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Santa Barbara home base for new record label launched this week

Tina Schlieske is one of the artists featured on a just released album by the new Santa Barbara Records label. She performed at a kickoff event Thursday night.

Santa Barbara Records hopes to reflect California's Americana-style music.

Singer and songwriter Tina Schlieske is one of the performers at a special party taking place on the rooftop of a Santa Barbara hotel.

The beauty of her music is complimented by the panoramic view of the city, and the Santa Ynez Mountain behind her.

The setting couldn’t be more perfect for the event, which is the announcement of the creation of a new record label called Santa Barbara Records.

"It's an opportunity to innovate." said Billy O’Connell.the General Manager of Santa Barbara Records. "Our deals are essentially joint ventures with the artists we sign."
O'Connell says they are excited about being a part of the region's entertainment economy, and can be a driver for jobs.

He says the record label is going to focus on a version of Americana-style music. You have Bakersfield, the California home of country-western music. And, you have Laurel Canyon, California's home of folk music," said O'Connell. "Americana is sort of an overlay of those things, as Santa Barbara is an overlay of those things."

"We're not endeavoring to necessarily encapsulate the Santa Barbara sound, because it's incredibly diverse. " said Tariqh Akoni, the A and R Director for Santa Barbara Records. "We're kind of focused on acoustic, roots music." He said they are looking for artists with a perspective, and a voice.

Akoni says they’ve already signed some artists, with the first album being released a compilation called “CaliAmericana."

Danny McGaw is one of the new artists signed by Santa Barbara Records. McGaw lives in Ojai, but he’s originally from Manchester, England. His efforts to become a recording artist has taken him to nightclubs across America before he landed a deal.

"it's nice to have a team, and people who believe in you," said McGaw. "We're going to use people's different talents to get my music to more audiences."

And that’s what the new record label is hoping to do, which is to connect some unique styles of music with audiences.

Ironically, while we still call the companies which record, and distribute music “record labels," it’s been mostly digital for years.

But, vinyl records have made a comeback because of the richness of the sound. O’Connell says their first album is available on digital and vinyl formats.

Santa Barbara Records Image
CaliAmericana is the first record released by the new Santa Barbara Records recording label.

The company’s first album, CaliAmericana, was released this week.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.