Support films, shows, music that comes from diverse backgrounds when they are given the opportunity like the Yellow Rose Film released by Sony Pictures. It was the first Filipino-led film picked up by a major studio in 900 theaters, it will soon be released digitally. If the numbers support the projects, more projects will be funded reaching those communities as seen with the success of Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther.
As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias.
Roslynn is a Filipina American serial entrepreneur who has helped launch, market & sell various companies like MySpace.com & her own that she co-founded, mydiveo. She has produced over 500 concerts & editorial programs with artists like Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Drake & Bruno Mars. She’s been named to Billboard Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” & The Source Magazine’s “Power 30.”. In her current role as the ABS-CBN Global Head of Music & myx platform, she helps develop & execute the international artist strategy of their AMI Tarsier Records & Star Music label artists like Inigo Pascual & Kiana V, while overseeing their myx global platform that spotlights “our stories, our music, Uniquely Filipino.”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In elementary school, I fell in love with music. I used to record the Top Ten song countdown and play them for my classmates at lunch. I was obsessed with MTV & BET and loved music programs like Yo! MTV Raps or MTV News. Whenever they would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my heart would want to say “in music,” but my mind would be fearful of my immigrant mother from the Philippines who worked so hard to get here & establish a good life for our family in the United States, and I would change my answer to say, “lawyer.”
It wasn’t until I bought my first turntables in high school that the passion became real and we started going to LA record shops like Fat Beats & Stacks or hip hop clubs like UNITY or Lotus every week that I knew it’s all that I would ever want to do. Even when I was enrolled at a UC college for political science/law, I knew I wanted to get paid to do what I really loved which was to promote and play music.
After being told at a music TV channel audition that I was “too short” to ever be on TV, I was recommended to try radio because they don’t see how tall you are or what you look like. It was the summer break of college at UCI, so I found a local KSAK 90.1FM radio station at a junior college called Mt. Sac in my hometown of Walnut, CA. In order to get a radio show you had to be enrolled in Radio Broadcasting classes, so that summer I enlisted in Radio Broadcasting 101 and for the first time, I fell in love with college. I couldn’t believe you could love going to school everyday in college! I wound up getting the radio show after I completed the class and called it “Third Floor Radio.” The name stood for three levels of hip hop: past, present and future as well as a tribute to one of my favorite groups, De La Soul & their album, “3 Feet High & Rising.” I was so excited because I interviewed all my favorite hip hop groups from Los Angeles like The Pharcyde, Dilated Peoples, the Beat Junkies & Jurassic 5, alongside my favorite hip hop artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Gangstarr, Mos Def, Slum Village & De La Soul from the East Coast.
After doing the radio show for a few years, I started producing hip hop concerts and clubs with DJ Vice from Eagle Rock, he is currently a national touring DJ, but at the time he was at the Power 106 radio station and producing a weekly club at The Dugout in Pasadena. We used to throw birthday parties, shows and more at different venues. I eventually graduated and started getting real jobs in the music industry at companies like Radio Disney, Onair.com & the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP) where I became the Director of Marketing, and I met one of the creators of a new startup at the time called MySpace.com at one of our networking events.
I became the first person hired specifically for artist relations at MySpace, after suggesting a few go-to artist & music marketing strategies for the platform in 2004 which included throwing MySpace.com parties with artists, launching a MySpace mixtape series, MySpace Official DJ Program and creating the MySpace — A Place For Hip Hop community, that eventually grew to over 2M registered artists & DJs, the biggest genre on the platform. I reached out to every hip hop artist I ever interviewed on Third a Floor Radio first, and they became the first artists I featured on MySpace, like The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube and eventually grew to include Drake, Diddy, Kanye, Snoop Dogg and more. I would spend 9.5 years helping launch MySpace, MySpace Music and traveled the globe helping launch a MySpace UK, Mexico and more. At the platform I interviewed, produced concerts and created editorial programs with artists like Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Rihanna and Eminem.
After the MySpace platform became the #1 website in the world with over 200M users, it started losing audience because of spam and new platforms that were developed with better user experience like Facebook, YouTube & Twitter. Music streaming platforms like Pandora, Spotify and SoundCloud were on the rise and I started to get offers at other big music companies that were also launching at the time.
