Entertainment attorney and artist manager Melody Forrester and Ropeadope Records announce the launch of Artists First Records, a Philadelphia based record label headed by Forrester and connected to the Ropeadope family of labels. 

“We’ve worked long and hard to position ourselves for this amazing opportunity to partner with a like-minded company like Ropeadope. Our visions are aligned—we believe musicians know their art better than businessmen do.” says Forrester. “Artists First Records is a place where independent musicians will be free to concentrate on making original, innovative music in an environment that fully supports their career. This business is about relationships and also having a healthy respect for the artists that make all of this happen-- I never forget that I work for them” she adds. With the launch, Forrester joins a very small sorority of record labels headed by women.

Forrester explains, “As a result of the challenges faced by independent artists in trying to break into the “mainstream” music industry they have largely figured out a way to survive and in many cases even thrive without that validation. Some of them, in the process, have also developed into pretty astute business people who have a clear vision for their own career paths. Artists First Records represents the best of those artists and we support their aspirations with resources.” We don’t worry so much about ‘mainstream’ or genre, we just make great music for real fans.”

In addition to STS, Artists First Records is home to Grammy winner Cee Knowledge (aka Doodlebug from the iconic rap group Digable Planets), R&B/jazz trombonist Jeff Bradshaw, female hip hop/R&B duo and producers KIN4LIFE, rock band Joe Jordan’s Experiment, singer/songwriter/poet Selina Carrera (recently seen on NBC’s “The Voice”) and singer/songwriter Ty Ward.

Ropeadope is an independent record label known for unique recordings that cross genres. Founded in 1999, the label has released over 160 recordings, with historically progressive albums from an impressive roster of artists including King Britt, John Medeski, Col. Bruce Hampton, Christian McBride, Snarky Puppy, and Christian Scott.  The label has been at the forefront of the new music business, tailoring a new model of artist support and unique social media strategies. Ropeadope is a hub for artist driven INTERdependent label imprints including SOC (Sounds of Crenshaw) headed by producer Terrace Martin,  RSVP Records founded by Robert “Sput” Searight of Snarky Puppy, Mashibeats, Jellowstone Records, Tribo Records, FNBeats Galore, Atlanta Records, Prince Polo Records, Ropeadope Sur, and Onde Music.