Nashville-based independent label Vivaton Records will launch next month. President/CEO Jeff Huskins, formerly a member of the band Little Texas, is looking to launch with an initial roster of five ac

Nashville-based independent label Vivaton Records will launch next month. President/CEO Jeff Huskins, formerly a member of the band Little Texas, is looking to launch with an initial roster of five acts. He expects the label's output to be 75% country music but says he is open to deals in other genres as well.

Vivaton's flagship artist is Chely Wright, formerly with MCA Nashville (Bulletin, Jan. 22). The only other artist signed at the moment is 18-year-old newcomer Angela Wolff from Atlanta.

The label is financed by Huskins and two partners, Atlanta-based businessman Mike Nixon and Knoxville, Tenn.-based entrepreneur Mike Crabtree. "We have a situation where we can compete and do what we need to do to hang with the big boys. We're financed until we reach cash flow positive," Huskins says.

Vivaton's first single, Wright's "In the Back of the Bottom Drawer," goes to radio March 22. Wolff will be introduced later this year.

The label's staffers -- from the CEO to the office manager -- have music-business pedigrees.
In addition to his work with Little Texas, Huskins has toured in the bands of Gene Watson and Clint Black. He got his start in the music business in 1985 when he was signed to MTM Records as a member of the band the Shoppe. He has also produced or engineered more than 160 albums.

Shelia Shipley Biddy, Vivaton's VP of national promotion and artist development, was previously senior VP/GM at Decca Records and has spent the last five years managing country artists Jeff Carson and Danni Leigh.

Entertainment attorney Amy Stevens is the label's VP of legal affairs and international licensing.

Former MCA Nashville VP of sales and marketing Dave Weigand has been hired on a consulting basis to help the label find the right distribution deal.

Darrell Vanzant is manager of A&R. He previously operated his own Knoxville, Tenn.-based label, Levity Records.

Vivaton's in-house promotion staff includes country radio veterans Larry Santiago and Mandy McCormack, and promotion pros Trudie Richardson and Brian Thiele. Tracy Long is manager of promotion; she was previously with Austin Universal Entertainment and Leaddog Management.

Vivaton's office manager and executive assistant is Ronna Reeves, who landed five singles on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart when she was an artist on Mercury Records in the early '90s.