For record label founders, Stephen Orso and Peter Ashley, early artist development, creative and executive solutions, and an unmistakable passion for music have been the driving forces behind, Loyalty Records.
With an exciting roster comprised of new and progressive performers and producers such as hip-hop artists’ TEC, Village – rapper and singer, Ty James – and production supernovas, Kyle Stemberger and KBeaZy, the future looks bright for the growing music label.
We got a chance to find out Stephen Orso and Peter Ashley’s ultimate mission behind Loyalty Records and discuss their promising stars.
What is the mission behind Loyalty Records?
“Our goal at Loyalty is to help developing artists, writers, and producers achieve their goals by providing them with the resources and infrastructure to take their careers to the next level.”
What does “loyalty’ mean to you?
“Loyalty is extremely important, especially in this business. We’re trying to create a family that lifts each other up, through good times and bad. Loyalty means trusting the intentions of one another and being confident that we’re all working toward the common goal of success.”
How did you decide that you wanted to go into the music business?
Stephen: “I was fortunate enough to be part of Bryson Tiller’s team prior to his signing to RCA. Being able to witness first-hand how talent and creativity changed his life was something I wanted to see again and again.”
Peter: “I actually grew up in a musical household. My dad played with big acts like KISS, Billy Idol, Mick Jagger, etc., but I never really asked questions about the business side of things. Then, when I was living at Stephen’s after graduating college, I was introduced to the artists who were also staying with him in New York. I immediately started helping in any way I could, eventually learning enough to start managing day to day operations. From there, I just continued to build on my knowledge of the industry in an effort to be as well-rounded as possible.”
With the decline of traditional record deals, what makes Loyalty Records so appealing to young artists?
“We are about the artists. In a world where streams and data drive most decisions, Loyalty relies on a gut feeling before anything else. We look to develop acts who want to take their careers to the next level with a focus on career longevity, as opposed to fleeting viral moments. We want to work with acts who yearn to sell out stadiums one day, which means we look to surround ourselves with individuals that have the willingness to put in the hard work.”
What qualities do you look for in new talent?
“Good question. The first thing we care about is always the music. If the music isn’t making you feel something, then it’s difficult to see what direction their career will go. Eagerness to learn is really important too. No matter how successful or talented an individual may be, there is always more that they can learn to improve themselves. If an artist can’t accept that, it will be hard for them to adapt when the formulas for success change. Compromise is also a huge element to a successful partnership. Sometimes two parties will have entirely different ideas about execution, but the key is to over-communicate and find a middle ground that meet results in a net positive both professionally and financially. Oh yeah, I forgot….and of course Loyalty.”
How do you develop your talent outside of traditional music deals?
“We have a wide variety of resources that we feel put an artist in the best position to develop into a career act. Through our relationships with major labels, distributors, agencies, and creatives, we are able to put together the ideal strategic partnerships for each artist based on their individual needs. By focusing on branding and cultivating an identifiable and dedicated audience, we put our roster in a better position to monetize their fan-bases and ultimately maximize their success.”
Tell us about Ty James, the rapper and singer you signed from Indiana. What was the process leading up to his hit single, “Splash?”
“Ty James is an amazing rapper and singer from Jeffersonville, Indiana which is about 20 minutes away from Louisville, Kentucky. We found a project of his randomly on Spotify, and immediately fell in love with his infectious melodies and energy. Then when we first flew him to NYC, he showed us his Soundcloud with 80+ songs that we had no idea existed. Once he played, “Splash,” we heard an unbelievable topline that we felt could be huge. Once his deal with Loyalty was finalized, we connected him to an amazing young producer named, unheard. The producer then took the topline and incorporated entirely new production, giving the song an all new up-beat feel. We started sending the record around to different outlets, and the reactions were absolutely amazing. We were able to secure a ton of support from both Spotify (New Music Friday, Pop Rising), Apple (Breaking Pop, Today’s Hits), Pandora, Soundcloud, and even major radio stations such as 94.9 KYLD, 102.7 KIIS-FM, & Power 961 Atlanta. We really owe it to all the amazing people that supported us without needing data to validate their opinions.”
