Creatives in Conversation: Musician Lazaro is embodying a creative mindset in all that he does.
While the human mind is curious by nature, cultivating a deeper creative mindset takes practice, time and hard work. Early on, California native Lazaro made the conscious decision to dedicate his energy towards finding ways to apply creativity across the many different facets life has to offer. As such, creativity has helped guide him in both a professional and personal sense, with this year specifically marking the beginning of a new chapter for his pursuits in music.
Growing up, Laz's passion for music grew significantly when he joined his school's choir and began playing alongside a variety of churches across Orange County. After developing his ability to play in front of live audiences, he began garnering a reputation as being musically inclined. While Laz has often been tasked with being the one to kick off singing the traditional birthday song at parties and has found himself occasionally lending his talents to support his friends' endeavors, it took time for him to come into his own as a singer-songwriter. While music has always played an integral role in his day-to-day life since childhood, it wasn't until recently that he decided to concentrate his efforts and create something more tangible. With plans to record an official project well underway, Laz is gearing up to make a reintroduction of sorts, showcasing what he has to offer as a musician in a new way.
However, as he works on developing his craft as a recording artist, Laz isn't just reserving his creative abilities to his own projects. During the day, Laz happily works as the Head of Publisher Relations at PlayVS, the official high school esports league here in California. In fact, his professional career has helped teach him how creativity comes into play in a multitude of ways, encouraging him to put time into strengthening his creative muscle overall. From helping others execute their visions in business to writing down his ideas as they come to him, Laz consistently is working to make sure he doesn’t lose sight of the creative mindset that makes his ideas stand out.
During a recent conversation with the DropLabs team, Laz spoke more in-depth about embracing his creative drive, his plans for the year ahead as a musician and what his advice would be to aspiring creatives.
What do you do for a living and what helped you get started?
Right now, I am the head of publisher relations at PlayVS. We're a gaming start-up focused on building software and competitive experiences on top of esports. We are the official high school league for esports and we have some new announcements coming soon on student initiatives that we're working on. I've been with the company really since the beginning. Prior to PlayVS, I was at Science Inc., which is a venture studio here in L.A. that invests in and helps build exciting new start-ups. PlayVS was a company that came out of Science, and after being on the Science team for a while, I decided to switch gears. I've been able to see PlayVS grow over the course of time, which has been really exciting. I am also a musician and have been working in the studio. I'm just getting started when it comes to taking my music more seriously.
What inspired you to gravitate towards exploring your talents in music?
Music has always been something that I've enjoyed and has been a more significant part of my life since high school. I kind of stumbled upon performing music accidentally and realized that it was something I was passionate about. I used to play live shows when I was in high school; that's where I started. I kind of switched over to just recording music and putting it out on the internet. Now, I'm figuring out what that mix looks like for me.
I've always wanted to have some music in the world because I've always wanted that creative outlet. I'm a naturally creative person and I think that's what led me to working for start-ups in the first place. I always want to be building and creating and making things. So, being able to be a part of companies on the investor side and on the founding team side, it's pretty similar to being a musician because I think creativity isn't only about art. I think it's about how you approach your life and how you approach the way you spend your time. I've always been driven by a few different things and that comes across in different ways creatively.
Do you have an early memory you’d like to share about when you first discovered some of your passions?
The very first music memories that I have are really close together. The first one I remember, is being in kindergarten and my teaching switching schools. I was really sad so I wrote a song about it [Laughs]. It was on the guitar, too, which I did not know how to play at the time, but I certainly acted like I did. Another memory I have is probably from around the same age. Growing up I had this keyboard that had pre-set sounds in it and when you press the button, it would play and you could make your own songs. To this day, I wish I could find that keyboard. Someday I will. But it would just play a pre-set song, with all of these different instruments, and you could cycle through them all. I would spend hours just sitting there, pressing buttons, going through filters and singing along with it.
What are some of your music influences, either early on or currently?
John Mayer is probably my favorite artist. My Mount Rushmore of musicians would be John Mayer, Rob Thomas, Dallas Green and Sam Smith. I really like singer-songwriters who have some influences of R&B, soul and jazz. For my own work, I like incorporating classic styles within the music, such as jazz and soul, and incorporating that into a modern sound, which I think all of those musicians do really well.
What do you do to get into your creative zone?
There's a few answers to that. I think I'm always in a creative space, and I think that's pretty indicative to who I am as a person. I apply my creativity not just in my music but also to my career and my work and other things. I think I just have a creative mindset in how I approach things and so, I don't necessarily think it's a state that I put myself in and out of. I think it's just a muscle that I flex at different times and in different ways.
I also have a notepad on my phone that is deep with random thoughts and lyrics and most of them aren't good at all, but they are thoughts that pop into my head throughout the day. Every time something creative pops into my head, at least on the music side, I'll write it down so I don't forget it. And then, at least a couple times a week, I try to really sit down with a pen and paper and write down what I'm feeling and I'm what I'm thinking and I'll bring my guitar into that process. I'll have those writing sessions sporadically, especially when I feel like I have something to get out. I don't think it's necessarily something where I go in and out of, but more about what leads me more into that creative state. Just given how my day is broken up, naturally, I write more at night when I'm home alone and have time to myself. That's probably where, in terms of the best setting, I do most of my writing. I think my mind is always in a creative gear throughout the day so it's just a matter of expanding on my ideas later on.
What surprised you the most about DropLabs technology?
The thing that stood out to me was the range of uses for it. Within music specifically, I wasn't expecting it to shine with my style of music. I was obviously expecting it to be really cool for my hip-hop playlist and my ambient-sounding music but when I played my own songs that were just me and a guitar, it still felt really cool. It was an interesting experience to feel the strumming of my guitar through the shoes, especially in a way that I haven't felt before. I first tried the shoes on maybe two years ago when it was a super early prototype so it's really cool to feel how refined the product is, how refined the experience is and how much it actually works for my specific music tastes.
How would you describe the DropLabs experience to your friends?
I would describe the DropLabs experience as being really unique and very personal. Personal is probably the best word for it. I think it's a product that can be applied to a lot of different creative ways of expression and it was much more personalized than I was expecting.
What are some of your goals for the year ahead?
On the work side, PlayVS is growing and it's really exciting to continue to watch it grow. The company is two years old which means we're really hitting a stride. I would love to see us add more games, build more software for our community and empower more students to be a part of something special for their school and be a part of a team.
On the music side, I am eager to set up some time in the studio, which I haven't really done before. I've really only shot stuff on my phone or with friends who are cinematographers or hobbyists. Right now, I'm applying myself to in my spare time to actually create something tangible with my music. I've been writing a lot lately and I'm going to be hopefully releasing some original music in a more official way this year.
Do you have any important mantras that you live by or any words of advice to share?
You can't do it all, but you can do more than you think. What I mean by that is, I have a lot of different passions and a lot of things I could spend my time on. The way that things work best are when I have a couple of irons in the fire that I'm really passionate about and can dedicate my time accordingly. At the end of the day, I want to be pushing myself to do than what I think I can. I think everyone is capable of that. If they have a mindset of creativity and are passionate about something, they can totally pursue those things and accomplish more than they may initially think was possible.
Lazaro can be found on Instagram at @lazaro.tv and on the web at http://www.https://www.lazaro.tv/.
As innovators by design, the team behind DropLabs Technology™ is dedicated to supporting and elevating members of the creative community. Together, we aim to serve as a platform highlighting different creators as they work towards achieving visionary excellence and inspiring others along their path. To nominate a creative leader you’d like to see highlighted on our website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.