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  • Kerli & The Importance of Labels


    Skinny Legend

    Kerli.jpg

    Much has been made of the reduced importance of the record label in the Internet age, a time in which artists have almost unlimited opportunity to distribute their music as they see fit. Social media websites like YouTube, Facebook and Soundcloud all have functionalities that allow musicians to release and promote their work, something used to its full advantage by YouTube stars turned major label signees such as Justin Bieber, Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling; while other websites like IndieGoGo and Pledge Music are entirely formulated around allowing fans to essentially act as financial backers for their favourite artists - something Neon Hitch took to the furthest extreme when she set up the first crowd-funded "fan label", #WeRNeon.

    But for many artists, a record label is still the most viable choice. When it's good, a label can propel its artists into superstardom, providing not only financial resources but also a multitude of industry connections and years of business advice. But when it's bad, an overbearing and controlling record label can micromanage an artists personal life, censor their artistic output, and even trigger a descent into depression, as it has with the extreme case of Kesha. It's a dichotomy that Kerli has found herself stuck between many times.

    At age 29, the Estonian-born musician has finally found a method of distribution that works for her, as opposed to her for it; but Kerli's road to independence has been far from quick or easy. After faking her age to win a singing competition, Fizz Superstar, Kerli was signed to Universal Records in Europe at 14 before her mentor Rob Stevenson left the label - and left her out in the cold. Strike one. She later signed to Stevenson's own label and passion project Stolen Transmission, but was dropped from this as well when the label went bankrupt. Strike two. Finally, a frustrated Kerli took the plunge and moved to New York at the age of 18, finally gaining an audition with The X Factor USA judge L.A. Reid, who signed her to Island in 2006.

    But as Kerli soon learned, a record contract did not include a clause for immediate and eternal joy. Despite the release of a well-received fan favorite project, the dark and moody twisted fairytale of a rock album Love Is Dead, Kerli faced multiple frustrations with her label. Love Is Dead spawned two singles: 'Walking on Air' and 'The Creationist', both of which were well-received and boosted by placements in multiple TV shows; but the label clearly had little faith in their artist, ignoring her success in the rock world in place of a rather misguided request for her to record R&B, likely a ploy to capitalize on the success of their other signees Bieber and Leona Lewis.

    A sophomore album - originally called Weapons of Mass Creation and later I.Nimene - was teased through the singles 'Army of Love' and 'Zero Gravity', but faced multiple delays, before a poorly timed leak stopped any chance of an official release. Later reworked as an EP, Utopia, and fronted by the lead single 'The Lucky Ones', the project was the ying to Love Is Dead's yang, a joyful celebration of life and ode to happiness which was released to to positive results in the pop world. A performance on Dancing with the Stars was described as a "major milestone in the EDM community", and both 'Army of Love' and 'The Lucky Ones' peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart, a feat undoubtedly helped by Kerli's high-profile writing credit on Demi Lovato's 'Skyscraper'. But despite all her hard work, Kerli's music wasn't given the promotion it deserved, and she ultimately parted ways with the label. Strike three.

    It was then that Kerli decided to take matters into her own hands. Ever the resourceful creator, Kerli returned to her Estonian roots, setting up her version of a studio in a small woodland cottage with no running water and little electricity. Inspired by the beauty of the nature surrounding her, Kerli transitioned from the high-sugar dance-pop of her EP to a genre she calls 'Transcendental Electronic Music' - one which, from the sounds of singles 'Feral Hearts' and 'Blossom', is a fusion of downcast synths, earthy beats and skyscraper harmonies. It's a happy medium between the edgy, gothic vibe of Love Is Dead and the pure elation of Utopia; and one her audience seems to be responding to. A Pledge Music page set up by Kerli and her team to raise funds for the album release received thousands of donations in exchange for items such as thigh high socks, handwritten lyrics, and rings filled with seeds "gathered by Kerli under the full moon of ancient Estonia" - and all without any label backing.

    Now, with third single 'Diamond Hard', Kerli has reinvented herself once again. With a harsh percussive beat, 80s strings synths, a grungy, almost dubstep breakdown and imagery that Illuminati fanatics are going to lose their minds over, it's a completely new side to the upcoming album, due out independently within the next six months.

    And the intention for the song?

    "I hope these vibrations teleport you into a land of uninhibited fairytales and connect you with your wildest self."

    It may sound like the wildest of dreams, but knowing Kerli it may just come true.

    What are your thoughts on Kerli's latest reinvention? Check out her latest single 'Diamond Hard' above and let us know your opinions in the comments section below!



