Marihuzka Cornelius, A&R Director at Australian indie label Ivy League, joins Josh Pyke and Elana Stone on our new podcast, “It’s Raining Mentors” to explore the world of independent record labels and how they do things differently. Listen to “It’s Raining Mentors” on Apple Podcasts or Spotify Podcasts.
Ivy League Records is a lauded Aussie label with signings including The Rubens, The Teskey Brothers and Kyle Lionhart. Marihuzka’s perspective on the business is through the lens of a musician – she is also in an incredible band called Bloods. She believes some of the strongest elements of the indie label approach are as follows:
The freedom to sign who they deeply believe in.
Marihuzka: “I think you just have a little bit more freedom to chase the things that you actually like … everyone does A&R differently. I know that a lot of other people may be motivated by trends or by data. And that’s really counter to the approach that most Indie labels have. Most Indie labels are started by people who are putting out their music, their friends’ music – Ivy League is that, [legendary Seattle indie label] Sub Pop was that – so it’s a different kind of person you find in these places.
At the end of the day, everything’s a business, so they have to make some money, or at least make their money back because it needs to function. But I think the really great thing is most of the time, they’re bringing you in [as an artist] going ‘I believe in you and I think you’re great and let’s make your music as good as it can be and get it out there’.”
As an artist working with another indie, connecting with ethical people.
Marihuzka: “Our A&R Manager [for Marihuzka’s own band, Bloods] is a guy named Cale. He works at Sub Pop – our publishing is at Sub Pop, he signed our publishing deal at the very beginning of our band. He started his own label that goes through Sub Pop called Share It Music. It’s a nonprofit record label. So basically, every band on that label chooses a charity and 50% of any profit made goes directly to that charity. I’m just giving you that for context as to the kind of dude that he is.”