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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Female Label Series: Pt 3 D'lectable Music

In our series: Female Owned and Operated Labels, we will speak with label owners from across the globe and pick their brains a little. This is a series of blogs well overdue. We will continuously connect you with great international digital electronic dance music labels being fronted by women. It is our honor and privilege to introduce you to our third interview, Lady D of D'lectable Music.
You can find the roots of D'lectable Music in the streets of Chicago. After years of hitting the pavement and touring the world, Lady D choose to contribute to a culture that is in the veins of this great city. From the influences of the Warehouse, to Smartbar and private warehouse events, Lady D continues the tradtion of the "Chicago Sound". Let's check in with her and find out what she thinks about the world of electronic dance music and its future.

First, tell the world who you are. How did you get inspired to start a record label?

Hey I'm Lady D from Chicago.  Owner of D'lectable Music, member of SuperJane... and an all around good mom and soul!
I was inspired to start a label because I had just finished working as A&R for After Hours which abruptly went out of business--well was basically driven into the ground or fleeced!  But I really loved that experience so I'm grateful I had it. With what I learned there, I knew what it would take to run my own and so I set out to do just that.

What do you think has been you most successful part of your business so far?
I suppose the touring/dj/performing part of my business has always been in play.  The label, sometimes has gone on hiatus, been revived, come back in new iterations, but I've been blessed to always have gigs since I started.
When listening to promos, what catches your ear?
I hear a lot of things I like, but may not be playable, or fit my party style but are lovely nonetheless.  I think my ear is attuned to what moves my ass.  In my heart I'm a dancer.  If I dance I think it will make you dance.  So it's not just one thing, could be melody, could be rhythm...just depends.

