First student-run record label strives to give artists platform

Rachel Yang, Reporter


Although the co-founders of Sheridan Road Records, Northwestern’s first student-run record label, only began seriously working on the project about a quarter ago, the duo already has big plans for their fledgling organization.

Kate Camarata and Melissa Codd — both Bienen juniors — are having a launch party Saturday for their label, which has about 10 people helping to run it so far. The two said that currently they are working on building relationships with new artists on campus and promoting them through videos and events, reaching out to other organizations, and expanding the label’s social media presence. And they are already looking toward the future, with hopes to collaborate with record labels at other universities in the Chicago area.

Camarata, who has past experience working at a record label, and Codd said they had been throwing around the idea of starting a record label for some time and thought that student artists at NU needed a bigger platform to spread their music. Camarata said she hopes the label will help unite the many different music groups on campus, such as Niteskool, a student-run music management and video production group, and Ra Sol Greater Minds, a music collective that aims to increase the visibility of student artists.

“When you think of (the groups) individually, they all have their own (style),” Camarata said. “We wanted to amalgamate them all under one umbrella so that everyone can start influencing each other. And the fans from one place can become fans of another.”

The two said they researched record labels at other universities to prepare for their own. They used their network of friends and musicians on campus to establish the organization and reached out to artists. Almost everyone they reached out to has been enthusiastic about the project, they said.

They also added that they wanted to work with artists of all genres, and they view their group as more of a collective of artists, rather than a traditional record label.

“We’re not a business,” Codd said. “We’re becoming more like a community.”

“We just support NU artists and hopefully we’ll just support talent within the area,” Camarata added. “It’s just helping artists getting their stuff out there.”

Weinberg junior Joshua Alexander Crowder, a hip-hop and rap artist who will play at the launch party Saturday in addition to several other acts, said despite the heavy presence of artistic collaboration at NU, there is not enough respect for student artists on campus.

“People view campus artists as them doing this cool little niche thing,” Crowder said. “(People are) not really recognizing that some of them are taking it seriously.”

Crowder, who performs under the name AleXander, said he hopes the label will help to improve this reputation and provide a bigger platform for student musicians to prove themselves. However, he said the label is too new to make any predictions.

“If they do it right, they could be something important to the music community here,” said Crowder.

Although Codd and Camarata said they do not have any immediate events planned after the launch party, they are excited to see what the future holds. They said they want to eventually diversify beyond the music community and work on media such as visual art and video.

“I just feel like this school has a lot of talent,” Camarata said, “and sometimes we don’t see it because people are afraid to put themselves out there, but we can help them with all of that.”

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