I'm an American Songwriting Award-Winning Artist and a Grammy short-listed Producer. I've been writing, producing, and performing professionally in the music industry for more than ten years. I've collaborated with artists including Sufjan Stevens, Ra Ra Riot, Panama Wedding, Hiromi, and many more.
I focus on writing and creating hook'y music that retains high integrity. I work fast and make sure everything I make sounds fantastic. I'm completely comfortable working in Logic and Pro Tools and love both starting from scratch in writing a song or providing the post-production for something you've already started.
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Reviews (16)Endorse Marc Plotkin
Marc gave me a new perspective on my song, which was interesting and refreshing
- check_circleVerified (Client)
Thank you to Mark for a beautiful sounding piece if music ! From the synthesised version to the real thing. Very happy
Marc has a great vocal. He is professional and is quick to respond.
Marc was a pleasure to work with! His attention to detail, patience and work ethic helped my project really be the best it could be. I would definitely work with him again.
Outstanding job! My song sounds much much better with his help. He has such a good ear for music. I'm looking forward to working with him again.
Consistently talented and committed to making a song sound the best. Have worked with Marc multiple times and would love to do more...
Great guy to work with. Has the expertise and patience to get the job done!
Marc worked really hard for the money this time around providing multiple tracks and interpretations for a country insolent song that I wrote. He has a great sense of phrasing and complementary musicianship which doesn't take away from other tracks. Looking forward to working with him again…
Marc is incredible professional talented and efficient. I had a blues number that just sounded terrible without a real horn section in less than two days, Marc provided an amazing arrangement and great sax solo. Will definitely use him again for more soulful work.
I've worked with Marc on projects for which he has: arranged and recorded strings and brass, written songs, sung lead vocals, improvised sax solos - and done all of these at a very high level. His wide-ranging expertise, eclectic style, and outside-the-box creativity would be an asset to any project. He's a great guy to work with, too!
I know lots of musicians with a range of skills who are 'pretty good' at all of them. Marc, on the other hand, is GREAT at all of his skills; composing, songwriting, singing, woodwinds, guitar, production, engineering...you name it, he kills it. The kind of mind you want augmenting your music. Book him now, thank me later!
I've worked with Marc in many different capacities over the years and each time has been an opportunity to learn. He approaches every situation with a fresh ear and a heightened level of musicality, always steering the project down a path that serves the music. All this while staying humble and keeping it fun. Thanks Marc.
Working with Marc is an immersive and very energized creative process. He brings the discipline and work ethic of a businessman with the creative chops of a true artist. He aims for great results and is not afraid of taking risks. Overall I highly recommend Marc!
After 10 years of collaboration I can tell you there is no one else who brings more to the table. Besides Marc's superior musicianship and excellent taste he is also one of the most resourceful and ingenuitive producers I've ever worked with. No matter the constrains he will get the project done right and will elevate it while he's at it.
I've had several excellent experiences with Marc. He is smart, professional, creative, & efficient. He works well with you within your budget, always listens to the creative vision you had in mind, and adds any advice or thoughts in a nonjudgmental way by giving great & constructive feedback. His positive attitude is contagious. 5 stars for sure.
Marc is someone that always makes working with him a standout experience. I've worked with him on a number of projects in a variety of roles and in every circumstance he's elevated the project to new levels. He brings to the table a diverse, deep musical background and well-informed, savvy decision-making skills that give projects an extra edge.
Interview with Marc Plotkin
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Working on Rebecca Brandt's "Numbers and Shapes" was a special project. I was the Producer, Engineer, Mix Engineer on some songs, and played guitar, saxophones, and other little things. The project started as electronic song-outlines and we took every song and recorded REAL people playing each part. In the end there were more than 35 musicians recorded on the album, and it went on to be shortlisted for a Grammy Award.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm in pre-production with a young singer-songwriter recently featured on "The Voice" for an album that should be coming out next year and I'm composing string arrangements for an LA-based hip-hop artist who already completed the other instruments in his track. New stuff everyday!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I haven't worked with other providers on SoundBetter yet since my current network of musicians/engineers/studios in NY and LA is very strong.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Depends on the vibe and sound of the music. The vast majority of time digital makes the most sense for modern music, but that said, I've worked on projects where the only way to get the drums to sound how we wanted was to record just the drums to tape and then bounce to Pro Tools. At this point, Analog is a select tool just like an instrument or a plugin, and there's a time to use it, and a time not to.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To get them a finished product that they love and was in line with their expectations. Simple as that.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I've never come close to liking anything as much as music. When I need a break from working on my music I work on other people's music. When I need a break from taking client music work, I work on my music. I never get sick of it and hope I never will! I love the journey of coming from nothing but an idea on paper to a finished recording that you're incredibly proud of. Also, I love the process of accumulating these recordings that will outlive me! It's a great way of having your work leave a legacy.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Customers will often ask me to continue to be involved with another step of the record-making process after completing one step. For example I'm often called just to record some saxophone, but if appropriate, I'll give my thoughts or feedback on other parts of the recording thus far and that can often lead to being involved on a producing-level with subsequent parts of the project. My answer (assuming they're a good person to work with) is usually, "absolutely!"
