Signing Story: Brenn!

Date Signed: February 2023

Label: Fourward Music / Darkroom

Type of Music: Folk

Management: Fourward

Legal: Michael Barkoff - Eisner, LLP, [email protected]

Publicity: [email protected]

Web: Instagram @brennnnnnnn

A&R: Jake Sarno, Joey McCarthy, Justin Lubliner

Folk singer Brenn! has never performed live. But in this age of TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, that’s not always essential. Last year he recorded and uploaded original music from his home in Tuscaloosa, AL. The following autumn Jake Sarno, an A&R rep with Fourward Music, happened upon him online and reached out. The 18-year-old was invited to record in Nashville and a deal was offered and signed a short time later. Indeed, Brenn! was the first artist signed to the then-nascent label.

“Jake found me from this TikTok video I posted and messaged me on Instagram,” Brenn! recalls. “He asked if I had a manager. I said that I didn’t and he told me that he did A&R and scouting for labels. He wanted to send me to Nashville to work with people he knew and see what happened. Eventually he convinced me to sign with their publishing team and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life. They’ve treated me fairly and I love them all. There are a lot of people in the music business who don’t want the best for you but I believe that these guys do; that they’re the best for me.

“We started to go through some of my demos and came upon ‘4Runner,’” the artist continues. “Although I kind of liked it, I wanted to do something else. But Carrie [Karpinen], the songwriter I’d connected with, said that we had to do it that day and we re-recorded it. I didn’t know what to expect because I’d never been in a session before.”

“The way the deal works is that we signed Brenn! to a traditional label partnership in which we’d develop him,” Fourward head and A&R rep Sarno explains. “Then we licensed [his music] to Darkroom, so they act as the distributor and licensing partner and Fourward is on the record side.”

Brenn!’s "4Runner" earned more than 1.5 million streams over its debut weekend and his TikTok has captured more than 30 million views to date. Currently he’s working on his EP Southern, which is targeted to drop next spring and he has some “homegrown” Alabama shows planned for the fall.

Fourward Music is a subsidiary of Will Ward‘s Fourward, a management, production and publishing outfit.