As a rock-n-roll, hip-hop and rap artist, Wilkinsburg native Tek Bennett was having trouble finding a record label where he fit in.
“It’s hard to get yourself out there into the music industry without feeling like you are sacrificing your creative abilities,” Bennett said. “How am I going to take myself and be able to market all of my brands at the same time?”
Thanks to Lee Davis and the launch of his Mission Control Record Label, Bennett’s eclectic brand of music has found a home.
Davis, Braddock’s native son, along with D.C.-based attorney Robert Ross and Boston financier Michael A. Jordan created Mission Control Records about a year ago.
“We have all this talent in Pittsburgh and we wanted to create an artist-friendly label that generated revenue for the artist. When you are on our label, there are lots of ways to make revenue aside from record sales,” Davis said.
“There’s so much talent here in Pittsburgh,” continued Davis who started his music career as a promoter 18 years ago and rose up the ranks from marketing to artist management. “I’m always keeping my ear to the street and I am always in the clubs. I want to give these kids a chance in the entertainment industry.”
Mission Control Records is distributed by In Grooves Fontana and Universal Music Group.
“I’m excited about our deal,” said Universal Music Group executive John Ferguson who helped facilitate the Mission Control Records label.
The label’s goal is to combine everything from radio, television, music and merchandising under one umbrella, thus making it more convenient for the artist to distribute and ultimately expand their brand.
“We’re bringing a very complete platform to the table,” said Ross. “We’re bringing a 360 degree situation to the city of Pittsburgh. It will include video placement, radio play and we have a deal with Netflix and Hulu to help with merchandising. All of this is under one roof. It’s all about being a complete brand.”
Davis will head Mission Control Records’ Pittsburgh offices. Any artists or writers looking for representation are encouraged to submit their projects to Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is looking to sign about 5-6 more Pittsburgh artists but Mission Control Records has signed artists from all across the country including Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Canada.
“I’m looking for international appeal in an artist. I’m looking for an artist who is not vulgar because that stuff doesn’t sell,” Davis said. “We’re looking for artists that have longevity whether it’s pop, rock, rap or whatever.”
That diversity is what drew Davis and company to sign Bennett as the first artist to the Mission Control Records label.
“We signed Tek because of his work ethic and he is a phenomenal writer and is very professional,” Davis said. “His work on stage is very energetic and it connects with the crowd. He’s got a crazy rock sound but he’s Black. We call him Lenny Kravits. He’s a dope artist with such a mixture that we had to snatch him up before someone else did.”
According to Davis, Bennett’s first single hit airwaves in September and he will embark on his first London tour in December before releasing his debut album, “Bangers Ball” the first part of 2014.
“I’m completely blown away,” said Bennett who has been performing for 13 years. “These gentlemen gave me a platform to be able to express myself creatively. I want to be able to make a catalogue and collection of music for everyone to be able to understand and relate to. This is going to be a great journey and I’m ready to go for it.”
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