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R&B/Hip Hop Producer Devyne Stephens Starts New Label
Atlanta-based producer/artist development whiz has entered a distribution deal with SRC/Universal Motown Records for his new label.
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
8/15/2006 8:23:09 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Akon and Red Dirt. Hip Hop, Rap, New Releases, Record Labels and Production.

Devyne Stephens, the Atlanta-based artist development whiz who executive-produced and engineered multi-platinum R&B singer/producer Akon’s 2004 debut Trouble, has inked a venture with SRC/Universal Motown Records to distribute Stephens’ new label Upfront Entertainment. Upfront Entertainment’s first release will be FA, a rap/hip hop group. The second will be Red Dirt, a male R&B group.

“I’m excited to help Devyne make his vision a reality. Devyne has been instrumental in helping to develop some of the biggest stars in the music industry. Now that he has signed a label deal with SRC/Universal Motown, we are confident that with his experience in artist development, the artist we put out on Upfront will be nothing but the best,” states SRC CEO, Steven Rifkind.

"I am driven by my passion and love for music, as well as for developing young up-and-coming stars," he says. Stephens, the consummate businessman, also recently brokered a deal for Akon’s Kon Live Music with Interscope Records.

Stephens entered the music business as a rap entertainer signed to LaFace Records, where, under the guidance of Antonio “L.A.” Reid, he got involved in artist development. He first found fame as a choreographer for LaFace artists such as TLC, Usher, Toni Braxton and Pink.. To date, he has worked with superstars such as Jay-Z, P. Diddy, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Lil Jon, Ludacris, Ciara, Mary J. Blige and Busta Rhymes.

Stephens and Akon met while rehearsing at Devyne’s rehearsal studio, The Funk Shop, soon after Akon signed to Stephens’ Upfront Entertainment. Stephens immediately began looking for a major label to help market, promote and distribute Akon and eventually teamed up with music impresario Steve Rifkind of SRC and Loud Records; together they catapulted Akon to worldwide prominence spawning the domestic and international chart-toping singles, "Locked Up" and "Lonely," as well as "Soul Survivor," the hit on which Akon sings and Young Jeezy raps.

In addition to Akon, platinum-selling singer-songwriter Kandi, of Xscape, is also signed to Upfront Entertainment.Stephens is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on Akon’s sophomore CD, and developing Upfront’s newest addition, Rod Michaels, a male vocalist and musician that hails from Philadelphia.

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