A New Dae For The Music Industry

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Dae One Records puts Lansing, Michigan on the map.

Dae One Records keeps adding new performers and potential. Along the way, this hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues label twists the notion of what record companies should look like. Such companies used to have big buildings, for starters. CBS Records had a round tower in Los Angeles; Motown assembled side-by-side Detroit houses in what it dubbed a "horizontal skyscraper."

By comparison, Dae One has... well, Sergio Giles' apartment in Delta Township. "What you really need is a computer and a phone," said Giles, 31, the label's founder and chairman.

With those, he links around the country. The producers are William Brown, Jr., with brothers Darnell and Douglas, in Birmingham, Ala.; the chief operating officer is Shawone Richerson, in Montgomery, Ala.; the executive music director is Virgil Pickney in Long Beach, Ca.; the executive director of public relations is Jeff Woods in Lansing, Mi; the promotion manager is Cedric Giles in Columbus, Ga.; the record promoters are in Nashville, Tenn. The performers live in California, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, Kansas and Washington, D.C.

And yes, some performers are from Lansing:

•Kurt Richardson, 24, is a former football player (Lansing Eastern High School and Ferris State University) and a current mortgage-company representative. He also doubles as Jewelz, a solo star. "I've been rapping since I was 13," he said.

•The guys in 4 Field might go unnoticed individually; two work at Red Lobster, two at Applebee's. Together, they are a high- energy rap group. "We all get our solos, but we come out of four different voices," said Dustin Lowe, 24, who raps as Doc Scrilla.

All have a shot at music fame, even if it is a long shot. The labels launched such stars as Ice-T. Then, as hip-hop became more successful, the giant record companies took over, using their power with radio chains.

"We want to go national, international," said JuJuan Banks, 27, who is Tat Cardone in 4 Field.

That takes drive and focus, which Giles seems to have lots of. With backing from investors, he books the local recording sessions (at Lansing's Studio One) and plans the CDs and artwork. He expects to have his first two CDs (Analyze) in August and his third (4 Field and Jewelz) in September.

Giles grew up in a military family in Georgia, Alabama and Korea. "I always did have an ear for music and an ear for talent," he said.

At first, he hoped it would be his own talent. In sixth grade, he played saxophone in the school band. In junior high, he sang in a group. ("We won quite a few talent shows in South Korea," he said.) During and after high school, he was part of a singing group in Georgia.

"We pretty much caught the bad end of the stick from our manager," Giles said.

So he joined the Army and learned to be a surgical assistant. He moved here in October 2003 to work at the Ingham Regional Medical Center.

During a previous job, Giles met a molecular biologist who hired him to create elaborate computer programs for his presentations. That led to his next idea, mixing his passions for music and computers. Dae One - he uses a Korean spelling - was born.

His fiancée had told him that her friend's boyfriend was a musician. That was Richardson (or Jewelz), whom Giles knew. "I had no idea he did music," he said. "I called him right away."

Back at Eastern High School, Richardson had been a 189-pound fullback. He got up to 255 at Ferris State, but his attention wandered.

"I had never been in an urban environment," he said. In college - on the football team and elsewhere - he met guys who had.

"Some of the people at Ferris had known a gangster life," Richardson said. "I became enamored."

This was bad for his academic and football careers, but his rapping prospered. He performed in college before getting his current job with a Detroit mortgage firm.

"He has talent, talent like I haven't heard in years," Giles said.

His "After Party" had a nine-week run on WQHH's new- music show. Johnson grants that he can't remember the specific song but gives it an endorsement. "If we put it on, it's a good one," he said.

Jewelz also pointed Giles toward 4 Field, another group with urban and non-urban influences.

"I was married and had a family in Detroit," JuJuan Banks said, "but nothing was really working for me. I knew I had to get a fresh start."

So he moved to Auburn, where his brother, Jamel, lived. They soon found some locals in nearby Bay City who liked hip-hop. "They knew they had the talent," JuJuan said. "They just didn't know how to format it."

So 4 Field has JuJuan Banks, Jamel Banks (Black Titan, 22), Lowe and Brandon LaRose (Roach, 21). This is a thoroughly mixed group - two black, two white, many backgrounds. Lowe was born in Germany; LaRose was born in Texas and lived for a while in St. Louis.

In the unlikely setting of Bay City - known to music buffs as the place where Madonna was born - they formed a group. Then they moved to Lansing, where music is plentiful. "It's a college town, so you can pretty much find anywhere to sing," Lowe said.

It takes many villages, apparently, to make a modern CD. It takes local voices, Alabama mixers, Tennessee promoters and more. And it needs a center spot, in a Delta Township apartment.

The Names In The Game

Here are the groups working with Dae One Records:

The first wave:

These are included on the first compilation CD.

  • Jewelz, a solo rapper from Lansing.
  • 4 Field, four men who now live in Lansing.
  • Analyze, a solo rapper from Long Beach, Calif.
  • Sunny Stormz, a solo rapper from Virginia Beach, Va.

The second wave:

These are being added to the compilation.

  • Cherelle Fortier, of San Francisco, a favorite from "Showtime at the Apollo."
  • Kureem, of Columbus, Ga.
  • L.E.A., a solo singer form Shreveport, La.

Still coming:

  • Kaylie, a pop artist from St Johns, Michigan
  • Donnette Mosley, a spoken word artist of San Francisco.

Music From Dae One

Looking for music from Dae One Records? The company expects to have its first CDs ready in August and September; previously, it made a compilation of four acts. Find their music online at http://www.daeonerecords.com, the company's Web site.

Or search the following sites for Dae One: Volume One

Apple iTunes, Bitmunk, BuyMusic, Emusic, Etherstream, LoudEye, MP3tunes, MSN Music, MusicMatch, MusicNet, MusicNow, NetMusic, Puretracks, Rhapsody, Ruckus, Sony Connect.

Some tracks have been played on local WQHH-FM (96.5). Label owner Sergio Giles says he's had tracks requested by stations in Greenville, S.C., Atlanta and Los Angeles; now he's signed a national firm, Selig Entertainment, Inc, to reach others.


Sensai, Selig Entertainment, Inc





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