Signing Story: Kranium

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24-year-old Jamaican native, the artist known as Kranium emigrated to Florida when he was 12 and ultimately made his
way to Queens, NY in 2004. In the summer of 2013 he scored the breakout hit, “Nobody Has To Know,” which has since earned more than nine million YouTube views. This captured the interest of Atlantic Records and a rep reached out to him via Twitter. But the artist wasn’t entirely swayed by the cyber contact. It wasn’t until he met someone face-to-face that things started to move forward.

“I’d been doing music in New York and eventually I recorded ‘Nobody Has To Know,’” Kranium recalls. “It went higher and higher in the reggae charts. One day Latoya Lee from Atlantic sent me a message on Twitter.”

But not everyone has unquestioning faith in social media.

“When she contacted me, I wasn’t really sure about it,” the sing-jay explains. “It’s not that I didn’t believe her. It was more that I wasn’t completely confident about it. But she had a brother in New York who went to a lot of clubs. I was playing a party in Queens when he came up to me and said, ‘Yo, my sister wants to talk to you so bad.’

“When she contacted me, I wasn’t really sure about it.”

He was the one who told me that this was real. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe Atlantic was legit––I was kind of shocked when they messaged me––but meeting him made me feel more confident [in the label’s interest].” Several months later, a deal was signed.

New York producer LMR Pro worked with Kranium on his follow-up single, “Lifestyle,” which has so far grabbed 630,000 YouTube views. “Nobody Has To Know” was released originally by Frequent Flyer Records––a label established by Kranium and his managers––in June 2013. Atlantic re-recorded it to feature Ty Dolla $ign and released the reworked single on May 19. Kranium is currently at work on a mixtape with Brooklyn producer Ricky Blaze. It’s targeted for a September drop. Tour plans for 2015 include Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Africa.

– Rob Putnam