ASBURY PARK, NJ (AERIA RECORDS/ www.aeriarecords.com) - AERIA a new label helmed by area recording artist Coleman a.k.a. "Colie" Brice and distributed by Fontana a unit of Universal Music
Group is to be based in Asbury Park, NJ. Detroit
had Motown, Memphis
had Stax and Sun, Seattle has Sub Pop, and now Asbury Park has AERIA!
This all started at a modest grass roots level back in 2000 when Brice was playing with Brian Saint & the Sinners, and doing a lot of work with local media and community groups - performing at fundraisers, etc. in order to help promote the revitalization of Asbury Park. Brice states:
"Its always been the local musicians and artists of this region that have really kept the home fires burning when others have abandoned ship. For that reason, it is my heart's desire to help preserve and position Asbury's musical legacy on the world stage and simultaneously empower a new generation of talented recording artists who call coastal NJ home. All due respect to the immense talent and success of Bruce Springsteen
and Bon Jovi, but there is a tremendous wealth of additional NJ talent here that needs to come out of the herd and be heard on a national level too."
In the Fall of 2000 Brice left his home in Bradley Beach to pursue a position at Classic Records and a new media start up in Hollywood, California called TheMusic.com. His responsibilities included marketing, creative direction, and business development. Accomplishments included a licensing deal for the sound tracks to Vinyl Film's Almost
Famous & Vanilla Sky, a deal with the Who to produce a box set of their 2002 tour, and audiophile vinyl reissues of the Led Zeppelin
He simultaneously produced a new media music site that pioneered paid downloads, live broadband web casts, and showcased thousands of indie musicians. He also conducted celebrity interviews with Ray Charles, Graham Nash, Heart, Slash, and Cameron Crowe among other prominent music industry VIPs. When site visitors would come to check out the celebrity interviews they would often encounter music and information about Asbury Park area musicians as well.
During this time Brice also maintained an active artistic career by performing at the Knitting Factory, Roxy Theatre and Viper Room in Hollywood. At this time he also licensed repertoire from his two solo albums to MTV for soundtrack use on the reality TV shows "Fraternity Life" and "Sorority Life".
Coleman's success in Hollywood led to an offer in 2002 to join the team resurrecting the legendary Mobile
Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL). His first major coup was cutting a licensing deal with Aimee Mann's Super Ego for vinyl and SACD rights to her first two solo albums. Additionally, over the past two years Brice has directed marketing, PR, and promotional activity for releases by John Lennon, Aimee Mann, Miles Davis, the Kinks, Los Lobos, Ravel, Mussorgsky, Ryan Adams, Patricia
Barber, Primus, and many others. MFSL releases music on LP, Gold, CD, and SACD. Additionally the company has branded its own line of loudspeakers and the new Ultradisc CD-R.
For all his adventures in California, Colie's ultimate desire was to one day return home and start a record company in Asbury Park, yet he also knew intuitively that he would have to leave the local scene for a while in order to build up his resume and earn the credentials necessary to attract serious business partners. Thus the dream was put on hold as Brice set upon the task of building real world business experience commensurate with his artistic credibility. Eventually Song Haus Music
Group offered Colie partnership in AERIA in exchange for taking over creative direction of the label. In 2003 AERIA released the self titled debut of New Machine by fellow Phantom's Opera comrades Bob Gilmartin and Dave Garcia. The album was extremely well received in the AOR community and eventually licensed throughout Europe. AERIA's second release was a poptronica debut by Long Branch based artist/producer Chris Corley of 1123 Music. Brice is extremely proud of those initial AERIA releases, but without mainstream retail distribution, he was severely limited in what he could do for his artists, so he did what he could, bided his time and concentrated on his day job at MFSL.
Recently a business plan that Brice wrote attracted the attention of Jim Urie, president of Universal Music
and Video Distribution (UMVD). Consequently AERIA has been offered a pressing and distribution deal with Universal's newly created independent distribution arm Fontana. Brice feels that AERIA's time is now and is ecstatic to combine the creative freedom of an indie with the major label distribution muscle of the world's leading music and media entity. Says Brice, "Many of today's artists are self contained, they don't necessarily need somebody in the studio telling them what to do, yet they do need a fair chance to have their recordings available to the public in a large scale, professional manner.
I've decided to base AERIA here so that Asbury's musical legacy can be furthered, honored and harvested. I want nothing less than to further establish Asbury as a major American musical City akin to Austin, Nashville, or New Orleans. There is a certain vibe here, the unique alchemy of the Jersey Shore Sound, a spirit in the night that affects nearly every musician who plays here. This collective musical soul is yearning and burning to have a bigger voice on the world stage. I want AERIA to be nothing less than a musical ministry fulfilling this purpose."
AERIA's immediate plans are to release the debut album of teen prodigy Brian Amsterdam during the winter of 2005 (Release Date TBA). "At 17 years of age, Brian Amsterdam has already jammed with members of the E Street Band, Phish, and Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies. He's also performed for the Governor of NJ at the grand reopening of the Stone Pony and played countless benefits at local venues. His debut album is eclectic, adventurous, prolific beyond his years, and sonically sensuous. I can't possibly think of a more fitting or deserving young artist to help me launch and articulate my vision for AERIA", says Colie Brice.