Signing Story: Satellite


Date Signed: September 2012
Label: Descendant Records / Sony Music
Type of Music: Alternative Rock
Band Members: Steven McMorran, vocals/guitar; Mitch Allan, guitar; Josh Dunahoo guitar; and Erik Kertes, bass
Management: David Mantel / AAM Inc., 917-699-8711
Booking: Ken Fermaglich, Bryan Vastano / The Agency Group, 212-581-3100
Legal: Doug Mark, 310-818-7242
Publicity: Rachel Miller / Big Picture Media, [email protected], 212-675-3103
A&R: Jay Harren.

Satellite vocalist Steven McMorran was hardly starting from scratch when it came time to look for a label deal for his band’s first full-length album. He and longtime publishing company-mate Mitch Allan, the former frontman of platinum ‘90s act SR-71 (who is Satellite’s producer and guitarist), were already successful songwriters with major connections. But they were starting their own band to release material that moved them unlike anything they’d worked on before; they would need a label respectful of that.

“[Industry gatekeepers] want to be convinced that you’re doing something

you have to do.”

McMorran had known Descendant Records founder Jay Harren since Harren’s days at Columbia, and eventually the two connected to discuss Satellite’s progress and Harren’s new Sony-distributed indie label. Says McMorran, “Jay said, ‘I know you’ve been building something and I want to let you know I’ve been building something too. I want to build what you’re building with you; we’d be building something together.’

“That sentence stuck with me,” McMorran continues. “I just loved that he cared about it so much.” A contract that McMorran calls “gentlemanly” and “gracious” was presented, and the result is the label’s release of the LP Calling-Birds on March 5th.

Prior to Satellite, which represents McMorran’s first-ever foray into singing lead vocals, he spent years as a touring bassist looking for a way to supplement his income by writing songs. Finally, a co-writer friend invited him to a songwriting session that would produce a song Celine Dion ended up cutting for release in 2007.

“There was a lot more work to do after that, but yeah, that was my getting-out-of-the-gate moment,” says McMorran. “I think [industry gatekeepers] want to be convinced that you’re doing something you have to do. And eventually time kind of weeds people out, but along the way it also develops [those who are persistent]. And eventually people notice... especially when you stop looking for people to notice!”

——M.D. Moore