The 116 Life Episode 46: Reach Wrapped 2023
2023 has been a year of success and growth for Reach Records. And on this episode of The 116 Life, SVP of A&R Ace Harris is in the hot seat as we have an in-depth discussion about the past year at label, the creative process behind some of their biggest hits, and the growth of their artists.
A Christian Music Renaissance
Ace and Meah kicked off our conversation by discussing the current state of Christian music. According to Ace, we are in the midst of a Christian music renaissance, fueled by the internet. This has led to significant growth and viral success for Christian artists.
The Unexpected Success of “Walk” by Hulvey
One of the highlights of our conversation was the story behind the song “Walk” by Hulvey. Initially, the team at Reach Records wasn’t sure if the song was great and didn’t plan for it to come out. However, after its release on MLK day, it gained traction and received support from celebrities like Jamie Foxx.
The Creative Process Behind “Used By You”
Ace also shared insights into the creative process behind the song “Used By You.” The beat was initially created in just 20 minutes using loops and was sent to Hulvey for feedback. After some more work, the idea for the song came together, and it was decided that it should be a solo track for Hulvey.
Celebrating Wande’s Successful Year
We then shifted our conversation to Wande and her successful year. We discussed her diverse range of songs, from the uplifting “Winning” to the soulful “You” and the R&B-infused “Wild and Free” with Doe.
Trip Lee’s Trust in the Marketing Team
We also discussed the success of Trip Lee as an album artist and his decision to trust the marketing team to create a singles rollout for him. We highlighted the seamless aesthetic thread that was maintained throughout the rollout, starting with the song “At the Cross” featuring Madison Ryan Ward.
The Positive Response to “Mercy”
Next, we discussed the release of Trip Lee’s EP “Epilogue,” which featured a collaboration with Kirk Franklin on the song “Mercy.” The song received a positive response, especially from people who may not be familiar with Christian hip-hop.
Limoblaze’s Consistent Work Ethic
We then shifted our focus to Lecrae’s artist, Limoblaze, and his consistent work ethic. We discussed his strategic use of social media and the impact of his songs “Put It on God” and “Beautiful Day.”
The Unpredictability of Song Success
Ace reflected on the unpredictability of song success and how artists can’t always control how their music is received. He mentioned the quote, “The artists make the music, but the fans make the hits,” emphasizing the role of the listeners in determining the success of a song.
RG’s Authenticity and Artistic Integrity
We also discussed the growth and success of RG, one of the artists on Reach Records. We emphasized that RG’s authenticity and artistic integrity shine through in his music, making it relatable and impactful.
The Importance of Aging Gracefully in Hip Hop
Ace discussed the importance of aging gracefully in hip hop and being mindful of culture. He mentioned artists like Triple Lee, Tadashii, and Lecrae, as examples of artists who are mindful of the youth and are able to authentically connect with them.
The Significance of Atlanta’s Hip Hop Culture
Finally, we discussed the significance of Atlanta’s hip hop culture and its recent challenges. Ace mentioned the YSL trial involving Young Thug and how it has affected the city’s hip hop scene.
The 116 Life 2024
2023 was definitely one to remember and we are so grateful to the listeners and supporters. And we are looking forward to 2024! Thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you next episode.
The success of “Walk” (00:03:07) The behind-the-scenes story of how the song “Walk” by Hulvey and Lecrae became a hit, despite initial doubts about its release.
The creation of “Alter” and “Used By You” (00:04:43) The process behind the creation of the songs “Alter” and “Used By You” by Hulvey, including the decision to feature Forus and the growth of Hovey as an artist.
The impact of “Love Like That” (00:07:18) The special significance of the song “Love Like That” and its creation, as well as the personal connection of Ace Harris, who had just become a father.
The Making of “Used By You” (00:07:46) Ace Harris discusses the creative process behind the song “Used By You” and how it came together organically.
Wanda’s Diverse Releases (00:08:51) Meah and Ace talk about the diversity in Wanda’s releases, including songs like “Winning,” “You,” “One Day,” and “Wild and Free.”
The Essence of “Stepping in the Light” (00:12:07) Ace explains how the song “Stepping in the Light” embodies the true essence of Wande as an artist, celebrating black women, Christianity, and beauty in a pure way.
The Singles Rollout (00:16:32) Discussion on the success of Trip Lee’s singles rollout strategy and the seamless aesthetic thread of every song and visual.
The Epilogue Album (00:20:04) The conversation highlights the release of Trip Lee’s Epilogue album, featuring the song “Mercy” with Kirk Franklin, and the positive response it received from fans.
Limoblaze’s Consistency (00:22:22) The discussion focuses on Limoblaze’s consistent release of music and his strategic approach to managing his brand and business.
The success of “Pretty Day” (00:24:30) Discussion about the unexpected popularity of the song “Pretty Day” and its impact on people struggling with mental health.
The journey of “Your Power” (00:27:35) Explanation of the decision to keep the song “Your Power” off the album “Church Clothes” and the surprise nomination for a Grammy award.
The story behind “God Made a Way” (00:31:14) The creation and release of the song “God Made a Way” by Whatuprg, highlighting his personal journey and the message of trust in God.
The growth and success of RG (00:33:53) RG’s song “Stay Down” and its powerful message, the authenticity of his music, and the success of his live performances.
Heaven on Earth collective (00:35:09) RG’s involvement in the collective, the early stages of the project, and the unity and camaraderie among the artists.
Tadashii’s resilience and artistry (00:39:04) Tadashii’s journey through adversity, his unwavering determination, his ability to rap and adapt to the changing music landscape.
The growth of artists and being mindful of culture (00:42:17) Ace Harris discusses the importance of being mindful of culture and surrounding oneself with a younger perspective to age gracefully in hip hop.
Praying for Atlanta and the on fire project (00:43:50) Meah asks about the anticipation for Young Auto IQ’s project and discusses the importance of praying for Atlanta. Ace Harris talks about the song “On Fire” and its significance in reflecting the culture of Atlanta.
Reflecting on the progress and impact of Reach Records (00:46:46) Ace Harris expresses gratitude to God and the Reach Records team for the progress, success, and impact of the label’s artists and releases throughout the year.
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