ISLAND RECORDS, the record label behind Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grande, Bob Marley, and even Queen, has opened its first Asian outpost in the Philippines, in a bid to strengthen its Asian influence and help local talents “achieve local success whilst reaching new audiences worldwide.”

“We are excited to launch Island Records here in the Philippines and to build our own family of local artists that can further extend the huge legacy of Island within the region and beyond,” said Enzo Valdez, managing director of Universal Music Philippines, in a statement. “In the coming years, we will look to establish Island as a home to some of the most impactful and important artists from the Philippines, whilst introducing them to new audiences around the world through [Universal Music Group’s] unrivalled global network of companies around the world.”

Island Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group (UMG), was established in 1966 by businessman Chris Blackwell. The label was credited to have introduced Jamaican reggae music to the world via Bob Marley.

“Island Records actually celebrates artistry, individuality, style… and edgy,” Mr. Valdez said during a digital conference on July 24 via Zoom.

The label’s initial Philippine roster includes pop singers Lala Vinzon and Zach Tabudio, blues and soul band Juan Karlos, electronic pop outfit One Click Straight, alternative rock band Over October, and “cool indie pop artist” Fern.

The introduction of Island Records Philippines follows the launch of Def Jam Philippines in 2019 (another UMG subsidiary) which focuses on promoting and signing hip-hop and rap artists.

Coinciding with the launch of the new label is the release of Juan Karlos’ song “Bless U” which will be followed by “Nangangamba” by Zach Tabudio, to be released on July 31.

And because live shows and concerts are not allowed currently due to the health and safety restrictions imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), Mr. Valdez said that they plan to hold online live shows by the new Island Records artists to promote their music.

“We want to be creative. We have a couple of digital concerts down the line. But we have to make it exciting for the fans,” he said before adding that the label is “trying different ways of tying up with brands and so on.”

“[We are trying] as much as possible to make sure that they can still be artists once the pandemic is done,” Mr. Valdez said, admitting that the absence of live shows and concerts is a big blow to artists as it is where they make money. — Zsarlene B. Chua