Industry veterans Rachel Fontenot and Katie Dean have announced the launch of Leo33, an independent record label based in Nashville.
With Fontenot (Marketing and Operations) co-leading with Dean (Promotion and Artist Development), the label’s initial core team also includes Daniel Lee (A&R) and Natalie Osborne (A&R).
The company is named after the constellation, and embodies characteristics of the lion and lioness: courage, confidence and cooperation and nods to the iconic LP’s RPM, a music enthusiast’s nostalgic yet contemporary format for experiencing music. The company aims to position creativity front-and-center at every stage of the experience as a Leo33 artist, from the initial deal through music creation, marketing, streaming, promotion and distribution.
“As the industry evolves, so does the role of the label,” says Dean. “We’re trying to build a model for the future—an entrepreneurial approach that combines the resources of a major with the agility and focus of an independent.”
“The members of this team have experienced so many different facets of this industry—each has a unique perspective and passion,” notes Fontenot, highlighting that the core team’s backgrounds include decades at major record labels and publishing companies.
Dean most recently spent nearly 18 years at Universal Music Group, the last seven at the helm of the MCA Nashville imprint. She has had a hand in the careers of artists including Sam Hunt, George Strait, Kacey Musgraves, Vince Gill, Jordan Davis, Parker McCollum, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban and more. Prior to UMG, Dean spent time at the Country Music Association, Disney’s Lyric Street Records, Music.com, AristoMedia and Mediabase. Contact Dean at [email protected].
Fontenot began her career with BMG Nashville—later Sony Music Nashville— where she held several roles within the company including production, sales, artist development and international. She eventually serving as Director of Marketing & Artist Development at Sony. Fontenot launched her own artist consulting firm in 2017, with a focus on marketing strategy and artist development. She most recently served as VP of Marketing & Artist Development at UMG Nashville. Throughout her career Fontenot has been involved in major projects by artists including Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Maren Morris, Eric Church, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Jon Pardi and more. Contact Fontenot at [email protected].
Lee has served as Creative Director for independent publisher Ten Ten Music Group, as VP of Creative for global music entity BMG, in A&R at Warner Records LA and as President of Altadena, an independent label and publishing venture he founded with late hit songwriter and producer Busbee. Lee was instrumental in the career of Carly Pearce, while also working closely with multi-award winning songwriter Hillary Lindsey and Busbee as he became an in-demand producer for artists such as Morris, Keith Urban and Gwen Stefani. Contact Lee at [email protected].
Osborne, formerly of Downtown Music Publishing, served as Senior Creative Director after beginning as their first intern and quickly working her way up, playing a crucial role in building the company’s office, culture and team. Under her guidance, Downtown signed successful and emerging songwriters such as Madi Diaz, Alex Hall, Fancy Hagood, Sarah Buxton, Lucie Silvas, The Brummies and Yola. She also worked with influential songwriters such as Kendell Marvel, Kelly Archer, Marc Beeson and Big Al Anderson. Contact Osborne at [email protected].
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