By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Music industry veteran Loren Israel has maintained a trusted reputation amongst his colleagues throughout his time as a record producer, artist-and-repertoire executive/consultant and songwriting teacher.
In his time at the Capitol Records A&R department for over 15 years, he worked with acts like Coldplay, Less Than Jake and Jimmy Eat World and helped spearhead the latter’s multi-platinum Dreamworks album ‘Bleed American.’
In 2001, he started his own company and sought unsigned artists in order to help emerging talent navigate the industry. It was through this that he discovered, developed and managed The Plain White T’s, whose track “Hey There Delilah” (which Israel executive produced) topped music charts in 14 countries.
He repeated similar success when he developed Neon Trees, whose debut singles “Animal” and “Everybody Talks” were triple-platinum number one hits. His latest success comes with The Unlikely Candidates, whose single “Novocaine” hit #1 on the Alternative Billboard chart in February 2020. Overall, his nearly 200 clients have grossed over $60 million through record deals, touring and promotional materials.
Israel believes that the creation of great music is both a craft and a “very fun war,” in that an approach to songwriting should be about making choices. He has since launched a consulting business, that offers marketing, mixing and production services, where he works with artists to create music people want to hear through songwriting analyzation and exercises.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Israel about his time in the industry and more.
Music Bugle – What are some things you have noticed about the music industry from when you first started working in it to nowadays?
Loren Israel – More opportunities and much better music. There are fewer so-called “gate-keepers.” Instead, emerging talent have many more outlets to be heard, find more fans and build their careers.
Music Bugle – In your eyes, what’s the key to finding the “next big thing” in music?
Loren Israel – The key is to be “open” to new music, to be excited about music and to have a passion for music. Great music changes your state. It is not a mindless diversion. It unites all human qualities. As such, the “next big thing” in music must be willing to take chances in order to say what no one else will.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest struggle lately?
Loren Israel – Interesting question! Overall, I don’t view my work as a struggle as it is incredibly rewarding. In terms of working with artists, I sometimes have to convince them of the urgency of life. None of us are getting any younger. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
Music Bugle – Throughout your time in the music industry, what’s something that has surprised you the most?
Loren Israel – That there are not more people doing what I do. We seem to think that musical artists drop from the sky. In reality, there is a method to the madness. It is a talent and skill that needs developing, just like anything else. That’s what I do. I assist emerging artists with making the necessary decisions to improve their music with the goal to great music. It’s not mysterious at all.
Music Bugle – Do you find that social media helps or hurts musicians trying to make their name?
Loren Israel – Both. An artist must use social media to access their audiences. The artist should never be afraid of using social media. It is a necessary skill similar to performing live. Moreover, the artist has easy access to music enthusiasts from all over the world. Finding others who are passionate about music is the biggest benefit of social media. It is a positive, not an obstacle. The artist must also be willing to experiment with social media. This includes taking down unfavorable social media posts and images.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Loren Israel – I’m producing more songs virtually and challenging myself in ways to bring value to all of my artists. As I have adapted, I’ve become more agile with my production, my marketing and my mentorship to my bands. In fact, I think that the gravity of this pandemic has made me really look at what are the most important aspects of what I do and weed out all those aspects that are not as productive.
Music Bugle – What has been the most productive thing you’ve done while in quarantine?
Loren Israel – I executive produced a #1 song by the Unlikely Candidates. Truly a highlight of 2020. However, this song was actually recorded in 2019, so perhaps this does not count.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to go back to this past New Year’s Eve, what would you tell yourself about 2020?
Loren Israel – To be even more grateful that I work in music that I already am. Music is unique. It has a singular power over the human spirit. No matter what anyone is going through, music has the power to transform us and to lift us up.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Loren Israel – “It’s not luck, it’s hard work.”
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
Loren Israel – Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. However, during the pandemic, I just take walks or play with my 4-year-old son.