Exclusive Interview with Pepper Gomez of Wake Up
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Pepper Gomez of Wake Up! Music to catch up on how she’s been doing with her labels, artists, and life…
Pepper, it’s been just over 2 years since you started Wake Up! We all know that there are very few women and Latina women at that out there running an independent record label. How’s that been for you?
You know as a House vocalist during the birth of House in the 80s, it was a logical choice for me. I had been involved in the business as an artist including being in various Flamenco troupes, so I understood things from the artist’s side for sure.
Having run my own business in the past, there was still a lot to learn in the record label world but I have been surrounded by people who believed in me from the start – Stevie B of Mia Mind Music, Andrew Kitchen of AKTV and Film, James Moore of Independent Music Promotions.
They were so amazing to me in countless ways and gave me a quick leg up. These guys are big wigs and consummate professionals. I’ll never know how I got so lucky. So in essence, you are always only as strong as your team.
You’ve been producing like crazy. Can you give us a rundown on what you’ve accomplished and what we can look forward to? We see you’re past 2M streams of your releases. Congrats on that!
Of course – that’s the fun part! No one knows the sweat involved in birthing music or other projects unless they’ve experienced it first hand. It is work!
Many people think that it’s all fun and games and while there is some of that, I don’t know, this year especially has made everything feel very difficult and while we haven’t been in a holding pattern as we continue to move forward, I do feel my artists have been handicapped especially with regards to living gigs.
I’m very unusual in the industry as I try to treat my artists in the way that I’d like to be treated. So I don’t demand a cut of the merch, touring, and other pieces of the pie. I’m very happy just being the record label.
Some people think I’m stupid for doing it that way but trust me, I’m not stupid. I do things my way and at the end of the day, I need to feel good with myself and I do. This is why many people want to come to my label but it’s a harsh cut and I’m only going to sign something that I’m passionate about.
So back to what we’ve accomplished – for starters, we have a brother label to Wake Up! Music now. Wake Up! The music focuses on House, EDM, Dance music but our new break out is Wake Up! Music Rocks.
In addition to having A Killer’s Confession on that roster, we just signed Ra. Both bands are working on their albums and we couldn’t be happier or more excited.
As you know, I am dedicated to Nu Music and it doesn’t matter which side of the label – you will be getting sounds that are fresh and Nu. Regardless if it is Wake Up! Music or Wake Up! Music Rocks, I want my artists to feel free to take chances and create!
I’m a die-hard on this and I think it is liberating. At this time we have A Killer’s Confession on top 50 of Billboard! Massive! Especially for an indie label and I have not doubt that Ra is going to blow things out of the water!
Wake Up! Music Rocks is run by Waylon Reavis and his wife, Julie. Attention all you people out there, this is how it is done. These two are some of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet. Pattern your work on their flow and you’ll find success!
Back to releases, Jose Goo of AFTR, who you were kind enough to interview, has been seeing worldwide traction with his song, “Humboldt Swagger” (Wanna Go Down)”. From the DJs to the listeners to the exotic clubs to worldwide radio stations, this song has taken off.
I just love it when our music makes people feel and even more so when it makes them feel like dancing. We’ve cranked out a lot of YouTubes in the past 2 years and the one for Humboldt Swagger by ACRONYM with the Wake Up! Music Voluptuous Vixens is one of my favorites. I’ve been blown away by Brazil who has taken this barrier-breaking body image video and woven it into a new piece to even more fully address the damage that the one size fits all model does to us. Muito Obrigado meus Brasileiros!
I’ve made the decision with my artists, The Shamanic, which is Ralphi Rosario and Craig J Snider, to push back their release of Traces and Space. You know this really pained us but again, the COVID days have impacted us all and I think this project is just so significant and so smoking that I want to ensure we have the right traction to shed all the light on it that we can. Luckily, they agreed with me. The tunes on this project are truly amazing!
I’m wrapping up a 5-year project with my Producer/Director, Larry Marvar. He and I have been working on a Flamenco documentary called, “Flamenco: Pasion En Peligro” (Passion in Danger) that has surely been bigger than we would have anticipated. I can only laugh as I remember I thought I could finish this in a year or two. Well, here we are and after the twists and falls, disappointments and disillusionments, it has only made the documentary so much better.
I have some huge names of “the” Flamencos starring and it is a visually stimulating as well as enlightening film. I’m so proud of it as I am of the album of music that will accompany it. My artists include Pedro Cortes, who came to bat for me countless times and became an associate producer and now sound engineer of the whole thing as a result, Diego Amador and his son Diego Amador, the incredible La Susi, Lily Sie, Alejandro Vega, and Peter Baime. These artists have been so generous and I think you will feel it all when you see this amazing film that will no doubt become part of history.
Should I stop?
No, please continue!
I have a special project that has been inked by my dear friend and amazing artist and writer, Steven Krakow. It is called, “Heroes of House” and it is a coloring book. Again, this is going to be a project that will take its place in history. It is a beauty and I couldn’t be happier.
And, then, lastly, there are the Pepper music projects. I now referred to as “classic,” House tune, and for which the copyright has been mine since the 80s, “Electric Baile” has been remixed and will be pressed up by the German label, Running Back.
My friend, Marco Febbraro from Italian label, Strictly Groove, asked me to drop in some acapella for a remix he’s doing and I’m about to lay down vocals for the sweetest tune I’ve ever heard by Andrew Kitchen called, “My Heart Plays For You”.
I also just finished a non-commercial limited edition of poetry – it’s a 3 volume set and Heather O’Hara of Burdock and Bramble, did the binding by hand. It’s called, “Somewhere Between the Numbers” with Volume 1 called “Enchanted Forest”, Volume 2 named, “Goth” and lastly Volume 3 is called, “I’dLove2”.
I love the ancient arts of making books by hand. People ask me why don’t I sell these volumes but you know, not everything has to be about money! Surprise, surprise! hahaha
With all that going on, how do you stay so fit?
LOL – well, I work hard on that. I have a trainer that I work with a few days a week in the gym and I also am a pole athlete. That’s quite a combo and it seems to be keeping me strong and hopefully even stronger. On some days, I hate it but there’s no skimping on this area of life. But believe me, on some days, I just force myself.
We hear you are to be a birthday girl at the end of the month?
Awwww. I sure am. Historically, I’ve had terrible bdays until a few years ago when I started to take matters into my own hands. So I usually buy an amazing dress and plan something sweet for myself, family and friends. This year, I might be back to the awful birthday trend but at least I have a dress so pretty that I don’t even need to put it on to feel good!
Muzique, Alfred, thank you for talking to me! I can’t thank you enough for all you do for Nu Music. You are surely such an incredible force in more ways than you’ll know.
Pepper, thank you, and wishing you a very Happy Birthday! We’ll catch up again soon as I’m sure you’ll have lots more cool stuff to tell us about!
Peace and love!
Wake Up Music Group Contact Info:
Pepper Gomez – [email protected]
Streaming Link to current Single Humboldt Swagger (Wanna Go Down) Feat Pepper Gomez