But rather than go to another music company, I ventured off to start my own marketing & artist booking company called “ROS Marketing, in acronym for the advertiser term “Run of Site” and I helped create marketing strategies and booked talent for events, media programs & influencer programs. During this time, I helped launch, market & sell another digital resume platform called “mydiveo,” for 7.4M dollars. After that, I took an influencer trip to the Philippines, sponsored by the Philippines tourism board with Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, & others that he invited including will.i.am, Jo Koy, Cassie, Liane V. and other executives from YouTube, Google & Netflix. At 36 years old, it was my first time to visit where my mom and family was from, and it was very humbling & inspirational. I thought about my career in music and I could only think of a handful of artists like Bruno Mars and APL that I’ve ever worked with or featured. After seeing all of the great work APL has done for his community throughout the world, as soon as I got back to LA, I started looking at ways that I could help highlight Filipino artists, talent, culture, events and started volunteering at cultural festivals & more.
I produced the LA Clippers Filipino Heritage Night with Apl of the Black Eyed Peas and Manny Pacquiao & additional heritage events before eventually taking the position to work full time at ABS-CBN, the largest entertainment & media company in the Philippines. I am now the Global Head of Music & Talent where my job is to help oversee their international roster like Tarsier Records artists Inigo Pascual & Kiana V, the myx platform, which is a TV network (DirecTV, Spectrum, Comcast, Twitch, Amazon), radio station (Dash Radio) and events production company that highlights the best of Filipino talent, culture and creatives across the world. We feature artists on our myx platform like Bruno Mars, Saweetie, H.E.R., P-Lo, Guapdad 4000, Manila Killa, J Rey Soul, Manila Grey, Kolohe Kai, Hirie alongside Filipino artists from around the world like artists from around the world like Ylona Garcia, Fern, beabadobee, Apostol & Massiah. It has become my new mission in life to bridge my passion for entertainment to help create a platform and audience for my own community, especially seeing creatives likes Issa Rae, Chadwick Boseman, Tyler Perry, Oprah and companies like CJ Entertainment and 88 Rising do for their own communities. They have created opportunities for people that look like them to see themselves on a world stage, that’s what we are building with ABS-CBN & myx.
It is crazy to think that close to 20 years after I was told I would never be on television, that not only have I hosted various TV shows for networks like CBS & Disney, but now help program a national TV network. It just goes to show that even when someone tells you that you can’t do something, you can. You just have to believe in yourself. This whole story is so that anyone reading it could feel empowered to do what they want to do and trust their personal journey. Even when people tell you that you can’t do something, or you don’t get the job that you wanted, remember what is most valuable is your purpose & mission, & not your current job title that defines you. To get paid to do what you love, you have to take the first step in faith and continue to take steps until you can look back and connect the dots to how you got there to help others on their journeys. Don’t stop when things get hard because you might be “3 feet from gold.” There will be times that you will need to do what you need to do to get paid, so you can invest in yourself and what you love.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
When Justin Bieber just signed to manager Scooter Braun and Usher, he visited the MySpace.com office with his Mom and I filmed his first livestream interview on Livestream.com where he also spent an hour singing various cover songs. He stayed at the office and played basketball and Guitar Hero with the staff. Within one year, I was hosting the GRAMMYS red carpet for CBS and Justin Bieber walked down the carpet with his Mom and we talked about the crazy year he just had, skyrocketing his career after his first single “Baby” came out. It was interesting to see how a great team and marketing support from a major record label can change an artist’s career firsthand. Every moment like this with any new artist is exciting to witness first hand, adding to where they currently are today if they continue pursuing their career. I’ve been to every Justin Bieber since that first year and it’s always amazing to see the evolution.
Watch the Justin Bieber GRAMMYS CBS interview below:https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/4ad34fb8f8e62e5e94bf29b74ca3247d
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from this?
