Michelle has performed with Eminem, Troye Sivan, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. She has played sessions for Hallmark Channel, FX, and played solo sessions for Riot Games (Taliyah, 2015 draft picks), Inon Zur (TBA project with Sony Pictures), and Hans Zimmer (BBC documentary). She recently appeared on the Ellen Show with Flagship Artists.
Michelle is a contemporary cellist specializing in cinematic soundtracks, pop, and more. She has both performing and producing experience; she was classically trained and holds degrees in Cello Performance from Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, and Contemporary Writing and Production from Berklee College of Music, where she was a North American Tour Scholar.
She has since been working with established acts like Eminem, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and upcoming artists like Troye Sivan (Capitol) and Wesley Stromberg (Columbia). She has played at the Bridge (RIP), Sony, EastWest, United Recording, Bleeding Fingers, Capitol Records, the Village Recorder, Clearlake, Bell, and others. She has recorded for Inon Zur, Hans Zimmer/Anze Rozman, etc.
Her home setup includes Mac Pro, she prefers Pro Tools and Logic Pro X but has DP, Reason, Ableton. Eastwest, Vienna, Cinesamples libraries, Splice, Ozone, Native Instruments, others. Michelle uses an assortment of mics for remote recording (Neumann KM 184, Blue Baby Bottle, SM57, AKG 400) through a Focusrite Clarett 4Pre. She can record acoustic with 7/8 William Harris Lee cello, 7/8 Franz Jungar acoustic cello, or NS Design CR4 Electric cello (samples of Riot Games' Taliyah use the electric-check videos on website). For more detailed info and comprehensive reviews, please visit www.michellepackmanmusic.com
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4 Reviews - 1 Repeat ClientEndorse Michelle Packman, cello
Michelle is an incredible musician with really a beautiful tone. Always quick+perfect side-reading. She is my go-to cellist, top improvising and arranging skills as well. Highly recommended, 5 stars are not enough!
Michelle was s pleasure to work with. She gave me 12 world class, layered performances, a complete symphonic cello section, perfectly timed and recorded in an excellent studio for a mere 100 dollars: an unheard of value.
I had the pleasure of working with Michelle on one of my tracks. Great performance and I was very happy with the end results. Recommended.
Michelle Packman play in my client album the cello! It was fantastic execution, exactly as I thought!
Thanks, Michelle ! I would love to work with you again.
Interview with Michelle Packman, cello
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I love working one-on-one with great producers like Jonas Petersen and Juan Ariza. They're both very focused and have a developed style. Jonas is a great Orchestral composer and Juan's pop and soul arrangements have so much movement and color. I really love going into the studio not knowing what I'm going to play but knowing that when I leave there will be amazing music punched in. I'm proud of all of the stuff I've done for them. It's all really thrilling!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am working on too many things to list. haha, I've had about 10 sessions in the last two weeks, have some string arranging and a video shoot coming up, currently setting up a session contracting service for string players called Lushify String, etc etc. I work typically 7 days a week.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Jonas Petersen, composer/producer ("You deserve an orchestra"), Kiara Ana Perico, violinist. They are both fantastic!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Competence, quality, musicianship. Full refund if you are still not satisfied.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Session work. If I could do one thing for the rest of my life, it would be session work.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: If I can play certain songs. YES! I can play anything! haha
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I feel most people's conception of cello is very limited. I try to provide options and advice when I am asked or believe it is appropriate. Strings can of course produce beautiful, lush sounds, but they can also be heavy, gritty, soulful, etc.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: If the job is open-ended, mostly stylistic questions, to provide examples, etc.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: It will save me time (and therefore you money) if you can provide as much info about what you'd like as possible. The best possible scenario is stems with just the parts you want me to play and written notation. If you can't do that, no problem at all, I can arrange as well, but as it will take more time, it will be more expensive.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Lucky for me I would only need my cello and my bow, but the sand and salty air is actually really bad for the instrument, so this question is kind of whack.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I never knew exactly what I wanted to do with the cello until I was out of school. As a child, orchestral playing was all that was available to me, so I took for granted that I could do so much more. But I always loved populist music, I listened to so many musical styles growing up and after graduation, I began to love working with living musicians and composers. I started violin at 8 years old and switched to the cello at 12. I studied jazz guitar, viola, and flute somewhere in there too. In college I learned piano and have always loved exploring other instruments. Eventually I realized I wanted a different kind of focus so applied to Berklee to continue my studies. I love all styles and because of Berklee, I have the tools to be the musician I aspire to be.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I can play any style yo! But I tend to like thoughtful, compositional soloing and melodies. My style is very mellow whereas someone like Tina Guo's sound is very intense.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I love working with all of my clients. I love meeting new people and collaborating, spreading positivity and building community through music production is one of the joys of being alive for me. I love pop and neo-soul, I love creating lush layered arrangements. A great example of this is the work I did with a guitarist/producer Juan Carreno Ariza, Nigel Tay's "Love Out Loud" was great.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: For acoustic cello, use your chosen mic close to the bridge on the players right side, angled towards the right f-hole of the cello. The lower frequencies of the cello resonate in all directions but the highs only project outward and up toward that placement. Also, the cellist won't hit your equipment with their bow. A room mic is great too; the length of the fundamental frequency of the lowest note (c2) at equal temperament is approx 5.3 meters or 17.31 feet. For electric cello, the best electric hands down is the NS design CR series. I endorse the NS CR4. A direct signal combined with a mic on the bridge (tweak of course for balance) produces a beautiful consistent tone, which can be difficult to achieve with an acoustic. I have recorded this way with Riot Games for League of Legends and the results are stunning.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: There is never a typical setting. I can do orchestral, cinematic, hip hop, rock, pop, indie, folk.... really anything.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm communicative, professional, honest, and on time. As for playing, my strongest skill is my ability to be flexible in my interpretations and not take criticism personally. I dislike drama.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I'd like to believe that my strength is my expressiveness and tone. I spent years and years and painstaking deep practice honing my tone, I think that is one of the most definitive facets of cello and where the woul of the instrument is, the tone is so damn beautiful. Tone is typically the thing clients think of when they hire a cellist so I take pride in delivering something really soulful.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: All I need is a track. Send me a track and I can either arrange the part or learn a part my client has already written. I can learn by ear or read notation. I am also comfortable with improvising if that is the feel the client wants.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have the basic setup to record remotely. Listing gear is boring, if you really need to know, hit me up.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Right now I'm really into string arranging for contemporary music, especially neo-soul and R&B, but I love working in all genres. It's the variety that is so inspiring to me. I love pushing my boundaries.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The highlight of my job is that there are no highlights! I play in so many different scenarios, from corporate events, trade shows, sessions, concerts, weddings.... As for production, I can record my acoustics or my electric. I have been recording since I was about 12 or so, so I have a lot of experience with proper micing. I own a contracting business with great LA session players so I can put together ensembles as well.