Margo Rey accompanied her husband Ron White to Austin for his show at the Paramount Theater this past weekend, and afterward treated Ron’s V.I.P. ticket holders to a surprise set at Speakeasy’s on the Avenue. Michael Blakey, Ron and Margo’s partner in the new label Organica Music Group (distributed by Universal Music), was also in attendance. Organica Music Group also produces films and TV, and has teamed up with artists such as Gladys Knight (Gladys Knight and the Pips), and Crystal Harris. Margo’s latest single “Let The Rain,” written with singer/songwriter John Oates, is currently #17 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts and is climbing.
AMFM: TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW RECORD LABEL:
Basically Organica is the term that I’ve coined to describe my music, I got tired of people asking me what kind of music I write. I think I have very diverse interest in many kinds of music and also have performed many kinds.
Organica is basically Pop music that’s adult pop music. It’s a hybrid of music that’s rooted in jazz and funk with some really rich grooves. I can’t sing to anything I can’t groove to. It’s deeply layered and lush, and with really ambient guitar and lush vocals. The rythm section of the guitar is groovy and gritty and funky.
Because of that I released an album on my own label, Organica Music Group, and because of my husband Ron White and my manager Michael Blakey who used to run Virgin U.K. and many other successful record labels, it has now become a real bona fide label, and is distributed by Universal.
AMFM: LET’S TALK ABOUT “LET THE RAIN.”
Let the Rain is a song I wrote on a flight when I was getting engaged with my husband “Ron White.” I had no idea I was going to be engaged on this flight. We were flying to Paris. I’ve never been married. He’s been married 3 times. I thought we both obviously suck at this. I had no idea we’d end up tying the knot. He springs it on me, flight attendants are crying, everybody’s in on it but me. I say yes, I start crying, like a prom queen (stupid). All of a sudden after I said yes the plane dropped like 2000 feet and thunder and lightning and rain…and everyone’s bouncing up and down. And Ron goes “Give me that ring back, Jesus doesn’t like this.”
Of course I didn’t and it was fine 40 minutes later. I had started to write that song on the flight, it’s about overcoming adversity, about finding solace in a time of adversity. and when I got home from Europe, my manager called me and said “Would you like to write songs with John Oates?
And I’m like “What – are you kidding me? This is incredible. YES. yes YES of course. so he and I finished it. He loved the lyrics and the melody, and he had already fashioned some chords based on my music he’d heard in the past. It was like he knew I’d already written this song. So together we wrote the chorus and fleshed it out.
AMFM: ARE YOU GOING TO BE COLLABORATING WITH HIM IN THE FUTURE?
I am actually, I will be collaborating with him this month. The cool thing is the song was released just a few short weeks ago and it’s climbed it’s way through Billboard’s top 100 AC charts, which is Adult Contemporary, and it has now broken through the top 20. As of today, it’s probably going to change by the time you guys see this, it’s number 17. So yes, John and I will write many many more to come.
AMFM: LET’S TALK ABOUT MARGO THE PERSON NOW. WHAT THREE OR FIVE THINGS WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I’m really a man. No…. Let’s see, I love to snow ski, I do yoga, and I’m constantly creating. I think all art is collaborative. My favorite thing to do is have friends over and cook. And laugh at irreverent things.
AMFM: ARE YOU A GOOD COOK?
You’d have to ask my husband that. I went to cooking school in Italy as a gift to myself, so i kinda know what I’m doing. My family is a restaurant family, so we’re all big foodies and we cook quite a bit. Most of my friends like it.
AMFM: WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT YOUR FAMILY IN DALLAS?
I am an immigrant to the United States. I am a naturalized citizen, I was born in Acapulco Mexico. I moved to the states when I was 2 years old. I am the youngest of five. We always say my parents moved here with 5 kids, three jobs and 4 dollars.
Basically they just said, do what you love, and be your own boss. So I think that was pretty good advice. My mom let us know there was nothing we couldn’t do. I love doing my passion.
AMFM: YOU MUST HAVE HAD GREAT PARENTS BECAUSE YOUR SIBLINGS ARE ALL SUCCESSFUL AS WELL.
Yes, I think so. My older sister is Editor in Chief of Nexos Magazine, it’s her baby, it’s a Spanish-Portuguese owned by American Airlines publishing, it has over 30 million readers in 40 countries.
My other sister Gabriela is a restaurateur owner/operator/chef and so is my brother Tony. My brother Alex (Reymundo) is a very successful comedian, as is my husband.
AMFM: DO YOU COLLABORATE WITH YOUR BROTHER AND SISTERS?
