“To me, Valiance means strength, independence, making good decisions and critical thinking when it’s necessary.”
Ksenia Plastinina is a Russian-American Sound Engineer living in Chicago, Illinois. About 5 years ago, Plastinina was not sure which route she wanted to go for her career. She started out as a bartender in the Chicago nightlife. She also began taking dance and art classes. Upon her search for a career, a passion, she stumbled upon a recording studio. On that particular day, she fell in love with sound engineering and decided it is what she is meant to do. Plastinina interned at the recording studio that stole her heart for about 6 months where she learned everything she needed to know about being an engineer. She then worked at that same studio for 4 years. As of 2 years ago, she ventured out on her own and opened her own recording studio called The Major Studio.
Plastinina’s passion for music is what drove her to be interested in sound engineering. However, what keeps her to consistently dedicate herself to this career is seeing how her work impacts the artists she works with. She shares that with the artists she works with, going into the studio to record was almost like a therapy session for them. Being there for the artists to make the best sound for their work is rewarding for her.
“I feel like the biggest reason why I keep doing it is because when the song finally comes out, I see how so many people are able to relate to the music, to the song. It’s really beautiful...I love making songs that people can relate to and really feel the pain of the artist.”
In the beginning of 2020, Plastinina participated in a competition called Mix Madness held by artist Kendrick Lamar’s sound engineer and artist Jay Z’s sound engineer. The competition brought in over 2,000 engineers from all over the world who submitted their track to be chosen. There were five rounds to the competition. In the first round of the competition, only 32 people out of 2,000 were picked. Plastinina was chosen to be in the top 32. In the second round, 16 out of 32 were chosen, including Plastinina. She made the cut all the way to the last round of the competition and came in second place. She felt that the competition allowed her to see not only her potential but her greatness. Since that competition, Plastinina has worked on over 5,000 tracks.
“When they picked me in each round leading up to the last round I was thinking ‘wow,’ some of those people not chosen have been nominated for Grammys and I don’t even have one, yet they still picked me, maybe I am good.”
When it comes to sound engineering, the goal for Plastinina is to have her artists feel comfortable and confident in her work. She wants them to feel as though they are at home and can be vulnerable enough to produce the kind of music that can resonate with the world. In 2019, Plastinina opened a publishing company called Tune Bank where she will be able to help her artists make money doing what they love. Over the course of the next few years, she plans to have her own recording studio building rather than paying someone else to use their building.
Plastinina shares that when it comes to growing a business and/or chasing after a dream, it takes patience and strong work ethic. She says to never doubt yourself.
“If this is really what you want to do, it’s going to work out. Just change your work ethic. That’s the main thing that will really set you apart from amateurs. If you keep pushing, you will get there.”
Follow along on Ksenia Plastinina’s journey on her social media @ksoundengineering