Nuyorican artist Rene Lopez is set to release his EP Let’s Be Strangers Again on October 7th. This release will coincide with his support slot on Joseph Arthur’s European tour, which will include three dates in the UK on October 9, 10 & 11.
Influenced by salsa, Brazilian music from the 70s (Jorge Ben, Tim Maia), samba rock, meringue, soul and old school hip hop, Rene’s music sounds warmly familiar — the sounds you’d likely hear coming from car stereos and apartments in Jackson Heights, Corona, Spanish Harlem, the Lower East Side (pre 1995 or so), and of the South Bronx. It’s a loving homage to the seemingly universally beloved sounds of Latino New York but with a modern re-interpretation through some playfully inventive genre mashing. The melodies manage to swing and saunter with an amiable charming swagger, much like Lopez himself.
Growing up near New York in a small town and visiting the city for his musician father’s shows, Rene spent his childhood and adolescence on the cusp of diverse city living and rural relaxation.
“I grew up around salsa musicians so that was always a part of my world whether I was at a party or if I was at the club late night with my mom and dad. I absorbed the music. When we moved from the Bronx to Rockland County, I grew up in a neighborhood where all of the kids were listening to rock and roll which influenced me greatly as a drummer.”
Rene explained how the fusion of his father’s taste in salsa and jazz combined along with his interest in pop, rock and roll, and Prince piqued his interest in creating his own sounds. “My father started playing a lot of jazz records for me at home and I started getting into playing bebop.”
“As a child, my fathers music totally influenced what I am doing now. I am going back and all I do is listen to those records as well as boogaloo. Even though I am not a salsa musician, it plays a huge role in the music I am making now,” Rene said.
“I think on all of my records I am constantly searching within myself. I was going through some of my past records and listened to “I know what I see” and thought to myself that it sounded very Americana. I was being honest with myself and really digging deep to play what I thought was true. but now, I feel really happy and very grounded with the music that comes out of me.”