Rene Lopez
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Rene Lopez

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
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"I got in to Prince at thirteen years old. That changed everything," says musician Rene Lopez about his musical path. “Once I got into Prince, that opened the door to Michael Jackson and a lot of soul music and funk music for me. I started checking out Prince’s history, the music he listened to, which was Sly, Funkadelic, and even Joni Mitchell. I practiced drums to Prince songs, practiced to Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, all those songs.”

On ---, Rene Lopez will unveil to the world People Are Just People, a collection of thirteen tracks that nods its head to the soul and funk music Prince opened Rene's eyes to. This album is a tribute to Rene's musical roots. It took him years to come full circle and his journey was long.

Born in August 6, 1969 in the Bronx, Rene Lopez was born a week and a half before Woodstock. He grew up with an Italian mother and a Puerto Rican salsa musician father. His parents brought him to shows at the Corso Lounge, the Cheetah and Barney Googles. When he was a little boy, he watched his father play all over big venues in New York City: Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, even Madison SquareGarden.

"As nurturing as it was,"? says Rene, “you gotta realize that every kid rebels against what his parents are listening to.” Up in his room and out on the street, “it was all rock and roll - Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Queen, the Beatles, Black Sabbath, the Who, that’s what we listened to. When I was playing drums, that’s what I would play. And any of the guys in my neighbor-hood come into my room and play, and those are the songs we would try to play.” No matter what, Rene’s parents were 100% supportive of his music.

Into high school, Rene’s drumming ability excelled, taking him to the school band and eventually to the All-County Jazz Band. During a competition in senior year, Arnie Lawrence (also a Rockland County resident then) showed up as guest conductor. Impressed by Rene’s playing, he encouraged him to audition for the New School program. He found himself in the first wave of students circa 1987 - Popper, Schenkman and the Spin Doctors, Brad Mehldau, Jesse Davis, Chris Carter, and many others.

The rest is history. Rene left school to start the group The Authority, where he was the lead vocalist for seven years. In 1998, Rene and Roger Stevens (of Blind Melon) began to write songs together for the band that became Extra Virgin (including Pat Sansone on bass and keyboards). Extra Virgin lasted about two years before Rene and Rogers moved on, though they have stayed close friends as well as workmates in The Tender Trio.

Finally, Rene focused on his solo career. I Know What I See, his debut EP released in 2003 and produced by bassist Pat Sansone, was a stripped-down acoustic-based collection of four songs that found a following in the triple-A Americana format. In 2005, Rene released One Man's Year, a dark culmination of more than a dozen years of shedding in his own bands and others, and numerous studio assignments.

Rene was finished with music. He went on to pursue an acting career until last year when a dear friend introduced Rene to The Document Room Recording Studios in Malibu, California. He was told he would have a week to himself with the legendary studio tucked away in the hills by the Pacific Ocean. For kicks, he set on to write and record one song per day. In the middle of his genius, he realized he still had writing in him.

With his musical confidence soaring, Rene brought the songs with him to his studio in Williamsburg. People are Just People was finished in two months. The result is a true funk and soul record, completely pure that sonically captures everything he cherished as a teenager. - Godsgirls.com


Introducing Rene Lopez

“I got in to Prince at thirteen years old. That changed everything,” says musician Rene Lopez about his musical path. "Once I got into Prince, that opened the door to Michael Jackson and a lot of soul music and funk music for me. I started checking out Prince's history, the music he listened to, which was Sly, Funkadelic, and even Joni Mitchell. I practiced drums to Prince songs, practiced to Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, all those songs."

On September 8, 2009, Rene Lopez will unveil to the world People Are Just People, a collection of thirteen tracks that nods its head to the soul and funk music Prince opened Rene’s eyes to. This album is a tribute to Rene’s musical roots. It took him years to come full circle and his journey was long.

