Signing Stories: Autumn Marini

Date Signed: May 2021

Label: Blackground

Type of Music: R&B

Management: Tchalla - 678-523-1529

Booking: N/A

Legal: Arrington and Phillips

Publicity: Jeremy Johnson - The Live Vibe, [email protected], 805-889-4098

Web: instagram.com/autumn_marini

A&R: Mike Jackson and Barry Hankerson

Approximately a year and a half ago, R&B singer Autumn Marini was busy writing and recording. She knew having a solid catalog of tunes was key to making it in the industry. Then she found a manager whose professional network included somebody personally familiar with Barry Hankerson, the legendary founder of Blackground Records who played a vital role in launching Aaliyah to superstardom. As fate would have it, Aaliyah is one of Marini’s idols.

“The chance to sign with someone like Barry Hankerson was amazing,” gushes the singer from Georgia. Marini views the chance to hear Hankerson recount stories and impart hard-earned wisdom as a valuable bonus. Listening to one of Marini’s demos secured the honcho’s interest. 

A performance at Hankerson’s house was subsequently arranged. There, she was introduced to members from Empire, the resurrected label’s distributor. A deal was soon in the offing, and Marini is now the first artist on Blackground 2.0.

Other labels had approached Marini, yet none made the grade. She’d take their proposed contracts to her attorney for review and always received the same advice not to sign. That wasn’t the case with Blackground. “My lawyer said it was a great contract for a first artist,” reports the diva. 

One signing from her past proved troublesome. She inked a three-year deal in 2016 that didn’t work out. Extracting herself from that entanglement required legal maneuvering. Despite the experience, she had zero hesitation about signing with Blackground. “They believed in me,” she affirms. “I was ready.”

Marini’s latest banger, “Don’t Stop,” featuring Kodak Black and produced by Jazze Pha, has been going gangbusters on Spotify, YouTube and radio. Last year, she released “Drive,” produced by Damon Thomas of The Underdogs. Additional material is in the works.

The vocalist stresses that she wouldn’t be where she is today without a strong team. Others looking for a label should have the same. Also, she warns hopefuls to proceed with caution. “Don’t ever rush into something, because you can get yourself in some mess if you do.”