Scott Jacoby '93 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. An acclaimed composer, he has scored award-winning, feature-length films, documentaries, television shows, and national television commercials. Jacoby is founder/president of Eusonia Records (the label's first release earned a 2009 Grammy nomination); owner of Eusonia Studios (a state-of-the-art recording facility in Manhattan); and CEO of SCOJAC Music Productions.
A lifelong musician, Jacoby decided early on that music would be his avocation, not his vocation. As a psychology major at Skidmore, his music stayed "in the background." He spent his junior year in Kenya and Tanzania, considered an academic career, then studied for and got into Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Even there, he wrote songs, plinking away on a Steinway grand in the auditorium. He soon realized he wanted to pursue music in a big way. He spent the next year doing research by day and producing music by night, and then left med school for a job that paid him just enough to live while he honed his musical chops as well as his production and engineering skills in his home studio. When his first album failed to get picked up, he saw that his future lay not in front of the microphone, but behind the mix board.
With a full calendar and an ambitious agenda, Jacoby can't do it alone. Luckily, he's got Alex Bilowitz '07, who started as one of the many Skidmore interns taken on by Jacoby over the years. Shortly after graduation, in an act of brazen chutzpa, Bilowitz sat Jacoby down and told him why he needed to hire him. Which Jacoby did. Now, says Jacoby, "He's truly a part of the studio, the label, my life. He's very loyal. He's like my third brother." As vice president of Eusonia Records and second in command at SCOJAC, Bilowitz runs day-to-day operations for the label for exampe, he says, "the logistics of getting the band together for shows, setting recording times, and getting together with the artists to write."
Bilowitz also assists with production. He says, "I share a lot of the editing work, like vocals, making beats, the getting-your-hands-dirty part of making a song." And he's developing his own production career: "Scott mentors me in that process; he feeds a lot of work to me." Bilowitz also cites the vibrant Skidmore music community in New York City: "I've been getting lots of referrals and work from my Skidmore peers."
With their nascent, hands-on Eusonia label garnering international attention and a Grammy nomination, Jacoby and Bilowitz are emerging as prescient pioneers, in tune with the rapidly evolving music industry. Sounds like a straight shot to multiplatinum careers.
How has your journey of academic discovery at Skidmore helped to shape who you are today?
Psychologists often say that children and teenagers need boundaries and structure. In the absence of these, you get a lot of wild behavior. While I don't mean to imply that there was no structure or boundaries at Skidmore, my perception of my college experience was that I was free to explore what I wanted to explore: academically, culturally, socially. And for me, this was a great thing. This freedom was absolutely central to my development as an adult and as a professional.
How has study in your major and your general grounding in the liberal arts prepared you for success?
You could say that a major in psychology prepares you for nothing and prepares you for everything. Having chosen a career that is outside the realm of psychology, it is interesting how much I reflect on the things that I learned during my time at Skidmore.
Through the years, I've had countless interns, to all of whom I say: You'll eventually learn all the technical skills of this career, and hopefully you have some talent. Skills and talent are obviously important, but, in my opinion, represent about 30% of what is important. The majority of what is important is what kind of person you are and how you deal with people. I'd say that my background in psychology, as well as the interdisciplinary spirit of Skidmore's liberal arts training, has been very central in my success and career.
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