Unrivaled Records is a fresh new independent label led by Daniel Cantrell leading the way for independent artists to showcase their music with professionals in the music industry. With the release of Unrivaled Music, Vol. 1, Cantrell is putting himself on the forefront of the album.
Congratulations on the release of your instrumental album, Unrivaled Music, Vol. 1. How are you feeling about sharing this single with the world?
Thank you very much! I am feeling good about it! It is not without faults though. Mostly timing on a couple of tracks, but at the end of the day, I am secure with it. Today where a lot of music is made electronically or sampled from something else and flipped to fill the need, I feel my mistiming, or over excited drums, give it a human element.
What was it like going from record label executive to music producer for this album?
I never saw myself getting involved like this. As a label, you cannot survive without releasing music and breaking artists. With the pandemic on going, I understand and respect the decisions of my artists. Some now have day jobs and others are staying close to family. With that said, the label still needs to continue. I decided to swap my label exec hat for my producer hat. I have never done anything like this before and it was so exciting to see all the support it gained leading up to, and on release day!
What does this album mean to you?
This album means the world to me because that is who it is for, the world. It is a scary and unpredictable time. I want this album to be something more of a representation of the time we are in. Something that still shows people even now, more than ever that, if there is a dream you have, there is no better time than now to chase it. I am not a man from means or privilege, so if I can do it, so can you.
There is a variety of emotional melodies included in the 14-track album. Can you please run us through the process of creating one of these tracks?
I would love to! So, each of these 14 tracks were created after hearing one sound and building off that. I have been working on these for the past 5 months. About a month ago, I had some people reach out and say I had something different than the rest and that I just needed to hone and develop it a little more. That really inspired me to keep going. To answer the question, I first come up with a melody and a counter melody, then I add a bass line and my hi-hats. Once those are in place, I can establish where the verses and hooks will go. When I have their placement, I will go and add some drum patterns with my Akai Mini MPK 3 (that is the most fun in my opinion). Afterwards, I will go back through and EQ where the artist can lay down their lyrics. Lastly, I export it from FL Studio and just like that we have a track!
How do you know when you have discovered the right beat for a track?
I go into the studio with an emotion. The goal becomes to as accurately as possible, find sounds and samples that evoke that emotion to completion. I feel that when the beat can carry the emotion that the artist is trying to convey through their lyrics alone, it makes the track hit that much harder. I try to provide various emotions through my beats so artists with varying deliveries and flows can find something that fits the message and emotion of what thy’re trying to deliver.
There are many songs that inspire us to listen to the full album repeatedly. Which track was your favorite to produce and why?
Oh, that is an easy one. Here is a funny story. My favorite is Reflect. Right off the bat it got miss-named. It was supposed to be I do not Need Your Love. I was excited to upload it to my beatstars account, and like I had mentioned previously, these are the little things that could be “flaws”, but again, I feel it gives it a human and relatable feeling. We have all had situations like this. We get too excited and overlook, or fail to see, those little mistakes. Outside of that it was the first beat I used that had actual vocals in it. Funny thing is, when I heard the sample, I swore I had heard it before. I looked forever trying to make sure it had not been copywritten or anything like that, and it wasn’t! It was like déjà vu. Such a surreal feeling!
How long did it take you to create and produce the album before it was ready to share with the world?
Making the beats was a five-month process. I made them in my spare time and whenever inspiration hit. I have over 100 beats so it was a matter of selecting which ones would be part of the first album. That process took about two weeks. I wanted this album and the beats on it to showcase where I started at in my production career, and where I am today. I think these 14 tracks best embody that journey.
What do you hope your listeners take away from listening to your music?
I hope they take away something positive. I just want people to see that if you want something, its on you to get it. Nothing’s too hard, or out of reach. Perfection is not a requirement. If you’re happy with what you have done, that’s all that matters. Imperfections are human, do not be afraid to make mistakes. As my favorite motivational speaker Eric Thomas says, “when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breath then you’ll be successful”.
What would a perfect day be like for you?
A perfect day would go like this. I wake up, pray, and eat breakfast. Then I ill have my artist come in for a recording session. After we have some tracks laid down, about noon, get with my guy Wonderful A.K.A Joshtradamus, to cook up some beats for a while. Then I meet with my team for dinner and discuss upcoming projects. After all my label duties are done, I like to decompress by playing some Xbox. After a few hours of Xbox it’s time for bed and looking forward to doing it all again the next day.
What makes a great recording session?
For me, what makes a good recording session is an artist prepared to put in hard work in the studio. I dont require too much, just preparedness, respect, and professionalism. I am happy to go in any direction an artist wants to.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?
The single most influential factor in my success has been the life I walked away from and the willingness to never return to it. I had a regular 9 to 5 as an event coordinator. I did that for 10 years and always felt unfulfilled. It was not untill COVID-19 when I got laid off, with no other options. I used that as my opportunity to chase this dream of starting my label. The grit and determination to not let this fail is what ultimately led to its success. The day I lost my job was the day I started my career. I have a strong support system of family and friends. If I could offer one piece of advice to anyone following a similar path as mine, that one piece of advice would be, to get your circle right and tight. Do not have yes men around. Have people around you who are ok with you getting the attention.
No one is self-made. Even the people at the top have solid support networks. You do not get anything extra for doing it alone so do not set yourself back trying to climb to the top alone. Everyone needs a guide to summit Everest! If you are making that climb alone right now reach out to me. This label prides itself on being a new type of label. I want all artists to retain that sense of independence while having the full resources and support network of a major label. That is what we do here. If you are doing this alone please reach out to us at Danielcantrell@unrivaledrecords.com. We’re here for you, all of you!
Thank you for speaking with us! Where can listeners find you and your record label’s music?