With decades in the music industry, Cookie Marenco’s creative and technical skills have touched almost every aspect of the business. She is widely known for the quality of her audio engineering skills and for drawing out passionate performances from the artists she produces.
Cookie has engineered or produced 5 Grammy-nominated records, several Gold records and the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. Today, she is a leader in music, sound, and audio, having founded Blue Coast Records and established Blue Coast Music Store as a production house, distributor, and reseller of HD Music.
During her tenure as a recording engineer and producer, she searched for the heart, soul, and story of the songs being performed. Together with French engineer, Jean Claude Reynaud, they pioneered a live recording technique called Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.). Ahead of its time, it was created for holographic 3D sound… perfect for today’s emerging immersive audio.
In 2007, Marenco launched her record label, Blue Coast Records, showcasing talented acoustic musicians and high fidelity recordings that were the result of the E.S.E. sessions. The focus is on live recording without headphones or overdubs. The first offering, Blue Coast Collection, achieved critical acclaim winning the Ultimate Sound Award at the CES Shows.
When the album received 5 stars from La Nouvelle Revue de Son, it sparked a demand for Blue Coast Records in France. The Blue Coast Collection was officially released in 2007 worldwide in a new Sony format called Direct Stream Digital (DSD).
It was clear there was an audiophile demand for acoustic music with top-notch fidelity. In 2010, Blue Coast Records distributed DSD downloads for the first time to a thirsty audience wanting higher quality sound. Sony had pioneered DSD a decade before and asked Cookie to be an advocate for their newly created HD Audio consumer division.
Seeing the demand of HD audio increasing, many indie labels came to Cookie to reach this fanbase. Along with Patrick O’Connor, they launched Blue Coast Music Store which sells and distributes Blue Coast Records, San Francisco Symphony (classical), Mack Avenue (jazz), and Little Hartley Music (new age) to name a few of the labels attracted to HD audio.
Most recently, Blue Coast Records joined forces with Entertainment One, a billion dollar distributor of music, film and soundtracks. The association with eOne allows Blue Coast Records access to more than 240 digital music streaming and download stores.
Prior to founding Blue Coast Records, she opened OTR Studios, a commercial recording facility that has recorded more than 500 albums since it’s beginning. Located in the Silicon Valley, OTR Studios had the opportunity to work with the latest technological advances.
Cookie was a producer and A&R representative at Windham Hill Records working on over 100 projects during her tenure, including producing Winter Solstice 2, the highest selling compilation in their catalogue. In 1997 she advised and recorded for an internet audio company, Liquid Audio, offering the first copy-protected music downloads in 1997.
Her recording and producing credits include Max Roach, Brain, Kenny Aronoff, Steve Smith, Brady Blade, William DuVall, FKJ, Tony Furtado, Tony Trischka, Dirk Powell, Rob Ickes, Charlie Haden, Tony Levin, Steve Rodby, Buckethead, Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Ernie Watts, Glen Moore, Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Jennings, Pat DiNizio, Kristin Hersch, Brad Mehldau, Matt Rollings, Kevin Kern, Art Lande, Clara Ponty, Chanticleer, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mark Isham, and Michael Tolcher. She has recorded concerts and broadcasts for the Monterey Jazz Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Marinfest, Midem, Hard Rock Cafe, Windham Hill Records, Verve, Rounder Records, Om Records, Sony, Warner Bros. and others.
What led to Cookie’s affection for audio and production was her love of music and musicians. She studied piano, oboe and sitar; composed music for film and tv; toured with jazz ensembles and taught piano since the age of 14.