Signing Story: T. Mills--Why He Signed with Columbia

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When California native T. Mills found himself with the opportunity to shoot a music video with a friend at the low cost of $100, he didn’t think much about where it would get him. He especially didn’t think it would draw the attention of six major labels––and hitmaker Dr. Luke––all vying to get him to sign a deal with their companies, and yet, that’s exactly what he got.

“I had heard the horror stories,” Mills says, “like signing to a major label and your album doesn’t come out, or they lose interest in you, or you get dropped, so it took at least six months for us to structure the right deal and get everything executed. But at the end of it, Columbia was definitely the perfect partner and the right home for me and my music.”

Drawn to the label’s roster and track record with their clients, the then 21-year-old was sold on their willingness to allow him to release a free album for his fans.

“It took six months to structure
the right deal.”

“Some label people looked at me like I was crazy,” he recalls. “They were like, ‘You know that we’re a record label, right? We sell music and that’s how we make money.’ But I had this idea in my head and it was something that I really wanted to do and Columbia got behind it.”

Keeping a level head was also a main focus of the rapper/singer, who admits to not feeling excitement over the deal until the final stages. “I didn’t think people really got record deals. I just thought it was something like in the movies, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up,” he laughs.

Mills also emphasized a bit of advice straight from the label itself: “Don’t mistake activity for achievement. That means you can be as busy as you want, but checking things off your checklist means nothing, and that really stuck with me.”

Mills is currently in the studio recording a full-length album with Dr. Luke and his creative team that will debut this fall. Until then, listeners can download his latest EP All I Wanna Do via iTunes. – Victoria Patneaude