Independent recording labels have often made a significant impact on the music industry, music culture, and how consumers receive music. With a growing drive toward “indie” in the current entertainment culture, it is important to note that independent labels, producers, and distributors both past, and present, have paved new paths, leaving indelible marks on the industries they’ve worked within, and sometimes had to work around. These national, and international independent labels often get their start as regional projects, that find local support, and local talent to grow with.
Three2Go Music Productions based right here in Buffalo is an example of an independent label working with up and coming talent, and making changes in the climate of music production, and distribution. Focused on artist development, promotions, and productions within the R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Pop music genres, Three2Go represents local artists such as Omeri Monroe, J. Bella, and E-Life 7, who will be featured on June 14th at a concert at the Central Terminal as part of Three2Go’s Terminal Jazz Music Series, for 2017.
Although officially Three2Go Music Productions was founded in 1996, through a partnership between founding members Ronald Walker, Michael Pennick, and Annette Batia. The new label was part of the evolution of an independent label that began in the 1970s as EP Records, which represented local acts such as the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame members, The Exoutics. Over a decade later, Three2Go Music Productions carried on EP’s legacy, and the first act they signed to represent was the local R&B group, Paradyme.
Adjacent to the creation of Three2Go Music Productions, the organization Three2Go Music Alliance was also developed through a collaboration with Van Taylor Productions, part of Taylor Made Jazz, RW Music and Video, and Melissa Kate Productions.
“What we found through this collaboration was there are very few sectors of business that we don’t touch,” says Three2Go’s CEO Ronald Walker, “For example, Van Taylor has been providing support to the military, such as live events, and other services, for nearly 40 years. We do everything we can to support that effort, the military communities, and our veterans. That is a primary focus of the alliance.”
The combined efforts of these artists, and organizations create unique opportunities for talent development, exposure, and the opportunity to support other community organizations. As evidence of these efforts, Three2Go Music is currently teaming up with Buffalo Central Terminal Preservation and Restoration with their Terminal Jazz Series of shows. These are low entry cost shows, featuring local talent, performing on the second Wednesdays of the summer months, beginning in May. Proceeds from these shows will benefit the Central Terminal Restoration, as well as the Buffalo Colored Musicians Club. Also, new to this year, Three2Go Music, and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park joined up to create a musical series that is being called, Party On The Fantail, which will feature live music every Tuesday, beginning June 20th, from 6PM to 8PM on the deck of the USS Little Rock. There will be no charge for admission to the Party On The Fantail shows.
“We’re trying to attract new, young talent.” Walker detailed in our interview “When we get new music, we listen. It’s not like it goes into a black-hole; we listen. And unlike some other labels, we’ll give constructive feedback.”
One of their newest artists, Omeri Monroe, was actually introduced on the international stage prior to playing his first successful show in Buffalo just a few weeks ago at The Waiting Room on Delaware. A visit to Cannes, France, along with local artist Melissa Kate in 2015 officially kicked off his performance career, as he was booked for shows in the small French Mediterranean city best known for its annual International Film Festival.
“When you’re not recognized in your own home-town, you haven’t made it yet,” explains Walker, “so sometimes you have to go away, and then come back. We’re trying to present Omeri to the public in this region, but it’s a fine line you have to walk between performing, and making a living.”
Introduced through mutual connections almost five years ago, Omeri was offered an audition with Three2Go Music; an audition where he left a lasting impression on Walker, and his colleagues.
“You could tell he had that X-Factor. It’s raw talent, and there’s was still development to be done. We challenged him, and he did it. We decided right there he was worth the investment.”
When asked about what that X-Factor is, Walker replied, “You either have it, or you don’t. That is what we look for.”
Omeri proved he has just what Three2Go was looking for when he took the stage at The Waiting Room in May. He wowed his audience with his vibrant personality, and a selection of original music that demonstrated clearly why Three2Go Music decided to represent him, and help him develop as a performing artist. Alternating an acoustic, and electric guitar throughout the performance, Omeri’s upbeat blend of Pop, and R&B was more reminiscent of the eclectic R&B sounds of the 1970’s and 1980’s as opposed to more modern, electronically driven Popular music.
Walker stated their future goal as, “We’re hoping to be acknowledged, and recognized as a force in the Western New York area. We’ve worked behind the scenes for many years, and now we’re in the position where we want to be recognized.”
With this new introduction to the Buffalo market, their lineup of fresh talent, and hot music events such as the Terminal Jazz Music Series, and Party On The Fantail, Three2Go Music is ready to make their mark.
Omeri Monroe’s recent performance on Thursday, May 25 at The Waiting Room. The event, featured in a Buffalo Rising article, was hosted by Three 2 Go Music Alliance and Three 2 Go Music, featuring fellow artists Dan Marsh and Saranaide. The concert raised funds for the African Heritage Food Co-Op. Omeri Monroe will be performing in the upcoming “Party on the Fantail” series at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. Event details listed above.