Record Label Insight: Blue Flowers

An introduction to Blue Flowers Music - an independent record label which is pioneering a new wave of artists. We spoke to its founder Chris Pearson, as well as two of the artists on the Blue Flowers roster: Nilüfer Yanya and Westerman

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Blue Flowers Music is an independent record label, born out of the back of a pub in Chiswick, West London, where the label’s founder Chris Pearson grew up. He started to run a live music club night there which attracted new music lovers and its popularity grew over the years as its performers went on to become huge stars. “We’ve had a large number of people come through who’ve gone on and done big things” said Chris, and he isn’t wrong. Previous performers at Blue Flowers club nights include Adele, Florence + The Machine, Foals, George Ezra and so much more…

Eventually, he reached a point where he wished that he could give these artists more support than just giving them the chance to perform:

“There was a sense of wanting to have more involvement with artists that we were discovering early on. I guess it was a natural progression really, it felt like the right time to build a label around it”

After working in the music industry in A&R and artist management for a number of years, he made a bold choice and decided to start his own record label. Luckily, he gained the support of one of the industry’s top label executives. “I was approached by Darcus Beese at Island Records, he was really enthusiastic and passionate about what I do and he offered to give me some support”, said Chris.

Having the backing of someone like Darcus allowed Chris to retain the independent nature of Blue Flowers, whilst also giving the artists on his roster the chance to work with a major label when, and if, the time is right. “I’ve got a relationship with Darcus where when I want to take things to another level, like with Joe Fox, we can sign them directly to Island”. Joe Fox’s career has skyrocketed off the back of his connections to A$AP Rocky, after collaborating with the famous rapper on his last album ‘At. Long. Last. A$AP’.

On the other hand, Pearson acknowledges that not every artist is suited to a major label such as Island. Two of the other artists featured on the Blue Flowers label are Westerman and Nilüfer Yanya. Westerman blends a multitude of genres to produce some incredibly beautiful music, with hints of folk and jazz added into the mix.

As another West Londoner, Will Westerman came across the Blue Flowers club night and was invited to perform there after years of honing his craft in his bedroom. His journey to becoming a musician has been a very natural progression:

“I taught myself guitar at 16, I went to music college in Kilburn but I didn’t have a great experience of it, it was very commercially driven songwriting. So I went to study Philosophy in York because it’s something I was always really interested in at school, when I finished my degree I realised that I still didn’t want to do anything else other than music. The whole time I’d been writing but not really performing, so I decided to start doing live shows”

Blue Flowers gave him the chance to showcase his debut EP ‘Harvard’ at the club night and later Pearson offered to release Westerman’s second EP ‘Call and Response’ through the label. Will agrees that Blue Flowers nurtures musicians who are in the early stages of their career, “I love working with Chris”, he said. “It’s nice to be somewhere where you’re given the space to figure out what you’re doing and what kind of artist you want to be”

After being named one of Pitchfork’s Rising Stars, there is also a lot of hype surrounding Nilüfer Yanya, another artist who has blossomed under the wing of the Blue Flowers label. Her latest EP ‘Plant Feed’ describes, in her own words, how “it can be quite artificial and a bit weird sometimes” growing up in a city like London. “I think the EP is reflective of that time and those feelings”, she admits. It’s certainly a very mature body of work and she even designs her own bold cover artwork!

Chris Pearson cannot praise Yanya enough, stating that “she’s an amazing artist to work with, she’s really headstrong. She knows what she wants to do and she’s constantly pushing herself forward”. When music comes so naturally to someone like Nilüfer, Chris realises the importance of not trying to shape her sound:

“With her, it’s more about giving her the opportunities to go and do what she wants to do, to put all the trust in her. For some artists you have to get quite involved technically, in the studio, but with her it all feels so natural and it’s all coming out so successfully that you don’t want to step in too much”

As the indie label market is currently very saturated and there are so many great new bands vying for our attention, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. Chris Pearson recognises the importance of having an ethos and a unique identity as a record label. “We’re trying to keep a slight aesthetic to what we’re doing and trying to keep things within the realm of what our ‘sound’ is”, he said. “We’re not trying to do every kind of genre, we’re trying to bring people into the label who sound like a Blue Flowers artist”.

This approach is what made the club night so successful, as people began to see Blue Flowers as the go-to event for discovering brand new, unsigned artists. He associates the memories of previous club nights with a “sense of being the first to catch on to these new artists” and wants the label to reflect that, by providing as much support as possible to a small group of artists. I can safely say that the future of new music looks promising, as long as we have labels like Blue Flowers supporting such a diverse and talented range of artists.

 

blueflowersmusic.com

ICYMI: We interviewed Nilüfer Yanya earlier this year at Dot to Dot Festival, read our full conversation here