Kurstin’s first signings to No Expectations Publishing are songwriter/producer Wendy Wang, who plays in Kurstin’s band, The Bird and the Bee, and songwriter Jesse Shatkin, Kurstin’s former engineer. Kurstin had previously brought Shatkin to Sony/ATV and he now shifts to Kurstin’s joint venture. Shatkin co-wrote and produced Clarkson’s new single, “Love So Soft,” and Fall Out Boy’s “Champion,” while Wang co-wrote and produced “Everything” for Superfruit.
“With both Wendy and Jesse, it became clear it was the natural thing to do, to sign their publishing and to help push their careers to new levels,” Kurstin tells Billboard. “I really like listening to their tracks and giving them feedback. With Jesse, Wendy and future signees, I see us working together as a team. I’m continually inspired by them.
“It made sense to do this JV with Sony/ATV and Marty [Bandier, Sony/ATV chairman/CEO]. They’ve been my publisher for years and our partnership is strong,” Kurstin continues. “[Sony/ATV senior vp/Co-Head of West Coast A&R] Amanda Berman-Hill has been key at helping build Jesse’s and Wendy’s profiles.” Kurstin also credits his manager, Rachel Kurstin, who is his partner in the joint venture. “I would never leave the studio if it wasn’t for her. Together we have this vision to sign writers and help guide their careers.”
As far as future signees, Kurstin says, “I'm looking for talent, drive and, to be quite honest, to work with people I really like.”
“Greg is simply the best at what he does,” Bandier said in a statement. “He is an incredible songwriter, a producer extraordinaire and has an amazing ability to discover and nurture new talent.”
Berman-Hill added, “It has been such a great honor to have worked with Greg all these years because there is not a more humble, gracious and talented songwriter and producer in the industry. We now have the opportunity to develop songwriters and producers with him with the launch of our new joint venture, which is already off to a great start with Jesse and Wendy.”
The joint venture comes at a busy time for the prolific Kurstin: He produced Foo Fighters’ new album, Concrete and Gold, which is headed for No. 1 on Billboard 200 albums chart this week, as well as Beck’s new album, Colors, out Oct. 13. He also worked on Liam Gallagher’s solo debut, out Oct. 6; a Sia Christmas set and Paul McCartney’s forthcoming album, of which he was typically coy. Asked for details, he says only, “It’s for Paul to reveal when the time is right.”
The biggest question is how Kurstin will juggle all his expanding roles. “No Expectations Publishing is very important to me, “ he says. “I will always have time for it because I’m so passionate about it.” And he’s clearly not done yet. When asked why he is forming a publishing joint venture instead of a record label, he answered, “Who said instead of?”