Born in August 6, 1969 in the Bronx, Rene Lopez was born a week and a half before Woodstock. He grew up with an Italian mother and a Puerto Rican salsa musician father. His parents brought him to shows at the Corso Lounge, the Cheetah and Barney Googles. When he was a little boy, he watched his father play all over big venues in New York City: Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, even Madison SquareGarden.

“As nurturing as it was,” says Rene, "you gotta realize that every kid rebels against what his parents are listening to." Up in his room and out on the street, "it was all rock and roll - Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Queen, the Beatles, Black Sabbath, the Who, that's what we listened to. When I was playing drums, that's what I would play. And any of the guys in my neighbor-hood come into my room and play, and those are the songs we would try to play." No matter what, Rene's parents were 100% supportive of his music.

Into high school, Rene's drumming ability excelled, taking him to the school band and eventually to the All-County Jazz Band. During a competition in senior year, Arnie Lawrence (also a Rockland County resident then) showed up as guest conductor. Impressed by Rene's playing, he encouraged him to audition for the New School program. He found himself in the first wave of students circa 1987 - Popper, Schenkman and the Spin Doctors, Brad Mehldau, Jesse Davis, Chris Carter, and many others.

The rest is history. Rene left school to start the group The Authority, where he was the lead vocalist for seven years. In 1998, Rene and Roger Stevens (of Blind Melon) began to write songs together for the band that became Extra Virgin (including Pat Sansone on bass and keyboards). Extra Virgin lasted about two years before Rene and Rogers moved on, though they have stayed close friends as well as workmates in The Tender Trio.

Finally, Rene focused on his solo career. I Know What I See, his debut EP released in 2003 and produced by bassist Pat Sansone, was a stripped-down acoustic-based collection of four songs that found a following in the triple-A Americana format. In 2005, Rene released One Man’s Year, a dark culmination of more than a dozen years of shedding in his own bands and others, and numerous studio assignments.

Rene was finished with music. He went on to pursue an acting career until last year when a dear friend introduced Rene to The Document Room Recording Studios in Malibu, California. He was told he would have a week to himself with the legendary studio tucked away in the hills by the Pacific Ocean. For kicks, he set on to write and record one song per day. In the middle of his genius, he realized he still had writing in him.

With his musical confidence soaring, Rene brought the songs with him to his studio in Williamsburg. People are Just People was finished in two months. The result is a true funk and soul record, completely pure that sonically captures everything he cherished as a teenager. - Shakefire


New Rene Lopez EP, Johnny Wants To Be A Matador, To Be Released December 1

EP Release Party December 3 at Nublu With A Live Performance

Full-Length Album Drops in Spring 2010

Bronx, NY native Rene Lopez has always felt music in his blood. The son of a trumpet player in the Latin band Tipica ‘73, Rene grew up is NYC’s salsa clubs and from the first moment he stepped inside the club, Rene was hooked on live music and choosing to spend his life creating it “felt so natural that there was never a thought that I would do anything else.”

Despite being a relatively new solo artist, Rene has been writing and performing music in the New York scene since the late 80s when he was part of the underrated, but much loved by the "those-in-the-music-know" band The Authority (If any of you ever hung out at Nightengales or Wetlands, you know...)

And where his previous 2005 solo album, One Man’s Year, had a distinct rock feel, his upcoming EP Johnny Wants To Be a Matador is all about soul, capturing the sound of the streets of New York, with the city’s people inspiring Johnny’s songs and characters. Just like the urgency and frenzy of the streets that inspired it, Rene wrote and recorded Johnny in a matter of weeks, affirming “it was what came out of me naturally; the songs were almost stream of consciousness. And I was really happy with the results.” And the results are truly great, crafting an EP with a sound near and dear and to his heart, melding together Latin, Soul and 60s pop rounded out with great additional instrumentation by friends and fellow world-music enthusiasts like the Brazilian Girls’ Jesse Murphy who handles bass duties on the EP.


To celebrate the release of Johnny Wants To Be A Matador, Rene will hold an EP release party at performance at New York’s Nublu (62 Ave. C). Stay tuned for more info on his new full-length album, coming in Spring 2010.

