Signing Stories: Rowan Drake

Date Signed: 2022

Label: Arthouse/Atlantic Records

Type of Music: Singer-songwriter

Management: Expand Entertainment

Booking: N/A

Legal: Todd Rubenstein, [email protected] 

Publicity: Christina Kotsamanidis, [email protected] 


A&R: Pete Ganbarg (Atlantic Records), Kara Dioguardi (Arthouse Records) and Kelly Sayer (Atlantic Records) 

Nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter Rowan Drake’s signing story is one built on ingenuity, adaptability and perseverance. The Ithaca, NY native first came to prominence as a competitive snowboarder. But when a severe injury ended that dream at 15, he shifted gears. “I was living in Colorado and moved back home after my injury,” says Drake. “I was a little lost in life, not having something to pour myself into anymore. I reconnected with a high school friend and started making music with him just for fun.”

Drake and his equally music-inclined buddy soon realized their musical aspirations ran deeper, so they schemed for over a year how to make the transition to a music hub like Los Angeles. “We just wanted to get out of our hometown and prove to everyone we could do it,” says Drake. “So our process was collecting emails of people at record labels and management companies. I was cold calling labels a year and a half before I signed with anyone. And the more we got in touch with people the more we realized everyone was located in L.A.”

Many contacts would come and go, but BMI executive Samantha Cox arose as a trusted ally and confidant. She introduced the prodigious young songsmith to a publisher that aligned him with several creative collaborators. One of those writers, Ben Levy, ended up writing a song with Drake that caught the attention of A&R scout Kara Dioguardi. She ultimately signed him to her custom label Arthouse.

Drake’s musical style has a touch of emo wrapped in ambience, heartfelt lyrics and lush haunting vocals. His deeply personal and observational songs are obviously connecting with fans as 20 million global streams, 5 million TikTok likes and 1.3 million official YouTube views will attest.

Drake’s EP Dear Ella was released on Arthouse/Atlantic Records June 9th. “We’re in an age where you put yourself in front of the people,” says Drake. “There’s so little between you and the consumer nowadays.

People can see right through anything that’s not authentic. 

Dear Ella is a project very specific to one person. It’s very hard to market something for one person and capture what it’s trying to say to a wider audience. There’s the music and then there’s the personality of an artist. Marketing the personality side is challenging for me and something I’m trying to work on.” – Eric Harabadian