Our Favorite Signings of 2014


Little Hi! Records/Thirty Tigers
Publicity: Carla Parisi, [email protected]
Web: carolinerosemusic.com
A&R: Kim Buie

One year ago we had a strong hunch that this free-spirited singer/songwriter would catch on with a label, and we were right. And she wisely chose to go with a company that was a proper fit for her music and career expectations. Rose signed to an imprint of Thirty Tigers, Little Hi! Records, which is the brainchild of Kim Buie, ex-A&R for Lost Highway. Rose says, “It’s a wonderful company; they give the artist a good percentage and it’s very hands-on.”

The artist acknowledges the downside of being on a smaller label. “When you work with a smaller company,” she says, “obviously there’s going to be less money than a major label. And that can get frustrating because the budget can limit what you can do with your art. But it’s a growing process and I’m in it for the long haul.”

Caroline Rose’s label debut, I Will Not Be Afraid, is now in stores and online via iTunes.



Sony Music
Publicity: Amy Sciarretto/Atom Splitter PR
Web: unlockingthetruthband.com
A&R: Debby Dill; Jolene Cherry/The Cherry Party

Guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse (13), drummer Jarad Dawkins (12) and bassist Alec Atkins (13) comprise this metal trio from Brooklyn, NY. Barely teenagers, they have already played the main stage at Coachella, performed at the AFROPUNK festival, played dates with Metallica, Queens of the Stone Age and Guns N’ Roses and performed on the Vans Warped Tour 2014.

Unlocking The Truth gained initial exposure when a video of the boys busking in Times Square got over a million hits on Youtube. Manager Alan Sacks came aboard and showcased the boys in Santa Monica, CA, for Jolene Cherry—who’d just set up a label at Sony. Cherry offered a multi-album deal that afternoon. What has followed includes production of a documentary as well as a book deal with Penguin Books. Their debut album will be helmed by Grammy-winning producer Johnny K (Sevendust, Disturbed, Megadeth).

What is perhaps most striking about this young band is their conviction, stating, “We’re gonna do what we wanna do. If you want us to play hip-hop, we’re not gonna play hip-hop. We’ve been listening to metal in wrestling matches and Japanese anime since we were three years old. We’re gonna play metal because we like it!”

Label: Warner Bros. Records
Publicity: [email protected]
Web: prioryband.com
A&R: Jeff Sosnow

We love how, despite a flurry of major offers, this duo went with the label that offered the most creative freedom. We also admire how committed these artists were to making it, quitting their jobs to begin logging 10-hour days for 18 months in their home-built studio.

It all paid of when they attracted management interest, signing with Gary Gersh at The Artists Organization. The band’s Kyle Sears says, “We chose Warner because of the freedom they allowed us along with the label’s vision for its future.

“Working every day,” Sears adds, “even when we didn’t feel like it, was what paid off for us. Without that dedication and personal belief, it would have been impossible for us to get where we are now.”

Need To Know was released in the fall.


Warner Bros. Records
Publicity: Sarah Avrin - Girlie Action Media, [email protected]
Web: lewiswatsonmusic.com
A&R: Warner Bros.

Signing with a major can come with certain pressures, which is why singer/songwriter Lewis Watson’s experience has been so pleasantly surprising. What Watson finds most important about his deal is that Warner Bros. isn’t pushing him toward a release he isn’t ready for. “They’ve allowed me to build and grow over two years before I even released a debut album, so that shows that they’re just such a great major label.” Watson’s The Morning was released in July.

“It’s got your name on it at the end of the day,” he says, “and it’s going to be out there forever, so make sure you’re happy with it.”

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