Pinay Def Jam executive shares her path to success in the music industry

NEW YORK — “I grew up being the only Filipino, the only Asian in the school, so growing up I was a bit detached from my Filipino heritage.”

Born and raised in south central Los Angeles, California, a predominantly Black and Hispanic community, Filipino American music executive Leslie Rosales said she had to travel to the Philippines as an adult to feel connected to her Filipino roots.

“I was able to learn about my history and learning about my grandfather’s story on how he and my grandmother worked, saved, every dime they made just to get their children come to America.”

Her family’s immigrant story inspired her to work hard.

“I don’t wanna let them down, it’s as if, if I let them down, then basically, like all their efforts kind of go to waste, if I don’t live out what they have dreamed for me.”

Her perseverance in life has certainly paid off.

Rosales is now the project manager in marketing at Def Jam – a hip-hop/urban music record label based in New York City.

Def Jam artists include BTS, Justin Bieber, Kanye West among many others.

“So I help with the roll out of if they want to put out a song, or single, album, music video, anything that has to do with them putting down – putting out a product… in a sense yeah, I work in the music industry, but i think of it as helping artists live out their dream, which is my dream.”

Rosales said — one has to love music to make it in America’s $10 billion industry.

Rosales’ passion for music came early on in her life.

She was a performing artist in her teens.

“I think being a performer at an early age in high school, is what trained me in this position because now I know how it feels to be on stage, to feel that pressure to have to entertain people.”

Her biggest tip for would-be music executives is to find value in making connections, building your network…Because sometimes it’s who you know that matters more than what you know. But then also make sure, you study the ins and outs of your industry.

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