After being in the music industry for a while now, I can see why so many industry insiders and journalists become so jaded when new talent comes by, especially if they’re coming to you in person delivering their dreams and hopes encased in the form of a CD.
The music industry has changed drastically; as a matter of fact, it was in the midst of a major metamorphosis when I came into the scene back in the late 90’s. Digital music was becoming a threat to an old fashioned recording industry that resisted the wave of a changing time and failed to catch that wave and ride it with the likes of iTunes and other downloading sites when it had a chance to be a driving force in that new era. Instead of welcoming it, it turned its back on it, consequently affecting the livelihood of thousands of people involved in making music; from the writers, engineers and musicians, to the marketing, operations and sales staff at the record labels.
Fast forward to the 2000’s, the era of digital music downloading, where music is still king, but distribution is actually god! Like in TV newsrooms, where journalists have become a one-person shop, acting as reporter, sound and light engineer, producer and sometimes even camera operator, recording artists today, at least the indy ones, are basically their own record labels; they’re the CEO’s, COO’s, CFO’s, marketing gurus and PR directors of their own brand, themselves!
And this is how I met LiLo! We met at an industry event in late September at The Grove in Los Angeles, and we sat together at this breakfast, sponsored by Hispanicize 2013. It was early in the morning on a Saturday. I was hungry, a bit hungover and tired, so the last thing I wanted to do was be pitched by a new artist.
But, unlike many anxious and nervous new artists, LiLo was the exception, not the rule to this industry pattern exhibited by the juniors, the beginners. LiLo, stage name for the singer song writer Linda Lopez (originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco but raised in the City of Angels), actually had a great conversation with me about everything other than her music; I didn’t even know she was a recording artist. It was not until we said our goodbyes, that she presented me, to my pleasant surprise, with a copy of “Te quiero confesar,” her debut album, which she produced and recorded independently in Mexico City a year-and-a-half ago under the Mexican indy label Class Music.
Talk about a BAM moment. It was that element of surprise and intrigue that captured my attention, and my interest in discovering this singer-songwriter’s music as soon as I got in my car. If first impressions matter, LiLo hit a home run in my book. I popped in the CD, and I must say, I was captivated by her sound instantly. I have not been able to put it down since!
“Te quiero confesar” as she puts it in her website, is “half personal diary, half sonic experiment” and this couldn’t be more accurate. The album is a collection of 10 tracks, masterfully produced by Jose Tajonar, with 9 tracks written by LiLo and Tajonar, with the exception of a fabulous Spanish rendition of Blondie’s “Call Me.” A bit pop rock, a bit rock with a splash of electro pop at times, “Te quiero confesar” is charged with an honesty and sensibility that only an indy artist can get away with. Lilo show’s her vulnerability not only in her emotional range, but also in her vocal transparency and awesome diversity.
The first single, which is my favorite of the entire album is “Estupida no soy,” a heart-wrenching tale of a love gone wrong and the reality of an infidelity uncovered. The lyrics by Jose Maria Ruiz are sickening (in a very positive and flattering way of course), fueled by LiLo’s passionate rendition and vocal range; in my opinion, the crown jewel of the entire album.
But LiLo doesn’t stop there. Listening to “Te quiero confesar” is truly a journey, a roller coaster of emotions that take you from melancholy in tracks like “Sola” and “Da igual” to very cool soft pop rock tracks like “Si te vas” and “Por amor”. And if you didn’t think her indy spirit and songwriting talent was fierce enough, try garnering your own sponsorship deals to expand your own music’s exposure, as she did with “Cuentos de radio,” (electro-pop track reminiscent of LaRoux, and another favorite of mine) which served as the anthem for the Nike campaign Nosotras Corremos, a run in Mexico City in 2011 that attracted 8 million people, or the hot track “Mr. Hollywood,” which is featured in MTV’s Popland… both deals organized and closed by LiLo herself!
New artists come and go. Few are the ones with a permanent quality. LiLo is the NEW, NOW and NEXT recording artist. The fiercely independent artist that has transcended the “dream” stage and has taken her dream, her music and her talent to the goal-setting track. She’s on a path to stardom because she not only wants it badly, she was born to do this and it shows in her music and her strategy of making things happen on her own.
Make no mistake, LiLo is no dreamer. She has talent, beauty, vision, a voice to boot, and a business savvy virtue rivaled only by the likes of JLo and PitBull.
If you’re a fan of good Spanish pop, than LiLo delivers the good and does not disappoint!