Beginning in 1987, a few of recording industry professionals including songwriters, recording engineers, working musicians and producers set out to achieve cooperation rather than competition among recording studios and other industry professionals in order to create a climate of professionalism and artistic excellence within the New Mexico music community.
The brainchild of recording engineer Eric Larson and producer Tom “Mitch” Mitchell, conversations with other industry pros led to the formation of the New Mexico Music Industry Coalition (NM MIC).
The New Mexico Music Industry Coalition’s goal was to inform and educate as well as share information on the recording industry’s evolution from analog to digital and beyond. Ironically, it seemed to the MIC committee that the best way to showcase these changes was with a competition.
Beginning in 1988, the “MIC” Awards banquet and show would be held annually to recognize excellence in original music productions recorded and mixed primarily within the state of New Mexico for the previous year. Awards were presented in a Grammy style ceremony that included guest presenters and live performances.
With successive years, the program continued to expand its educational workshops that include entertainment law, copyright and songwriter’s workshops. In 2005, the program was re-branded as the New Mexico Music Awards.
In April of 2005, co-founder Eric Larson passed away and the program was taken over by longtime volunteers Jose and Kathy Ponce. The NMMA established the Eric Larson Endowment at the University of New Mexico in memory of NMMA co-founder Eric Larson. The endowment was established to assist junior or senior UNM students who have declared music or a related field (such as the recorded arts) as their major and who maintain a 3.0 GPA or better. The NMMA continues to contribute annually to the endowment.
The New Mexico Music Awards and continues to encourage and enhance the recorded music industry in New Mexico.
While not a non-profit organization, the awards program continues to educate New Mexico songwriters, artists, producers and engineers with workshops ranging from copyright information to recording technique as well as other educational endeavors related to music education within the New Mexico community. The NMMA also works tirelessly to promote New Mexico artists and their music to a global audience.