In the unique Santa Fe, New Mexico studio of engineer, producer and mixer Marc Whitmore, the fragrance of burning incense fills the air as lava lamps and candles cast a warm glow. Encircled by sizable abstract paintings and vintage audio gear, Whitmore skillfully manages his exceptional, handcrafted 1970s mixing console, embodying the studio’s laid-back and eccentric ambiance. Musicians, drawn from both near and far, experience a studio session characterized by the relaxed, amiable, and knowledgeable demeanor of Whitmore.
Whitmore at a recording session in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Shogo Shimiya
Recently, he secured his second Grammy Award nomination for “Album of the Year” for his engineering work on Jon Batiste’s latest album, World Music Radio (2023) — an accolade he previously won in 2021 for his contributions to Batiste’s WE ARE (2021). Continuing to showcase his talents, Whitmore engineered the track “Jon Batiste Interlude” on Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd album, which has also received a nomination for “Album of the Year” Grammy this year.
Inspired by the straightforward recording techniques of the early 1970s, Whitmore favors the hands-on feel of operating a mixing console over working with a screen. This preference is reflected in his contribution to Jon Batiste’s WE ARE (2021). In a limited time frame, Whitmore harnessed the ambiance of the transformed historic church, now Esplanade Studios in New Orleans, to infuse the album’s title track, “We Are,” with creativity, particularly during the chorus and outro recording sessions. His collaborations with Jon Batiste have extended beyond the studio over the past several years — Starting in 2015, Whitmore and Batiste would work together on and off over the years, meeting in various locations around the country — from Carnegie Hall with a live audience, to 19th century barns in rural PA, and churches in New Orleans. Moreover, Whitmore played a pivotal role in bringing Jon Batiste’s inaugural solo project, Hollywood Africans, to fruition in 2016, overseeing the entire engineering process, before then working We Are. For his work on World Music Radio, Whitmore aimed to capture Batiste’s ability to jam in a traditional live band setting, resulting in the recording of approximately 40 songs in just one week, a seemingly unorthodox process for modern times.
Whitmore — now a two-time Grammy nominee and a 2022 winner of the prestigious “Album of the Year” award — has established himself as a sought after engineer, producer, and mixer for his passion in musicality, as he prefers to capture live takes in unusual locations, recording using analog tapes and mixing on vintage consoles.
Whitmore’s journey began in Nashville, TN, where he contributed his talents to Blackbird Studios, Alex the Great Recording (under producer Brad Jones [Hayes Carll, Jill Sobule]), and Club Roar (under producer Robin Eaton [Jill Sobule, The Spinto Band]). His immersion in the Nashville scene gained momentum when he caught the attention of Patrick Carney[The Black Keys], leading to his role as Chief Engineer and Mixer at Audio Eagle Studio in 2016. A pivotal moment at Haptown Studio in 2015, guided by Roger Moutenot [Yo La Tengo, Paula Cole], introduced him to the legendary T. Bone Burnett, and his future collaborator, Jon Batiste.
Over the years, Whitmore diversified his roles in the recording industry, serving as Front of House engineer for Michelle Branch (2017, US tour & Billboard Live in Japan), Tennis (2021-2023, U.S. tours, festivals in England, Jakarta, and Mexico City), and even earning a Drum Technician credit for The Black Keys’ 2019-2020 U.S. tour.
In 2021, Whitmore realized his dream of opening his own studio in Santa Fe, NM, a locale that gives clients the opportunity for a scenic high desert getaway to accompany the serene sessions he provides. Inspired by Rick Rubin and equipped with his Stevenson Series 104, Whitmore’s focus is on capturing artists in their truest form. The studio’s environment promotes comfort and safety for artists in their most vulnerable state, as Whitmore believes, “With most artists I’ve worked with, once I’ve cultivated the right energy in the studio, the music follows almost effortlessly.”
Apart from his collaborative endeavors, Whitmore, a multi-instrumentalist, has ventured into experimental musical projects such as experimental groups Disco Dial and Cat Cult, as well as his solo work. His first instrumental album, Analytic Inverter, showcases his proficiency on drums, bass, percussion, guitar, and organ, which also featured a guest appearance by Jon Batiste. His second offering, Mirages, set to release early in 2024, draws inspiration from the natural beauty of New Mexico.
In 2023, Marc was appointed to the New Mexico Music Commission by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. He is also a member of the LA Chapter of the Recording Academy, and is involved with Grammy advocacy work, collaborating with lawmakers, musicians, and organizations to improve regulations in the music industry. In 2024 Marc became a member of The Society of Composers and Lyricists.
Whitmore and Batiste during a Shangri-La recording session.
Credit: Equal Parts
Whitmore at Patrick Carney's Audio Eagle Studio, Nashville. Credit: Reverb
Whitmore and Batiste during a recording session in a barn. Credit: Mikey Hart
Whitmore recording Batiste at Carnegie Hall
Whitmore and his wife, artist Carolyn Whitmore, attend the 66th GRAMMY awards
Marc Whitmore 2024 Grammy nominee official portrait
Whitmore in a recording session in Santa Fe.
Credit: John Francis
Whitmore during a recording session in Tokyo. Credit: Shogo Shimiya