda, 21, whose parents Tami and Mike live in Mint Hill, has been placed on the official ballot for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards by The Recording Academy. She’s competing in several categories, including Best American Roots Performance, Best American Roots Song, Best Americana and Best Music Video.
Over the next few weeks, the Recording Academy’s voting membership – comprised solely of music creators, including artists, engineers, producers and songwriters – will narrow down the submissions to the top four or five in each category. Those artists will be announced as official Grammy nominees on Dec. 5. Voting members will then narrow it down even further to choose the winners.
Zgoda said even if she doesn’t make it to the next round, just being on the official ballot opens up a lot of doors and helps with exposure.
“It allows people in the industry, particularly people in Nashville, to hear my music, see my name and know that I’m out there,” she said. “Even just that is great for me.”
Zgoda grew up in Harrisburg and moved to Los Angeles after high school to attend The Master’s University, a non-denominational, conservative Christian liberal arts college in Santa Clarita, Calif. She received her degree in political studies and moved to Nashville to pursue music and work as a substitute teacher. Her parents moved to Mint Hill two years ago.
Although she never thought she would pursue music as a career, she said she’s loved singing and performing ever since she was a kid.
“My parents tell me I used to grab a wooden spoon and stand up on a chair and tell everyone, ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ And I would perform for them,” she said.
Zgoda wrote her first song, “Superman,” when she was 12 years old after being inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” album. She continued to write more songs as a teenager, but was hesitant to ever record them.
“Prior to that, it really was like my diary and a way to work out my thoughts and feelings,” she said.
After a little push from her parents, Zgoda decided to do it. She recorded her first album, “Black and White,” when she was 18 years old and included her very first song, “Superman.” Her latest album is called “Where Else Can I Go.”
Although she’s competing for Grammys in the American Roots genre, Zgoda describes her music as singer-songwriter, inspired by 1960s artists like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.
Zgoda said she hopes to win Best American Roots Song for her song “Joey Ramone.”
“I’m so proud of the writing we did on it and everything we did production-wise,” she said. “I would just die and go to heaven if I won Best American Roots Song.”
However, she thinks her music video for “Where Else Can I Go” has the best shot. Zgoda said she wrote the song the year after she “ran away from home” and moved to Southern California for college. The video, which is a Vaudeville-type production with theater-like props that move around to portray different scenes, stars an exaggerated version of Zgoda and pokes fun of how she’s moved around to follow her dreams.
“I think our idea is unique enough that it will stand out,” she said.
Regardless if she’s nominated for a Grammy, Zgoda said she would have never made it this far without her parents.
“They’ve really believed in me and my talents and abilities even more than I’ve believed in myself sometimes,” Zgoda said. “That has given me the encouragement to really go for it and do something special.”
Want to know more?
Listen to Mason Zgoda’s music at www.soundcloud.com/masonz goda and watch the music video for “Where Else Can I Go” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIs C8LKjPn8. You can also follow her on Instagram @masonzgoda or check out her website, which is www.masonzgoda.com.