Producer KBeaZy secured major placements with acts such as Roddy Ricch, Fetty Wap and Chief Keef all before graduating high school. How were you able to manage a high school student and still ensure extreme success?
“KBeaZy is in an unbelievable position for an 18-year-old, and we’re doing our best to help grow his brand beyond just his producer credits. The kid is wise beyond his years, with an intricate understanding of networking and promotion that has enabled him to have a ton of early success. He’s also extremely motivated in his pursuit to become one of the best producers of all time, making him one of the hardest workers we’ve seen. From his bedroom in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he was able to connect with Tarentino (of 808 Mafia) which landed him his first highly successful placement on Roddy Ricch’s project, Feed Tha Streets 2. We knew from the start KBeaZy’s talent and ability to make music and adapt to any production challenge would lead the once in a generation producer to work with the likes of G-Eazy, Kehlani, Roddy Ricch, Wiz Khalifa, Iann Dior and the late Juice Wrld. With the success of Loyalty Records artists, the company is on track to dominate the charts and disrupt the conventional market.”
Baton Rouge artist, Tec, converts hip-hop into what he refers to as “poetic activism.” What projects is he currently working on?
“TEC is an extremely articulate hip-hop artist from Louisiana. He released his highly anticipated project, Ketha Son, earlier this year in partnership with Loyalty and EMPIRE, which was amazing to be a part of. TEC is someone who writes from real experiences, lending him an authenticity that is becoming rare amongst hip-hop artists in today’s marketplace. He strives to be an inspiration to the youth, showcasing the success one can have if they believe in themselves, while using his lyrics to serve as a window into the lifestyle he grew up in. At the moment, TEC is working on his next project to be released in 2020 that we know is going to turn heads when it’s completed.”
“You recently signed Kyle Stemberger, a 19-year-old producer from Atlanta. What is it like managing young talent like Kyle through the early development stages?”
“Kyle was actually introduced to us through KBeaZy. He told us Kyle is one of the best melody makers he’d ever met, and that we needed to work with him. Like KBeaZy, he was another young, hungry, producer who had built a reputation for himself on social media through his YouTube Channel and loop kits. Since working with Kyle, we’ve been able to secure him credits with major label acts such as Trippie Redd, Flipp Dinero, 9lokknine, Bad Bunny, and independent songstress, Jorja Smith, on her latest single “Be Honest,” featuring Burna Boy. Coming more from a hip-hop background, Kyle is eager to explore the R&B space as we look to start placing him in a ton of sessions in the top of 2020.”
Tell us about Perri Jones.
“We are insanely excited about Perri, who is our latest signing to Loyalty Records. Music is just in her DNA. Her dad, Oran “Juice” Jones, actually had a #1 R&B single in 1986 called “The Rain” which we’ve been bumping on our own time since making the discovery. Inspired by her father’s contemporaries, along with modern acts she grew up listening to, Perri has cultivated a sound that feels both fresh and nostalgic. Her lyrical content champions empowerment and self-love, and we cannot wait to help her take her music to the next level. Propelled by acts such as Jorja Smith, Ella Mai, H.E.R. and SZA, the R&B space has seen an amazing renaissance atop the billboard charts this past year and we feel Perri is poised to take advantage of just that in the coming year.”
What’s next for Loyalty Records?
“Now that we’ve established a well-rounded roster of five artists, producers, and writers, we are very much looking to expand in 2020. Since we aren’t a huge company, we’re looking for acts who we feel embody the pillars of Loyalty Records, while also seeking out new relationships and partnerships that can benefit our roster and team. We’ve been heavily exploring the gaming community, as platforms like Twitch continue to revolutionize culture and content. Overall, after making huge strides this past year, we’re looking to continue our growth into a highly impactful independent label in 2020.”
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