PENDULUM RECORDS & CEO/FOUNDER RUBEN RODRIGUEZ
Ruben Rodriguez is a renowned music industry executive who is always on the cutting edge. From his earliest days at Motown Records to his Pendulum Records upstart, an innate knowledge of what the market is missing and a sure-fire ability to fill that void with extraordinary success have driven Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’ success is not only forward reaching, but far reaching as well. For his Pendulum Label formed in 1991, he is credited with shaping the Grammy Award Winning, critically acclaimed Digable Planets who shook up the Hip Hop sound with their live band performances that brought the group universal appeal. Other signings by Rodriguez, such as the Boogie Monsters and the Lords of the Underground, allowed Pendulum to gain notoriety in North America, the UK and penetrate the greater world market. True to form, Rodriguez pegged the missing market link dead on and shot through the deluge with a powerhouse debut album from urban pop trio “Divine”. That record, “Fairy Tales”, spawned the single “Lately”, which rose to #1 on the Hot 100 Pop Chart.
Rodriguez is very proud to not only be involved in the development of artistic talents but also contributing to building the careers of many of today’s industry executives. He has always handled his career with passion, integrity, commitment and strong work ethics. Drawing on over thirty years of experience in the entertainment industry, Rodriguez’ extensive knowledge and rise to executive leadership took root when he landed a position at Motown as the Northeast Regional Marketing and Promotion Manager.
Rodriguez left Motown to join the marketing and promotion team at Neil Bogart’s then newly formed Casablanca Records. There he found his niche working with edgier artists like the Village People, Donna Summer, Parliament Funkadelic, KISS and Cameo. “My years at Casablanca opened my perspective and shaped my desire to work with talent outside of the mainstream. I’m motivated by the creative challenge of helping to introduce a new sound and image into the broader market.” That sentiment has become Rodriguez’ trademark and passion which defined his tenures at Island and at Columbia Records, where he was Senior Vice President. He helped shape the careers of such top artists as Grace Jones and George Michael, who made history by being the first non-black to achieve a No.1 album in the R&B Charts (Faith), Regina Belle, Terence Trent D’Arby, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, and LL Cool J were some of the artists who benefited through their association with Ruben.
The years following Rodriguez’ departure from Columbia has also proven to be some of the most challenging and exciting in his career. At the time of Pendulum’s start-up, Rodriguez was simultaneously hired as the Senior VP of Elektra Records where he helped bring artists such as Anita Baker, Keith Sweat and Natalie Cole to the next level of worldwide attention and acclaim. He also undertook the development of the label’s presence in the Hip-Hop community. As a result, Elektra became one of the preeminent labels signing and distributing Hip-Hop artists in the early 1990’s (working such acts as Brand Nubians and Leaders Of The New School, the group that launched Super-Star Busta Rhymes). At the same time, Rodriguez was guiding the careers of the Digable Planets and applying his hands-on approach to the development of Pendulum Records. Currently, Ruben under the banner of Ruben Rodriguez Entertainment, Inc. is consulting and working with major and independent record companies, as well as heading up his record label Pendulum Records, LLC and management company RAM Talent Group, Inc.
In 2008 Pendulum Records in association with WDE signed Grammy Award Winning Artist Regina Belle, and released her first Gospel album ‘Love Forever Shines’. The first single “God is Good” quickly achieved the 2nd Highest Number of Radio Spins at Gospel Radio in the past decade. There was nothing like it on Gospel Radio. “God Is Good” also claimed Song of The year for 2008 at the Gospel Music Choice Awards, was nominated for a 2009 GMA Dove Awards for Traditional Gospel Recorded Song and Regina garnered a 24th Annual Stellar Award Nomination for Contemporary Female Of The Year. Love Forever Shines was the #10 Top Selling Gospel Album according to Soundscan. In 2009 Pendulum Records released Gospel Artist Greg O’Quin & iPraize’s Top 10 hit single “Lead Me Jesus” from the album “After the Storm”. Greg O’Quin & iPraize garnered a 25th Annual Stellar Awards Nomination for Traditional Group of The Year. In 2010, Pendulum Records released Gospel Artist Travis Greene’s first album “Stretching Out”. Travis first single “Still Here” was a Top 20 song on the Gospel Charts. Travis Greene was nominated for the 26th Annual Stellar Awards for New Artist of the Year. Rodriguez shares, “From the beginning the label has prided itself on breaking and developing new cutting edge artists. My philosophy, as an independent label, has always been to even the competitive landscape by filling the void in the marketplace through the power of the music, artistry, along with a dedicated team and great relationships in the marketplace. Embracing the music with passion, integrity, dedication and unique sensibility, are key to achieving success. From Grammy award winning Digable Planets to Lords of the Underground to the #1 Pop song in America “Lately” by Divine to Regina Belle “God Is Good” Pendulum continues to fill the void in this new chapter with some of the most innovative and creative artists and producers now joining our roster. This is really an exciting time and I’m invigorated.” In 2013 Rodriguez signed R&B Artist Shaliek to Pendulum Records and his first album entitled “Blood Sweat Tears” was released in May 2014. The first single “The Past” released in August of 2013 climbed the charts peaking at #10 and maintained 10 weeks in the Top 15 on the Urban AC Chart. The second single “Ain’t Supposed to Cry” peaked at 8* and remained in the Top 10 at Urban AC for 3 weeks. Shaliek’s 2nd album is due out in 2016.
Rodriguez’s previous management experience included co-management duties for Legendary Recording artist Patti LaBelle. From there he launched RAM Talent Group, Inc., a management company focused on management in all genres of the music and entertainment industry. One of the first signings was Donell Jones. Ruben helped him to realize his entrepreneurial dream by launching Donell’s own label, as well as helping Donell secure a major distribution deal for his label. Ruben subsequently signed Shaliek and Lords of The Underground to his RAM roster. Rodriguez sees RAM as an all-encompassing management company which will extend beyond the normal “management” duties in an ever changing business world. He believes a management company must provide not only touring, securing deals with record companies, corporate deals, advising on viable outside offers, but also a strong emphasis on artist and personal development. Rodriguez brings a lot to the table as a manager, with his vast experience in the entertainment and music business and his active engagement in the fabric of the entertainment business. As Rodriguez further explains, “RAM Talent Group is very timely in today’s challenging economy and business environment. Artists and entrepreneurs need representation that can explore the many possibilities and aspects of growing their career, while staying true to their center. This requires someone who can affect change because of their relationship with key industry gatekeepers and has an understanding of the creative process and bigger picture. In addition possesses the willingness to be proactive and commit to bringing one’s goals and dreams to fruition. Developing and building strong partnerships throughout the process is a key component to RAM’s work philosophy.”
Among the many awards and accolades Rodriguez has achieved, in the fall of 2003 Rodriguez was honored with the “Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award” by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, (joining the likes of past honorees as: Russell Simmons, Clive Davis, Sean “P. Diddy Combs, Johnny Cochran, Lyor Cohen, Kevin Liles, Jay-Z, Antonio “LA” Reid, Kedar Massenburg, Barry Weiss and Tom Freston.) In October 2015 Rodriguez was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by The Living Legends Foundation (joining an illustrious list of industry greats who have been honored in the past, including Clarence Avant, Antonio “LA” Reid, Charles Warfield, Stephen Hill, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Quincy Jones, Larkin Arnold, Brenda Andrews, Jon Platt, the late Hal Jackson, the late Jack “The Rapper” Gibson, Cathy Hughes, Rushion McDonald and many others.)