‘Disrupting’ The Music Scene

‘Disrupting’ The Music Scene

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’m a music person at heart. I’m very passionate about it, and I like helping other people be successful at it too,” says Thompson.

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.”

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

“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.”

Thompson adds that she hopes to “build or contribute to a music ecosystem” in Northwest Arkansas that can stand on its own.

“One of my main goals is definitely to connect all of us industry professionals, work together, support one another,” 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.”

With graduation on the horizon in May 2023, Thompson and her crew, with the addition of three interns, haven’t slowed down a bit. Love More Records’ five artists — BAANG, Pura Coco, H3ADCANNON, Little Yei and Sarah Lily — have been busy as well.

“The shows each artist did since we partnered with them increased significantly with some doing only about three shows a year to doing 20 shows in six months. We are shooting to increase the number in 2023 and will have each artist do a couple of shows every month to build their fanbases even more,” Thompson says. They plan to focus on creating and recording in the first part of the year and then doing more showcases both locally and in other parts of Arkansas and then in neighboring states.

She says she still believes that Northwest Arkansas is on the cusp of building a sustainable music community.

“We are seeing more collaboration and support of one another every day and a lot of us are starting to get it: that with a strategy, community and mutual support, we can all thrive and create a bustling music industry right here in Arkansas!” She says that the support has come from the Center for Innovation at the Fayetteville Public Library by offering free resources for artists and through people working together and keeping it local.

“When we need a videographer, we use someone local … Even down to the catering and bar service we have at an event, we always make sure to put dollars back into the growing entertainment ecosystem here. We bring in Arkansan musicians to play at our shows and in recording sessions. For the collaborations that aren’t Arkansan-based, we always make our main priority of the collaboration tie back to our ultimate goal in one way or another, which is to put Arkansas on the map of music,” she says. “With the events that have been put on here (such as FORMAT, the shows at the Momentary, etc.), the artist and workforce development programs and grants that exist here and continue to be created here such as the Music Education Initiative, the organizations that are investing their resources here because they see the immense potential for growth in this area, and of course the venues starting to slowly add local acts as support on big shows — it feels like a big wave is on the horizon.”

Categories: Music