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception is that everything is now "DIY". Everyone thinks they can do all parts of the record-making process themselves when in fact working in teams is more important then ever. We live in an age of distraction and to stand out and do things right you need to work with specialists who while well-rounded, are also singularly better at what they do than anyone else. Teams like this that are great at single things will always beat one person who is at best mediocre at multiple things.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1 - Are you trying to sound like someone specific? 2 - Who do you want to hear (and connect with) this music?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure the potential-provider understands you. That means understanding what you're trying to sound like (if you know), understanding what your goals are with the music, and understanding what you're capable and incapable of. Without that, you're letting the provider drive a vehicle through the mountains without knowing if it's a four-wheel drive truck or a smart car!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1 - Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone 2 - Martin Acoustic Guitar 3 - Neve 1073 Channel Strip 4 - Neumann U47 5 - Laptop to record on and to contact help to get me off the island!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I really started this when I was about 15 (I'm almost 30 now). I studied the saxophone very academically (classical and jazz) and used that to self-learn the guitar and singing. From high school I was always writing songs and performing with local bands. I then went to college for music at The Cleveland Institute of Music. I studied theory, recording and production, and got to play in literally dozens of ensembles. I also worked with Telarc Records and Epic Records on many of their recordings. Around that time I started producing other artists and haven't looked back. Between my own music and producing others, I've gotten to be a part of over 50 recordings.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Technically/musically advanced with a focus on making the final product highly accessible.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with a band like Punch Brothers. The breadth of their talent and skill level paired with what seems like really open-minded musical minds would make the possibilities endless. I'd love to push them to make a record that sounds like nothing you'd expect from their instrumentation.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Next time you're writing a song, and you start singing over your track/instrumental, try not letting yourself sing any actual words. Instead just sing sounds. This will make you gravitate towards what sounds *feel* the best to sing and which flow together the best. From this initial "vocal sound map" you can reverse-engineer your lyrics to not only say what you want to say but to also say them in the most phonetically-pleasing way.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: My main focuses are Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. Any combination of those works for me :-)
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is focusing on melody and making sure the recording/track *feels* like what the song is about. So often I'll meet an artist that has an undeniably great track, and undeniably great lyrics...but they don't really fit together. This nullifies any greatest they've achieved. Because of this I put a strong focus on making sure the track sounds like the lyrics and the lyrics make sense with the track.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Depending on the comfort level of the artist, I can either bring replication of something else they've heard or (and I prefer this) I can bring something you *wouldn't* normally hear in this situation to make the song unique and stand out.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Completely depends on the song. All of my work comes down to what serves the song. Even if I come up with an amazing lick that would really showcase a certain talent of mine or my client, I'll reject it if it doesn't serve the song. The song is the boss, and we are the employees :-)
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a simple home setup that allows me to get great sounds from my main instruments (sax, vocals, guitars) and to mix/edit in Pro Tools comfortably. For more complicated projects involving playing live with others, or things like Drums, I like to go to a local studio that gives me a discounted rate.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: As a Producer I'm inspired by people whose work reaches millions but still give a very unique, creative voice. People like Jon Brion, T Bone Burnett, Nigel Godrich, Brian Eno, etc. As an artist/songwriter I love artists who evolve, such as Radiohead, John Mayer, Kanye West, Elliott Smith, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Bob Dylan.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I have two types of clients: 1 - You're already off and running with creating your recording and you either know what you are doing or are working with someone who does. You're coming to me because you need a specific need addressed. You need some horn parts (Some of my sax playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMaB_8kLcGY&feature=youtu.be&t=1m53s), you need guitar work (Some of my guitar playing: https://milestheband.bandcamp.com/track/nothing-wrong-at-all), you need male vocals (Some of my singing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEhtROJj0oY&feature=youtu.be&t=55s), or songwriting/composition. 2 - You are a musician/artist/songwriter but have no idea how to even START making a record. I come on board as your Producer and help you through the entire process. From pre-production song-selection, to tracking, to mixing, to mastering, to distribution. I can get you from start to finish!