With a vision to build a downtown creative haven that would rejuvenate Detroit’s musical legacy, and possessing the technical expertise to transform that dream into a reality, Mark Pastoria is the driving force behind the state-of-the-art recording studio that stands as the centerpiece of Harmonie Park. Mark amassed impressive production credentials after joining the Detroit rock band Adrenalin in 1981, as keyboard player, before subsequently becoming part of the restructured group DC Drive in 1988.
While those groups were recording their releases, Mark was learning the art of studio mastery at the hands of some of the greatest and producers in America. Eager to apply his knowledge in a self-controlled studio environment, Mark – along with his brother and band mate Brian – spearheaded the formation of PR Music in 1988. Four years later, they began working on the present downtown Detroit studio known as Harmonie Park.
Becoming experienced in budgets and business as he went along, Mark spent two entire years putting a business plan together and locating a suitable space, and another year of renovating the multi story building in the city’s Harmonie Park district before officially opening in June, 1996. Since that time, Mark’s production skills had already been utilized in working with such songwriters and producers as Vini Poncia (Ringo Star, Carol King, Phil Spector, Kiss, Melissa Manchester ) , Ron Nevison (Led Zeppelin, Heart , Bad Company ), Grand Funk Railroad, Filter, and Alto Reed.
Upon forming the new and present company, ”Harmonie Park Music Group”, Mark used his songwriting influences to write theme songs for successful advertising campaigns including DTE Energy, Buick, White Castle, McDonald’s, KFC, , and the Emmy award winning “It’s a Great Time in Detroit” . Mark also penned the theme song for Radio DJ John Mason’s “Mason in the Morning Radio Show”, the hottest voice in Detroit Radio also known as the announcer for the Detroit Pistons who coined the phrase “Deeetroit Basketball”.
In 2003 Mark recorded all the vocal tracks on Aretha Franklin’s release “So Damn Happy” which won a Grammy for best Traditional R & B Vocal. Mark worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Burt Bacharach, Troy Taylor, and Ron Lawrence on the Project.
Mark mixed and played on the new album by Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk). He is also working with Aretha Franklin on her new album with Producer Michael J. Powell which includes a duet with Faith Hill. He recently recorded the vocal and worked with Arif Mardin on “A House is not a Home” for The Luther Vandross Tribute CD. The song won a Grammy for Traditional R&B Vocal Performance at the 2006 Grammy Awards.
Mark also won a Grammy award for his work on Aretha Franklin’s duet with Mary J. Blige on their recording of “Never Gonna Break My Faith" in 2008. He has also just completed work on the legendary Rock N Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason’s new album which he mixed and co-produced with Dave at Harmonie Park.
In early 2008 Mark Produced an album by the hottest unsigned band in the UK…The Velvet Hearts. He Produced and mixed the album at the Harmonie Park recording studio and the album is scheduled for release in the fall of 2008. He is currently mixing the new Joni Sledge (Sister Sledge) album at Harmonie Park which is also scheduled for release in late 2008.
Having constructed an artist-friendly environment and displaying an uncompromising desire to draw from the rich talent pools of Detroit’s rock, jazz, R&B and country communities, Mark has led the creative side of the Harmonie Park master plan to once again make downtown Detroit- and more specifically, the studio - the preeminent destination for present and future recording stars.