Local artist Drayvon Fairley, who is also an East Carolina University alumnus, otherwise known as “Dre of the East,” launched his label 94 East last month with the first album “94 East the Label” to feature himself and other artists set to be released Nov. 15.
Fairley said he planned to be signed to a label by this year, which did not pan out, so he decided to start his own. He said the name 94 East is a combination of the year Fairley was born and a part of his name. He said the label’s artists have a mixture between both drive and talent.
“I’ve always been one who wanted to see other people succeed. It is so much talent around here and I feel like it would be selfish to not bring someone along with me. The more people you have with a common goal, the easier it is to make something happen,” Fairley said.
Fairley said he would encourage others who want to pursue a career in music. He said the longer someone waits on what they want to do, the more difficult it is.
There will be a chance for more artists to be a part of 94 East, according to Fairley. He said he currently has seven artists signed and wants to have a total of 10 by the end of the year. He said he will look for a rapper, female or male, a R&B singer and another female artist.
“We make music that’s going to go global. Not just what you can play in the club, anybody can listen to our music and get something from it,” Fairley said.
The goal for the label within the next year is to become a household name in the industry, with tours as it’s what typical artists do, Fairley said. He said he wants to be in a position to give back and offer opportunities to artists from his hometown Red Springs, North Carolina, as well as in Greenville, North Carolina.
Fairley said he has held events at a limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions since the label’s launch. He said the events have been practice for the artists to perform and get ready for larger audiences.
“There is so much talent here, I want this to be a creative hub as well, so we can do a lot for the city of Greenville. They just have to help us and believe in us and believe that we’re going to do it the right way,” Fairley said.
Jasmine Carmon “Baby Jas” said she is in the development stage with 94 East and hopes to be signed to the label officially. She said Fairley works to help her develop as an artist and calls the artists of 94 East family.
Carmon describes her music as fun and for the empowerment of women. She said she loves to dance and have fun. She said she has progressed as an artist through work with Fairley.
“Dre (Fairley) is awesome, I’ve never seen anyone around here doing this. It’s been great Dre and Problem (“problemchildkea,” 94 East artist) has really helped me. Dre taking me under his wing, it's been a really good experience so far,” Carmon said.
Korea Thorpe “Pretty Gutta,” a 94 East artist, said her artistry started with poetry and now she mostly raps. She said she tries other genres and doesn't put herself in a box and does whatever the beat tells her to do.
Thorpe said it has been a fun experience to be a part of 94 East. She is the only female artist on the label right now and said she feels like the queen of the group.
“All the guys respect me and that means a lot to me in this industry because gaining respect from males and not having them come at you on a disrespectful level is very important,” Thorpe said. “It makes me feel like you take me seriously and respect my craft.”
With feedback from Dre and Thorpe said she has the freedom to create as an artist. She said performing at the events 94 East had so far has been a great experience and people have already come out to support.
The artists go out with Fairely to meet new people and network, according to Thorpe. She said she is sure the musicians will have more support once people hear their music. She said she loves the album because everyone has a different sound and brings something different.
“‘Lit Now’ (a song on the upcoming album) is going to be the best song Greenville has ever heard. It's a pop song, a feel good song. The song is out of my comfort zone but it's probably one of the best songs I’ve done,” Thorpe said.
Kwasi Chabwera “Kwasi Moto” is a 94 East artist and is the host of Yurp TV 252 (local media company). He said he enjoys being a part of a great team and that the energy has been great so far.
Chabwera said he enjoys being a 94 East artist because he has the freedom to be creative. He said 94 East is a great team to work with. Being a rapper is a way to tell your own life story, according to Chabwera.
“I like that I can paint my picture and show it to people. I like that I can narrate my life as I go through it,” Chabwera said.
Elijah Reteaviz “trap julio,” a 94 East artist, explained the label 94 East has diverse artists who can all hold their own. He said everyone works hard and they have friendly competition among themselves.
“There’s definitely been some bumps in the road, but I am very happy for the future of my career. I know that we are in good hands at 94 East, I have progressed as an artist a lot in a few short months being in 94 East,” Reteaviz said.