New York City-based full-service music label continues versatile musical palette with R&B, rock, pop, dance, musical theater & jazz projects over past year
Best year ever? It certainly sounds like it, judging the accomplishments that Young Pals Music/Young Pals Records International logged in 2013, its sixth year as a New York City-based full-service independent record label. Since its launch, the company—helmed by accomplished composer, producer and arranger Ayhan Sahin—has released more than two dozen albums and singles for its proprietary acts.
Leading the charge in 2013 was the August launch of Erica Jacob’s 10-track debut album “Extraordinary Woman,” with a standing room only live performance in Manhattan’s East Village. First single “Run,” shot by Christopher Holmes/Holmeswood Features on location in Long Island City’s famed 5 Pointz (the world’s premiere outdoor “graffiti Mecca”), fostered nearly 40,000 views on YouTube in its first month of release, while Jacob performed songs from the album at renowned venues in New York and Los Angeles.
In fact, Jacob’s “Extraordinary Woman” has become Young Pals Music’s bestselling project to date. With its abundance of pop, R&B and dance tracks, music journalist Chuck Taylor deemed the album “a joyous pageant of sing-along anthems, offering musical mastery akin to the 100-watt persona of Jennifer Hudson, and the vocal chops of Alicia Keys.” The disc also garnered praise from nearly a dozen media outlets in Sahin’s native Turkey, including the lofty phrase, “Ayhan Sahin is following in Arif Mardin’s steps.”
Young Pals Owner Sahin, who produced the album, notes, “This process felt so right from the first note. Erica is among the most talented, natural singers I’ve worked with. We spent three years recording dozens of songs before choosing the magic 10 to include on the album. Yes, I’m proud of the album’s success—but I also have so much pride in working with an artist I’m certain is going to be a name brand in the coming years.”
The label opened the year with a revised & refashioned double-CD soundtrack recording of “Swedish Style: The Musical,” a dramatized retelling of the break-up of Swedish super-group ABBA, originally written by Sahin and Selcen Pamuk in the 1990s. The new version comprises 14 songs from the show, mastered for licensed productions by theatrical groups and schools. It features a new NYC-based cast with a 13-piece live band & orchestra.
In July, Young Pals issued singer/songwriter Dacada Summer’s 10-song “Fourth And First,” chronicling the artist’s coming of age in the big city versus his Midwestern upbringing.
A month before, singer/songwriter Michael Gastaldi released five-song debut solo EP “I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You,” a true-to-life snapshot about love, faith, fate and life in the moment. The two acts frequently showcase their album tracks with live performances in various NYC venues, building up their fan base.
Another highlight of 2013—demonstrating Young Pals’ ongoing versatility—was the September release of “Casino Music” by The Swing Set with Alex Cook, featuring a nine-piece jazz big band, alongside the Rat Pack-inspired musings of its lead singer. Included with a regimen of standards are reimagings of modern pop songs, including Duran Duran’s synth-pop “Rio” as a bluesy piano-tinkling refrain befitting New York’s Rainbow Room, George Michael’s “Faith” originating from a 1920s speakeasy, and a Bacharach-inspired reworking of “More than Words” from rock band Extreme. The album has been doing very well on You Tube — over 200.000 hits since its release.
In the fall of 2013, Young Pals was notified that it was winner of a Best Of Manhattan Award in the Independent Label category for Music Licensing & Royalties. The annual contest is sponsored by the Manhattan Award Program, which showcases companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in the local community, while enhancing the positive image of small businesses.
Another highlight of the year gone by is the signing of an exclusive deal for Young Pals to produce, record and release the debut solo album from award-winning Mexican musical theater and TV actress Bianca Marroquin. The beloved superstar is the first Mexican actress ever cast in a leading Broadway role, as Roxie Hart in “Chicago.” Marroquin also serves as a judge for the Univision reality dance competition series “Mira Quien Baila” (the Spanish-language franchise of “Dancing With the Stars”).
And finally, in December 2013, Young Pals launched a new location for its 2C Recording Studios, relocating from Manhattan’s East Village to Tribeca.
Since its 2008 launch, Young Pals Music has released 100+ albums, singles and theatrical soundtracks, and four full-length original stage musicals. With its accompanying 2C Recording Studios in Manhattan, the label was born out of a theatrical troupe in Sahin’s native Turkey, evolving into a bona fide record label when Sahin relocated to New York at the dawn of the millennium.