Toronto rapper/singer Snow has been working on tracks for his next album, including writing stints with Atlanta-based RedZone Entertainment, the team of writers and producers whose credits include recent chart success Blu Cantrell.
"We're working with producers to go back towards what Snow was originally, and that is to bring out the urban artist," explains Snow's U.S.-based manager Sam Kling, who also handles Elwood.
Snow, whose real name is Darrin O'Brien, was in Atlanta from Sept. 26 to 29, working with RedZone's co-founder Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, who has worked with such acts as Mya, Tamia, Tyrese, Ginuwine, and 98 Degrees. He also served as executive producer on Atlanta R&B singer Blu Cantrell's Arista debut, "So Blu".
"Blu Cantrell was in the studio with us for three days, and that could be a future collaboration," says Kling.
The writing stint yielded "a new single" in demo form called "What's Up," which Kling describes as having a hip-hop vibe with a classic Snow flow. "It's about a woman trying to be a player but getting left out in the rain," he says.
The other song, still unfinished, is called "I Know You're Feelin' It." It has a similar feel and vocal delivery to "What's Up", with the addition of big R&B choruses. "It's a club anthem," Kling says.
Kling hooked Snow up with RedZone through Peermusic Publishing's senior director of creative affairs, Monti Olson, in New York. The publishing company represents the music production and writing team.
"(Snow) just went down there cold and started working on new material, and (he's) going to go down at the end of this month or early November and start working on some more," says Kling.
Snow will be in New York City from Oct. 10, for four or five days, working with a new EMI Music Publishing artist, producer and writer named Danny P, who was signed by Brian Jackson, the man responsible for signing top producers/writers the Neptunes and Rodney Jerkins.
Snow's "toasting" skills -- the rapid-fire rap first heard on his breakthrough single "Informer" from 1993's "12-Inches of Snow" -- were underutilized on his latest album, "Mind On The Moon", which was aimed at the pop market.
Kling says two songs from that album, "Everybody Wants To Be Like You" and "Someday Somehow", were remixed back in June by Jamey Stauv (Everlast, Incubus), which "brought them more away from a pop song to a more alternative sound, a more rock sound."
"Everybody Wants To Be Like You" was the first single off "Mind On The Moon", but "Someday Somehow" couldn't be the fourth single in Canada because it didn't qualify as CanCon, says Kling, "so they (Virgin-EMI) went with 'Nothin' On Me'."
The album, he says, is just shy of gold in Canada. It never did get a U.S. release, and the artist is now up for grabs by any label, not necessarily one from the EMI Music Group family.
"Basically, we're working on a new record and hopefully it will come out on EMI in Canada and we'll find a new label for it in the States," says Kling.
"Hopefully, we will have most of the record done by the end of November."
Kling first discovered Snow's talent when Ken Krongard, then A&R at Arista in New York, was interested in the artist and recommended that Kling include him on his company Madgroove's second "Mad Hitz" compilation, in May of 2000, of unsigned artists, which is mailed to record labels. He chose a demo version of "Someday Somehow."
"Paula (Danylevich of Hype Music) was still managing him", says Kling, "and it was Barbara (Sedun, Snow's VP of creative at EMI Music Publishing Canada) who told me that Darrin and Paula had split and that Darrin needed new management".