Our Favorite Signings of 2014

Label: Atlantic Records
Publicity: Jason Davis - Atlantic Records & Aishah White
Web: dollasignworld.com
A&R: Shawn Barron

Ty Dolla $ign (Tyrone Griffin) didn’t come to his Atlantic deal in the storybook way. There was no chance encounter with a label bigwig on a redeye flight, where a demo was passed and suddenly instant fame fell from above. This artist’s deal is more about building relationships, consistent writing and hard work.

“I got discovered in the studio, in Hollywood, because I was always there writing songs for other artists,” he explains. “Atlantic Records felt like my songs were good, but it wasn’t like in the old-school days where you play a demo and then you get a deal.”

In Hollywood, he began working with A&R rep Shawn Barron of Atlantic Records. Barron has influenced the careers of Diggy Simmons, Phreshy Duzit and Drake, among others. Offers were now surfacing for Ty Dolla $ign, yet the bond the two formed was resilient.

“Shawn and I had the relationship and that’s why we did our record deal together,” he says.Label: Astralwerks (U.S.) / Virgin EMI (U.K.)

Leslie Hermelin (Astralwerks) / Janet Choudhury (Virgin EMI U.K.)
Web: porterrobinson.com
A&R: Jeremy Vuernick (Astralwerks) / Jason Ellis (Virgin EMI U.K.)

Named one of the top “25 DJs That Rule the Earth” in 2013 (Rolling Stone) the 21-year-old EDM producer entered a more alternative realm with a new album in a deal he signed with released Astralwerks Records (an imprint of Capitol Music Group in the U.S. and Virgin EMI in the U.K.).

For Robinson—who released his debut EP Spitfire through Skrillex’s vanity label OWSLA—the choice was easy. “I think a lot of these labels were looking for the next ‘big’ EDM record, and that was obviously just not going to work. It mostly came down to finding the label that really got my vision, and these guys totally got it... They were really excited.”

What we love most about this signing story is that the Chapel Hill, NC native considers artistic freedom and passion far more important than fame and money: “I [basically] went to every label and said, ‘Look, I’m not going to accept anything less than final cut. Offer what you will, but I’m not going to compromise that.’ I’d rather be a failure as an artist and be unsuccessful than give up my freedom.”


Label: Atlantic Records
Publicity: Christina.Kotsamanidis
Web: ohhoneymusic.com
A&R: Pete Ganbarg

Mitchy Collins, half of Manhattan’s indie/folk/pop act Oh Honey, had spent quite some time in search of his musical other half. Having fallen in love with the idea of male-female duo a la Johnny Cash & June Carter, he reached out to the music community around New York. He found Danielle Bouchard. Since then the two have created a name for themselves based upon positive lyrics and a sound befitting a group from a much smaller town.

Thanks to several years of networking, Collins had made the acquaintance of numerous label and management people in New York, including Atlantic Records, and that began to pay off for Oh Honey.

“I had known a handful of them for several years, just being around the city and whatnot and it all meshed,” Collins says of the Atlantic signing. “It all just felt safe and kind of easy, like it was the right fit.”

Though these singers found their match, it wasn’t without down days, which is why they urge artists to keep the faith when times seem dire. “We’ve been at this our whole lives and you’ll get a lot of doors slammed in your face before you hear one ‘yes,’” Bouchard explains. “But if you love it and you want it, you have to keep fighting for it.”

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