Call & Response: Sarah Strobl

 

(5 min read)

You may not know her name (yet), but Sarah Strobl is a key member of The License Lab team. She’s probably the real reason the lights stay on and we all have jobs. While her formal title is Director of Admin & Numbers, we tend to call her The Queen of Numbers. Sarah has a unique background in the environmental field, but the healing power of music has always been there. Learn a little bit more about Sarah and try and guess where she has dual citizenship.

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LAB NOTES (LN): If you had to boil your musical journey into one sentence, what would it be? (Run-on sentences accepted and encouraged.)

SARAH STROBL (SS): From childhood sing-alongs of 90s country hits, through teenage years of my dad’s stash of classic rock and jazz/funk albums, over the college days of pop and hip-hop, to my current adulthood menagerie of anything I can sing along and/or dance to.

LN: For those who don’t know what you do at The License Lab, how would describe your position?

SS: I think of my role as the business catch-all. We’ve got dedicated people for each facet of the company - content, sales, marketing, finances, and so on - and I lightly touch all of those, but I feel that my position is sort of like an umbrella or a spiderweb. There are tasks that I’m directly in charge of, like publishing and royalties, but my strength is probably overall organizational processes and workflows. I usually tell people my job is to keep the creative folks organized.

I’m inspired by people who don’t talk the talk without also walking the walk. Even if and especially when it’s hard to do so.

LN: What do you think about your nickname being “The Queen of Numbers”?

SS: I think it’s funny. When we first came up with my title, the “numbers” part was a tribute to my role in the finances, but that has since waned, and I’m getting involved in metadata, which could also fall under the “numbers” category. I’m becoming more and more interested in tech and coding, so if anything, I think I’m growing more and more into “The Queen of Numbers” every day!

LN: What compelled you to want to work at The License Lab?

SS: Honestly, I had no idea what production music was and had never heard of TLL when I saw the job post looking for someone who loved spreadsheets. I had worked and studied for years in the environmental field, which is still my passion, but at that time I had just left a job that took a huge toll on my well-being. I needed a break from it. Music has always been important in my life, even like a kind of therapy, so I thought I'd apply and just see what happens. The whole experience turned out to be so much better than I could've imagined.

LN: You (somewhat) recently relocated from Milwaukee, WI to Portland, OR. What have been the biggest differences so far?

SS: The. Weather. Is. Amazing. (That's a secret by the way, don't tell anyone). I'm a day trip from mountains, forests, deserts, or the ocean, and I'll take constant rain in the winter over snow any day. I keep telling my partner we moved to paradise. And it's a good thing there's so much room for activities, because OH THE FOOD.

LN: Has working at The License Lab changed your perspective on music, now that you know how the sausage gets made?

SS: After knowing how much time goes into creating a song before it might become a hit, and how many times an artist or producer has to listen to it during that process - I don't understand how they're not unimaginably sick of the music by the time everyone else is crazy about it. They're the true heroes.

LN: What’s the weirdest part about working for a production music company?

SS: Everyone always asks if they've heard something we've done, and I'm like yes, definitely. But they're not pop radio hits so it doesn't stick in their brains the same way. It's an odd space to work in.

LN: What inspires you?

SS: Authenticity. I'm inspired by people who don't talk the talk without also walking the walk. Even if and especially when it's hard to do so.

LN: What music are you listening to right now?

SS: Beyoncé

LN: What do you do when you’re not working?

SS: I try to get outside or do something creative. I love DIY crafty stuff, and I've got several half-finished projects around my house that I slowly chip away at.

LN: If you were trapped on a desert island, what 5 albums could you not live without?

SS:

  1. The Nightfly by Donald Fagen

  2. Home by Dixie Chicks

  3. Capital Collectors Series by Louis Prima

  4. Little Voice by Sara Bareilles

  5. Bring Yer Wellies by Gaelic Storm

LN: What are three things about you that wouldn’t want left out of your Wikipedia page?

SS:

  1. I was born in Germany with dual citizenship.

  2. In college I installed the first green roof on my campus.

  3. I can't go anywhere without chapstick.