“A lot of mix engineers work at developing their own ‘unique’ sound and that’s cool, but I choose to act as a ‘chameleon’ of sorts by bringing the collective ideas of the producer, label and artist to life for each individual project… hopefully the finished product results in a mix that best represents their vision.”
..And REPRESENT that vision he does. Manny’s technically savvy and creative ability have made him one of the most “in-demand” mixing engineers in the industry, working with such internationally renowned artists as Carlos Santana, Whitney Houston, LeAnn Rimes, 2PAC, Biggie, Alicia Keys, Craig David, Pink, etc.(see Discogrophy) and hit producers like Babyface, Soulshock & Karlin, Warryn Campbell, Kanye West, Brian Michael Cox and Tim & Bob, and many others.
Born in Guatemala, Manny moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was nine. His gift for music became obvious at age 11 when he began playing drums. A few years later, at the prestigious Hamilton High School for the arts, his love of drums was replaced by his passion for the studio:
“They had a MIDI studio and I became really interested in electronic music. By 11th grade I was pretty much in charge of the studio and knew that after graduation I wanted to be in a studio and ‘mix’.. I didn’t really know what a mixer did, but I knew that I wanted to mix.”
A teacher advised Manny to “get a job as a runner in a studio” (which consisted of making coffee and taking out the trash) if he was serious about following his dream, but, since several colleges had already offered him scholarships, his mother almost went into shock: “My mom was definitely not happy about my decision, initially,” he laughs.
Manny’s first “real live” studio gig after graduation was as a runner for Enterprise studios, where his first day “was the best and worst day of my life . . . the best because I was at a huge studio; the worst because I was asked to clean the bathrooms. At that point I made it my mission to get out of the ‘runner business’ as soon as possible.” Shortly after, he was promoted to staff assistant.
His professional breakthrough came unexpectedly during a late night session when the producer asked him to do a rough mix because the engineer had gone home: “Once I was done, he immediately called his partner and told him I would be mixing the entire album.” As happens sometimes in the “biz,” the album was never released, but Manny had already begun honing his skills and making a name for himself.
When asked if there was one specific project that got him started, Manny explains; “I can’t really say there was ever one particular project that ‘set me up.’ I met different producers, and one thing led to another. My career has definitely been a steady progression, and I feel blessed to do what I love and still have fun. I treat every mix as if it is my last and never take anything for granted.”
Manny’s humble approach and creative technique have positioned him among the elite in the industry. His ear for sound has helped snag top-40 spots for artists within a wide spectrum of genres, and in 2005 his talent and hard work were acknowledged Grammy style. Manny Marroquin received 3 nominations for his work on the Alicia Keys, Usher and Kanye West albums – all of whom were nominated for “Album Of the Year” – AND took home not one, but two statues for the Kanye West (“Best Rap Album”) and Alicia Keys (“Best R&B Album”) albums. In 2011, Manny took home the prestigious award for best engineered album for John Mayer’s “Battle Studies”, making him a 5 time Grammy Award winning mix engineer and by the looks of things, he’s not done yet!