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Reston Native Benny Blanco Wins Grammy For Work on Rihanna Album

Benny Blanco won a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album for Rihanna's "Unapologetic."

Reston native Benjamin Levin, aka Benny Blanco, won a Grammy Award Sunday, Jan. 26. (Photo via Twitter, @ItsBennyBlanco)
Reston native Benjamin Levin, aka Benny Blanco, won a Grammy Award Sunday, Jan. 26. (Photo via Twitter, @ItsBennyBlanco)
Benjamin Levin, otherwise known as Benny Blanco, a Reston native, took home a Grammy Award Sunday, Jan. 26. Levin, who co-wrote and produced Rihanna's number-one single "Diamonds," won for the album on which the track appears: "Unapologetic," which took the award for best Urban Contemporary Album. 

He has already written and/or produced 25 number-one singles since 2008, including Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" and "We R Who We R," Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," "California Gurls" and "I Kissed A Girl" and Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's "Moves Like Jagger."

Levin, 25, grew up in Reston and told Vibe Magazine that he was inspired to create music after walking to local cassette stores every afternoon when he was 5 or 6. 

Later he started rapping, according to Eclipse Magazine, and his first beat was used in a softcore adult film. 

Now he has become a reliable contributor to chart-topping hit pop songs, many of them coming from a female point of view. 

He told the Huffington Post, "I'm a very sensitive type of guy. I try to put my female hat on and think how a female would think. If I'm watching 'The Notebook,' I'm definitely gonna cry. I cried during 'E.T.' too. I like trying to do things that aren't necessarily something that would come easy to me."

His diverse skill has led to the increasing demand for his services, according to the New York Times

"Mr. Blanco is by all accounts like a utility infielder in baseball, someone good at all positions who makes everyone better at their jobs. He is talented at making electronic beats and drum tracks from bizarre samples. But he also has a gift for sunny hooks and catchy chord progressions, and if the need arises, he can turn out competent lyrics, often with a crisp and profane edge," wrote James C. McKinley Jr. 

His Grammy will have company on his mantle, other recent recognitions include the Songwriter of the Year award from the BMI Pop Awards in 2012 and the Hal David Starlight Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in 2013. 


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