Primary Instrument: Vocal
It is said that the first three years of life are the most significant, when the main foundation and the base in which you will eventually look to for direction throughout your life is formed. This is the case with PJ Rodriguez, whose stimulus at an early age included a healthy dose of Latin music sounds; salsa with rumba flair, jazz, congas and timbales. These sounds would prove to be an important part of where her professional career would eventually take its course.
Born in Los Angeles, this Latina (of Cuban, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent) was destined for a life with a creative flair. PJ's family ties consisted of many artists; from a father who was a successful designer, conguero and bandleader, to a musician brother, to a cousin who's an actor.
I think for me, it all started when was about 8 years old. I have always had a fascination with art and progressive music, especially my parent's old record albums. I turned my father onto The Police, Pink Floyd and Talking Heads and he turned me onto Weather Report, Chick Corea and other types of progressive jazz and Latin music.
Rodriguez eventually discovered that she also had an artistic knack like her father, and eventually followed his lead to become a designer herself. After graduating from San Diego State University in 1995 with a B.A. in Art and Graphic Design, she was offered a Lead Graphic Design position with Seattle, Washington's top-notch design firm Clark Gable Design. There she began her career by working with such clients as Lost Luggage, The Gap and Microsoft. She moved back to Los Angeles in 1997 and headed projects for Portfolio, a well-known design firm. She worked on many L.A.-based websites, such as pabloaguilar.com and athand.com. PJ also created promotional materials for local underground music groups such as Quetzal and Eyedentity during this period.
In 2001 she created Lucumi Productions and independent record label Orishas Records, finally combining her passion for music and her undeniable artistic abilities. Under Orishas, she signed her first talent, master Cuban percussionist, jazz rumbero and music producer Long John Oliva. Today, Rodriguez is working towards a fourth CD release under the label. With Lucumi, she is in charge of the artwork, photography and CD packaging for all of the label projects, including the upcoming Timba House Ten Fe, a combination of timba rap, Afro-Cuban rhythms, coros and house beats. Her company is busy making strides, as Long John Oliva's music is garnering well-deserved attention and work opportunities.
When asked if she has any dream projects she'd like to someday pursue, Rodriguez happily replies that she's doing exactly that-working on what she was always meant to do. I never thought I would be doing what I am doing now; running a small production company and independent record label; being in charge of all the creative direction and having the opportunity to work with many music talents. And through it all, she continues to cite her parents as major influences. She credits her mother and father for bringing music and art into her life; for giving her the initial contact to Latin music and all of its glory. The impact this music made on a young Peggy Jo has come full circle, as she heads into new territory, delivering her own contribution to its progress.
Source: Latin Beat Magazine