Dean Brody performed three songs at his exclusive album release party for Dirt. (Photo: Barry Roden)
Canadian girls - and guys - gathered at Fossil Canada's downtown Toronto showroom for a private album release celebration for singer-songwriter Dean Brody's new album, Dirt. The country artist has the No. 1 country single in Canada with "Canadian Girls," whose lyrics reference such Canadianisms as hockey, toques, flannel, Gordon Lightfoot, Degrassi and Moosehead Beer.
The 36-year-old British Columbia native who now lives in Chester, Nova Scotia, performed that song and two others, "Bob Marley" and the hilarious "That's Your Cousin," about the dangers of dating in small towns, accompanied on stage by guitarist Jason Barry and percussionist Lyle Molzan.
In the audience of 180 people were about 60 members of the media from music, entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle genres, event organizer Samantha Pickard told Billboard, as well as Brody's manager and label head Ron Kitchener of RGK Entertainment Group and Open Road Recordings; Ralph James, president, The Agency Group Canada, and Brody's responsible agent, Nick Meinema; Matt Smallwood, general manager, Fontana North/Maple Music Recordings; Jill Snell of Road Angel Entertainment; and Brody's music publisher Michael McCarty, president of ole music publishing.
(L-R): Manager and head of Open Road Recordings Ron Kitchener, Dean Brody, and ole music publishing's Mike McCarty pose at the album release party. (Photo: Barry Roden)
Pickard, vice-president of Strut Entertainment, a publicity and promotions company, told Billboard that events such as these are becoming increasingly rare in the music business and that her firm worked for close to a year-and-a-half on introducing Brody to Fossil Canada and getting them comfortable "with the brand of Dean Brody and why he's of value to them.
"It was quite the process," she said. "We started in the publicity department, went to marketing and then the GM of the company [ Sian Williams]. That literally was us sending music, providing opportunities to see Dean him live, sending media clippings and press releases on his nominations on the CCMAS [ Canadian Country Music Awards] and the Juno Awards last year. And he's had three CCMA wins.
"So we kept Fossil apprised of that as we continued to work with them and they started gifting him product to wear for the media opportunities and he really represented the brand really well. It literally started out with 'Well, lets give Dean a few pieces of Fossil product, see how it looks on him, see how he likes it, and let's see what the return on investment is and let's go from there.'"
(L-R): Fossil Canada general manager Sian Williams, Brody, and PR and marketing special for Fossil Lori Petteplace pose for a photo. (Photo: Barry Roden)
She proudly reports that with Fossil's participation, a $20,000 event was executed for next to no cost.
Next, Pickard says Strut is planning to integrate Brody into a summer/fall campaign with Fossil, "which would probably be more retail-driven from an accessories retail standpoint, not a music retail standpoint," she explains.
"We've already done a lot of radio contesting with Dean and Fossil and we did a HMV Pure Contest [for Pure rewards members], which was really successful, and was great for Fossil. They get to work with HMV, which they never usually would work with and vice-versa, seeing placements in non-traditional media because of the Fossil publicity relationship with fashion and lifestyle and women's magazines."
Dean's manager Kitchener told Billboard 2010's Trail In Life provided a fertile base for this third album, Dirt.
(L-R): CMT Canada's VP of programming Ted Ellis, Brody, and CMT Canada music director Craig Halket. (Photo: Barry Roden)
"Number one single, number one video, almost gold in digital singles in only 10 weeks," he rattles off. "That all sizes us up for a great, hopefully, first week of release and a continued plan. The set up is on target and is really solid and it's all going to continue into the summer, the CCMAs, and the launching of his first headline tour which doesn't happen until January, February of 2013, but it's all part of a much larger plan."
Brody is booked in Canada by Nick Meinema of The Agency Group. For Europe, he does not yet have an agent. "We did that one direct," says Kitchener, and the one festival he did in Australia was booked by Rob Potts of Rob Potts Entertainment Edge. "He's going over to Europe this summer and we're looking to go back to Australia in the fall of 2013.
"Dean's a country artist, but the overall plan has us thinking way outside of the box, as we try to do with all of our artists."