Chrysalis Records — the iconic record company that was home to artists ranging from Jethro Tull and Blondie to Billy Idol and Huey Lewis and the News — is re-launching as a front-line label and releasing new music for the first time in more than two decades.
British singer-songwriter Laura Marling is the revived label’s first signing, in partnership with Brooklyn-based indie Partisan Records that is described as “a fully co-branded global release.” Further signings to Chrysalis will be revealed in the coming months.
Over the past dozen years, Marling has released six albums, five of which were U.K. top 10s, along with several Grammy and Mercury Prize nominations. Her “I Speak Because I Can” album won her a Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist in 2011.
Founded in 1968, Chrysalis broke and developed some of the most internationally successful and acclaimed artists throughout the ’70s and ’80s, including Jethro Tull, Billy Idol, Blondie, Pat Benatar, Huey Lewis and the News, Ultravox, and, via deals with Two Tone and Ensign Records, the Specials and Sinead O’Connor, respectively.
Partisan Records last year won Best Independent Label at the AIM Awards and Independent Label of The Year at the Music Business Worldwide A&R Awards. Its current roster includes artists such as Fontaines D.C., Cigarettes After Sex, Idles, the catalog of Fela Kuti, and many others.
Partisan MD Zena White — pictured above, left, with Marling — says of this strategic partnership, “There is a unique synergy between the diverse, immediately identifiable voices of Partisan and those of Chrysalis decades prior to our existence. We’re thrilled to come together on its relaunch, and even more so to be working with the unmatched talent of Laura Marling.
“This partnership made sense on a number of levels,” she continued. “Not only have our two companies built a strong foundation of mutual trust through our work with Cigarettes After Sex — the band is with their management company — but also in a larger sense the spirit of Chrysalis mirrors what Partisan aspires to be. They stayed independent for 20 years after they were first founded, curating a roster of singular, fearless voices along the way. Laura was therefore a natural fit for both parties because of how she embodies this idea of respecting what’s been built while still constantly striving to create something fresh and new.”
Chrysalis CEO Jeremy Lascelles — pictured above, far right — told Variety, “We love the guys at Partisan. As managers we work very closely – and successfully – with them on Cigarettes After Sex, so we already have established a mutual respect and working rapport together. When Robin Millar (the co-founder of Blue Raincoat Music) and I decided to relaunch Chrysalis Records as a front-line label, I had the idea of involving Partisan in some capacity and was in the midst of some interesting conversations with [label president] Tim Putnam] and Zena about how we would make it work, when we both realized that we were independently trying to sign the same artist. As the artist in question – Laura Marling – was someone I considered to be one of the most important artists of the past decade, we wanted to do something special, so the idea of doing this as a co-label, pooling our collective resources, became irresistible. And unstoppable.”