‘Disrupting’ The Music Scene: Love More Records seeks to build community

‘Disrupting’ The Music Scene: Love More Records seeks to build community

Raquel Thompson was born into music. The 21-year-old behind Love More Records has been surrounded by music since the moment her father played “Isn’t She Lovely” in the birthing room.

“I’ve just been enveloped in it, full force,” she adds. “Growing up, my mom would play literally every genre known to man in the house. My dad was a touring musician, so he would also be playing live music and doing shows outside of the state.” She adds that her father also worked as an engineer and producer, too.

“My parents also tried to get me involved in a lot of music-based things or just stuff that I was passionate about,” which eventually led to Thompson starting to DJ at the age of 11. She’s been doing it ever since and has also started her own music label, Love More Records, in Northwest Arkansas.

“I think the main thing is, I’m a music person at heart. I’m very passionate about it, and I like helping other people be successful at it too,” she says.

A senior in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, Thompson has bright plans for the future. Right now, Love More Records is small, with just three on staff: Thompson as CEO, Elyse Mead as executive assistant and Ryan Jones, “PRO KiD,” as the A&R person. However, Thompson aims to “disrupt the music industry,” by “coming into the industry with a goal of complete transparency and fairness when it comes to partnerships with artists. That means whenever we sign the artist, we are both equal in that partnership. We’re both working together toward the goal of making them have a successful music career.” She adds that she’s not talking about every label or the music industry as a whole, but rather the stories about how artists lose the rights to songs or get swindled by corrupt players.

“A lot of times what happens is an artist will sign somewhere, and they’re basically almost signing their entire brand away. They’re signing away a lot of themselves in return to have money and status and numbers,” she says. “I was trying to make sure that No. 1, financially everything is fair. A lot of times the rates and the splits of income and profit goes heavily to the record label, and there’s little to no income for the artists … and we’ve just let that happen for decades. It’s quite literally the standard for things to be like that.”

She adds that labels often limit creative autonomy for their artists, too. For Love More Records, she plans to take a different approach.

“We, as a label, are going to come in and say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this? Or hey, do you like this?’ Instead of being like, ‘All right, we hired this person. This is the what the cover is going to look like. This is how it’s going to be. I know you love that song, but we don’t like that song, so we’re going to cut it.’ We’re not going to come in here like that,” she explains. “The disruption really comes from total equality. It’s just about a fair and equal partnership between the label and the artist.”

On the label so far are hip-hop artist BAANG, R&B singer Pura Coco, Latinx rapper and hip-hop artist Little Yei, singer-songwriter Sarah Lily and hyperpop duo H3adcannon.

“Our main goal is to help these artists succeed. We’re going to be doing your everyday record label stuff that includes obviously creating new music, but also promoting the music they’ve already released,” Thompson says. “A lot of these guys have released projects that got little to no exposure, so we were trying to come in and help them fix that. Basically help them with any funding opportunities, media, getting photo shoots, getting music videos done, getting interviews done for them, tours, booking — all of the things that go into the average music career, that’s what we will be doing for them.

“In addition to that, I was very passionate about was prioritizing mental health,” she goes on. “We’ve all seen how mental health is kind of put on the back burner a lot of times in music because it’s an industry that is constantly building on itself” with no real breaks between making albums and touring. “I’m a firm believer that when your mind isn’t OK, you’re not OK, and therefore everything else isn’t going to be OK. In order to make everything work, you’ve really got to prioritize the well being of the artists. … They’re human beings and you’re working with them and you care for them. I mean, that’s what it should be like, right?”

Thompson is also looking at building communities around the artists in the way that stars like Taylor Swift, Niki Minaj and BTS have have “a super intense army of dedicated fans.”

“I believe that it’s better to have 1,000 super loyal fans rather than 1 million people that don’t really care about your music, but just heard you on the radio maybe once,” she adds. “The cool thing about being a fan is when you like an artist that somebody else likes, that’s your community. That’s somebody that you can relate to because the music speaks to you in the same way.”

Thompson adds that she hopes to “build or contribute to a music ecosystem” in Northwest Arkansas that can stand on its own like Nashville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas, which are well known for their music scenes.

“One of my main goals is definitely to connect all of us industry professionals, work together, support one another, not just in supporting my artists, but also supporting the other ones that aren’t a part of Love More. I believe in them too,” she says. “I truly believe Northwest Arkansas and Arkansas as a whole could be the next Nashville, we could be the next Chicago, the next Detroit. It just takes a lot of collaboration and a lot of seeing the vision, if you will.”

So far support has shown up in the form of partnerships with organizations such as Ozark Film and Media, Rox Radio Station, Music Education Initiative and CACHE in Northwest Arkansas. She adds that other partnerships are in the works, but she can’t reveal the details yet.

Thompson says that she hopes to extend support to the community and, vice versa, she hopes that the community supports her musicians by “coming to these artists’ shows, listening to their music, checking out their merch, you know, just supporting this in any way we can.”



Love More Records

WHAT — A new Northwest Arkansas Record label set to “disrupt” by “spreading love, positivity, and togetherness through music. That includes treating artists with the respect they deserve.”

WHO — DJ Raquel, who cut her chops at Hill Records at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, is the big heart (and CEO) behind Love More Records. She’s joined by Elyse Mead (executive assistant) and Ryan Jones (A&R). Current artists include Sarah Lily, Pura Coco, Little Yei, H3adcannon and BAANG.

BONUS — Love More Records is currently accepting applications for its internship program. See linktr.ee/lovemorerecords for more details.

INFO — lovemorerecords.com

Categories: Music