His posse calls him Stevie White but his real name is Steeven Leblanc, president of Higher Reign Music Group, a Montreal record label that has made a name for itself with a mix of Pop, Dance, Hip-hop and R&B that bridges Canada’s two official languages.
Established 19 years, ago, the 31-year-old entrepreneur's label has achieved notable success with the smooth as butter DJ Lucky Rose (born Vincent Carrier) whose effervescent chart hit, The Way You Want Me, featuring song co-writer Yan Etchevary, charted Top 40 on Billboard and generated over 14 million streams, followed by Wild One, featuring Tep No, that has clocked about the same number —plus another 5 million views on YouTube. Two Lucky Rose singles, Wild One and Lost are now certified Gold records in Canada with more than 40,000 equivalent sales.
All in, Higher Reign has clocked more than 60 million streams over the past three years with a diverse but always soulful stable of acts including Treh LaMonte, Toito, Prince Paris, and Romeyo Wilson (video).
Upping the game, Leblanc is launching the new Reign division with partners Antoine Regniere and Kevin Savard. The expectation is to expand its roster of acts from Montreal and Toronto through its established distribution deal with Sony Music Canada. As part of the expansion, Reign will have Leblanc overseeing the imprint in a two-be launched Toronto office.
“Reign will bring new blood to the scene with distribution from Sony Music Entertainment Canada,” Leblanc said in an interview Tuesday. ”The artists coming from these two cities are amazing and our goal is to develop and nurture them a bit like Quality Control Music has done in the U.S. in the past couple of years.”
What the imprint is looking for is acts with moxie. We look for charisma, artists with a sense of how they want to portray themselves; whether they have a good flow in their rap and the way they express themselves,” Leblanc says, adding that Reign Music and Reign try to avoid acts that are overtly inflammatory.
Revenue is generated for the company through a mix of streaming income from Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, airplay royalties, and neighbouring rights.
Exploitation on the streaming platforms is done through creating playlists, pitching for placement on playlists and creating unique compilations pairing acts such as Romeyo Wilson with Ricci North, and LoTi with Aftrprty.
New artist releases coming from Reign include the following:
Aftrprty: The Toronto has been quite active in the past year and built their unique sound around rap/hip-hop with rock and house influences, while fully producing all their records. Aftrprty also opened for Migos back in 2017 when they first started touring in Canada.
Fame Holiday: The 23-year-old rapper has been supported in Toronto already Flow 93.5 and has released multiple videos on Youtube. He released No Way in October.
Ray Reaves: An American rapper who studied in college in Nova Scotia and now lives in Toronto. He has built a strong fan base in the past six years with steady releases.
Romeyo Wilson: The silken voiced R&B crooner from Toronto, Romeyo recently opened for Eric Bellinger in the U.S. and for Jacquees in Montreal. Romeyo recently hit the 100 000 streams mark on Spotify with Flowers.
Ricci North: Born and raised in Montreal, North has successfully created a mysterious profile for himself that has both created awareness of him and helped boost interest in what his plans are. Hint: he’s working with producer Shane Patrick with multiple songs planned for release in 2020.
Treh LaMonte: Having hits like I’m Finessin that reached more than 1.5M streams in 2016, he is gearing up for the sequel of F.F.A.R.O (Fall For A Real One).
LoTi: The Nigerian born singer-songwriter living in Toronto is working with the producer team behind Burna Boy. Reign is backing him to become the first Canadian Afrobeat star to hit the world stage.