Cactus Shadows Alum Wins Grammy


Trevor Orriss, a Cactus Shadows alum won a grammy for his work on an album.

Jaden Lea, Staff Writer

Cactus Shadows alum Trevor Orriss, who graduated in 2005, won a Grammy in March for his work on the album “Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?” by Fantastic Negrito.

Orriss now lives in the Bay Area, and worked on the album at a studio in Oakland. As sound engineer, he was in charge of sound quality when recording instruments and vocals, and balancing tracks.

“It’s all about collaborating and being able to produce the sound the artist wants,” said Orriss.

Orriss has been into music since seventh grade, when he and some friends started a band, Contrite. He learned to play the guitar as well as sang for the band and the group stuck together all the way through highschool. They performed at many events, like Battle of the Bands.

“In Contrite, I sang and played guitar. It was a great way to experience high school and those years when you have a lot of free time and next to zero responsibility,” said Orriss. “Teenage years are generally all about rebellion, and music is a great way to constructively rebel.”

As he continued to explore music, he started getting into studio editing and engineering. He went to school at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe and from there received a lot of interning opportunities at different recording studios. This eventually led to his partnership with Fantastic Negrito, which is the stage name for Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, the artist who created the album. The album competed in the Contemporary Blues category, which is less popular, but still has some competition.

“I was excited when we

won the Grammy,” Orriss said. “It’s a big accomplishment, especially considering I’m really at the beginning of my career.”

Orriss has been working as a sound engineer for about three years. Winning a Grammy legitimizes his skills as a sound engineer, and will open the door for more opportunities to work with different artists.

Orriss remembers his years at Cactus Shadows as a great time to be exploring music. There were many creative kids and bands at the school, which created some healthy competition in the music scene. This made him want to get better at what he did.

“I also had Mrs. Metcalf for English, and she taught us all about meter and, to this day, I use what I learned in her class to inform my decisions musically,” said Orriss. “Every songwriter should know what iambic pentameter is.”

A huge part of being

successful in life is having support and people who believe in you no matter what. Orriss’ mom is one of many important people who he attributes his success to. She allowed him to pursue his passion for music and supported him the whole way through.

“I was thrilled that Trevor was pursuing a career in music and I had absolutely no concern that [he] was pursuing a career in music,” said Julia Scotto, his mother, who works in the District Office. “You have to have passion and love for what you do to be successful in any career. He has the passion and loves it.”

This was the third Grammy award for Fantastic Negrito. He previously won in 2019 for the album Please Don’t Be Dead, and in 2017 for the album The Last Days of Oakland. Orris is currently working with him on songs for a new album.