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    23 minutes ago, FeralHeart said:

    "due out independently within the next six months." :stretcher:

    great job mo :hail:

    Is that even an accurate timeframe?! :stretcher: I thought it was meant to be by the end of the year but we haven't heard any word about it so...

    And thank you boo, I couldn't have done it without your suggestions! <3 

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    9 minutes ago, Countess said:

    Is that even an accurate timeframe?! :stretcher: I thought it was meant to be by the end of the year but we haven't heard any word about it so...

    And thank you boo, I couldn't have done it without your suggestions! <3 

     

    it was supposed to come out on september 21st according to pledgemusic but in an interview a few months ago, the editor wrote that kerli's album was due in early 2017, so i guess... anywhere from next week to like, march :stretcher: unless "(her fans) are the ones responsible for her newest album due 2017" means "kerli's album will be out by the new year" which i'm hoping is the case...

     

    i'm praying for a surprise release but it's not happening tbh i'm already mentally prepared for a january or february release with like 11 tracks, 3 of which we've already heard, i figure if i keep my expectations low they can only be met or exceeded :magic:

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    18 minutes ago, FeralHeart said:

     

    it was supposed to come out on september 21st according to pledgemusic but in an interview a few months ago, the editor wrote that kerli's album was due in early 2017, so i guess... anywhere from next week to like, march :stretcher: unless "(her fans) are the ones responsible for her newest album due 2017" means "kerli's album will be out by the new year" which i'm hoping is the case...

     

    i'm praying for a surprise release but it's not happening tbh i'm already mentally prepared for a january or february release with like 11 tracks, 3 of which we've already heard, i figure if i keep my expectations low they can only be met or exceeded :magic:

    :stretcher: Omfg, what a mess. Honestly I can't imagine a surprise release just because we don't even have a title or album cover yet and even Rih wasn't stupid enough to try and pull that off. :P

    But why do I get the feeling that she recorded a whole album out in the woods that we're not gonna get to hear? It's almost like she couldn't afford to get the producers to work on more songs other than 'FH' and 'Blossom' so she threw together 'Diamond Hard' real quick by herself. Neon Hitch teas tbh. :morning: 

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    Just now, Countess said:

    :stretcher: Omfg, what a mess. Honestly I can't imagine a surprise release just because we don't even have a title or album cover yet and even Rih wasn't stupid enough to try and pull that off. :P

    But why do I get the feeling that she recorded a whole album out in the woods that we're not gonna get to hear? It's almost like she couldn't afford to get the producers to work on more songs other than 'FH' and 'Blossom' so she threw together 'Diamond Hard' real quick by herself. Neon Hitch teas tbh. :morning: 

    i agree.... actually i know for a fact that there are at least 2 other songs recorded with/produced by ago teppand besides blossom :mo: i dunno tho!  these visuals seem so expensive, i think diamond hard might be an outlier

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    25 minutes ago, FeralHeart said:

    i agree.... actually i know for a fact that there are at least 2 other songs recorded with/produced by ago teppand besides blossom :mo: i dunno tho!  these visuals seem so expensive, i think diamond hard might be an outlier

    Is Ago the same guy who did FH? ;) So they did four tracks all up? I know what you mean, I honestly feel she's putting more work into the aesthetics than the sound. :/ But I feel like the Estonia tourism board is paying for most of the visuals so whatever, good for her. :stretcher: 

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    13 hours ago, Countess said:

    Is Ago the same guy who did FH? ;) So they did four tracks all up? I know what you mean, I honestly feel she's putting more work into the aesthetics than the sound. :/ But I feel like the Estonia tourism board is paying for most of the visuals so whatever, good for her. :stretcher: 

    nope, that was lester mendez who's worked with shakira and a couple other bigger artists, he also produced walking on air!  also speaking of feral hearts, it was mixed by the guy who mixed the fame, the fame monster, and ultraviolence, so i mean... she really splurged there

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    14 hours ago, FeralHeart said:

    nope, that was lester mendez who's worked with shakira and a couple other bigger artists, he also produced walking on air!  also speaking of feral hearts, it was mixed by the guy who mixed the fame, the fame monster, and ultraviolence, so i mean... she really splurged there

    Oooh, gotcha! Yeah, she definitely could have done it on the cheap. :/ But honestly I'd rather have a well-produced album full of 'Feral Hearts' that takes a little longer than an album like 'Diamond Hard' that comes out next week... :stretcher: 

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