Track Listing for Johnny Wants To Be A Matador

1. Johnny Wants To Be A Matador
2. One Thing
3. What U Say
4. I’ve Got The World
5. Everybody Wants To Get High

For more info on Rene Lopez, give Girlie Action a call!

David 212-989-2222, x136 david@girlie.com
Christine 212-989-2222, x104 christine@girlie.com
- Girlie Action Media


Discography

2005 - One Man's Year (CD)
2009 - Johnny Wants to be a Matador (EP)
2010 - People are Just People (CD)

Photos

Bio

[A CONVERSATION WITH] RENE LOPEZ - b. 1969, The Bronx

_
So when was the moment you just knew you had to be a musician? What was the “aha” moment?

RL: Growing up Puerto Rican in the Bronx, music was all around me, so I do not remember any real epiphany. My father played the trumpet in the salsa band Tipica 73 and I probably spent more time at the side of the stages than I should have. I do have vivid memories of beautiful women, dressed in shimmering, tight dresses, their hair flying behind their heads as they were spun around by their partners. They would sweetly ask me to dance and everything; the smell of perfume and cigarettes, the sweating heat of the club, the intoxicating rhythms felt so natural that there was never a thought that I would do anything else.

Let’s talk about the new album. There’s a real old school soul vibe to it—your last record [2005’s One Man’s Year] had more of a rock feel—when did this new sound, especially from a song-writing perspective, begin to click, and feel right for you?

In the summer of 2008 I discovered a studio called The Document Room in Malibu, where I spent that summer. I decided to experiment; I’d write a song in the morning and record it in the afternoon. I wrote five in quick succession in the course of a few weeks and it was what came out of me naturally; the songs were almost stream of consciousness. And I was really happy with the results. I felt like I was in my childhood bedroom again playing music because…because it was fun, and because I loved it, and because I wanted to be doing it. It was like reuniting with an old friend or something.

You’re a New York based singer-songwriter, and have been since the beginning of your career, going back to your first band The Authority, and the scene at Wetlands in the late 80s and early 90s; how does the city inspire you and does it still inspire you after all these years?

Oh yeah. For sure. New York’s my home. I have a real love affair with it. Always have. From the diversity of the people, to the great music, amazing food and wine, and overall culture, I’m truly at home there and draw so much inspiration from it. And the music scene is really important to me—the camaraderie with all the musicians, and the built in support network. That’s key.

You have a lovely wife and two adorable kids—your son’s four, your daughter’s two—so I imagine your days of late nights and craziness on the road, and the wild rock and roll life, are behind you; how has the experience of growing up and having children, and leading a stable and normal grown-up life change your relationship to songwriting and playing music?

I think it’s made me more focused. I don’t have time for bullshit anymore. I mean, my wife and kids come first, and it’s a difficult balance at times to get things done with my music, but that’s part of the challenge and I kinda welcome it. There’s also an important lesson there too, and one that I was taught by my father’s dedication to his family and his music. It is possible to be dedicated to both. And I want my kids to see how amazing it is to have a passion in life and how gratifying it is when you pursue things that you’re passionate about.

You’ve dipped your toe into the acting world; you shot some scenes for Paul Morrissey’s last movie, and you had a role in the blockbuster He’s Just Not That Into You, is this something you want to pursue?

If it comes my way I’ll give it my best, but I have no desire to pound the pavement going from audition to audition. I mean, I do enjoy the acting part, I just don't like all the bullshit in between. There’s enough of that in the music business.

What are some things that inspire you right now? What about current musicians? What are you digging?

Well, I've been listening heavily to Boogaloo lately, which is Latin soul from the 60s—artists like Joe Cuba, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Peter Rodriguez and Tito Puente. It's party music. It makes people smile. It’s also the music I grew up with, the music my dad played. I've been working recently on a modern take on Boogaloo for my next record. I'm also obsessed with [the 1978 Jamaican cult movie] Rockers. It’s so stylish and raw.