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UT Chemical Engineering Grad Wins Grammy Award

Andrew Prim (CBE ’20) flipped on the Grammy Awards livestream as he and his wife, Megan, organized items in their Knoxville home. Prim was nominated for an award but had already prepared himself not to win. He was just grateful to be considered for such a major honor.
Andrew Prim Grammy Announcement
Once the ceremony reached the category of Best Contemporary Christian Music Album, Prim and his wife stopped to listen. Their jaws dropped as they heard Lecrae’s album Church Clothes 4 announced as the winner. Prim, 26, was a co-producer for the Christian hip-hop album.

“I went through so many emotions in the span of like five minutes,” Prim said. “It took me a few minutes to actually process it all before having this sense of elation. It was a really cool feeling.”

Who is Andrew Prim?

Prim is an engineer by day and music producer by night. He works at Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge as a process engineer and then “takes off the engineering hat and puts on the music producer cap” once he leaves the facility.

“It’s interesting, but it does help to keep a good work-life balance,” Prim said. “I come home and can look forward to spending the evening with my music up in my studio. It’s nice to have that division of engineering and music.”

Prim’s been pursuing his dual passions for as long as he can remember, including his time at UT, where he studied chemical engineering while being a member of The Pride of the Southland Band. Prim played alto saxophone alongside his future wife and was a squad leader as a senior.

He tries to keep both sides of his life separate, but the Grammy win made his musical gifts more well known around Y-12.

“I’ve definitely had to explain it quite a few times over the past few weeks at work,” he said. “But everyone in my personal life knows I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid. They know how much it means to me.”

Finding His Passions

Prim grew up with a piano in his living room. His mother, Linda, a middle school counselor, would play hymns that captivated him. Prim began taking piano lessons at age six. He attended a UT football game when he was in elementary school and told his dad, “I’m going to be in the band someday” once he saw the marching band take the field.

Andrew Prim using a mixer to engineer music

Prim’s dad, Jason, is a UT graduate who majored in mechanical engineering. Prim was always interested in engineering, and took part in UT’s eVOL10 and HITES12 programs during high school, when he met with CBE Associate Professor Steven Abel while on campus.

“That initially sparked my interest in chemical engineering,” Prim said. “I knew I wanted to come to UT anyway since I have been a Vol fan for life. But I just didn’t know what I would major in until spending time with Dr. Abel and working on a project.”

Gaining a fundamental foundation of chemical engineering was important, but Prim feels the most valuable tool he took away from his UT education went deeper.

“Learning how to think like an engineer was hugely important,” Prim said. “Learning how to approach different problems and how to approach them from a critical thinking and engineering perspective. UT does an amazing job almost training you how to think, especially in the Senior Design course.”

Making It in Music

Prim’s big breakthrough in music production came in the summer of 2022 when the lead producer on Lecrae’s album reached out asking Prim for some ideas for a song. Prim spent a week working on different elements before sending it back.

Andrew Prim

He didn’t hear anything until a friend who was interning at the record label alerted Prim that Lecrae was recording one of his ideas in the studio right at that moment.

“That clued me in that it might be on the album. It’s not a definite until you really get the paperwork and everything is official though,” Prim said. “But it was really rewarding just to hear that my idea was being considered.”

The album won a Dove Award last October, which is considered the Gospel Music Association’s version of the Grammys. Having been awarded the two most prestigious honors possible for the category, Prim has gained more confidence in his producing abilities and seen more doors open for collaboration.

“Once I got these awards, there was a substantial amount of credibility added to my name and my name carried a lot more weight,” he said. “People starting reach out to me more and I started getting a much quicker response time when I reached out to them.”

Between his work at Y-12 and his increased popularity in the music world, Prim has been busier than ever. The juggling act is something he mastered at UT, where he balanced academics with his time in the band.

“It’s a great problem to have, don’t get me wrong. I love it,” Prim said. “This is what I’ve been dreaming about for years.”


Rhiannon Potkey (865-974-0683,