NEW YORK-In a move
designed to add to its A&R resources,
Records has signed a deal with Deston
Entertainment, a label coowned by
songwriter/producer Desmond Child and his
manager, Winston Simone
(Billboard Oct. 14).
Under the pact, Universal will provide
marketing, promotion, and
distribution support for the New York
The move follows close on the heels of
Mercury Records' pact with famed
producer/songwriter Jim Steinman (see
story, page 97).
"Deston is a boutique label working
basically from pop music," Child
tells Billboard. The label's first
release, due in the first quarter of
1999, will be the still-untitled debut
album from Jason Raize, who is
currently playing the title role in
Broadway's "The Lion King." Deston
also has a development deal with rock band
Eve To Adam.
Universal Music Group chairman/ CEO Doug
Morris says that the deal with
Deston was in large part a result of
"being impressed with Desmond's
work with [Universal artist] Billie Myers.
We're very excited about
working with Desmond and Winston, who are
very talented people."
Universal Music Group vice chairman/COO
Mel Lewinter adds, "Desmond has
a proven track record, and we have great
expectations for this label."
Child's track record as a songwriter
and/or producer encompasses a slew
of hit singles, including Ricky Martin's
"The Cup Of Life," Bon Jovi's
"Livin' On A Prayer," Aerosmith's "Dude
(Looks Like A Lady)," and
Trisha Yearwood & Garth Brooks"'
"Where Your Road Leads."
Although Deston will have satellite
offices in Miami and Nashville, the
label will be sparsely staffed because it
will be a boutique imprint,
say Child and Simone.
"We're a lean, mean, fighting machine,"
According to Morris, Child and Simone will
be handling all A&R
responsibilities for Deston. "We won't be
taking unsolicited material,"
says Child. "We find a lot of new talent
through attorney referrals."
Simone adds, "We're always on the lookout
for talent, but it's not like
we go out to a lot of nightclubs. We're
looking for unique voices. Our
background is having hits, and we want hit
Deston artist Raize says that the success
of the Tony-winning "The Lion
King" and his exposure on "The Rosie
O'Donnell Show" helped him land a
"It makes a difference working with people
who can understand things
from an artist's perspective," he says.
Raize, who is currently juggling his "Lion
King" work and recording his
album, describes his debut set as "very
pop with an R&B flavor.
I'll be staying in 'The Lion King' for a
short time after the release
of the album. I'll be promoting the album,
but I haven't made plans for
a tour yet."
Child says that Deston is one of the music
enterprises he and Simone
run; they also work with music production
(including the Miami-based
Gentlemen's Club recording studio) and
"The appeal of our label to an artist,"
says Child, "is that [Simone
and I] come from an artist and management
background, so we have this
sensitivity to an artist's needs. We can
relate to them more on a