That’s the one thing you should know about Centricity Music, according to its General Manager, Steve Ford.
In an industry full of formulas for success and standard best practices, a label proclaiming its pride in doing things differently is a bold move. But for Centricity, that’s the way it’s always been.
Founded in 2004, the label was launched with a mission of supporting independent Christian artists. But it wanted to serve them beyond just signing record deals and watching if they became quick successes. Senior VP of A&R John Mays reflects on how the Centricity team pursued deeper ideals:
“Coming from major labels and rosters, there was a feeling of, at best, frustration and, at worst, a bit of hopelessness that you could actually work with these musicians you believed in and have time to care over every aspect of your relationship with them. Of course making music and producing records with them, but beyond that– that you could really know these people, know their families, know their lives and where these songs are coming from,” he says. “That led us to ask ‘What if we didn’t do it the typical way? Could we build something that was built on relationship first?’ Those were nothing but questions. We didn’t know what that would look like.”
But he and Centricity’s founders forged a path. They dedicated their efforts to truly investing in artists, helping them develop their talents and grow. With the drastic changes in music business of the last decade, all signs indicate a slow, persistent approach like this shouldn’t have worked…But 13 years later, the label stands strong, and those personal investments have yielded powerful impacts for music-listeners everywhere. Centricity is now home to 12 Christian music acts, ranging from solo artists to worship bands: Aaron Shust, Andrew Peterson, Carrollton, For All Seasons, Grayson|Reed, Jason Gray, JJ Weeks Band, Jonny Diaz, Jordan Feliz, Lauren Daigle, North Point InsideOut, and Unspoken. With core values of faith, relationships, and support, the label proves itself more than a business partner for its musicians, but a family.
“Maintaining that intentional relationship with each of our artists is priority,” Ford says, “We want to be involved not just in making music with the artists, but living life with them. We want to walk the road with them.”
And as Centricity and its artists have walked that road, they’ve found themselves with accolades such as Grammy nominations, Dove Awards, and Gold Albums, to name a few. It goes to show that when a label takes its time to really connect with artists it believes in, the work produced has powerful potential to connect with others. Along with its artists, Centricity itself has grown, now housing publishing services and an imprint label for mainstream artists. But even with additional resources, a wider variety of artists, and a few extra #1 singles, the goal of this little-label-that-could has not changed.
“Years ago we came up with the mission statement ‘Enabling our artists to create life-changing experiences for the world.’ And our goal now? It’s still that,” Ford says. “Enabling, serving, working with our artists to create an impact…to see what God can do.”