HILLIARD, Ohio — If you don’t know his name, odds are you do know his work.
Angel Lopez is a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning music producer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry like Coldplay, Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, Sam Smith, Jack Harlow and the list goes on. He’s doing his thing in California, but he’s never forgotten where he came from.
“Yeah, I definitely rep Hilliard,” Lopez says. “That’s always gonna be home for me.”
From walking the halls of Hilliard’s Memorial Middle School with his guitar to pounding out beats on tables at Hilliard Darby High School, Lopez was always ‘the music guy.’
“We’d have these freestyles, and I was the beat provider. I was banging on this loud door and I was kind of that guy so it was always just that thing for me. It’s something I really love. It’s really like my first love,” Lopez said.
In 2021, that love of music reach a new high. His work with Kanye West earned him a Grammy when Ye’s “Jesus Is King” won Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.
“You know, everybody asks, what does it feel like to have one? I have a trophy in my studio and it’s a byproduct of just focusing on my work,” says Lopez. “I was never like, hey, I’m gonna win a Grammy one day. I’ve just always wanted to make music and be the best version of myself in the studio and become the best producer possible."
This year, Lopez garnered three Grammy nominations for his work on projects with DJ Khaled and Jack Harlow. Two for Best Rap Album and one for Best Melodic Rap Performance. He plans to attend the 2023 Grammy Awards Show; it will be his first.
“Making the record ‘First Class’ with Jack Harlow gave me the real taste of like, oh everybody’s singing your song. I always wanted to make that song everyone’s tired of hearing. Like WNCI or 107.5 spinning it over and over and you’re like, I’m over this song. I always wanted to make one of those and we did it! That’s like the greatest feeling ever," Lopez said.
So how did a kid from Hilliard end up in California producing records for major artists? By sharing his beats on social media and catching the attention of an acclaimed record producer, rapper, singer, songwriter, and record executive who goes by the name Timbaland.
“Fast forward to about 2014, he followed me on Instagram. I didn’t know if it was his real page, his page wasn’t verified. I could have been talking to anybody, but I believed it,” Lopez recalls. “Timbaland said send me some more music. I started sending him music and clips. Next thing you know, he’s like hey, I want to teach you the ropes and just take you under my wing and the relationship just started building.”
Angel Lopez is just getting started. The 33-year-old has big plans, some of which include central Ohio and doing for others what Timbaland did for him.
“More than anything, I just hope I can inspire other people,” says Lopez. “There’s a lot of incredible talent here in the city.”
The 65th Annual Grammy Awards air Sunday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. on 10TV.