The Nation of Love: connecting musicians with music lovers
With a mission to “create fresh, inventive art with musical sounds” and “promote skillful musicians and songwriters whose goal is to compose from mind, body, and soul,” The Nation of Love is an independent record label that connects passionate music makers with devout music lovers.
In 2009, songwriter/drummer/producer Phylshawn Johnson founded the label out of a desire to create and promote albums. “Inspired by Motown Records having musicians and artists that searched for a new sound and had a professional way about them,” Johnson remarks, “the mission was to find artists to compose in a unique way but also connect with the listener.”
Mr. History was the first band whose album was released under The Nation of Love’s purview, and the label has since added fellow KC band The Future Kings and Columbia artists Violet & the Undercurrents, Ruth Acuff, Zorya, Violet Vonder Haar, and Phylshawn. “I wasn’t looking for the most popular musicians,” says Johnson, “but those who would always make music because it’s their calling and love.” As a result, the label’s artist roster is an interconnected and collaborative collective of musicians that has released more than 15 albums altogether since its inception.
Johnson runs The Nation of Love from Columbia, where the music/arts scene has gained tremendous support and traction in recent years. Most of the label’s Columbia artists have been building their fan base in various projects for over 10 years, helping establish the city’s musical identity. “I believe that every artist/band should have their town or city behind them, and bands should represent their town or city. To me, artists express the world around them and the world that influences them.”
The Nation of Love continues to expand its reach by embarking on its first tour in March with Ruth Acuff, Violet & the Undercurrents, and Future Kings. They’ve also launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for travel and showcase expenses. The Golden Hour Tour, from March 14-21, will cover venues in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, with several unofficial showcases at the big music fest in Austin (including a day party at MidCoast Takeover on March 19).
As the label grows, Johnson hopes to connect with more artists, venues, and fans. For now, The Nation of Love relies on a solid foundation of artists savvy in the music business. “Each NOL artist is special and unique in a sonic way,” Johnson says. “Also, they are more than artists; they are my friends and family. We are all connected in some way.”
Michelle is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
This Saturday, January, 31, The Nation of Love will be showcasing four of its artists (Ruth Acuff, Zorya, Violet & the Undercurrents, and The Future Kings) at Coda. Doors at 8 pm. Facebook event page.
You can also visit this page to help The Nation of Love reach its goal for The Golden Hour Tour; the campaign ends February 6. Listen to tunes from each of the artists at this link.
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