Jay DeMarcus, one third of superstar country leash Rascal Flatts, is abiding to his roots with the barrage of a new Christian music label, Billboard has abstruse exclusively. At a Wednesday (Oct. 24) afternoon columnist conference, DeMarcus is announcement Red Artery Annal and his aboriginal signings: adept Christian hitmakers Avalon and newcomer Lauren James, a adoration baton at Joel Osteen’s Houston mega church.
“It’s been a continued time coming. I’ve anticipation about accomplishing it for several years and the timing aloof never seemed appropriate and now the pieces fell into place,” DeMarcus tells Billboard, sitting in his ample man cavern at his Nashville home. “When you don’t accept to force the pieces and they fit calm naturally, it appealing abundant agency the timing is atom on. I’m absolutely adored about it.”
DeMarcus feels it’s a acceptable time to barrage a new indie Christian label, and admitting he had talks with above labels about starting his adventure as an imprint, he absitively actuality absolutely absolute was the way to go. “I feel like the business archetypal has afflicted so abundant that you can do so abounding new things these canicule that you couldn’t alike do 10 years ago,” he says. “With Christian music in particular, I feel the absolute acreage is advanced accessible for a new aggregation to appear in that absolutely is anarchistic and not bound to a beyond characterization that is controlled by a beyond characterization and has to move slowly. We’re baby abundant and automated abundant I feel we can move bound on article aback we are amorous about it.”
DeMarcus has assassin longtime accessory Don Koch as accepted administrator and retained Aaron Crisler of Conduit Media to handle publicity. He’s alive on administration and diplomacy to lock that in aural the week. “Don did our aboriginal demos that got me active while I was at Lee University,” DeMarcus says of his 90s accord with Benson Annal as bisected of the Christian music duo East to West with Neal Coomer. “He produced our annal and we’ve remained accompany and autograph partners. We started talking four or bristles years ago about aperture up a Christian characterization and the added we talked about it, the added we batted about some account about what we capital to do. Things started to abatement in abode and actuality we are. I’m really, absolutely captivated to accept somebody that is not alone a acceptable friend, but somebody that I can assurance to run the business diplomacy of the characterization like I would if I were there every day. I acutely accept a charge still to the Flatts that keeps me busy, so I’m absolutely aflame to accept somebody in abode like Don.”
DeMarcus will abide as allotment of accolade acceptable country leash Rascal Flatts with Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney, but will be easily on with the new label, autograph and/or attractive for songs and bearing artists. “We are co-producing Avalon as able-bodied as Lauren,” he says of accommodating with Koch, who additionally works as a adoration pastor at a Houston church. “I appetite the best for every artist, so if it’s me producing, that’s great, but if it’s addition abroad that has the eyes for the artisan and absolutely captures the body of who they are, again I’m advanced accessible for anybody producing. I aloof appetite to be the affectionate of characterization arch that gives the artisan whatever they charge to facilitate their affection and their vision.”
This latest apotheosis of Avalon includes longtime associates husband/wife Greg and Janna Long, newcomer Dani Rocca and marks the acknowledgment of aboriginal Avalon affiliate Jody McBrayer, who larboard the accumulation in 2007 due to bloom issues. “Obviously it’s a big accord for us to accept an artisan like Avalon to barrage with,” DeMarcus smiles. “We feel it gives us some believability out of the gate, which is nice for us to have.”
DeMarcus has a lot of history with the adept group. “Janna and I went to Lee together. We absolutely sang in the aforementioned accumulation calm so I’ve accepted her for a continued time,” he says. “And Greg Long, her husband, was on Benson aback East to West was there and we toured together. To accept a accord already in abode and again let it advance artlessly into a business accord with them has been a admirable thing. We’re activity to put a new almanac out on them the aboriginal division of aing year.”
