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Music News (3/3/21)

[ 0 ] March 3, 2021 | |

Brian Callihan Signs With Reviver Entertainment

Country artist Brian Callihan has signed a deal with Reviver Entertainment.

The Georgia native has made a name for himself among country songwriters, working with artists including Dylan Scott, Trent Tomlinson and Halfway to Hazard. He released his debut self-titled album last November, which caught the attention of David Ross, president of Reviver Entertainment Group.

Callihan joins the independent country label’s roster of artists including Big & Rich, David Lee Murphy, Aaron Goodvin and more.

“I feel extremely blessed to sign with Reviver Records. David Ross has a great team with a proven track record, so I’m really excited to see what the future brings and the great things we can accomplish together,” says Callihan.

“I believe micro-managing creativity kills it,” says Ross. “To encourage creative brilliance, I strive to foster an atmosphere where it can thrive, and then I stay behind the scenes and let it happen. Brian Callihan is a pure talent that has the capability to create music that stands out amongst his peers.”

Andie Rankins Promoted To Dir. Publishing Admin At Essential Music

Andie Rankins has been promoted to Director of Publishing Administration at Essential Music Publishing. Rankins manages the administration of a growing catalog of award-winning copyrights, and previously served as Manager of Publishing Administration, where she led the conception and development of the intuitive new online licensing tool for the company’s catalog. In her expanded duties, Rankins will also guide the overall growth of the publishing administration arm of the company and expand the metadata initiatives. She joined Provident in 2015, following stints at Music Services, Inc. and LifeWay.

John Pate Inks With Mixtape Music

John Pate has signed a publishing deal with Mixtape Music. His new single, “He Didn’t Know,” was released February 25.

Pate, who hails from Jackson, Tenn., attended college at Faulkner University and during that time traveled all over the Southeast singing in an a capella quartet. When the group disbanded, he transferred to the University of Memphis Lambuth and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Entertainment. After moving to Nashville, he interned for 50 Egg Music.

EMPIRE Nashville’s Eric Hurt And Heather Vassar Talk Early Success [Interview]

Eric Hurt, Heather Vassar

EMPIRE was formed in 2010 by Ghazi Shami. The San Francisco-based company has been instrumental in launching the careers of multi-Platinum, Grammy Award-winning artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, DRAM, and Anderson.Paak.

In 2018, EMPIRE tapped former Black River Publishing executive Eric Hurt to start the Nashville office, which serves as an independent label, distributor, and publisher. Hurt had helped to secure a publishing deal at Black River for Willie Jones, who was signed to EMPIRE proper.

“Willie’s manager connected me with Ghazi, we actually met at SXSW,” Hurt, now VP of A&R, tells MusicRow. “We hit it off and then Ghazi just started talking his goals and desires of opening up a Nashville branch and getting more into country music and into Nashville.”

Ghazi was intrigued by the way country fans consume music.

“It started off with Kane Brown. EMPIRE released his first EP and it blew up, the numbers were great. So they were like, ‘What’s going on over here?’ Kane went on to do what he did and they signed Willie Jones to develop that out more,” Hurt says. “A lot of what this town is built on is radio, which serves a big purpose in our market and I don’t want to downplay that at all, but with that comes a lot of waiting. EMPIRE is really about content and super serving the fans first, getting things out on a digital level, rolling it out quickly, moving quickly and building up the value on that digital level first, and then going to radio when the time is right.”

Heather Vassar joined EMPIRE Nashville as VP of Marketing early in 2020. Vassar came to EMPIRE from Universal Music Group Nashville, where she most recently led Strategy and Research. She oversees day-to-day artist strategies and development, marketing and digital initiatives, as well as partner relationships with sales and streaming services for EMPIRE’s Nashville roster.

Now, country/hip-hop artist Jones, country up-and-comer Tenille Arts, singer-songwriter Waylon Payne, and newly-signed songwriter Nick Wayne make up the EMPIRE Nashville roster.

Click here to read the full interview on

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