We just put the finishing touches on my great client, Sammy Mitchell’s, exclusive co-publishing deal with Jackie Boyz/Razor & Tie Music Publishing joint venture. The partnership between Jackie Boyz (the Grammy-award winning songwriting/producing team of Battey brothers) and Razor & Tie was formed at the end of 2014 for the purpose of developing fresh new songwriters. Congrats to Sammy, who is one of those new faces and executed the papers earlier this week. Razor & Tie has offices in New York, Nashville and L.A., and, in addition to the Battey brothers, is home to several great writers, including Phillip Larue wo co-wrote Whiskey in my Water, by Tyler Farr, which hit #1 on Country Radio and has been certified as Gold by RIAA.
Sammy started playing the guitar at the age of 10. He had a pension for punk and, go figure, country music. Some of his biggest influences on the uncountry side of the fence were The Beatles, Third Eye Blind, Rage Against The Machine, Refused, Dr Luke, Aaron Sprinkle, Matt Goldman. As for his Oklahoma country side, he admits “I love the textures used in classic recordings [such as] Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, etc.” After high school, Sammy began touring with a band (The City Lives) for a couple of years, which ultimately ending up on Edmond Records (owned by Mike Kennerty and Tyson Ritter of The All American Rejects). After disbanding, Sammy decided to moved to Nashville and enroll in Belmont University’s Mike Curb School of Music Business.
After college, Sammy considered going to law school, but his love of music and producing kept calling him back. So instead of law, he refocused his energy on producing music. He began dabbling on the recording equipment that had been with him since his bedroom in Oklahoma. He sent a few tracks to Steven Battey in LA. The Battey brothers had platinum success with the likes of Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Madonna, and Flo Rida, just to name a few. At that time, Jackie Boyz had just acquired new management under Iain Pirie (Co-Producer of American Idol, 19th Entertainment, Carrie Underwood). Steven Battey was planning on moving to Nashville to develop his own writing in country music. He liked what Sammy sent him, so the two met in Nashville and hit it off. They immediately started writing/producing tracks together and doing co-writes with various songwriters in Nashville. Before long, Sammy found himself writing with the brotherly team, including Carlos, and the three formed a unique bond. Sammy’s deal with the Jackie Boyz/Razor & Tie venture came as a result of the momentum that built from his experience with Steven & Carlos Battey, with whom he formed a tight knit writing and production team.
Sammy describes the amazing opportunity this way:
All the while [we were] shopping our songs to different publishers, labels. I was super green and I was sorta thrown 360 degrees. I hadn’t had much experience in writing sessions or building tracks at a scheduled pace. I don’t think I left my studio for 10 months just trying to develop my skill in new ways, listening and studying music in every genre, just really became obsessed with the process of getting sounds. That was probably the biggest growth period of my career so far. As time went on Iain began managing my stuff and we started growing together as a team. We met with a bunch of major and independent publishers and as time went on formed a good relationship with Razor & Tie. After about 8 months or so of working with their writers and discussing various publishing options, we felt we had a good home with them. They had just hired Brad Kennard (formerly VP of creative at Big Yellowdog) as VP of publishing at Razor & Tie to head Country Music. [So, that is why] I signed to them as a producer/writer. [My] goal is to focus on building my songwriting as well as pushing my track work as a producer. I’m focusing on 90% country music. I love the freedom that exists in country music right now, its a trend that lends to so many different styles. I have always been a fan of Older country music. It was always around while growing up in Oklahoma.
The corroborative effort is sure to exercise all of Sammy’s skill set, and now Sammy has the opportunity to further hone those skills writing with one of the production teams and one of the greatest publishing entities in current music. As he indicated, he is now managed by the same famed manager as Jackie Boyz, Iain Pirie. We wish Sammy great success. I know it is going to be a long and prosperous road and I look forward to growing with him as he succeeds.