Ron and I have a saying, that all art is collaborative, and I agree, I feel like you have to witness art in order to create it. If I’m in a deep songwriting mode, I’ll take myself to a museum, or look at poetry readings online, see sculpture work…see other types of art…um, go to a dance show. Because of that, my siblings are always bouncing creative ideas off each other. My brother with his comedy and me with my music, they’re one of the few people I play things for before they’re finished, song ideas. It’s very enriching, it helps.
AMFM: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC GROWING UP? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A SINGER, ASIDE FROM JUST HAVING GREAT PIPES?
I think music chose me. I was singing as long as I can remember. My first real memory, as a child, and I believe I was four, I was holding a microphone in my hand singing in front of several hundred people at a school function, and it wasn’t even my school. It was my brother’s school, and this little girl got stagefright. She was going to sing “Oh My Jolly Playmate.” She couldn’t go on, and I was backstage with my mom because she was making costumes. I said “I know, I know the words,” and my mom is “shhhh! NO!” but they let me on and that’s my very first memory. As the youngest of five, it’s a very fortunate place to be because you’re not in charge of what’s on the radio. You have to listen to the music of your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, whatever. Because of that I was exposed to music I would perhaps not been aware of.
I had to discover Rock n Roll all by myself…by the time I was listening to Led Zeppelin I didn’t know they’d already broken up. I’m like..”What? Jim Hendrix is DEAD? You’re kidding me.” Singer/songwriters from the 1970s and 80s are the ones who deeply inspired me. Carly Simon, Carole King, James Taylor, Bill Withers, Michael Jackson, Sting.
AMFM: EVERYBODY LOVES STING.
THERE’S REALLY NO SUCH THING AS GENRE IN MUSIC, IS THERE. I MEAN, THERE’S GOOD MUSIC AND BAD MUSIC AND THEN PEOPLE TRY TO PIGEONHOLE IT. YOU HAVE TO, YOU HAVE TO LABEL IT, RIGHT?
Well, I think the big bad machine that propels it all has to find a place for it on the shelf. In some ways that’s unfortunate, and in others it’s very successful to get something out there. But I do love that genres are constantly being bended and expanded. The new album that’s coming out that “Let The Rain” is on is called “Habit.” I feel like my ears are de-sensitized, everything in pop culture today is sounding exactly the same, and it’s so nice to have new breakaway artists that dig back. Everyone always borrows from the past. This album “Habit” is very gritty and very funky and very retro. That’s what determines a breakaway artist. You can’t let radio or a trend write your songs for you, because it’s something that you’ll be constantly chasing that you’ll never catch up to.
AMFM: WHAT ABOUT OTHER CULTURES AND ETHNICITIES, DO YOU HAVE ANY WORLD INFLUENCE IN YOUR MUSIC, would you say? WOULD IT BE AFRICAN BEATS, THE MUSIC FROM MEXICO, OPERA, what’s your favorite? WHEN YOU’RE COMPOSING YOUR MUSIC IS THERE A THREAD OF SOMETHING RUNNING ALL THROUGH IT? OR IS IT ALL DIFFERENT?
I love world music. That sounds like a silly, general statement, but I’m deeply influenced by a lot of it. I think we all are, whether we realize it or not, and we should be. Depending on the type of song I am writing, or that has just moved it’s way through my body and has decided to become this living organism, depends on what type of world music it was inspired by. I’m classically trained, so many things about that affect my technique in singing, perhaps the way I approach my voice when I’m singing live, just for stamina. Because my music is so groove-oriented, I am very influenced by Afro-Cuban music, Afro-Carribean music, a lot of middle eastern rhythms, and of course Mexico. I can’t helped but be influenced by a lot of Latin music, because that’s what I am.
AMFM: MARGO, MANY PEOPLE HAVE HEARD YOUR VOICE THEY JUST DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS YOU…YOU’VE DONE A LOT OF COMMERCIAL WORK.
I’ve sung many many types of music. When I moved to Los Angeles, I grew up in Texas, moved to New York, did a lot of theatre work – Broadway, and a lot of commercial work. So when I moved to Los Angeles, I wanted to move there to form what is now Organica, and basically find a career in voice-over so that I could do music and fund my own projects – because I do my music on my own terms. I thought, well, I’ve always made these silly voices and I’ve been a good mimic my whole life, so I may as well get paid for it. And it really worked out for me. I got signed with Abrams Agency, which is one of the largest voice over agencies in the country, and no, many people wouldn’t know it, but I do a lot of voice over work for radio and television. I was the voice of TLC network for several years, I’ve done voice over work for HBO, Real Time with Bill Maher, I was in Beverly Hills Chihuahua…I mean I don’t want to read off my resume.
Sometimes my sister calls me…this’ll give you an idea…my sister calls me and says “I just heard a commercial and I was wondering if that was you” and I’m like yep, that was me! and she says “I knew it” even though it’s in an accent, or another language. It’s fun! But maybe only my sister can tell.