You may have heard of the musicians that pass through large venues like London Music Hall and Budweiser Gardens, but London happens to have a thriving music community that exists in smaller, vibrant corners. Richard Gracious and Forest City Records wants to make sure you know about the artists that bring those corners alive.
Gracious has played music for most of his life. He is a graduate of Fanshawe’s Music Industry Arts program and is the lead vocalist and guitarist in his long-time band, Mountain of Wolves. He saw a gap in London for a record label that could provide the all-around services of larger (usually Toronto-based) labels and decided to take the leap. After completing the LeapIN program, he partnered with his long-time friend, Jamie Faye Ryan, and together they’ve dove head first into the business.
He’s a man of few words when it comes to interviews, but if you’ve ever wanted to hear a bit more about producing or about the latest events, Richard and Forest City Records has you covered.
What does your business do?
We are a development label for up and coming musicians. Our goal is to help them with marketing, public relations, grant writing, release planning and helping artists create records from start to finish. We also want to help them get to a point where they can professionalize their careers – ensuring that they have support throughout their initial stages of growth. We want to grow with the artists we support and helping them understand the importance of branding and making them aware of the funding opportunities available to them is something we are strongly focused on.
As an entrepreneur, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?
My laptop and cellphone are probably two of the most important physical tools. Support from the city, community and my business partner are probably the most important intangible things I couldn’t live without.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to start their own business?
Leap in… take a risk and start it and learn as much as you can while you are growing. Also, know when you are taking on too much. Going all in doesn’t have to mean burnout.
Who inspires you?
What’s a Forest City Records must have?
We have an affinity for all things vinyl related so for us it is a good record player and records. I also think that having the passion and drive for your community and an open-mindedness and willingness to learn are part and parcel. Talent doesn’t hurt either.
If you had a slogan, what would it be?
My business partner and I made a joke about this last week ‘not sure what we do, just look at our name!’ We make records in the Forest City.