Between crafting songs for Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and others, producer RedOne is also busy ramping up his own 2101 Records. Two acts on the label's roster - 7Lions and Havana Brown - recently released EPs. And coming soon: a new single by R&B/pop singer Mohombi that will be issued via Cash Money.
Launched as a joint venture with Universal Music International in 2010, 2101 houses a roster that also includes pop singer/songwriter Porcelain Black. At the time the label was announced, it was noted that each 2101 artist will be released by a label within the Universal Music Group.
Fast-forward to 2012 and Brown, an Australian singer/DJ, is racking up impressive stats. Her Universal Republic EP "When the Lights Go Out" debuts at No. 50 on Heatseekers Albums this week. Its RedOne-co-produced single, "We Run the Night" featuring Pitbull, jumps 35-27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold 760,000 downloads in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Also coming on strong is Los Angeles-based 7Lions, who bowed at No. 35 on Heatseekers Albums with their EP "Born 2 Run." The project's title track/single has been receiving plenty of high-profile exposure, debuting on ESPN Music and appearing during TV broadcasts for NASCAR, Major League Baseball, the French Open and the Australian Open. The track was also remixed to double as the theme song for Stanley Cup champions the L.A. Kings.
7Lions' five-song EP is an indie 2101 release with iTunes as the platform. "It's in keeping with the indie nature of how we started working the band three years ago," the group's rapper Mika "Prophet" Guillory says. "We want to keep it grass roots and drive things that way."
RedOne executive-produced the 7Lions EP and co-produced its title track with the band's keyboardist Morgan Taylor Reid, who produced most of the EP. "I love everything that's different and gets people's attention," RedOne says of 7Lions' mix of rock and hip-hop (in addition to Prophet and Reid, the band includes lead singer/guitarist Forrest Fulmer, lead guitarist Will Carpenter, bassist Daniel Hange and drummer Tony Tommasi). "Instead of just jumping to a major, I wanted to let them grow naturally. They've got it; I'm just helping with some details. I love their hustle."
7Lions has lined up several high-profile gigs, including L.A.'s Viper Room (Aug. 27) and Rock the Vote (Sept. 20). "Seeing us live is an important component of our music," says Prophet, who has co-written songs with RedOne's team for Lopez and Rihanna.
The group also guests on a song from labelmate Mohombi's upcoming 2101 album, which will be released through Universal's Cash Money. Industry watchers may recall that the Swedish-Congolese singer/songwriter was 2101's first signing. He later released a debut single, 2010's "Bumpy Ride," through Cherrytree/Interscope.