Back in the ’70s, Atlantic Records unprecedentedly embraced the musical authenticity of small town Alabama (specifically, Muscle Shoals). Which is why bluegrass guitarist Dillon Hodges felt an instant connection with the major label after moving to the unfamiliar, pop culture-infused city of Los Angeles.
Through several industry connections, Hodges started working with Nick Stern from Vector Management. Then with help from A&R executives, song demos eventually reached the offices of Atlantic. Hodges’ next biggest obstacle––nonstop contract negotiations.
“Waiting was the hardest part. It’s the little things that make a big difference in the long-run, but I had to learn to be patient and wait for the right deal to come through.”
And it did. But now for Hodges’ unique country sound to successfully reach a larger audience, he must continuously implement modern day changes into his creative process and artistic ambiance. Thankfully, Atlantic enthusiastically supports this new, “poppier” project ultimately christened firekid.
“I had to learn to be patient and wait for the right deal to come through.”
“I realized I needed to readjust and rethink everything,” Hodges explains. “After working with professionals, I can now massage my ideas a lot better. I gained more control when I let go and trusted other people to help instead of holding on and being selfish about it. When I wanted to dive into pop, I wouldn’t have known where to start without these guys.”
Hodges hopes to popularize a new genre of music, and will implement every strategy that Atlantic energetically offers: “There’s a whole machine behind it, which is definitely a luxury. We have a publicist, product manager, artist development team—all these tools that any artist can benefit from. You really do gain a degree of power and more strength by having a major label team behind you.”
Hit songs already include “Magic Mountain” and “Lay By Me.”
Photo by Harper Smith