Rap, soul and R&B music genres have a new champion in Canada.
Public Records has partnered with Cadence Music Group in a potentially game-changing deal for the genres that is as unconventional as it is simpatico with the mandates of both music companies.
Announced Tuesday by Public Records’ Gavin Sheppard and Cadence Music Group CEO Iain Taylor, the alliance includes funding, tactical support and conventional distribution through DSPs–but also leaves plenty of room for Sheppard’s longstanding street cred to negotiate less conventional deals for the distribution and marketing of songs, acts and merchandise not directly signed to his boutique urban imprint.
The first release under the partnership is Toronto R&B singer Mighloe’s Don’t Call Me, included on the upcoming Public Records’ EP release, Desperate Times.
Taylor says “we are extremely happy to be partnering with Gavin and welcome his incredible team at Public into our group of labels. They have deep roots in the rap and R&B communities and their reputation for talent development is unbelievable. The combination of our two companies’ capabilities will provide many more opportunities for Canadian artists to grow and develop their careers.”
Sheppard, who earned high recognition as co-founder of the game-changing Remix Project, explains that Cadence “is going to really strengthen” Public’s visibility with acts on DSPs such as Spotify and Apple Music, as well as doing some of the heavy-lifting needed in backend support for accounting and mainstream distribution processes.
In a public statement, Sheppard adds that “Cadence is a world-class company with a solid foundation and a nimble mindset (and) with the formation of this relationship, we are genuinely excited to grow the ways we are able to support and elevate diverse creators from across nations and worldwide"
In a nutshell, it allows Sheppard and his three-person crew (creative director Trung Hoang, marketing manager Jamal Vickers, and communications manager Maria Giuliana) to focus on developing next gen talent for the world stage using street-level hustle and moxie to build profiles using a network of clubs in Canada and the US North East.
Public Records launched as a collaboration with Universal Music Canada. As Public Records evolved in its ambitions and an expanded roster it became evident for both parties that future growth needed more autonomy and the next evolution is with Cadence, a long-time partner of UMC.
It’s mandate from day one has been to build a credible foundation for Canada’s diverse and burgeoning Urban genres that is equal to that afforded traditional genres in pop and mainstream music. He’s evangelical in his vision to alter the landscape for Canadian acts in the rap, hip-hop and R&B genres. “There’s a generation out there under 50 who grew up on hip-hop and R&B. They have diverse tastes, but the club and concert scenes don’t reflect this, and it’s not getting a fair shake on radio. We need to change all this,” Sheppard persuasively asserts.
Now in its 20th year, Cadence Music Group (formerly MapleMusic and rebranded in 2016), sees the union as an extension of its original mandate. The Canadian music company started with a mandate to promote Canadian artists and its storied history has helped a long list of name brand and burgeoning acts here at home. Today, the company is home to four homegrown labels and owns its own Fontana North distribution arm. Beyond Public Records, other imprints include Physical Presents (Felix Cartal, Shaun Frank), Known Accomplice (Sam Roberts Band, We Were Sharks), Pheromone Recordings (Joel Plaskett, Martha Wainwright) and Cadence Recordings (Dear Rouge, The Treble).
Simultaneous to the Cadence deal, Public has announced an official partnership with renowned Ottawa rapper City Fidelia and a new series of “Public Goods’”singles that launches with Magic by international recording artist Nonso Amadi and homegrown R&B songstress Tasha Angela. Public is also gearing up with upcoming releases from Juno Award winners Naturally Born Strangers, Calgary’s indigenous rapper and activist Drezus, as well as relative newcomers rapper/singer Kastilla, rapper Jordan Fall and BC-based Ethiopian-Canadian based neo-soul singer TRS.