Scott Jacoby is a Grammy Award-winning Writer, Producer, Engineer, Mixer, Musician and Recording Artist. His work, spanning all genres of music, has garnered awards, graced platinum-selling albums and topped charts throughout the world. John Legend, Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, Sia, Laura Izibor, Stormzy, Jose James, Vanessa Hudgens, Fabolous, Naturally Seven, Ronnie Spector and Cory Henry are a few of his notable collaborations. An acclaimed Composer, Scott has scored award-winning feature-length films, documentaries, television shows, and national television commercials.
Scott is the Founder/President of Eusonia Records – the label’s first release earned a 2009 Grammy nomination; the Owner of Eusonia Studios, NYC – a state-of-the-art recording facility in Manhattan; and the CEO of SCOJAC Music Productions. Scott served on the National Board of Trustees for The Recording Academy (2011-15), as Co-Chair of the Producer & Engineers Wing National Steering Committee (2015-16) and serves on the Recording Academy’s P&E Wing Advisory Council and New York Board of Governors.
I quit medical school to become a recording artist at the age of 27. For whatever reason, perhaps because it inspires the deviant adventurousness in each of us, that is the thing that most people relate to in my tale. You could say that the jump from a secure and respected career was without a net – I had no formal training in music, I didn’t really know what a producer was or how to produce music, and I sure as hell didn’t have any significant contacts in the industry. But what I did have was a profound lack of humility in that I knew that I’d somehow be able to create a livelihood in this new world.
At the time, I thought that I would simply leave med school, get a record deal and then become the white D’angelo. Instead, I was swindled by a hack manager and told by all the major labels that my music was great but not commercially-viable (I love this statement). The bright side of this was the realization that whatever minimal talent I processed was more in the realm of producing and writing, rather than singing and looking sexy. This was actually a tremendous relief: no $300 jeans or haircuts necessary, and I rested comfortably knowing that people would no longer be subjected to a mediocre voice and a reluctant performer. The idea of being the Steven Spielberg or the Spike Lee of an album was much more appealing to me than being one of their leading actors. As hypocrisy would script it, I did end up getting a record deal a few years after abandoning the pursuit, but we’ll get to that later.
Several things paved the way for my actually being able to eek out a career in this treacherous sea of bottom-feeders known as the music business. I credit my parents for charging me rent to live at home after I left med school. I told them, “Fuck you, I love you, I’m moving to Greenwich Village.” And there I remain. I must credit Bluemaze Entertainment, who gave me my first record contract, and with the cash from this deal, I started a studio on Park Avenue in Manhattan. And there I remain. Lastly, I am grateful to a friend who brought me into his music lawyer’s corner office on the 23rd floor of the Newsweek building overlooking Central Park. Upon hearing my music, the lawyer leaped out of his chair, cigarette in hand, and danced wildly before bringing in his staff in to meet their new client. And there I remain.
I was born in New York City – specifically the upper east side of Manhattan – on Halloween night in 1971. Not sure if it is coincidence, but so many of my favorite albums are from that year: Donny Hathaway’s “Live”, Stevie Wonder’s “Where I’m Coming From”, Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”, John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Aretha’s “Young Gifted & Black”, Miles’ “Live-Evil”, Sly’s “There’s A Riot Goin On”, and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin On.” I could goin’ on. But I assure you, that to whatever extent these seminal records have been permanently etched into my consciousness, it was not because my dear parents were playing them in our home during my first year of life. The music I heard as a child was the roar of ConEd workers fixing stuff on East 80th street and the sound of Jewish people talking at high decibel levels. Mom, Dad and I made the suburban exile when my parents realized that the application process for nursery school in Manhattan was more rigorous than getting into most colleges. In Rye, I was bred; and I learned from both the comforts and limitations of the new surroundings.
Some standard bio stuff: I’ve played drums and piano since I was 10. I went on to play other instruments, most notably the guitar, where I excel at playing only one string at a time. I’ve been writing songs since I was 11. I Thoreau’d myself through high school, then went to Skidmore College, studied Psychology and wore glasses that I made which turned my vision upside-down. I went to Kenya and Tanzania at age 20, then spent significant time in Central America after graduating college. It was these experiences that inspired the path of medicine – I was interested in being a doctor without borders. I worked as a construction worker, I worked in a mental hospital, I worked for an international development non-profit. Albert Einstein College of Medicine was kind to admit a wild-haired dreamer, and equally gracious to permit me to leave – Dr. Einstein himself probably would have supported a similar pursuit of passion. Through trials, errors and tribulations I taught myself how to write, to produce, to mix, to engineer – how to make records. Years after the quest for the coveted record deal ended, I got one as a solo artist. For no good reason, I became famous in Japan with a number 1 hit called “I Like You” which beat out Britney Spears, Outkast and The Dave Matthews Band at the top of the charts. I became interested in being a musician without borders, and went on to write, produce and mix hundreds of songs and albums.
In 2006, we began to witness the monolithic music industry crumble, and I personally saw 4 major label recording artists I was working with get dropped from their deals. So, in 2007, as the financial crisis took its lethal grasp of the world’s economy, I did the only thing which made sense: start a record label. Yes, a dumb move by any standard, but I’ve always been prone to run into the face of a crowd of people running in the opposite direction. Eusonia Records is built upon a frustration and a philosophy. I see Good people as the most undervalued and under-appreciated asset in our society. And, with tremendous regret, I see Good music suffering the same fate in our industry. So Eusonia exists to make Good music and put it out into the world. Something must be working: our first release, Maiysha’s debut album “This Much Is True” got nominated for a Grammy in 2009. Not too shabby.
In a relatively short career I’ve had the privilege to write, produce, and mix for a wide number of amazing artists including John Legend, Coldplay, Ronnie Spector, Vampire Weekend, Sia, Cory Henry, Stormzy, Laura Izibor, Jose James, Fabolous, Kane, Vanessa Hudgens, The Kin, Naturally 7, Chimene Badi and countless others. Along the way, I’ve won a Grammy Award, made lots of Platinum and Gold records, scored award-winning films, collaborated with my heros, been elected to the NARAS Boards of Trustees, been profiled in Billboard magazine, lectured at prestigious conferences and in ivory towers across the country, and I’ve had chart-topping songs and albums all over the world. But to a certain extent, I’m only proud of one accomplishment: that I am a Musician, Writer, Producer, Engineer and Mixer in ALL genres of music and I do so with a modicum of integrity. This is where it’s at for me.
My musical home is a very unique recording and creation environment called Eusonia Studios. Eusonia is a word that I made up from Latin and Greek roots which loosely means: Home of Good Music. That’s the point of all of this. What a strange and beautiful trip its been so far – I’m grateful for the opportunity to find meaning doing something I love. Thanks so much for reading.