Personal Music at #PRODUPrimetime: We started from scratch and now we are celebrating our 25th anniversary

February 9, 2022

Maribel Ramos-Weiner

Alberto Slezynger de Personal Music

Alberto Slezynger, founder and owner of Personal Music, told Ríchard Izarra during #PRODUprimetime about the 25-year journey of his music production company, the changes that the music industry has undergone, the allies that have supported his growth, and his passion for music, for making music.

“More than proud of this invitation and for celebrating this 25 anniversary together, since many of the decisions we made when we came to this country were thanks to PRODU and we have grown together as companies. And it’s amazing the long-lasting friendship we share,” Slezynger said.

The Beginning
Alberto Slezynger is an outstanding Venezuelan composer, recognized internationally for being the creator of the band Daikirí and who has been successful since then.

“Since that time we have made music our livelihood, which is difficult nowadays, and that band was a life-changer, because I had just finished a postgraduate degree in Economics in New York, and I was teaching, and in a year I made an album without expectations, but it exploded. It became an incredible success in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, throughout Latin America, and the songs are still playing at parties and radios, they have become classics, and that fills me with pride as a composer,” said Slezynger.

Miami, Key Location
Regarding the music producers that went to the US, he said that he was the first to start working from Miami. “Everyone moved to New York or Los Angeles, but I took the risk and bet that it could be done from Miami. It was amazing due to all the talent and Latin American musicians that did their albums here –and still do- work with Latin American music producers and musicians. This enables me to use a lot of music and original instrumentation recorded live.”

Another advantage of Miami he pointed out is that it is very close because Latinos had continued with their traditions, Spanish is widely spoken and it was the place where he had friends and also some family members. “And I felt that the quality of our musical work proposal was going to work as if I lived in New York or Los Angeles. And it has worked. We started from scratch, but little by little we reached a point where we are now celebrating this 25 anniversary. I’m very happy and proud of the work we’ve done.”

Personal Music is recognized as a professional company of customized music services. It has created outstanding projects ranging from productions for networks such as NBCUniversal, Telemundo; to advertising campaigns for agencies in the US Hispanic market.

Many television and advertising industry players recognize the musical quality of Personal Music and the professionalism of Alberto Slezynger, including Marcos Santana, president of Telemundo Global Studios; Patricio Wills, president of Televisa Estudios; Ciro Sarmiento, CCO of Weber Shandwick; Sergio Alcocer, founder of Rest of the World; Leonardo Aranguibel, VP of Production and Head of Operations and Production Strategies for The Walt Disney Company Latin America; Miguel Varoni, Telemundo Global Studios; Henrique Racz, Partner/Music Producer of Studio Tesis, and Igor Figueroa, producer of Estudio Mono in Mexico.

After listening to his friends and partners’ remarks, Slezynger referred to those “great memories, and those great and visionary producers, such as Marco Santana, with whom he had worked.

“We began working with Patricio when he joined Telemundo Studios and then started creating content such as Amor Descarado, Anita No Te Rajes. Since then, all those songs and music we composed for NBC and Telemundo’s novelas, have won many awards. But we came from advertising and after a while of doing that we decided to also get involved with creating music for network’s content, telenovelas, and currently for streamers such as Netflix and Disney. But in both cases, the Cannes Lions that Ciro mentioned that we won, was also the first for me to work with an extraordinary idea, and with Sergio Alcocer. And that was the first of many Lions that we won. Because later, in the awards circuit, I won in Clio, the NY Festival, FIAP, the Eye of Ibero-America won many awards that have made us very proud.”

The knowledge of making music for different programs, audiovisual pieces, has allowed Slezynger to navigate between commercials and content. “We already had an advertising company in Venezuela that had been very successful, and had won many Anda awards; and the level of advertising in Venezuela at the time was extraordinary, similar to that of Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. With what I had done, I came to this country and the agencies here loved the level, and told me that if I brought such a good level, they would work with me.

Personal Music has allies in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, among others, who have helped to strengthen the company. “From the beginning, when we got to know the market and saw all the cultures that we cohabit at the Latino level in the US and Latin America, it seemed important to me to have strategic alliances with the best quality markets in advertising and music for content and for television. So we made an alliance with one of the best studios in Brazil that is based in Sao Paulo, Tesis, where Henrique Racz is one of the eight partners. We have had a very fruitful relationship because we have their team of composers, plus the team of composers who work with us. They have done things together and we have managed to raise the level of music even more”, explained Slezynger.

“Likewise with Monkmúsica in Argentina we have a pool of composers who are also extremely talented. Same in Mexico. We have the full range of vision outside the box outside the US with the highest level of quality and the highest level of professionalism, and that is why we have managed to make these 25 years a team effort. It’s not just me, it’s my team or the entire team I’ve worked with. My team here in Miami and in the US, because we still have composers in New York, in Los Angeles, in London; is a team of composers of the highest quality and without them, Personal Music would not have been able to get to where we are today”.

The Hispanic Sound
The Hispanic market in the US has undergone a profound transformation in the last 25 years and therefore its own beat. “At first when we got here, the West Coast and the East Coast were very divided. Many of you will not remember that for the campaigns of the big brands, a version was made for the East Coast, which was more Caribbean, and a version for the West Coast, which was more Mexican or more on the Mexican and Central American side. And that was a law, you had to do two versions with two different styles for the same commercial. Little by little, Univisión, Telemundo, and later the other Latin television stations that appeared, were like homogenizing the accent and the neutral accent became the standard for the use of actors and voiceovers in all the material we did, but at the same time, it was unifying the music of many countries. Nowadays, the music that is heard is always that fusion that is like the beat of the Hispanic market that has details of certain Hispanic cultures that predominate in this market. We have learned a lot about that and I have had to study regional Mexican music very well also and I have had to study a lot and listen every day to what is happening in general market music, American music. That is another example of the passion of being connected and updated all the time with the music that is in the arena, in the US Hits Parades in all cities, because each city has its style”.

The Transformation of Music
Just as the distribution of content, platforms, the digital world, telephones, computers have evolved, the musical composition has also had its changes. “You always have to be on top of new technologies and we have always been very interested in being connected with everything that is happening at the moment. And today’s advertising campaigns, for example, are not only broadcast, network TV and cable, but also digital, so there’s a whole new approach to marketing with music for media and digital platforms.”

However, Slezynger warns, there is something unique and that is what sets them apart, original music for products that they know they need and deserve support and a musical proposal that should be for the brand.

“When doing a campaign, one presents to the brand the whole concept of the styles that we suggest so that the client and the agency have an idea of where they should go. We do the same with the content for NBC, Telemundo, and everything, let’s say Netflix, and all the music we’ve made for big productions. Suggestions are presented, also after having read the script, after having realized where they want to go towards the description of the characters and one also presents a music proposal of where it should go. I think that is very important, not only in the advertising part but regarding the content, because one becomes part of the creative team that is behind the work of the project, and the earlier they include the composer, the musician in the process of pre-production, things turn out better because one adjusts and carefully makes the necessary changes each time to make it work on screen, be it advertising or scripted content”.

View interview here