Academy of Country Music Nominates Graduate of Hennepin Technical College

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Brooklyn Park, March 10, 2021 –  The Academy of Country Music (ACM) has nominated Gena Johnson for Audio Engineer of the Year. She is the first woman ever to receive an ACM nomination in that category. Johnson is a 2012 graduate of Hennepin Technical College (HTC) in the audio recording program.

The 56th Academy of Country Music Awards will air Sunday, April 18 at 7pm on CBS.

Johnson was the audio engineer for artist Chris Stapleton’s album, “Starting Over,” which is nominated for Album of the Year and its title track is nominated for Song of the Year.

“Everyone at HTC is incredibly proud of Gena,” said Matt Holmes, faculty, HTC audio recording program. “When she was a student, she impressed us with her tenacity and her passion. This is Gena’s first ACM nomination and it further demonstrates that the world of country music recognizes her exceptional talent.” 

In recent years, Johnson’s credits as a recording engineer and producer have been star-studded. She was the recording engineer on the Grammy-winning soundtrack “A Star Is Born,” featuring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. She worked on a Grammy award-winning album for artist Jason Isbell and a Grammy-nominated album for artist Kacey Musgraves. 

Giving back to students
Despite her busy professional life, Johnson is an active HTC alumna and has served as a guest speaker and mentor to HTC students. She recently joined the HTC Audio Program Advisory Board, which is comprised of industry professionals who help shape the audio program curriculum. In addition, she works with an organization to help more women to enter studio production careers in the music industry.

Preparing for a future in country music
Johnson graduated from the HTC audio specialist degree program, which is offered in partnership between HTC and Minnesota State University, Mankato. She completed an associate degree at HTC and a bachelor’s at Mankato.

In her college days, she built a recording studio during an internship, which eventually led to a job offer from another HTC graduate who lived in Nashville, Tennessee. Not long after Johnson’s move to the country music capitol, she began working with the biggest names in the industry including Willie Nelson, Kelly Clarkson and the Oak Ridge Boys.

During a magazine interview, she expressed surprise that she found success so quickly after completing college. 

“I believe that things happen for a reason and when push comes to shove we either sink or we float. Even when things are tough and I feel like I’ve been pushed to the limit, I’ve gotten up every day and put in the time, always with a smile on my face,” said Johnson.

 

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College (HTC) is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college has a diverse student population and offers degree and non-degree courses in over 45 programs. HTC is a member of Minnesota State, which includes 30 colleges and seven state universities.