Former Mortonite won Grammy nod

Christina Smith
Anthony Kilhoffer, 35, listens for sounds from his Grammy April 7, 2006. Kilhoffer, a Morton High School graduate, is a freelance record producer in Los Angeles. Since moving to California in 2000, Kilhoffer and his family members have goe to the Grammys three times.

Recording several major artists, attending the Grammys and meeting celebrities are just a part of work for one former Mortonite.

Anthony Kilhoffer, 35, said he originally wanted to be a musician, but decided to get into the production end of the music business because it provided a more stable income.

In 2000, Kilhoffer moved to Los Angeles and started working as an assistant at the Record Plant, which gave him the opportunity to make contacts with several musicians.

Since 2004, Kilhoffer has worked with No Doubt, Black Eyed Peas, Keisha Cole, JLO, Dido, Pussycat Dolls, Kanye West and Common.

Kilhoffer received two Grammy awards in 2005, one for engineering work on West’s Late Registration and for John Legend’s Get Lifted.

“I am happy to be as fortunate as I have been,” Kilhoffer said. “I have made good connections and met several good people.”

Morton connection

Kilhoffer said his mother, Rosie Kilhoffer, who still lives in Morton, was the first person to encourage him to play music.

“She was always behind me, helping me and bought me my first guitar when I was 10,” Kilhoffer said.

Despite his interest in music, Kilhoffer said his only formal education was junior high band with Rick Skowronski and high school band with Bernie Potter.

After graduating from Morton High School in 1990, Kilhoffer said he moved to Chicago and worked for a year, before attending Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Kilhoffer said he received a bachelor’s degree in history from SIU in 1995.

Grammy experiences

Kilhoffer said the Feb. 10 Grammy Awards was his third time at the event. Kilhoffer attended the event because he produced West’s latest album, Graduation, which was nominated for album of the year. The record won rap album of the year.

“The first time was cool, but I didn’t know the fine points about how it works,” Kilhoffer said. “The best part was seeing the shows and all of the celebrities.”

His mom and older sisters, Ann and Teresa, have gone with him to the Grammys twice, and his dad, Bill Kilhoffer, who lives in Pekin, has gone with him once.

Work schedule and projects

“Graduation is my favorite project so far because I brought some of my friends in to play keyboard and did more mixing and production work,” Kilhoffer said.

Last week, Kilhoffer said he worked on Michael Jackson’s 25th anniversary re-mix of Billie Jean.

 Kilhoffer said he does not do every project from start to finish.

“I might work three weeks and then take a break for a week, Kilhoffer said. “Sometimes I record a vocal, mix a beat, and I might mix about two or three songs on the entire album.”

Kilhoffer said he would advise others against the music business because of its tough nature, unless it was really something he or she wanted.

“Don’t let anyone crush your dreams,” Kilhoffer said.