On the Beat

‘Here’s to the grind!’ Raleigh opera singer’s hard work brings Grammy

Lucas Meachem embraces his Grammy moment after winning best opera recording Sunday night. Photo courtesy of Lucas and Irina Meachem.
Lucas Meachem embraces his Grammy moment after winning best opera recording Sunday night. Photo courtesy of Lucas and Irina Meachem.

At Sunday night’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, North Carolina native Lucas Meachem was there as a first-time nominee. And he had convinced himself going in that he didn’t really care if he won or not.

Then he reached the winners’ circle, sharing in the glory for best opera recording. The Grammy went to “Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles,” which Meachem sang with the LA Opera Orchestra.

“The whole thing was super-cool, almost surreal,” said Meachem, who lives in Minneapolis now. “Yeah, I’d been thinking, ‘Whether I win or not, no big deal’ – until I won. Suddenly, it was a big deal.”

Now 38 years old, Meachem was born in Raleigh and spent the better part of his formative years growing up in Cary and Carthage. Then he went off to Appalachian State University. And while he never did get a degree, Meachem did become a top operatic baritone singer.

All that was flashing through Meachem’s mind Sunday night as he made his way to the stage, wondering what he’d say at the microphone.

“I was thinking about what I had in common with everyone else up there,” Meachem said. “And what everybody had in common is we all worked our ass off at all levels to get there, like me putting in eight years at three schools with no degree to show for it. The grind is what shaped us all. So I said, ‘Here’s to the grind!’”

Meachem’s win puts North Carolina’s total Grammy count for this year at three wins out of 15 nominations.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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