Oswaldo Rossi, J.D. '01, may be tone deaf and have very little rhythm, but that hasn't stopped him from rocking the music industry. Living in Los Angeles and working at the legendary Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, Rossi is Vice President of Business Affairs for EMI Music North America.
After spending seven years in Capitol's Spanish-language division, he recently transitioned to the English-language market. Rossi's days are far from boring. Aside from negotiating, structuring and drafting music agreements for EMI's "top-line" record labels, including Capitol, Capitol Latin, and Virgin Records, Rossi is intimately involved in the company's day-to-day business affairs. He and his team of marketing directors, A&R representatives and other music executives are delegated certain parameters in which to "make things happen," he said. "Everyday is a challenge to achieve just that." Fiscal results are important, but so are the relationships forged with the artists, managers and lawyers. "This interaction is the reason I love going to the office everyday," he explained.
Breaking into the music industry was not easy. Rossi had a law degree and had passed the Bar exam, but he still had to work as an unpaid intern for Warner Music Latin America for two-and-a-half years before joining EMI. He supported himself by working part-time as a law clerk and producing local punk rock shows at various South Florida venues.
During his years at Miami Law, Rossi developed close relationships with classmates, professors and administrators and was the president of the Student Bar Association. He remembers studying contracts with Professor Alan Swan. "He was inspirational," Rossi recalled. "Professor Swan used to say that the law is a living, breathing organism."
Rossi sees music much the same way. "At the end of the day, it's a business of relationships." He has strong words for law students who find themselves about to graduate in a market that may seem bleak. "Figure out what you want to do, and do it," he said. "Anything less than a full commitment isn't acceptable. Even if you decide to give it all you've got, there is no guarantee of success. But you'll never know unless you try."
Rossi married Carolina Amaya in Malibu last year. "My best man was Simran Singh, J.D. '04, and Dean William VanderWyden recited a prayer during the ceremony," he said. "UM Law was well represented that evening."