When soul/pop singer iyla began creating with producer Gary “Kadis” Spriggs, they formed production company Astra Velum. Later, they linked up with 3T Entertainment for added help.
3T’s president, Gaelen Whittemore, was in the Bay Area with rapper Too Short when he dropped by Empire’s offices and played iyla’s music for A&R rep Tina Davis. That prompted the fiery redhead to take a trip to San Francisco, where she performed for the label/distributor/publisher’s staff of 30 to 40 people.
Neither iyla nor Kadis had been seeking a label. They’d already released her EP, War + Raindrops, independently in October 2018. Why involve anyone else? But iyla felt comfortable with Empire. “It was all about what they see in me and what I see in them,” she posits. “How can we grow together? That was probably my number one thing–what’s their attitude? What’s their passion for music? What types of things do they see for me that I don’t even see for myself?”
How can we grow together? That was probably my number one thing—what’s their attitude?
She wouldn’t have inked the partnership had she not been allowed to carry along her already established gang, which she insists has become like family. “We have so much trust in each other,” she contemplates, “that we wouldn’t have done anything unless all of us were in.”
Being vocal about her message and how that has propelled her career led to maintaining creative control. “I know that doesn’t always happen,” Iyla nods. “The top two things were that I had ownership of my music and decisions when it comes to how I’m represented.”
Once the deal was done, a feeling of gratitude washed over her. “After working with them for a few months,” she marvels, “it still feels awesome.” Smartly, she avoided the pitfall of rushing into a situation. “When you’re signing with a label,” she cautions, “make sure you’re working with people who respect you as much as you respect them.”
iyla’s sophomore EP is expected this year.
Date Signed: Jan. 25, 2019
Type of Music: R&B/Soul/Pop
Management: Gaelen Whittemore - 3T Entertainment
Booking: Mike G - United Talent Agency
Legal: Tiffany Almy
Publicity: Alexandra Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org
A&R: Lucas Dias and Tina Davis - EMPIRE