Currently how many artists do you represent on your label?
D'lectable represents an infinite amount of artists because I started with the sampler theory so I'd have an ep with three to four different artists on it and did that for like my first 6 releases or so...then if I got remixes that would be more artists to add to the mix.  We've always had a non exclusive kind of thing but there are definitely people I can call upon to throw down at any given moment.
Where do you see your label 5 years from now?
I do see it growing in some ways into a nice tight unit.  I've been quiet the last two years but highly observant.  What I feel I've been brewing in cultivating new talent will be crucial going forward.  I'm actually looking forward to what's coming in 2013.  My relationship with Ron Carroll's One Entertainment and RCM Records is going to be driving some parts of what is going to move us forward.  The other part is just getting back into the rhythm of a steady release schedule.
Do you have any plans for album only releases in the future?
I think the market is singles driven but there are ways to make albums work.  Um, the album thing is just a matter of's too soon to tell.  I know folks with great goo gobs of music--albums worth, but putting it out that way may not make sense at the moment or at least hasn't for some time now.  I do hope it changes.
What trends have you noticed in personal taste for DJs and your consumers?
Well you talk about albums, but the new album is the mixtape.  And that's like 30 minutes worth of an album.  So like 10 three minute songs all sewn together.  Kinda interesting but nothing really lingers. It's like that cartoon where they drop the drumstick in the mouth and pull it out clean and throw away the bone.  It's always like, what's next?  So artists are making a mixtape every month lol.  It's kinda manic.
Do you have any suggestions for any new comers to the industry?
Yes, slow down a little.  Please.  But that's a veteran's mentality so I would also say don't listen to me, do what you want and hope they would do just the opposite.
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment yet?
Career wise...I've done some momentous things like Lolla and flying across the world to entertain others is nothing to sneeze at.  Yet I still feel the best is yet to come.  We'll see.
What has been you greatest breakdown?
Breakdown or breakthrough?  I've gotten over a lot of sleights.  I'm a thick skinned person because I do feel it's always ok via my philosophy to be exactly where I am.
What direction do you see the electronic dance industry going?
Well I see all the genres I grew up with, the stuff within the genre sounds so vastly different from the music that would have populated that genre in the past, it's interesting to hear what people are labeling as "deep house" or even "house".  It feels like control has been lost.  I don't know who's in charge of the store.  Do you?
What part of the business do you think has the largest growth?
Well publishing and licensing have always been the real way to make money in music.  After that touring and then sales currently...the old model sales came before.  That's why labels are double dipping into sales and touring with these 360 deals.  Doesn't really seem fair but they are gonna get theirs, so you better get yours.
What region of the world do you think the best music is being produced right now?
I love South America right now.  They have a heavy dose of house in their techno--real house. So it suits me perfectly being a girl who lives for techno and for house.
As a label owner. do you notice any trends in where music is made or do you think there are just a lot of copy cats?
The cream rises to the top. I do hear a lot of mediocre, ok for what it is type music and then you will hear something that is fire.  A well trained ear will know it right away.  When everyone is using the same tool (Ableton) to make music, you can just hear the exceptional talents. Either those who are just real nice with it or those who are putting their own spin on it and really have a personal stamp as well as those who have elevated their studios to a certain level and have enough processing/outboard gear to keep it unique.
What would you like to see more available in the industry in the upcoming year?
I'd like to see women being HIGHLY visible in the musical diaspora at least equally as visible. I'd also like to see more faces of color in the diaspora of the upper echelon   It's gotten pretty monochromatic.  Hasn't anyone noticed? A real diversity effort on all levels is needed, from age to perhaps even sexuality--the gay dj's over here playing this style the black dj's over there, the kids over down yonder, you know what I mean--it's way too fractured.
How do you think social media has helped the industry? Do you think it has hindered the industry in any way?
Social media is great especially for musicians.  It's a great platform for marketing and promotion.  You can get really personal with your fanbase.  That can backfire because people sometimes say shitty things.  I like to watch people's Twitter feeds sometimes they are beautiful and sometimes they are frightening.  Erykah Badu is a great example.  She inspires a lot of love on her feed, but occasionally somebody ratchet shows up.  Some people like Ms. Badu will engage which is always entertaining to a certain extent and then part of me is like, you are a star, you don't have to do that.
What suggestions do you have for the up and coming DJs, Artists and producers?
Just to educate yourselves.  Nothing less is acceptable.  I mean know what you're talking about, reference your influences and give credit where it's due.  You know people are getting famous these days for editing other people's hard work and calling it theirs?  If your idea is that everything is appropriated that may be fine, and we all borrow to a certain extent, but that can't be all you do.  Mix it up and come with your own original flavor.
Do you notice any trends in music from Europe and the US?
Nope. Unless it's the trend of being as unoriginal as possible. People playing it safe and promoters not taking any risks. So no, I don't see any trends coming from here.
What advancements do you see for women in music? (particularly electronic dance music)
I don't know.  I'm seeing less originality among women too.  Cookie cutter, thin, using a computer with their logo skin on it, wearing designer clothing.  Blah blah blah.  Trying their best to fit in.  I wish I'd see some tougher ladies step up.  Like a Cassy or a crew like a SuperJane.  And I mean tough only in the sense that we're just doing it...what you see is what you get and not contrived in any fashion.  Dudes out here are not doing all this gimmicky ish.  You shouldn't necessarily feel like you have to either.
Who is your favorite artist and why?
I just love Carl Craig.  He is the future past.  He was ahead of his time then caught up and moves forward again.  He's just a great student of music and always poised to re-create, create and innovate.  I love his approach and style.
Where can people submit demos for your label? please send me your demos.  I have amazing plans for D'lectable this year.  We are coming out of hibernation and the bear is hungry.

D'lectable kicks off the new year with two new releases, Touch by Lady D & Sir Mel Hammond and a new EP by Jevon Jackson.  There's also gonna be a follow-up to my 2010 hit "You Rock My World" with Ron Carroll.  We recently went into the studio and worked out a new track and vocals.  It's killer!  Also, look out for SuperJane's Sweet 16 Tour.  It's our 16 year anniversary, which just makes me old enough to vote. :-)

And there you have it ladies and gents. A legend in her own right! Lady D continues to be authentic in every aspect of her life. From music, to parenting, to rocking your inner most soul, you can count on her to bring juicy conversations to you all the time. And during our research of the blog we noticed something. Lady D is starring in anothre film. I have seen her in a few already adn likes shes says, she is just getting started. That is why she is my personal mentor. Always has been . I choose to be inspired by great artist like herself. And I concur, educate yourself about the culture from beginning to end. There are books about the history of the music. Read them. They will enlighten your point of view and empower you to be great in your expression through music. It is vital that we continue to contribute to each other with our music. This culture has been in existence for well over 30 years and it will probably be around for at least another 100. So I ask you how do you want to be remembered? On that note... Take care of yourself and each other.