Early on in college when I didn’t understand what “networking” meant, I thought it meant asking people to help you with what you wanted/needed. I went to my friend’s gym and brought flyers to promote my radio show and talk to his class about it. He stopped me and said, “you don’t know what networking is.” “Networking is a social currency, you have to provide value in exchange for what you are asking for — just like when you go into a store — you don’t just take the T-shirt or ask for it, you have to pay for it. Come back when you have something of value for me too.” That changed my life because it is how I approached every networking opportunity or partnership in the future and I also pass on that message to someone I feel is also making the same mistake.
Ok thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our discussion. Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?
There are 5.3M Filipinos in North America, our myx platform showcases stories & music of not only our community, but one that represents the multi-cultural generation that is a majority of the US population. Filipino Americans sit at the intersection of Asian, Latino and African American culture where some of the biggest pop stars & GRAMMY Award winning artists like Bruno Mars, H.E.R. & Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas with J REY SOUL are current leaders in pop culture in music, our platform magnifies those artists but also helps develop the future pop culture stars in music, film and TV on programs like TAYO News, myxCLUSIVES & Heavy Rotation.
Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by the work you are doing?
myx is on a mission to help bring Filipino talent, content and events to the world stage. Two of the artists that we frequently feature on the platform on our myxTV network, myxRADIO station & Amazon Prime Video shows are artists Inigo Pascual and Kiana V. This year, both artists have seen mainstream success with collaborations with international pop stars like Pretty Much & New Rules or have been featured on internationally marketed EPs with groups like 88 Rising / Paradise Rising. They have been featured in outlets like Forbes, Billboard, Complex, within Jo Koy’s new Netflix special and major events like the Asia Rising Global Music Festival. You can find their journeys documented on the myx show, The Crossover airing on Amazon Prime Video now.
As an insider, this might be obvious to you, but I think it’s instructive to articulate this for the public who might not have the same inside knowledge. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?
- Visibility adds credibility. Not just within one community, but the more people see representation of diverse groups on TV, film, radio, etc., the more credibility is added to that community.
- Representation not only helps people to understand and relate to one’s unique community, it also builds confidence in individuals to see people that look like them in media and leadership positions.
- Lack of diversity on mainstream outlets leads to distrust, not understand, tension and sometimes violence as we have seen lately in recent hate or race crimes.
Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do to help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
- Demand diversity in media, advertising and the boards of Fortune 500 companies.
- Support films, shows, music that comes from diverse backgrounds when they are given the opportunity like the Yellow Rose Film released by Sony Pictures. It was the first Filipino-led film picked up by a major studio in 900 theaters, it will soon be released digitally. If the numbers support the projects, more projects will be funded reaching those communities as seen with the success of Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther.
- Reward and acknowledge the work of the community for those that are doing it right to inspire others.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership means empowering your team to be the best they can be to help the team and take over the lead whenever needed.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Your network is your networth. Social currency is key. Give before you ask.
- Don’t focus on the NO’s, focus on the “YES,” no matter how long it takes or how you have to pivot.
- Focus on your purpose and mission rather than what you think will make you the most money.
- It’s ok to have a side hustle. You might need to do what you have to do to fund your passion and it’s ok if it never becomes your full time career. Still work hard to work on something you love and passionate about all the time.
- Believe in the law of attraction, your positive thoughts + action = the law of attraction.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love to start a movement where each day, every person donated 1 dollar to a certain cause. That’s only 365 dollars/a year. But imagine if Monday everyone donated to the typhoons in the Philippines, Tuesday everyone donated to the famine in one country, Wednesday to pandemic research, etc. Billions of dollars contributed together all at once from various parts of the world for the betterment of humanity, this would help solve a lot of problems quickly and will not take too much effort on everyone’s part except for signing up.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Master Sri Akarshana, please tag him, he has helped millions on social media, but personally so much in quarantine. Not only learning from the law of attraction but motivated me daily in a different way. Would love to say Thank You, learn what he knows and pay it forward to anyone I meet:
How can our readers follow you on social media?
@roslynnc on YouTube, Instagram
@roslynn on Twitter
myx.global — The beat of our culture. Our stories, our music, Uniquely Filipino.
@myxglobal on all social media: Twitch, Instagram, YouTube, kumu, Facebook.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!