Marti Jane Robertson
“I primarily consider myself a musician and always take a musical approach to my work, whether it be recording, mixing, mastering or mixing a live concert. Technology is useful to me only to the extent that it allows me to obtain musically what I have in my head, and what I have in my head is nothing other than my interpretation of what the artist has in mind.”
This is how Marti describes herself in her work, which she’s been doing for the last 40-odd years. She studied clarinet, saxophone and flute starting in elementary school, musical studies which would become incredibly useful as an audio engineer. At 18, she left pre-med studies at the UW and started apprenticing in a small recording studio in Seattle under her mentor, Peter B. Lewis. The following year, Marti moved to New York City where her career as an engineer took hold, moving quickly from assistant engineer to house engineer to freelancer. She worked regularly with musicians, artists and producers, many of whom made musical history: Michael and Randy Brecker, Marcus Miller, Phil Ramone, Steely Dan, Art Garfunkel, Don Grolnick, among many others. “During the day, we all did jingles. Nights and weekends we did records.” It was still an analogical world and there was so much to learn!
Marti became a respected and requested engineer but she began to lose interest in New York as a final destination. She started to travel: Italy, France, the UK. She immediately fell in love with Italy, its people and culture, and became determined to move there. She waited for her chance and in 1986, that moment arrived.
She started in Milan, in a blossoming studio called Psycho which would soon put out some of the most innovative records of that period: artists such as Elio e le Storie Tese, PFM, Renato Zero, Pitura Freska, Enrico Rava. In 1990, Marti was offered the FOH position for Eros Ramazzotti’s European Tour “In Ogni Senso” and her career widened to include live sound. In 1991, she began what was to become a 20-plus-year professional relationship with Ivano Fossati, working both in the studio and live. In 1996, Antonio Baglio generously shared with her his mastering techniques and secrets, which she happily added to her store of knowledge. In the early 2000s , Marti invested in a state-of-the-art home recording system which allowed her to do on-location recording, then mix and master at home. This new dimension allowed her to move to the beautiful island of Sardinia, where she presently resides. Then Michele Rovelli, a young, enthusiastic musician/producer with a work ethic very similar to her own, proposed to build a recording studio together and in 2016 in Cagliari, janeStudio opened its doors! Marti continues working and travelling, holds seminars and Masterclasses and teaches at the Conservatory, passing on the Legacy she is so honored to be a part of.
It’s hard for me to explain my passion for music. Maybe because it’s such an integral part of my mind and body. Here I am today at janeStudio, the studio that I’d always dreamed of. Yeah, we’re talking precisely about dreams…
My entire life I’ve never thought about anything except music: listening to it, using it, dancing to it, writing it, desecrating it. My mother noticed my infatuation early on. She encouraged me and tried repeatedly to get me to go to the Conservatory, but I wasn’t interested.
During my childhood I was fascinated by the different trends and the many ways of making music that has had such an amazing evolution since the 80s. At 10 years old, I was already manipulating songs with the tone controls on my mom’s stereo system. With a schoolmate we’d “mix” vinyl with two record players hooked up to a mixer, an unforgettable experience that made me decide to become an amateur DJ. I then moved onto keyboards, guitars, percussion, all of which became a support for my main desire: singing and composing. The technology in the early 2000s allowed me to start recording my first songs in a demo studio set up in my parents’ house, with a computer assembled by my tech friend, Alessandro Martis.
The first songs, and a huge desire to grow and learn music. I chose Milano for my studies and at Franco Mussida’s Centro Professione Musica I had my first taste of what it might mean to be a professional musician. I was able to study everything from voice to composition, piano, theory, audio engineering and music production. From the writing of the song to the arrangement, then the mix and mastering. With Alberto Salerno and Mara Maionchi I refined my songwriting. Then followed two years of songwriting/brainstorming with Luca Rustici and arranging the best of them.
I loved working in the studio and soon built my own where I lived on Lake Maggiore. I also opened a record label, Mikroproductions.
In the meantime, I started learning the basics of Estill Voice Training or “Voicecraft” with Daniela Rando. After 6 years of traveling between Rome and Milan, I received my Master (CMT), studying with Elisa Turlà, Alejandro Saorin Martinez and Elisabetta Rosa.
In 2010 I opened a small music school with Paolo Mainetti. We worked steadily for 4 years. It was great teaching music to whomever wanted to learn. The studio did well and I produced only projects that really convinced me.
With practice and through studying, I learned various miking techniques and got to where I could mix my own productions, but I never went beyond that. At the time, I’d send the mixes to America to be mastered. I wasn’t always satisfied with the results and communication was lacking with the engineers.
Then I met Marti and I asked her to mix and master a couple of my productions. It was love at first listen! The most musical engineer I’ve ever met. Listening to her mixes and her way of perceiving the music, I realized how much I still had to learn!
I’d been considering moving back to Sardinia and building a studio. I met the acoustic engineer, Dario Paini, and constructor Claudio Nordio. They had built several beautiful studios together. I wanted a studio with THOSE characteristics! Once I was back in Sardinia, I found a space and knew I needed a partner. I asked Marti if she’d get on board with this crazy adventure and she said yes! Our musical union became janeStudio.