Label: Entertainment One Music
Publicity: Jules Wortman, [email protected]
A&R: Van Fletcher - Entertainment One Music
Charismatic and lyrically astute, it’s not like Stoney Larue had a hard time finding a label to sign him. “I’ve had a couple of opportunities,” says Larue. “I’ve been on the road for 16 years and was never signed.” But I always felt that [with those labels] I would not be able to express myself artistically.”
Over the years Larue had maintained a friendly relationship with Van Fletcher, who was originally with Universal South. When Fletcher joined Entertainment One, he pursued Larue and was instrumental in brokering a deal. “Entertainment One is one of the biggest production companies for TV and music in the world,” continues the soft spoken Oklahoman. “He obviously saw something in me that others didn’t.”
Stoney Larue’s album for Entertainment One is entitled Aviators and was released Oct. 28. “I’d like to think I’m somewhat wise after playing out there all this time. I can’t confirm or deny that, but I do know what not to do.”
Label: Alligator Records
Publicity: Chris Levick - Alligator Records
A&R: Bruce Iglauer
Mississippi born and bred, Jarekus Singleton has solidly built his reputation as one of the leading up-and-coming blues singer/songwriter/guitarists on the music festival circuit today. The winner of several International Blues Challenges, Singleton started his own band in 2010. He aggressively sought out labels and sent Alligator president Bruce Iglauer countless demos. Iglauer replied consistently with encouragement and support. The turning point came in 2013 at an IBC event in Memphis. “It was epic,” states Singleton. “Bruce was there along with some other record executives. Later I traveled back and forth to meet him in Chicago and we got to know each other as men. He finally said, ‘Jarekus, let’s be family and make a record!’”
Concludes Singleton, “You can do everything perfect and it still might not work out. It’s not what happens to you, but how you adjust!” The artist’s Alligator Records debut Refuse to Lose was released in May.
Label: Mercury, Island Records
Publicity: Lauren Schneider, [email protected]
A&R: Steve Yegelwel
For this band, (Overall Grand Prize in the 18th Annual USA Songwriting Competition for “Believer”) things really heated up with some Alt Nation airplay on SiriusXM satellite radio and a song that friends pitched to (home improvement chain) Lowe’s advertising team “just for fun.” The signing offers quickly came pouring in. But lead vocalist Zac Barnett claims there’s no big competition against prestigious rock label, Island Records.
It was the overwhelming success of their second single, “Best Day of My Life,” that catapulted American Authors right into the plush studio seats of Island Def Jam. Now, these four Berklee College of Music drop-outs are determined to keep the good times rolling.
But band member Zac Barnett has a sobering insight to offer. “Don’t think that because you get signed to a label, all your problems go away,” he says. “These people are so amazing and definitely help propel your career to the next step, but it’s important to always continue working and writing. You need to make that hit song yourself.”
American Authors is signed to Mercury Records (owned by Universal Music Group and operated through Island Def Jam Music Group). The debut album Oh, What a Life was released March 4.
Label: Capitol Music Group
Publicity: Kristen Kanopka - Capitol Music Group,
A&R: Michael Howe
Labels love a self-starter. Case in point: Allen Stone, a soul artist who laid substantial career groundwork before signing with Capitol. In 2011 the DIY maven self-released Allen Stone, which broke into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart as well as the Top 5 on iTunes’ R&B/Soul chart. He also landed spots on The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live! Over the past three years Stone has averaged 200 shows annually. And his YouTube presence has been impressive. This is precisely the kind of self-starting action that labels find irresistible.
“Thirty or 40 years ago,” the artist says, “[record labels] could base their signing decisions on what they believed would sell. Now there’s not much leeway for that. You have to prove you can sell records on your own.”