|Genre||Christian rock, contemporary Christian music|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Official website|| frontlinerecords|
Frontline Records was a Christian rock record label, founded in 1986 by James Kempner in Santa Ana, California.The label focused primarily on modern rock, rap, dance-pop and hip-hop. The label closed in the early 1990s, and then resurfaced in 2010 to digitally re-release its music catalog (including related labels).
Kempner had a background in concert promotion, and had run the New Year's Eve Christian music festival series at Knott's Berry Farm,growing the event to one of the largest Christian events in the country before forming Frontline.
The label officially began by signing local bands from the Orange County, California area. In that first year, Frontline released sixteen albums. In 1986, the company signed a distribution deal with Nashville-based Benson Records to tap into their extensive sales force and distribution through Zondervan Music. Frontline Records soon transitioned to Frontline Music Group (FMG), allowing the company to create different sub-labels to promote their growing and diverse roster. This included alternative, punk, dance, pop, rock, gospel, metal, rap and hip-hop artists. Initial distribution was through Benson Records.
Artist Terry Scott Taylor became the production manager for the label, and drummer Ed McTaggart became the primary art director, designing many of the label's album covers. Imprints included Intense Records, Alarma! Records (a resurrection of Taylor's early 1980s label), and MYX Records (a dance music label supervised by former New York club DJ Scott Blackwell).
Frontline carried pop and rock artists such as Crumbächer, Crystal Lewis, Idle Cure, Jon Gibson,Altar Boys, Shout and Rick Elias. Alarma Records featured alternative music acts like Mad at the World, Jacob's Trouble, The Swirling Eddies and Poor Old Lu. Its sister label, Alarma World, was home to international-based acts like Edin-Ådahl and Walk On Water. Intense Records housed metal-based bands such as Tourniquet, Bloodgood, Sacred Warrior and Deliverance. MYX Records, a dance/hip hop division, represented many of Blackwell's own creations. Rap/hip-hop artists included Gospel Gangstaz, P.I.D. and D-Boy.
Frontline Records became an important label in the development of the West Coast Christian alternative music scene. Their roster included what 7ball magazine would later refer to as "truly classic alternative, rap, metal and rock" music.HM editor Doug Van Pelt would call "the lion's share" of classic hard Christian music.
Frontline saw growth from 1986-1991, dominating Christian media outlets and radio airwaves.In 1992, Kempner and his executive staff decided not to renew its distribution deal with Benson, instead hiring its own sales force and signed an independent distribution deal to garner more control over its own brands. Initially the move seemed to be working but soon FMG started showing signs of losing its momentum. The financial requirements to sustain itself were greater than expected. Even though some new artists were signed (most notably Angie & Debbie Winans, Gary V and Carol Huston), the label spiraled down until it could no longer keep itself afloat, and by the mid-90s closed its doors.
Frontline (and all of its assets) was acquired by Nashville-based record producer and publisher, William "Buddy" Killen (under Killen Music Group KMG Records), in early 1998.KMG released double CDs to infuse the marketplace with top-selling Frontline artists. Things went well until 2002 when Diamante, the distributor for KMG Records, folded and the label went down with it. Buddy died in November 2006 of cancer. In 2010, Carolyn Killen (executrix of his Estate) sold the Frontline publishing catalog to Meis Music Group. In 2011, the KMG, Frontline and Damascus Road Records master recordings were sold.
Terry Scott Taylor is an American songwriter, record producer, writer and founding member of the bands Daniel Amos and The Swirling Eddies. Taylor is also a member of the roots and alternative music group, Lost Dogs. He is currently based in San Jose, California, U.S.
Christian hip hop is a subgenre of contemporary Christian music and hip hop music. It emerged from urban contemporary music and Christian media in the United States during the 1980s.
