Denzyl Feigelson, music industry vet and former manager of singer Kenny Loggins, has formed A.W.A.L. Records.
The new label, which is an acronym for Artists Without A Label, will sign new acts and artists whose music still has a solid following but has fallen out of favor with major labels.
A.W.A.L. hopes to be unique in the type of albums it releases, as well as in its deals with the artists, which will be structured to create a partnership, rather than an indentured-servant relationship.
The Ojai-based label expects to release 10 to 15 albums per year and has already made a number of key licensing deals overseas that have given some artists exposure in those important markets.
It also has several distribution offers on the table and is expected to soon ink one.
Releases will be marketed with an emphasis on alternative marketing avenues such as direct response and the Internet, rather than radio and more traditional promotional tacks.
“You can no longer rely on putting out a record, putting it in a record store bin, and then expecting people to find it and buy it,” Feigelson told Daily Variety. “We want artists to have a stake in their own success, which is why we’ll work closely with the artist to establish a plan that gets them to where they want to be. A.W.A.L. is all about getting an act to the next level. We even have our deals set up so that if a major label wants an act, the artist can go.”
A.W.A.L. is so confident in the potential of Asia and Japan, as the regions become more reliable in royalty collec-tion and copyright protection, that it has opened offices in Tokyo and Nagoya. Feigelson also has a number of deals in the hopper with firms in China.
In addition to scouting up-and-coming talent, Feigelson has attracted the attention of artists such as Gary Wright and Edgar Winter, acts which have strong followings, tour frequently and often press and sell their own CDs, but whose music no longer interests major labels.
He’s also inked singer-songwriter Michael Ruff, who has penned hit tunes for Roberta Flack and Bonnie Raitt, among others, and has pressed his own album, “Girl Like You,” which A.W.A.L. will license and market.
Ruff has a big following in Sweden, which he has cultivated over many years and where he frequently plays to large crowds. His live album “Feels So Good” is a sales chart staple there.
A.W.A.L. is also working with Christian Lassen, a painter who has a three-disc set tied to the United Nations Intl. Year of the Ocean in addition to a solo album. Feigelson has licensed the project to RCA/Victor Japan.
The discs boast “healing music,” which is currently huge in Japan. “It’s music that makes your brain waves feel good,” Feigelson said. “It’s growing in popularity there, but it is not New Age music.”
Feigelson, whose experience includes coordinating Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album, running concert tours for Yanni and managing the careers of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Johnny Clegg and Savuka, amicably split with Loggins recently after a five-year relationship.