For being in his early twenties, Scotty McCreery has experienced plenty of whirlwind highs and lows in his relatively brief career. After an American Idol win in 2011, a chart-topping debut album, and a smattering of Top 20 songs, McCreery was dropped from Universal Music Group in 2016. In 2018, he’s returned as a power player, earning his very first No. 1 song with “Five More Minutes,” his first single release on his new label home, Triple Tigers Records. His debut Triple Tigers album, Seasons Change, released today (March 16).
Scotty’s success also marks the second No. 1 single for Triple Tigers Records, following the label’s initial radio offering with Russell Dickerson’s “Yours,” which topped the country charts last year.
With the latest singles from McCreery (“This Is It”) and Dickerson (“Blue Tacoma”), Triple Tigers General Manager Norbert Nix hopes to continue the chart-topping streak.
“Hitting No. 1 is hard to do as an indie,” Nix tells MusicRow.com of Russell’s No. 1 song. “The thing about Russell is when I heard [“Yours”] and saw the video, I thought there was something special about it. But he was also touring and had the Spotify thing going. It was amazing to me that he wasn’t signed. I think people were looking at him, but it’s all luck and timing, as they say.”
Timing was also an essential element in McCreery’s current success. McCreery had co-written “Five More Minutes” in 2015, following the passing of his grandfather, and he’s been a champion for the song ever since.
He signed with Triple 8 Management in 2016, the same year his deal with Universal concluded. Later that year, it was announced Triple 8 management’s George Couri and Bruce Kalmick had teamed with Nix and Thirty Tigers’ David Macias to form Triple Tigers Records.
“It’s a really unique partnership between the three of us,” Nix says. “The A&R philosophy is one that we have to be unanimous among the three partners to sign something. It’s worked really well that way, so we have a philosophy of finding the most compelling artists and music out there.”
Triple 8 Management initially released McCreery’s “Five More Minutes” to country radio, and without the help of a major label, the song began gaining traction on the music charts.
“I believed in the song,” McCreery says. “The transition happened, and we just decided to put it out there and Triple Tigers decided they want to come on board. They are set up to win.”
By August 2017, McCreery had become the second artist to sign with Triple Tigers Records. For Nix, the decision to become involved with McCreery’s career was an easy one.
“He was 23 years old and is so viable as an artist,” Nix says. “To us, ‘Five More Minutes’ was a career song. It was one of those really visceral songs that really hits you in the chest. Scotty knew it when he wrote it.”
Dickerson has followed his No.1 single with his first Academy of Country Music Award nomination for New Artist of the Year.
“Leading up to this deal was so many years of writing, touring and even starting our own label with my manager,” says Dickerson, “so we could release music and to keep pushing this forward. It was honestly a sigh of relief because before Triple Tigers it was all hands on deck 24/7. Everyone on the team was working in over-drive. But when I signed with Triple Tigers we were able to partner up with a radio team we were confident could take this to new heights.”
Triple Tigers Records’ promotion team, including former Warner Music exec Kevin Herring and former Capitol exec Diane Lockner, gives the new indie label the radio promotion muscle, combined with a cooperative, laser focus on their artists.
“These people are seasoned pros,” Nix says. “To get people like that is really hard. At the major labels, you have three or four imprints, but you are really competing against each other. The difference is, we can maneuver quite quickly, and we have the muscle of Sony behind us, too. We are a commercial country label with these ties, but our promotion staff focuses specifically on Triple Tigers artists.”
In his previous role as VP, Promotion at Columbia Nashville, Nix worked with Triple 8 Management to promote Chase Rice, earning two Top 5 songs with “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight.”
“What we learned there was the template for this partnership,” Nix says. “I was at Columbia and David Macias signed Chase Rice to Thirty Tigers and Triple 8 managed Chase. Triple 8 has a marketing team like a label. They are effective for their artists, and in the promotion world where I come from, it’s about results.”
Nix says Triple Tigers has plans to add to the roster, though he says the expansion process will be slow and deliberate.
“The bar is really high right now with that, because they would be following Russell and Scotty,” Norbert says.
“[Triple Tigers’] first two singles have gone No. 1 and it just shows that if you have people who believe in the song, great things can be happen,” McCreery says. “It all comes down to the song.”
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