Platinum star Trace Adkins is the first signing under the newly combined Show Dog-Universal Music. Principle Toby Keith and President Mark Wright held a press conference today (1/13) at BMI in Nashville to share the news and discuss the evolving label.
Adkins—celebrating his birthday today—joined them at the event, telling reporters that he had 15 good years at Capitol Records, but was excited about the new partnership. He and Keith have known each other for many years but became better acquainted and discovered how much they have in common on tour together last summer. Adkins recalled seeing Keith onstage every night, describing him as “a 12-year-old on Christmas morning.” Then joking, “It’s real…he ain’t that good an actor.”
Adkins has been working on new music; of it Keith told the crowd, “he finally saw what he wants and went for it… it’s got edge, it’s got smile.”
Keith and Wright, who have known each other at least 16 years, talked of other details of the merger, calling the newly combined label a “perfect match.”
Keith’s superstar power is expected to bring big opportunities for the newer acts signed to the label. They can join him on the road, and play his namesake Bar And Grills.
Known for operating his Show Dog outside of the major label system, Keith said navigating Nashville’s political waters is one of the many assets Wright brings to the deal. While Keith has distanced himself from the Nashville system, and the benefits that go with it, he said the rising artists at Show Dog-Universal deserve the chance to be part of it if they want, specifically the awards shows.
In negotiations, Keith said he basically laid everything he could ever want, including ownership of masters, on the table and Universal agreed.