Banda MS’ Sergio Lizárraga Launches New Record Label ‘Room 28’

Sergio Lizárraga is making room for new musical acts…

The Mexican Banda MS manager and founder has launched new record label, Room 28, which will focus solely on “developing, managing and promoting” pop and urban acts.

Sergio Lizárraga

An extension of his management and booking company LM Events, which specializes in the regional Mexican market, Lizárraga will run Room 28 alongside business partner Mario Barrón.

“It’s an unknown world for me,” Lizárraga, who launched Lizos Music in 2013 (the indie label home to Banda MS), tells Billboard. “But you meet people that know that world perfectly and well they’re the ones that will guide this project. I am continuing with Lizos Music but I wanted to create this alternate label that is exclusively for pop-urban music.”

The new company’s objective is to “give national and international visibility to recording artists that contribute variety and creativity,” according to an official statement. One of Room 28’s first signees includes Mexican influencer Mont Pantoja, whose lip-sync videos have made her a star on Tik Tok, where she boasts of more than 18 million followers. Pantoja is set to release her debut single “Maviri,” a pop-infused track, on March 18. Lizárraga’s daughter, Brianda, is also part of the label’s roster, which will be announced in the next few days.

News of Lizárraga’s Room 28 arrives two months after the announcement of a new booking and management deal between Spanish singer-songwriter Natalia Jiménez and LM Events. The move marked the first time in recent memory that a pop act entered a management agreement with a company that specializes in the regional Mexican market.

“What excites me the most about new ventures is the challenge,” adds Lizárraga. “[Room 28] goes hand-in-hand with what I already do but in a genre that has a different style of lyrics and rhythms. With Mario, who knows the ins and outs of that world, we’re not only going to do this but we’re going to do this well.”

Natalia Jiménez Signs with Sergio Lizárraga’s Management & Booking Company LM Events

Natalia Jiménez has new representation…

The 39-year-old Spanish singer-songwriter, who is beloved in Mexico, has signed a management and booking deal with LM Events, the management and booking company headed by Banda MS manager and founder Sergio Lizárraga, according to Billboard.

Natalia Jiménez

The move marks the first time in recent memory that such a prominent pop act enters a management agreement with a company that specializes in the Regional Mexican market. The deal underscores how fluid and collaborative genres have become in Latin music, with the former demarcated lines between sounds and formats, and now business, increasingly fading.

“He [Lizárraga] has been a pioneer of the genre with Banda MS, taking them to international success, and he’s proven his mettle by remaining relevant in a very difficult industry,” Jiménez tells Billboard. “I think it’s a fascinating challenge and I’m 100% vested in this pairing.”

Jiménez rose to prominence as the lead singer of hit Spanish pop group La Quinta Estación. Since launching her solo career in 2011, she’s placed three albums on the top 10 of Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart and six songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart, including No. 1 “Lo mejor de mi vida eres tú” with Ricky Martin.

And for the past decade, Lizárraga’s Banda MS has been one of the top groups in Latin music, in any genre, with 19 top-10 hits on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart.  They are also Mexico’s top-touring banda act and ended 2018 as the country’s most streamed act on Spotify. Last year, the band made history by pairing up with Snoop Dogg in the hit track “Que Maldición.” The fusion track marked the first time a major Mexican banda collaborated with a major American rap act, and landed both acts their first top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs track.

However, signing Jiménez or bridging pop and Mexican music, wasn’t something that Lizárraga was actively looking for. He and Jiménez met in 2019 when the singer and the group recorded a new version of “El Color de Tus Ojos,” a Banda MS hit, as part of Jiménez’s album México de mi Corazón, an homage to Mexican music that featured prominent acts from different genres.

Jiménez wanted to record the track with the full band, so Lizárraga invited her to their home base of Mazatlán to record in his studio. There was a feeling of mutual respect, and last year, Jiménez called Lizárraga and asked if he’d be interested in handling her. “I was surprised at first; I wasn’t sure whether to take her seriously,” says Lizárraga. “Then, we met and I took it very seriously indeed. I know it’s a different genre, but in the end, it’s the music business and a lot of things overlap.”

Lizárraga is widely seen as one of Mexican music’s most successful executives. He helms Banda MS’s label, Lizos Music, launched in 2013, and also opened up LM Events as a management and booking subsidiary for the band and other groups.

“We have a lot of plans [with Natalia],” he says. “I have great songwriters in my team, and she can sing rancheras, mariachis, ballads, which is our expertise. I’m giving her a huge team to work with, in every department, and I’m bringing my honesty, which is flag. Finally, I plan to devote myself entirely to her new music.” Jiménez’s upcoming album is México de Mi Corazón 2, which will be produced by Armando Ávila, who worked on the first set.

She continues to be signed to Sony Music Latin, which also has a close relationship with Banda MS; the label was in charge of distributing and marketing the Snoop Dogg collaboration.

“This is a new and fascinating direction for me, particularly because regional Mexican music is the genre I’m most enjoying right now,” said Jiménez. “This is a woman who, musically speaking can sing anything, in any genre. I definitely feel the pressure,” laughs Lizárraga. “But I like a good challenge.”

Jiménez was previously signed to Westwood Entertainment, the company that manages Carlos Rivera and Reik, among others.

Banda MS Kicking Off Series of Private Virtual Concerts This Friday

Banda MS is going virtual…

The Mexican band is set to launch a series of private virtual concerts on Friday, July 31, hosting its first-ever streaming concert since the COVID-19 shutdown.

Banda-MS

In partnership with Cerveza Sol and Los Angeles’ radio station Que Buena, Band MS will perform live from Lizos Music, headquarters in Mazatlán, on July 31 it what the band promises will be the “first of many” private concerts the group will offer virtually in the next few months, according to a press release.

“Banda MS wants to offer fans entertainment while they spend time with their families at home. That’s the objective of the stream,” the regional Mexican band said in a press release. 

The July 31 virtual concert will be available to only 1,000 fans who will be selected at random after entering a drawing on the concert’s official website.

While this is the band’s first streaming concert after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the concert industry mid-March, Banda MS has been active on social media doing live Q&As, including one with Billboard, to discusstheir Snoop Dogg-assisted track “Qué Maldición” released in May and their forthcoming album slated to drop later this year.