This Music Mogul's Late Career Transition Resulted In Major Creativity—Here's How
After working for 20 years as a nutritionist, Lisa Roth found herself at the helm of a record label, co-creating the best thing created for new parents since disposable diapers—Rockabye Baby. Below, she dishes on the tools that help her stay grounded in this week's "Shortlisted."
If you ever doubted that Rihanna's "Rude Boy" would be an excellent song to put a baby to sleep to, well, you'd be wrong. But that's because you haven't heard the Rockabye Baby rendition; all xylophones and tinkling bells where there was once heavy synth and bass. Ditto for Prince's "Cream" and Kanye's "Golddigger"—transformed from provocative pop songs to jolly ditties fit for a 2-year-old.
One of the masterminds behind Rockabye Baby is Lisa Roth, vice president and creative director of CMH Label Group, the label under which 85-and-counting lullabye-ified albums have been released, running the gamut from Eminem to Fleetwood Mac to The Pixies. But despite the assumption that her blood stream is equal part platelets and musical talent (her brother is Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, after all) Roth insists she never planned on a career related to music: "I never aspired to it, and I can’t carry a tune to save my life," as she puts it.
Indeed, it was an unlikely transition. Prior to running a record label, she worked as a nutritionist for 20 years, advocating for a holistic approach over dieting way before it hit the. mainstream: "I taught basic physiology and basic nutrition, but I also taught the importance of mindfulness, staying present and curious about the feelings that are informing your choices."
Below, Roth shares the mindfulness hacks and insights she took from her days as a nutritionist and how she applies them to her life as an unexpected music industry innovator.
"If you show up, interesting things will happen, and to thine own self be true. I have a sticky note on my office wall that reads 'You have no discernible skills to work here.' When I started working at the label 12 years ago, the office manager at the time came up to me and told me that. I asked her to repeat it so I could write it down. It’s been suggested I throw it away, but I’ve kept that sticky note all these years, because in my mind it’s a badge of honor and my life story.
"I don’t think I’ve ever felt prepared for anything I’ve accomplished professionally, it has always felt like trial by fire, but I keep showing up and doing it my way, and interesting things have happened."
"I'm kind of a purist and a believer in trying to start with a healthy foundation in all things, whether it’s relationships, business, or skin care. I have a daily practice that includes lots of alkaline water (Essentia is a favorite), plenty of sleep (still a work in progress), and meditating twice a day to get through life's bumps and clunks.
Our skin is our largest organ, and it's not shy about showing the world the effects of our daily choices—both the good and the not so good."
"The Moth is a nonprofit organization that produces live storytelling events all over the US. The stories are told by both well-known and not well-known people. All of them are true, unscripted, first-person narratives told without notes in front of a live audience.
"I'm always completely captivated, moved, and awed by the commonality of the human experience. I love that storytelling is such an ancient tradition, and still is one of the most powerful ways to teach, learn, entertain, and—more than anything—connect. Something we could use a little a more of these days."
"AG jeans (boyfriend or skinny), a baggy sweater (probably black), boots (probably black), and my Alexander Wang reversible leather bomber jacket (yep, black)."
Currently reading: "Long Story Short by Margot Leitman. I'm not big on "how-to" books, but one of my goals this year is to do a storytelling event, and this book gives practical, quick, concise suggestions with a sense of humor."
Currently listening to: "Spotify, mostly old school R&B and soul music. Best music ever. Al Green, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gay—I could go on and on and on. "
"My productivity hack is small things that make me feel good, like getting my nails done, wearing a cool outfit, or cooking a good meal. They're tiny confidence boosters, and the more confidence I have, the more the creativity flows. That, and fewer inner critics."
"Pinterest. My sister, who is a designer, is helping me renovate my home, and Pinterest is how we're communicating ideas.
I also peek at The Guardian daily to stay on top of the headlines. Ugh."
"My hair is an unruly entity unto itself, so product, product, product is the name of the game. Right now, my favorite is mixing Oribe Crème For Style with Oribe Curl Gloss Hydration And Hold. I put the mixture in my hair when it’s wet and diffuse it dry. It feels soft and natural, not crunchy or hard.
"My other secret weapon is that I only wash my hair every three or four days, and sometimes I'll live life on the edge and go five."
"All of the above—sometimes all on the same day, depending on my mood. But I do like a heel, particularly on a boot. Some days call for comfort, and I’ll wear an old pair of Dolce Vita Ginnee boots, but some days only a pair of Jimmy Choo Duke 85s will do."
"I flirted with the idea of learning TM for 15 years. Then I read some of the medical studies and peer reviewed papers and was intrigued into action. Learning TM requires four consecutive days of instruction, one to two hours a day. The first day is personal one on one, and the other three are in a small group setting. And then there’s a follow up session three weeks later. You not only learn the technique, but why it’s effective, and the science behind it all.
"The technique is done twice a day for 20 minutes each time, and it is by far the easiest most effortless practice I’ve ever attempted. It’s been a fascinating experience. It was like a fog started lifting that I didn't even know existed. More energy, motivation, and clarity (ouch). Could have saved a shit load on therapy."
Words: Deena Drewis
Photo: Earl Gibson