The name Bruno Guez may not ring many bells for the majority of everyday music lovers, but for those with their fingers on the pulse of music’s cutting edge, this founder of Quango Music Group is part of the heart and soul of what is shaping up to be the next great trend in our love affair with music. Gifted with the rare ability simply to know what people are going to love, as well as an uncanny instinct for combining unlikely and unrelated sounds and styles to produce innovative and unique musical hybrids, Guez has had a singular impact on the rise of what is now being termed, “lifestyle music.” Considered a sort of catch-all for any music that doesn’t fit into established genres, this emerging category includes what most would consider being experimental music, but according to Guez, “I’m always thrilled when I’ve succeeded in gaining greater exposure for an artist or sound that might help nurture popular acceptance. To me, experimental means not enough people have heard you yet.”
A student of Ethnomusicology, Guez started his career as a DJ playing the influential clubs of LA’s underground music scene. It was during that time that he honed what he calls his ability to “light up a room.” A chance encounter with Island Records mogul, Chris Blackwell, led to the birth of the Quango label at a time widely considered to be the starting point of the global chill-out movement, paving the way for the spiritually based, world groove music heard in yoga studios, spas, fashion boutiques, and other cultural hotspots across the country today. According to Guez, this shift moved music from entertainment to a new level – part of a lifestyle foundation, quite literally, the soundtrack for life.
The extent of Guez’s talent and drive have never been more evident than over the past two decades. Among the meteoric successes he has enjoyed in his life, Guez has also been presented with one of the most monumental challenges a human can face.
In 2000, Guez travelled to Brazil to celebrate the millennium with longtime friend and business partner, Guy Laliberte, Founder and CEO of Cirque Du Soleil (Guez acted as the company's Musical Creative Director from 2001 to 2004). On the morning of the new millennium, Guez took a fateful leap into the waters of the Pacific Ocean and changed the course of his life.
He landed on a hidden sandbar leaving him paralyzed from the chest down, with only limited use of his arms. Thanks to the rescue carried out by Guy Laliberte, and the support of Guez’s family and friends, his life was saved but forever changed.
Far from giving in to the self-pity that such a devastating event could precipitate, Guez took it in stride, demonstrating acceptance and grace in the face of tremendous obstacles. When Chris Blackwell came to see him in the hospital, he found Guez burning CDs and exploring new music in his hospital bed only days after the injury. In that instant, Blackwell knew his friend would be okay; his body might have been broken, but his spirit was intact.
Since that time, Guez has continued to search out new and innovative sounds, leaning into the lifestyle music genre. Businesses, particularly in the fashion industry, have picked up on his vision, incorporating his knack for developing an identity through music into their own brand-building efforts. Innovative labels like Oliver Peoples, American Rag and Da Nang have all employed Guez's identity-building vision to enhance people’s experience of their brand.
Why? What is the magic behind Guez's musical taste? Much like Guez himself, the music is unusual, unexpected and leaves you with a strong feeling that you can’t quite put into words. It is unique, singular, and represents a synthesis of the best aspects of the many cultures and perspectives the world has to offer. To put it simply – it’s cool.
For more than 20 years, Guez and Quango have been releasing albums and partnering with leaders in the fashion industry to provide a glimpse through a telescope into the future of lifestyle music. Like Guez's rise from the darkness, the future looks bright.