It’s always intriguing learning more from individuals in the music industry. Today we’re bringing in record label owner Daniel Cantrell (owner of Unrivaled Records).
Thank you for speaking with us, Daniel Cantrell! We’d love to get to know you better – please share your life journey with us.
Thank you for having me! I’d love to!
What inspired you to create your own record label?
Music has always been an important part of my life. Growing up I chased so many “passions”. I wanted to be a geologist, a scientist, I wanted to play football and hockey. Through all my phases music was the only constant. I found early on, playing music was going to be a difficulty. I have serious dyslexia. So reading sheet music was close to impossible. Not to be discouraged. I turned my attention towards the business aspect of music. Through my reading and searching. I begun to see how artists get treated by their labels. From that day on I made it my mission to build a label that hopefully in time will be the template other labels follow to create a better relationship between artists their labels and fans!
Unrivaled Records is always seeking to bring in new artists. What do you look for in the artists you sign?
I look for this first above all. Passion I need to hear it ooze from your music. I look for people who have everything but connections and resources. I believe everyone has an audience and my mission is to help them find theirs. The genre does not matter to me. All music, all backgrounds, and all races and religions. We are all inclusive here.
Let’s discuss your artist’s A.M.A.R newest release Be Yourself Never Anybody Else. How involved were you with the process of this debut?
Oh wow! Honestly, it was just her and I. She wrote her own lyrics and selected her own beats. I recorded her in my studio. I mixed and mastered every track. Her and I designed the CD and album cover. I mass produced over 50 copies. I distributed the album digitally to any and every music streaming platform and social media platform. Her and I created and designed merch to compliment the album. I also promoted the release on google and Facebook as well as through my website. It was a long and interesting process, but I’ve never had more fun doing anything in my entire life.
How and when did you sign A.M.A.R to your label?
I had met her while she was working at this convenience store that I frequent quite a bit because it was close to my house. She had been gaining quite the following on YouTube with every new song she would post. One thing was for sure, anyone that knew her at all knew one thing for sure. That was her love for music, and her dream of being a full-time artist was something that drove every decision she made. I had asked her if she’s ever been to a studio to record. She had told me a while back that one of her friends got her into one. She had enjoyed the experience, but the result had just provided an outline more or less of areas she would like to improve on for herself. I had thought it was super cool that someone hooked her up like that. I found myself kind of just silent waiting to hear about other studio sessions or other ways people had actively taken an interest. It never came. I found myself really upset by this. I was brought up by good people. They instilled in me a real “don’t talk about it, be about it” kind of attitude when it came to helping people. She had messaged me, telling me about this competition she signed herself up for. I had admired the go-getter attitude she showed by entering herself in that. Fortunately, I was working for a place that has a ballroom. I had hit her up to offer the ballroom to her to practice her song. Being that it was about three weeks away. I thought it good to let her get a feel for lights on her, get a feel for a microphone in her hand, and develop a kind of stage presence. She ended up coming in third place but I knew with a little help and more time she could reach the top so right there after the show June 15th 2019 I signed her.
What’s your preferred way of finding new artists?
I don’t really have a preferred way of finding new artists. I’ll take them anyway I can get them! I like seeing them live if I can but since Covid took over that’s been hard. To combat that I set up a submission form for any and artists to submit their music to me for a chance to be signed. That website is unrivaledrecordz.com.
What are some of the biggest projects you’ve worked on?
So far it has just been A.M.A.Rs debut album Be Yourself Never Anybody Else.
What has been the most memorable moment of working with your own record label?
Oh wow! That’s a tough one! I would have to say my favorite part has been releasing the album and seeing the streams come in from all over the world! People we may never meet let us into their homes, hearts, and ears in so many places across the globe. There’s something about that, that will always be special to me.
Where do you see your label headed in the next 5 years?
Honestly, I hope to have all my roster spots full. Open my new studio location. Hopefully by then this can be the label I know it can be. A safe haven for artists and their music.
Are there any other projects/interests that have inspired you this year? It’s been a tough year for everyone. Everything has been closed or canceled. I hope my never say die attitude and perseverance can be something others can be inspired by. In my opinion the worlds hurting for some good inspiring music. All I’m looking to do is bring it to them.
For our final question, what’s the biggest dream you hope to accomplish within the next decade?
I really want to change the negative connotation that follows record labels today. You don’t have to steal or screw over artists to make money. This is labor of love as it is for artists as well. There is plenty to go around. To be able to make the music industry more open, understanding, and more transparent is my long-term goal.
Before I go I want to thank you for giving me a platform to speak about something I love so dearly. Artists everywhere – thank you for continuing to give the world the music it so desperately needs. Never hide or downplay your gift. The world is a big place with tons of people. People who are just waiting to hear your story!