Veteran artist manager Corey Smyth has partnered with the Capitol Music Group and Motown Records for a new joint venture, the multi-genre Blacksmith Recordings. Smyth brings with him a roster that includes Vince Staples, visual artist-singer-songwriter Kilo Kish and two emerging acts—alternative pop artist Ted When and pop artist Benn Good—among others.
In a statement announcing the venture, Blacksmith Recordings founder/CEO Smyth said of the Los Angeles-based label, “Today, more than ever, artists are evolving their professional identities in multi-faceted ways. My mission through Blacksmith Recordings is to nurture young and new talent from the ground up and enable them to expand their vision of success. We are looking at the big picture, thinking about how a musician evolves across genres, what success looks like in the first year and a decade later and what happens after the first album, the second and the third. Our goal is to reinforce career longevity and boundless potential in the artists we represent, while growing global brands around them.”
Of Blacksmith Recordings partnering with Motown/Capitol, Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam commented, “We are honored to partner with Corey and welcome Blacksmith Recordings into the Motown family. Our goal has always been to be the voice of today and tomorrow, and we know that with Corey and his remarkable roster of clients including Vince Staples, we are destined to continue to foster the path of future icons at Motown.”
Steve Barnett, chairman/CEO of Capitol Music Group added, “Corey is a seasoned expert in the entertainment industry who possesses a unique vision for developing and enhancing the careers of his diverse roster of talent. We can’t think of a better partner and look forward to welcoming Corey, Vince Staples and the entire Blacksmith Recordings team to Capitol Music Group.”
Smyth founded the Blacksmith brand in 1991 while attending Atlanta’s Morehouse College as a majoring in marketing. Over the course of his 25+-year career as an artist manager and entertainment industry entrepreneur, Smyth has guided the careers of artists such as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, De La Soul, Foxy Brown, Lil Jon, Dave Chappelle and Staples. Staples’ most recent project is 2018’s FM! album. It was the third album under a deal Smyth and Staples did with Def Jam Recordings that began with the release of Staples’ 2015 debut album Summertime ’06. Smyth’s additional entertainment ventures include the feature film Gully. Produced by Smyth and directed by Nabil Elder, Gully debuted at the recent Tribeca Film Festival.
During a phone interview with Billboard, Smyth noted that “Def Jam was very supportive of everything that we were trying to do” and that Staples is “a prime example of the mantra” fueling his mission at Blacksmith Recordings. “When I moved to L.A., I saw all these young, talented kids bubbling on the scene here,” he explained. “It reminded me of when I was younger and found Mos Def and other acts. I started figuring out that the best thing I could do now for this young talent was to go in-house and do a deal to help distribute, market and promote them so I’m not limiting their growth.”
Working with a core staff of eight, Smyth expects to roll out new music under the Blacksmith/Motown/Capitol pact in the fourth quarter. Additional information about Blacksmith Recordings is available at blacksmithnyc.com.