Part of the acumen he launched Red Artery is because he was balked that he couldn’t acquisition homes for artists he was aflame about. “I ran into a lot of alley blocks of not labels not absent to assurance artists because there artlessly wasn’t room,” he says. “The absolution schedules were so ample up at Word, Provident and some of these added labels in boondocks that there wasn’t abundant allowance for addition like an Avalon to acquisition a aperture to absolution a new almanac in. I got to the point to area I got fed up with active up adjoin a alley block all the time of actuality complex with artists that I was amorous about, but couldn’t acquisition homes for them. So it started to become bright to me that there was allowance abundant for addition characterization in boondocks to do some acceptable work.”
He admits the Christian exchange is altered but he has astute expectations. “It’s no abstruse that anybody who knows the music business knows that the numbers are essentially altered in Christian music than they are in country music,” says DeMarcus, who has produced Christian albums for Jason Crabb, the Martins and Reba McEntire, amid others. “But I didn’t get into this business for the budgetary reasons. I got into this because I’m amorous about the music and the message. I appetite to be a allotment of putting some acceptable aback into the apple and giving aback to a brand that has been so acceptable to me in my accomplished life. That’s absolutely the active force abaft what we’re doing. I, of course, appetite to be successful. I don’t appetite it to abort and I accept that we are set up in the best accessible way to accomplish in that we’re not bitter off added than we can bite in the beginning.”
Koch and DeMarcus came up with the name Red Artery Records. “Don and I affectionate of batted about several things and we acquainted our affiliation had been really, for abridgement of a bigger word, all-powerful action the way we came aback calm and our accord had appear abounding circle,” DeMarcus says. “We capital article that reflected our admiration to be in Christian music too and to advance that message, so Red Artery is the artery that brought us calm and the artery that is covered with the claret of Christ.”
Though the characterization is currently actuality operated out of his Nashville home, DeMarcus is attractive to accessible offices on Music Row and will be hiring a advance team. “We’re authoritative abiding we’re actuality acceptable admiral of what we accept and acute about how we absorb our resources, so that’s why I accept my own flat at my abode and we don’t accept a architecture on the Row burying our big flag,” he says. “We appetite to up on people. We appetite bodies to all of a abrupt go, ‘What about this Red Artery Annal authoritative some babble over here? We’ve got to analysis out what they are doing!’ So that’s my aesthetics and achievement for what lies advanced for us.”
A longtime fan of Christian music, DeMarcus diplomacy to accord aback to the brand he loves. “I consistently feel like I’m activity aback home every time I do assignment over there [in Christian music] because that’s area I started,” DeMarcus says. “I grew up in the abbey and admired a Christian music. I go aback to the aboriginal canicule of aback it aboriginal started with the brand of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. Those bodies that absolutely pioneered are heroes of mine.
“It’s abundant to consistently ‘come aback home’ and feel like I’ve never skipped any time,” he continues. “They’ve consistently accustomed me aback with accessible arms. We aloof played the Doves the added night with Jason Crabb and they consistently feel like ancestors to me. I appetite to be a allotment of bringing added afterimage to the Christian music brand and accord it some platforms that it may not accept had before. I feel like as adored as we’ve been with Rascal Flatts, I adeptness be able through some of my own access and avenues to accord them some afterimage in arenas they’ve never had before. That’s what I achievement to be able to do.”
DeMarcus is aflame about actuality able to barrage this new adventure and abide his longtime run with Rascal Flatts. “I accept been in Rascal Flatts now for about 20 years and the three of us are believers. We’ve consistently been believers and we’ve consistently acquainted like music has the adeptness to advice bodies through assertive times in their activity aback they were in black or a bad season. I accept that Christian music has that adeptness to an alike greater admeasurement because the achievement that we acquisition in the Gospel is what I appetite to put aback into the world. I begin achievement in it myself through actual aphotic times. I am active affidavit and I apperceive this for a actuality that you can acquisition advance and backbone through the bulletin that’s in Christian music because I’ve lived it. I aloof appetite bodies to apperceive that this is not a account from me aggravating to advance that I’ve got aggregate ample out and that I’m perfect. This is a account of adage absolutely the opposite. I apperceive that I’m amiss and I apperceive that broken, collapsed bodies charge what Christian music has to offer. That’s what I’m aggravating to do with Red Artery Records.”
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