Behind The Board: Manny Marroquin On Mixing, Balancing Confidence With Humility, 'The College Dropout' & More
Manny Marroquin's credit list reads like a Who's Who of 21st Century popular music, including everyone from Kanye West to Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift to Lizzo, BTS to Beyoncé and so many more. The eigth-time GRAMMY winner has 28 GRAMMY nominations to his name on his way to becoming one of the most sought-after collaborators in music.
In the latest episode of Behind The Board, Marroquin goes all the way back to his childhood, growing up in Guatemala. He recounted how the country's civil war during the late '70s and early '80s led to his mom moving the family way, but not before music made its first imprint on young Manny.
"I remember being really young in Guatemala, music is a huge part of some of these really poor countries," he said. "I remember really, really falling in love with insruments and playing [music]."
When Marroquin got to high school, he enrolled in an electronic music class taught by current Executive Education Director for the GRAMMY Museum, David Sears, who explained to him what the process and craft of mixing involved.
"The moment I realized that you can manipulate everything with just frequencies and levels without even changing a single note just blew my mind," he said. "I'll never forget that at that point I knew that's what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."
Marroquin decided to forego college to begin his life's work in the studio. That's when his wildly successful carrer truly began. "Then one day, the classic story, the guy doesn't show up, and I'm in there," he said. "The next thing you know, you have a career [laughs]."
"You've gotta think you're the best mixer in the world. But you also have to be humble enough to know that you don't know it all," Marroquin said. "They're conflicting personalities, right? Know how to utilize those personalities when you need them."
This concept of balance, perhaps the mix engineer's most necessary concepts to master, shines through in his mixes and keeps his name at the top of many mixing wish lists for big-time projects of all styles.
"I think artists and producers see my passion for [mixing]," he said. "That I still want to makes sure they have the best sounding, feeling record that they imagine."
In the episode above, Marroquin also reveals the most important thing to him in making records, what it's like to work side-by-side with great artsts and be a part of so many musical movements and moments and more.