Signing Story: Braxton Cook

Date Signed: March 7, 2022

Label: Nettwerk Music Group

Type of music: Experimental Jazz, Alternative R&B

Management: N/A

Booking: Meryl Luzzi - Liaison Artists 

Legal: Adam Freedman 

Publicity: George Chammas - Nettwerk 

Web: braxtoncook.com

A&R: Adam Popowitz, Mark Jowett, Tara Chopra

In an industry where most indie artists start accruing accolades once they’ve signed their first official label deal, Braxton Cook is an anomaly, an innovative force of musical nature who—in the decade before inking his deal with Nettwerk Music Group—graduated from Juilliard, won an Emmy, toured with Christian Scott, the Christian McBride Big Band and Jon Batiste, and recorded and released six full-length albums. 

Raving about the saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter’s experimental hybrid vibe—which blends jazz, soul and alt-R&B into a fresh fusion all his own—Billboard once wrote, “Braxton Cook is here to free you from all restrictive, negative thought.”

One label exec who became a fan and friend during Cook’s nine years in N.Y.C. was Tara Chopra, part of the team at AWAL (Artists Without a Label, the British-based alternative distribution company) who hung out casually with the artist and saw him perform at Baby’s Alright in Brooklyn in early 2019. Cook had lost track of her until she reached out in November 2021. It was over a year after the release of his most recent album Fire Sign, which during the pandemic lockdown inspired numerous labels to reach out with offers. It set his mind thinking about taking the plunge for the first time.

Chopra contacted Cook, informing him that she was now working in A&R at Nettwerk in London and asking if he was looking for a label. “It was almost the holidays and, with my wife and I about to close on a house, a lot was going on,” he says. “She quickly set up a call with her and fellow A&R reps Adam Popowitz and Mark Jowett, and they expressed genuine interest. I was impressed by how quickly they were willing to move, and their discussion of targeted ads and other contemporary strategies. I was also excited that the label was committed to expanding into jazz and envisioning me as one of the artists who could pave the way.”

Cook liked their vibe as a young team dedicated to the intersection of tech and music distribution, which would allow him to focus on music instead of juggling everything as a DIY artist. Unlike the other labels, who wanted him to sign for three to five albums, the Nettwerk team agreed to his terms as a two-project artist. 

The label licensed Fire Sign and his 2021 single “Gold.” His latest single “The Game” (featuring Marquis Hill) and upcoming album Black Mona Lisa are the first official releases of his deal. Nettwerk Music Group is also supporting his three-date summer residency at the Blue Note in N.Y.C. and his upcoming tour with Grammy-winning jazz pianist Kiefer.