2017-02-16 / Columns

Grammy winner had humble beginnings on the peninsula

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Northport’s own Nathan (Nate) Scherrer is a Grammy winner! Congratulations to Nate, who is the son of Deb Kalchik and Jim Scherrer. Nate is a Northport native and graduate of Northport Public School.

Just five years ago, he moved from Michigan to Los Angeles with a few hundred dollars and was working as an intern, hoping to find a way to get into the business of making music videos.

In four short years, he worked his way up to a music video producer and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry — like Big Sean, Justin Bieber and Rihanna. In 2016, he was nominated for two Grammys for Best Music Video for Pharrell’s “Freedom” and The Dead Weather’s “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles).”

This year, the video that he co-produced with Juliette Larthe, Beyonce’s “Formation,” won Best Music Video.

Drew Mitchell, a lifelong friend of Nate’s, was in L.A. to attend the Grammy’s with Nate.

After he was nominated in 2016, Nate talked to Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside about going from a music-video obsessed kid in Northport, to getting nominated for a Grammy.

He told Stateside that in college, as a pre-business and pre-law student at the University of Michigan, he took a film class during his junior year and “switched gears completely.” After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles.

He credits his persistence as an intern as the key to climbing the ladder in the music video business.

“I just never let that producer or production manager do a job without me,” Scherrer said. “I was just kind of harassing them all the time, like ‘hey, where are you guys working today, can I jump on? Hey, I don’t care if you can’t pay me, just buy my lunch.’”

A year after moving to L.A., he got his first opportunity to produce a video. After working his way up from intern to production manager (if the producer is the president, the PM is the vice president), a friend was directing a video with an “impossibly low” $8,000 budget. To put it in perspective, a “low budget” video is $30,000 - $80,000 for a one-day shoot.

“An $8,000 for two days, overnight shoot was a tall order,” Nate said. “I took it on, I lost money on it, the directors lost money on it, but we put it out and it was the Joel Compass ‘Back to Me’ video. That video won a laundry list of awards including the Jury Award at the 2014 South By Southwest Film Festival for Best Music Video of the Year, as well as honors at the Cannes Film Festival and multiple Music Video Production Association (MVPA) awards.

“After that, people trusted me to make videos, and a couple months later, I started working with Justin Timberlake,” he said in that interview.

His first big video that he produced was Timberlake’s “Tunnel Vision” which had a budget of $190,000. Now, he works with budgets as large as $2 million.


Another entertainment-related congratulations goes to Karen Cross and all of the cast and crew of the NCAC’s recent dinner theatre production of “Boeing, Boeing” at Tucker’s in Northport.

Dale and Joan Blount were among the many Omena residents who attended one of the performances over the past two weekends. They were impressed by the high quality of the production. Joan reported that six very talented actors kept them laughing the entire show. It was a great way to spend a winter afternoon or evening.

The show played to full houses at every performance. The NCAC plans for a Fall production, “The Foreigner,” and then their next winter production, “Don’t Dress for Dinner.”


Congratulations also go to Omena seasonal residents, Mike and Kathy Bosco, for recently receiving the Michigan State University (MSU) Alumni Service Award. The award is given to alumni who have “demonstrated continuing outstanding volunteer service to MSU and/or meritorious public service on a local, state, national, or international level.”

Building on years of service to MSU and their communities, in 2014 the Boscos founded the MSU/MRS Careers Collaborative, a program that helps students with disabilities transition into the workforce through vocational training and specialized counselors. Recently, they donated to the MSU Research in Autism, Intellectual, and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities initiative to help further research and to launch a second branch of the Early Learning Institute.


Bob and Jeanne Grabowski of Omena are excited about the birth of their third grandchild, a girl, Haven Florence Skorupa on January 26 in Fairfax, Calif. The proud parents are their daughter, Heather, and son-in-law Bart Skorupa.


Bernie and Carol Gros’s daughter Michelle is being deployed to the Middle East for over a year. She is a Sergeant in the Ohio National Guard. We wish her well and thank her for her service.


This weekend is Presidents Day weekend. If the forecast holds, we may have unseasonably spring-like weather. Depending on your perspective, that can be good news or not, but certainly not what the many “winter” carnivals around the area are counting on, including the Northport-Omena Chamber of Commerce Winter Carnival at Braman Hill in Northport this Saturday.

Scott Cain, the chairperson of this year’s event, said that there’s a good chance the ice will survive the warm-up, and with or without snow, there will be a Frisbee golf putting green and a dozen other activities such as carriage rides and, of course, the Northport Promise Chili Cook-Off. There will be plenty of music, free hotdogs and fun for everyone. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets at participating businesses in Northport and Omena this week.


This Saturday is also the Snow Shoe Adventure (or possibly Hike) sponsored by the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and the Leelanau State Park. The hike starts at the Densmore Road Trail Head at 10 am.


Happy Birthday to Margie Meachum, Don Valmassoi, Jeffrey Dailey, and Annette Deibel.

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