By Juanice Gray, editor
All persons eligibly credited on a Grammy-winning recording will be acknowledged with Grammy certificates.
It’s an extra distinction if that Grammy was for Album of the Year.
Brian Malik Baptiste, professionally known as Malik, of Austin, Texas, got into music at a young age. “I really wanted a guitar for Christmas when I was little,” he said.
No those are not random tidbits of information.
A young music producer with ties to Natchitoches has earned his first Grammy certificate. The 23-year-old producer/musician had a hand in a song on the Pop Album of the Year that bested fellow category nominees Camila Cabello (Camila), Kelly Clarkson (Meaning Of Life), Shawn Mendes (Shawn Mendes), P!nk (Beautiful Trauma) and Taylor Swift (Reputation).
That’s right, he worked on, and received credit for his work on the song “Better Off” by Ariana Grande. He is the grandson of Vernon and Virginia Roberson of Natchitoches. Vernon is known for his time as a professional athlete in the NFL, playing for the Dolphins and the 49’ers as well as his coaching career at Grambling and NCHS.
Malik’s love for music and that first guitar led to writing and producing music independently. “Things just fell right,” Malik said. “A production company saw my work and flew me to LA.” That production company handles big names and has been in the industry since the 80s.
Malik says working with that production company got him out of his comfort zone of rap and hip hop. “Tommy Brown (a producer with the company) is one of Ariana Grande’s producers,” he said. Malik happened to be downstairs in a building where Grande was recording a song for her Grammy winning album “Sweetener.”
Malik said Tommy came downstairs and told him Grande wanted an A capella style song. “He gave me the A capella version to produce the beat. Just over an hour later she heard and it wound up on the album,” Malik said. He explained that in production, the artist lays down a recording, then the production starts off with chords. He added “…structure to what was presented to me by adding chords underneath the ones already there.”
That was his first placement on an album and it garnered him a revered Grammy certificate. “It got my foot in the door of the industry,” he said. “It was exciting to say the least when I saw my name among the credits on an Ariana Grande album.”
Since Grande won the Grammy for “Sweetener” her production team received certificates. He said Grande’s team submitted the names for inclusion when she was nominated. “I was blessed to be included in that,” he said.
With that certificate under his belt professionally, he is now working on his debut album. “I have big things coming in the next year,” he said. “I sing and rap on the album.” His professional aspirations parallel many of the great artists of our time. “Producing gets your foot in the door and you can make contacts to hopefully launch your own career.” The young artist said he is in negotiations to partner with a major label for his debut album.
Today, Malik resides in Austin, hailed as the live music capital of the US. “We don’t’ have a lot off labels here yet, but it is developing,” he said.
Malik knows personal success is not only his own. “My parents, Edward and Alecia (Roberson) Baptiste, are extremely supportive. They have always encouraged me to do things while teaching me I need something in my life to remain stable.”
That is one reason he attended Austin Community College where he earned a degree in music, performance and technology. “With that education and the Grammy certificate I can pursue music as a full time career,” he said. Malik said he also appreciates his Natchitoches grandparents. “It feels so good to know I made my grandfather proud,” he said.
His advice to others who want to pursue their dreams is to “…follow God and your passion.”