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We tossed a few questions at Human Re Sources chief J Erving, who’s been having a moment with RAYE’s hit single “Escapism.” Much to our surprise, he answered them.

How has the company's unique positioning allowed for success with past artists?
Our management background has allowed us to have the skills to discover artists early on by relying on gut and knowing how to move an artist from soup to nuts and lean into working with our partners. Knowing the ins-and-outs of finding and developing artists, creating music and ultimately marketing and promoting is something that allows us as a distributor to be very targeted with how we deploy resources to break an artist. We are very strategic about the artists we choose to work with, and the passion must be there on both sides of the relationship—we’re offering a deep-dive approach that other distribution companies can’t really offer.

How did this strategy and formula win over RAYE and lead to her success?
RAYE originally came to us with a body of work that we believed in. We looked for the full artist proposition. What we saw was a global pop artist who believed Human Re Sources’ holistic approach and services could move the needle to help her reach that potential. We supported RAYE in bringing her vision to life rather than dictating the vision. We worked with her to get the music out there in a way that set up an infrastructure around “Escapism,” so that when we began to see engagement explode, we could capitalize in a way that would impact all elements of RAYE’s career—from streams to ticket sales to industry looks.

How many people work at Human Re-Sources?
Human Re Sources currently has 14 employees; our team is 100% people of color. Our holistic approach to our artists requires perspectives from culture movers, and we’ve learned that such talent isn’t found through resume sifting but by looking at our community and finding people who are passionate and driven culture movers. We don’t need traditional hires; we need talent that has a diverse perspective and can bring fresh ideas to the table.

How do you put together a team?
I don’t even look at resumes. I found that referrals and the feeling you get from sitting down with someone is how you can get a true measure of the fit and their ability. The prevailing hiring model in the music industry has kept out a lot of very talented people with potential who have not necessarily had the chance at that notable internship or that ability to get into the touted college program. For me, identifying people with passion and ideas, is more important than any institutional accolade or resume bullet.

What do you want people to know about Human Re Sources as it relates to this moment?
Through our signature artist first approach we have been able to break RAYE in a way that other distributors just don’t have the ability to do. This is the latest win in our extensive history and resume of artist development from Brent Faiyaz to Pink Sweat$ to RAYE—our holistic approach shows that you don’t need to be a legacy act to find success in the music industry.

What’s next for the company?
Human Re Sources is going to continue to take artists like RAYE all the way and break new acts in ways that will position themselves for long-term success. We have tons of new music from RAYE on the horizon, including a full-length album, and a nearly sold-out 15-date tour.

Take us through a typical day at the company.
I'm usually the first one in—I’m kind of the early bird around the office. One of our young teammates, Ivi, does a “what my boss wears to work” blog, so she chronicles my outfit for the day, most specifically my sneakers, because I've bragged often about having one of the best sneaker collections in Los Angeles.

We have a family atmosphere around the office. Lots of laughing, lots of joking, lots of music, noise and energy. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, but we are hyper-focused on getting our jobs done. We often have lunch together, which is a point of contention at times because they never want to eat what I want to eat. I oftentimes have to defer to what they want.

I always tell folks: We aren't working at a bank. We're not laying concrete. What we get to do is a blessing, every day. And we try to, we try our best to enjoy it. There's also a night shift because we have studios connected to our office. So as the day shift ends and seven, eight o'clock rolls around, we start to move to the night shift, and creatives are coming in, songwriters, producers, artists are coming in and kind of, they hold it down until the morning, when I'm back in.


On 1/31 execs from eight boutique music companies hosted the second installment of their Grammy-week mixer, Level Up. Hosting 250+ women from across the industry, the event was organized in partnership with Live Nation Women, PKA Law, and SOCAN.

“Our intention with Level Up ‘23 was not only to celebrate the incredible women we know in music, but also to inspire collaboration amongst women in music across various companies,” reads a statement from the group. “The collaboration between all co-hosts is an essential part of the synergetic, motivational and inspirational atmosphere.”

Capitol’s Amanda Samii and Aria McKnight, loop legal’s Lulu Pantin, UMPG’s Taylor Testa, Position Music’s Sam Sklar and TikTok’s Lysa Cárdenas were among the executives in attendance. The event also hosted a bevy of rising stars, including EMELINE, Leah Haywood and UPSAHL.

Pictured here in the calm just before the storm are (top, l-r) Spark Music Group’s Cassie Massa Epand, Mega House’s Laura Higbee and Haley Evans, SMG’s Kelsey Sides, SILO: Music’s Jessica Thomas, ATG Group’s Noreen Prunier, Cool Shit, Cool People’s Maria Gironas; (bottom, l-r) Page 1’s Danielle Middleton, Maison ArtsLivia Piomelli and Arielle Tindel, and This Fiction’s Margaux Katz.

Photo credit:@cameronjordan_photography

RAYE (Human Re Sources/The Orchard)

WHAT IT IS: South Londoner RAYE, neé Rachel Keen, has become a dynamic force since dropping her first EP in 2014, notching 3b+ career streams, eight Top 20 U.K. singles and four BRIT noms—plus 3.5b+ streams for hits she’s penned for the likes of Beyoncé and John Legend. “Escapism.” f/070 Shake, RAYE’s highest-charting single to date and first-ever #1 in the U.K., sets the tone for her long-awaited debut album, My 21st Century Blues. She has writing credits on all 13 songs and co-produced six tracks on the LP, which is executive-produced by Mike Sabath.
ALBUM: My 21st Century Blues
SINGLE: “Escapism.” f/070 Shake
TV: Graham Norton (U.K.)
LIVE: Sold out My 21st Century Blues 2023 headline world tour; joining Lewis Capaldi on his sold-out Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent IE/U.K. tour dates
INTERNET: 33m+ monthly Spotify listeners; nearly 200m+ global streams on “Escapism.” at presstime; 1m+ TikTok creations, 2b+ total views; #5 Spotify U.S. Viral chart, #10 Global Top 50, #20 U.S.; was #1 on Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits (cover), more
RADIO: Impacted Pop and Rhythm on 1/9; #23 at Pop (Top 10 Most Added week of 1/24), #22 at Rhythm at presstime
PRESS: Cosmo U.K. (cover); V, Rolling Stone, N.Y. Times, PAPER, UPROXX, more
BOOKING: Marty Diamond, Tom Schroeder & Eli Gelernter/Wasserman
PUBLISHING: Warner Chappell U.K.
MANAGEMENT: Tia Ferguson, Paul Keen & Sarah Keen