When Saul Davis, manager of critically acclaimed guitarist Carla Olson, spotted an ad in Billboard for a Jack Tempchin record on a new label, his curiosity was piqued. Why would someone start a record label in today’s climate? That label, Blue Élan, remains unique in its artist-friendly approach, offering artists unprecedented levels of control and profit.
Meeting the label’s co-founder, Kirk Pasich, Davis mentioned Olson, whose band The Textones reached #76 on the Billboard 200 with their debut, Midnight Mission. “Oh, I’ve always been a fan,” Pasich responded.
“A few weeks later, we got together and chatted for a couple hours about what I was working on,” recounts Olson, noting Pasich’s interest in her both as an artist and a producer. Olson and her manager subsequently attended the label’s Christmas party, where she informally strummed with others on Élan’s roster.
Pasich began popping up at Olson’s acoustic gigs and inquiring about The Textones. As it happened, they’d been placing the finishing touches on a new album. The recording had been slow to complete, partially because of money––or a lack thereof. It made Pasich’s offer of help irresistible. “I’m 66,” Olson divulges candidly. “A woman at 66 doing rock & roll is not an easy thing to market, so if someone is interested in my music I’m there,” she continues, specifically highlighting the label’s elementary two-page contracts.
Although recording since 1978, Olson owns all her records. “I paid for them myself with the exception of Midnight Mission,” she declares. “Every artist should have the opportunity to own their own product.”
Another sliver of advice she offers young artists is to diversify your sound, maximizing appeal to listeners both young and old. “Find your audience,” she preaches. “Because the fans won’t let you down.”
Date Signed: Nov. 28, 2017
Label: Blue Élan Records
Band Members: Carla Olson, guitar, vocals; George Callins, guitar; Rick Hemmert, drums; Tom Jr. Morgan, keyboards, saxophone; Joe Read, bass
Type of Music: Americana
Management: Saul Davis
Legal: Saul Davis
Publicity: Melissa Dragich-Cordero - Blue Élan Records, firstname.lastname@example.org, 310-344-1185
A&R: Saul Davis