This article originally appeared in the
section of the
November 23, 1996 issue of Billboard.
Used with permission.
This article originally appeared in the
December 14, 1996 issue of Billboard.
Used with permission.
More, More, More:
By Larry Flick
Add Global Beat to the growing list
of new indies aiming to merge mainstream dance sounds with culturally pure
world beat music. The label is off and running with "The Pulse Of The
Earth," a compilation showcasing the cream of its roster. Accessible
jams are plentiful here, though we're betting that Symbiose will
win the lion's share of attention with its hybrid of African chants with
classic soul rhythms.
The Florida-based Coconutheads
are also quite intriguing as they coat their beats with mellow, Caribbean-styled
horns and reggae-tinged melodies. The band's forthcoming album, "The
Roots Side," has a potential crossover hit in "I-3 Step,"
which has an adorable hook and a chorus that instantly sticks to the brain.
©1996 BPI Communications, Inc.
Used with permission from Billboard.
Building Of Dual Foundation Precedes
Global Beat's Debut Releases
By Terri Horak
Taking a cue from the adage "slow
and steady wins the race," 3-year-old label Global Beat has
set a street date of January 15, 1997, for its first raft of four or five
releases. It believes that it is well-situated to achieve its goal of creating
a strong label identity and pop music followings for its diverse stable
With a focus on the concept of blending world music influences with distinctly
contemporary, and accessible, styles such as dance and R&B, Global
Beat Media Corporation founder and chairman/CEO Laurence Singer says
that building a strong foundation was key for the imprint before issuing
"It took longer than I expected, but my experience in business has
been that if the infrastructure isn't solid and in place, it's difficult
to build something for the long term, which is what I'm interested in,"
Attorney/entrepreneur Singer has been nurturing the idea of Global Beat
since a 1981 trip to Ghana, though he did not begin working full time on
it until forming the New York-based company in 1993.
Finally, with private investors and talent in place, Singer says, "Global
Beat has positioned itself to take advantage of current trends, such
as the emerging importance of global markets and the crossover of talent
on an international basis."
So far, Global Beat artists scheduled to release product in January
are African group Symbiose and Native American Wayquay, both of
which have strong dance influences; Miami-based reggae/soca-influenced band
the Coconutheads; and solo pianist/composer Tian, who hails
from China and has a notable career as a classical performer.
Terrcotta, which mixes jazz and rock with Indian accents, is also
tentatively slated for a January 15 release.
Global Beat will be distributed by M.S. Distributing in the
All the artists will be marketed individually to traditional radio formats,
and the label will produce music videos and singles and provide tour support.
Initially, the singles will go to appropriate formats in the U.S., including
dance, R&B, top 40, and AC. The videos, meanwhile, will be worked at
both American and international outlets.
"I think people are looking for something new. We're trying to establish
a different format in a sense, but in marketing the music we have to go
through the established formats," Singer says. "Because I can't
compete promotionally dollar-wise with the major label, the idea is to sign
groups that are distinguishable and unique. As with anything new, it's not
easy to get attention, but the structure of the company is all geared toward
While Global Beat's staff is small, Singer will draw from a pool
of independent contractors for services ranging from promotion to graphic
Regional development is a key goal in the marketing plan, and touring will
play a big part in that, according to Singer. London-based, Paris-bred Symbiose will initially concentrate on touring in Europe. The Coconutheads will continue to build on their fan base in Florida, while Tian
and Wayquay will work from New York. Tian, who is managed
by Columbia Artists Management, performed a five-city American tour
in October and has an Asian tour scheduled for next year.
There will be club mixes of Symbiose's single, "I Need Love,"
which will be worked initially in New York and London (Dance Trax, Billboard, Nov. 23).
Remixes of the Coconutheads single and title track, "Roots Side,"
and a single from Wayquay, tentatively "Navigate," are
"Tribal Grind" is the debut album from singer/songwriter/poet
Wayquay. Working with producer Strafe, Wayquay draws
on styles from rock to ambient to jazz and describes her music as being
"of the soul."
"It's a little bit of everything rolled into one, and the string that
holds it all together is the message. It's geared toward healing whatever
ails you," she says.
"There is an underlying spirituality, or positivity, to all of Global
Beat's music and, combined with contemporary sounds, it will be hard
to deny the music's appeal," claims Singer. "If you can capture
the spirit of the times and the spirit of people, then you have something
to offer, and they will pay attention."
Singer's openness to embrace the artists' vision was a key consideration
for Symbiose in choosing to sign with Global Beat, according
to Philo Lo-Tutala, Symbiose's guitarist. "We were very lucky
because it's most important to do our thing [our way] without pressure to
do it some other way. We're trying to offer something original, and it's
very important in music to be free to express oneself," he says.
M.S. Distributing's national audio marketing director, Steve Glos,
says that Global Beat product will fill the hole left when PolyGram's
Independent Label Sales, which included the label Mango, jumped to
Independent National Distributors Inc. last year.
"We got a taste of selling good reggae and world music, and Global
Beat fills that gap. Plus, they're coming out with more pop-oriented
stuff," Glos says. Initially, M.S. will focus on adult-leaning
chains such as Borders and Hear Music.
Global Beat will have full international distribution in place in
1997, according to Singer, but already has a deal in China with the Shanghai
Audio Video Publishing Co. to distribute Symbiose and Tian
there next year.
@1996 BPI Communications, Inc. Used
with permission from Billboard.
[NOTE: Words emphasized with bold
type or italisized are those of Global Beat's webmaster and not those of
the original author.]