When I first heard Rene Lopez’ music I instantly fell in love with his deep voice and distinct electro-soul sound. With the release of his new album ELS (which stands for Electric Latin Soul, a term Rene coined for the new style of music he’s developed that contains a mix of Latin soul, boogaloo, rock, hip-hop, and R&B), the New York native has been playing various venues, including a recent show at The Mint in Los Angeles. We caught up with Rene and asked him about ELS and about his 20+ years creating music:
[By Monica Melrose]
Q. Tell us about your experience recording ELS.
Rene: I was very much in control. I knew what I wanted and worked with people who understood my vision and helped make it happen. I loved working out of my little studio in Brooklyn. I felt very at home and was not afraid to experiment. When I was about 70% into making the album I went out to L.A. to finish it with Mario Caldato Jr which was a fantastic experience. Very grounding.
Q. What inspires you to write new music?
Rene: I guess I always feel that I can write better tunes. I still don’t feel that I have reached my full potential so want to keep digging. I don’t think it will ever stop.
Q. What are your fondest musical memories growing up?
Rene: Watching my father perform in various Salsa clubs around NYC during the 70’s early 80’s. Also having jam sessions with other musicians from my high school in my bedroom. We would pack in there some sitting on my bed others on the floor and we would turn it up to 11. No one in the neighborhood ever complained.
Q. How would you describe your personal fashion?
Rene: Vintage/Saville Row/Rocky 1
Q. Any favorite New York bands you like to see play live?
Rene: Not really. I just like to be surprised. There are so many great musicians in NYC and it’s so diverse that on any night I can walk into Nublu or Smalls and there will be a band setting the stage on fire!
Q. Tell us about your shows and why we should be there.
Rene: Not to pat myself on the back but I believe I put on a damn good show that is honest. I don’t look at my shoelaces. I look into the eyes of the audience and give them my heart and soul. I also let my band play. I have great musicians and when we go on stage I want to throw down with them and improvise. I love watching people dance to my music and be blown away by the great musicianship on stage.
Q. You’ve played in various bands. How do you think those experiences molded you into the musician you are today?
Rene: I am 42 now, and I have been performing gigs in NYC since I was 20. I feel that I am seasoned which makes me a good band leader. I have been through so much in this business and I know not to expect much anymore. I make music because I love it with my heart and soul not for the gold apple. Practice makes almost perfect.
Official website: ReneLopez.com
Watch Rene Lopez’ video for ELS: