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Mike Hermosa grammys 1
Turlock native Mike Hermosa is nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year as a songwriter on Lana Del Rey’s “Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?” While Hermosa has dabbled in songwriting since he was in high school, he is primarily a writer, director and producer of films and television productions (Photo contributed).

Mike Hermosa finally has an occasion to wear the gold Omega watch left to him 11 years ago upon his grandfather’s passing.

The Turlock native is nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year as a songwriter on Lana Del Rey’s “Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?” Hermosa has songwriting credits on five songs on the album: “The Grants,” “Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?” “Let the Light In,” “Peppers,” and “Taco Truck x VB.” He also produced the “Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?” track.

“I’ve been waiting for something special to come along, like a premiere to wear the watch to,” Hermosa said. “It’s been sitting in my sock drawer for 11 years and now I finally have a reason to pull it out.”

Hermosa is a writer, director, producer and the co-owner of Wild7Films, which specializes in film and television productions. He has dabbled in songwriting since he was in high school and playing guitar and coming up with song lyrics in his living room with his friend Drew Clute.

Mike Hermosa grammys 2
Turlock native Mike Hermosa is pictured (far left) with other album collaborators Michael Harris and Benji (Photo contributed).

“We were writing songs just for us,” Hermosa said. The fact that this skill would one day land him a Grammy nomination still hasn’t quite sunk in for him.

“It didn’t hit me at first,” Hermosa said of the honor. “I’m happy for Lana and everyone on the team that worked on the album. It has been a whirlwind and I don’t think I’ve processed it all.”

Playing music entered Hermosa’s life at the age of 13 when his grandmother gave him his first guitar and he set out to learn to play Stevie Ray Vaughan’s version of “Little Wing.”

“I’m still trying to learn that one,” Hermosa said.

At Turlock High School he took guitar classes all four years under the tutelage of Sally Price, who taught him the fundamentals of notes, chords and getting comfortable with finger picking.

“It became something I was always doing,” Hermosa said. “Every morning, I would get up and strum on the guitar.”

That habit of strumming chords and seeing where they might take him was directly behind the song “Let the Light In.”

“I was in one room just strumming some chords and Lana was in another and she could hear it and she started coming up with the lyrics. She came out and asked me to play it again and that’s how we got that song.”

“Let the Light In” went viral on TikTok and now has more than 150 million hits.

Hermosa graduated Turlock High in 2002 and joined the United States Air Force. He served two tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. After the military he launched his career in entertainment and has amassed an impressive collection of completed projects, including some filmed in Turlock. He said film will always be his passion but appreciates some of the lessons he learned about creativity during the making of this album.

“I learned you don’t have to treat it like it is some precious thing that you have to protect,” Hermosa said. “It can be something you capture, bottle in that moment and then release.”

The Grammy nomination has opened some new doors for Hermosa, who said he has been approached by some other artists about songwriting. He also has some upcoming film projects that he’s very keen on. The first, involves his brother Ryan Kenyon, who retired from the Navy and is now rebuilding old-school BMX bikes. The second is a film he has been developing for several years called “Yardboy” about a backyard wrestler that he plans on filming in Turlock. He also has another upcoming project that will be starring Michael Rappaport and is anticipating the release later this year of “The Invisible Raptor,” a comedy about an invisible raptor wreaking havoc on a small town and the amusement park paleontologist and hapless security guard tasked with stopping it.

The Grammys are set to air Sunday on CBS.