Music Behind the Tech: Marlene Rodriguez

Music and tech make a perfect pair — coding, troubleshooting and focusing on projects are often accompanied by a soundtrack for many in the IT industry. Whether it’s getting into that “flow state” or simply dialing in on a complex problem, listening to music seems to be the method of choice for IT employees looking to unlock creativity.

In this series, called Music Behind the Tech, we’ll help you get to know Rackspace employees, their stories and the relationship between the music they love and their work. We’ve even embedded their playlists at the bottom of each post. Rock on!

San Antonio, which is home to Rackspace HQ, is about 150 miles from the southern U.S. border, and Mexican culture permeates every corner of the city — from the architecture to the food and beyond.

This is true when it comes to music as well, and the bright sounds of Mariachi, Conjunto and Tejano can be heard all over town.

Rackspace Implementation Leader Marlene Rodriguez contributes to the sounds of the city by performing live, traditional Spanish songs together with her father.

“When I was about 14, my dad, who plays music around town, started teaching me how to play guitar,” Marlene said. “He was really surprised at how easily I picked it up, and after I learned a few songs, I started playing and singing with him.”

While Mariachi performances typically involved a large group of musicians playing violins, trumpets and guitars, Marlene performs in a much smaller group with her father. She sings a mixture of Latin American songs — she and her dad have a mental catalog of over 400 different tunes — including rancheras, huapangos and ballads.

Marlene’s love of performance extends beyond the guitar and classic Spanish songs and includes a DJ/karaoke business called the Elite Show that she operates with a good friend. Instead of simply playing songs for folks to sing along to, Marlene ups the ante by putting on a full performance.

“We’re not just singing, we’re feeling what we’re singing and performing,” Marlene said. “We make sure we send out that message that the lyrics are talking about, and people love it.”

Performing in front of so many crowds has developed a confidence in Marlene that she often taps into when meeting with customers. When she joined Rackspace in 2013, Marlene was an enterprise account manager for the Latin America region, acting as a liaison between customers and the company.

In her current role, Marlene connects with customers as they get started building their hosting environment, and she makes sure they receive Fanatical Support throughout the entire experience.

“When you love what you do, you have confidence that you’re going to do great” she said. “In my role, that feeling translates to me wowing my customers.”

Marlene’s Liner Notes

We end each of these profiles with some musical questions so you can get to know the Rackers a little bit better — here are Marlene’s answers and her specialized playlist.

Over the ear head phones or earbuds? Earbuds

Spotify, Google Play or Pandora? Pandora

Beatles or Rolling Stones? Beatles

Biggie or Tupac? No idea! 

Song that’s stuck in your head? Despacito, the more I try to get it out of my mind… It’s just playing everywhere!  

Best concert you’ve ever attended? It has to be Juan Gabriel. I was blessed to see him in person before he passed away. It was on my bucket list. He’s been my idol since the beginning, those are the songs that I started learning from him… those are the songs that got me started into music. To this day, I sing his songs and people love it.

Stay tuned for our next Music Behind the Tech profile and visit Rackspace to find out more about our experts and the ways they’re helping customers tackle their toughest IT challenges. And whether you like smooth jazz or hard rock, if you’re looking to start your own career at Rackspace, be sure to apply online today.

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Garrett Heath develops content and supports customers on the Rackspace Social Media team. His previous experience includes technical project management in the cloud, content marketing and social media marketing. He enjoys writing about how the cloud is spurring innovation and telling stories about the people behind the tech. You can also read his work at MarketingBytes.io. In his free time, Garrett writes about food and local San Antonio culture at SA Flavor.

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