In Rotation with Blue Élan’s Theresa Lopez

Our new In Rotation series turns the spotlight inward to talk with the people behind the music at Blue Élan.

We’ve grown so much as an independent record label in the last six years. Not only has our artist roster expanded tremendously, but so has our team that serves a driving force behind the music. As part of our first installment in this new series, we decided to sit down with Theresa Lopez, our Director of Marketing, to discuss more about how she got her start in the music industry, along with a few questions about the music she’s currently playing on repeat.

Q: What kind of music did you grow up listening to? Was it like your playlist?

A: My parents did not place any restrictions on what I could listen to growing up. Elvis Presley was a pretty big deal to me, though. At age 6, I had dreams of becoming an impersonator and persuaded my Dad to take me on a trip to meet his drummer, DJ Fontana. My musical tastes were largely shaped from whatever CDs or cassette tapes I could get my hands on. I listened to everything from Prince and Oasis to Patsy Cline and 2Pac.

Q: What was the first album you ever owned?

A: My grandparents always used to get me these marionettes and tea sets on my birthdays. I never had much use for those sort of things. There was one exception to this ritual gift-giving experience when they gave me a cassette of Selena Quintanilla’s Dreaming Of You. Total game changer.

Q: How did you get your start in the music industry?

A: I never really thought of music as a career path, until I was working at an advertising agency in Chicago. I was confronted with an opportunity to make a career change and went for it. I volunteered at Schuba’s and Lincoln Hall in Chicago, became one of the first employees at a startup company called Jammber, and eventually moved to Los Angeles to attend business school. Just before Blue Élan, I was at Universal Music Group where I worked with the global catalog streaming team on many legacy artists like Queen, Nat King Cole, Guns N’ Roses, R.E.M., and more.

Q: How long have you worked at Blue Élan?

A: I’m a fairly recent addition to the label. In fact, I celebrated my first year of being with the label back in March!

Q: What’s your favorite part about working at the label?

A: It’s great to be at a label that is so committed to delivering a positive experience for its artists, and also so committed to speaking out on social issues. There’s a lot of change in the industry that needs to be made, but Blue Élan already stands for so much of it. Getting to work with an awesome team of passionate people is also a great perk too.

Q: Walk us through your playlist. Which tracks are your favorite? Why?

A: Kehlani feat. James Blake – Grieving – I’ve been a long-time Kehlani fan after seeing her at Coachella a few years ago. Combine that with James Blake’s production and it makes for such a beautiful blend of contemporary R&B meets synth-electro beats.

Chelsea Williams – Muskegon – I’m a huge Bon Iver fan. When I heard this track off Chelsea’s new album Beautiful & Strange it immediately took me back to the midwest in a good way. The ambient elements really make you feel relaxed and provide a sense of escapism. Pure Michigan as they say. Or Wisconsin? Just depends on what side of the lake you’re looking at!

Future Islands – For Sure – This is the latest single from my favorite band ever. Talk about good driving music. Glad these guys are back.

Q: Where do you go to find new music?

A: Where am I not finding new music? I’m always looking for new sounds and artists I’ve never heard before. I love the “Fans Also Like” tab in Spotify for fresh finds, and will admit that yes, I still frequent HypeMachine. I’ve always been a film nerd, but only in the sense that I remember movies for their soundtracks, and not necessarily, the actors or directors.

Q: If there was a theme to apply for this playlist what would it be?

A: It’s difficult. It’s got a lot of soul elements, but also electronic influences, and indie is certainly in there. So, maybe it’s an indie-electro-soul mix. Or alt-electro-soul with tinges of hip hop. This changes, just depends on the day of the week, my mood, what I find. There are so many elements.

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