Underground hip-hop is an umbrella term for hip hop music that is outside the general commercial canon. It is typically associated with independent artists, signed to independent labels or no label at all. Underground hip hop is often characterized by socially conscious, positive, or anti-commercial lyrics. However, there is no unifying or universal theme – AllMusic suggests that it "has no sonic signifiers". "The Underground" also refers to the community of musicians, fans and others that support non-commercial, or independent music. Music scenes with strong ties to underground hip hop include alternative hip hop and conscious hip hop. Many artists who are considered "underground" today were not always so, and may have previously broken the Billboard charts.
Jon Robert Gibson is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumental musician and record producer. Originally a blue-eyed soul singer, he switched from secular music to contemporary Christian music in the late-1980s.
Michael Boyer II, better known by his stage names Knowdaverbs and later Verbs, is a Christian hip hop artist. He has recorded for Gotee Records.
Crumbächer was an American Christian new wave, synthpop and dance-pop band in the 1980s, headed by Stephen Crumbächer.
Broken Records was a Christian rock record label founded in 1985. The label closed in the early 1990s.
Rob Wilson, better known by his stage name Fresh I.E., is a Christian rap artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Christopher Scott Greenwood, known by his stage name Manafest, is a Canadian Christian rapper and rock artist from Pickering, Ontario, Canada. He has won multiple awards for the GMA Canada Covenant Awards, GMA Dove Awards, and has been nominated for multiple Juno Awards. Signed for a decade with BEC Recordings, Manafest became independent in 2015.
Diamante Music Group was a Newport Beach, California-based independent record label distributor active from 1993 through 2004. Diamante was home to several dozen small independent record labels, some of whose artists later gained worldwide recognition.
Rene Francisco Sotomayor, better known by the stage name T-Bone, is a Christian rapper. His father was Nicaraguan and his mother is Salvadoran. His name came from being called 'Bones' as a youngster because he was very skinny. The 'T' was "added to give the name a little slang edge."
The Covenant Awards are awarded to the Canadian Gospel Music industry by GMA Canada, the Gospel Music Association of Canada. The association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the growth and ministry of Christian music in Canada. The ceremonies are held annually in cities across Canada.
Idle Cure was an arena rock band from Long Beach, California. The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music calls their sound "the best example of cloning a sound for Christian markets", likening it to that of Def Leppard's Pyromania. They targeted a youthful audience, distinguished by overtly evangelical religious lyrics.
Gospel Gangstaz is a Greater Los Angeles Area-based Christian hip hop group. The West Coast hip hop members were formerly affiliated with the Crips and Bloods gangs, which has featured Mr. Solo, Chilly Baby, DJ Dove and Tik Tokk.
KMGRecords was a Christian record label. The label was established in 1997 by Buddy Killen as a subunit of the Killen Music Group / Buddy Killen Enterprises and sold in late 1998 to Cal Turner III, who is related to the Cal Turner of Dollar General stores. Following the sale, Buddy Killen continued to consult for the firm.
Scott Blackwell is a Christian dance music artist, generally credited with being the first artist to produce such music for the Christian marketplace. In addition to releasing his own albums, Blackwell has produced many other albums, and has founded several record labels.
Randy Rose is a musician who has been playing professionally since 1987, when his older brother Roger formed Mad at the World, for which he played drums, sang, and wrote songs.
Latin Christian music is a subgenre of Latin music and Contemporary Christian music. Christian music is well established in Latin America's Evangelical churches, but is also popular with the major Roman Catholic community. Both the Latin Grammy Awards and Latin Billboard Music Awards have Christian music categories,, though the markets are often underestimated due to low reporting.
Reach Records is an American independent record label specializing in Christian hip hop. The label was founded in 2004 by Ben Washer and the hip-hop artist Lecrae. In addition to Lecrae, the Reach Records roster contains artists like Tedashii, Trip Lee, Andy Mineo, 1K Phew, WHATUPRG, Wande, and Hulvey. The hip-hop collective 116 operates under the label and consists primarily of the label's solo acts. The artists Sho Baraka, Derek Minor, Aha Gazelle, KB and Gawvi were formerly signed to the label, and DJ Official was under the label until his death.