The Atlanta-based record label/management agency/multimedia company LVRN has found a quick road to success since its founding by five first-generation American friends in 2012. The forward-looking company has gone from operating on a shoestring (three founders sold shoes at Nordstrom during the early days) to securing a big joint-venture deal with industry giant Interscope Records. LVRN (which stands for Love Renaissance) boasts an impressive stable of hip-hop and R&B acts that includes such rising stars as D.R.A.M., Boogie, Summer Walker and the Grammy-nominated 6lack.
The founders credit LVRN’s success to their belief that you have to nurture artistic expression as well as emotional wellness across the entire organization. Coinciding with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, LVRN announced the launch of a mental health and wellness division, which they describe as the first of its kind at a record label. Mental wellness is a particularly significant concern in the music world; a 2018 Music Industry Research Association study revealed that 50 percent of musicians admitted to having battled symptoms of depression – a percentage twice the rate of the general population.
LVRN executives have long understood the benefits that a healthy emotional environment creates. In the words of company president Tunde Balogun, “Our experience has shown us that one of the most important ingredients to running a healthy, rewarding business where employees and artists are happy is to ensure that there is a focus on mental health.” They have utilized therapists to improve the company’s internal communications along with giving their artists and road crews access to wellness sessions and coaching while on tour. LVRN’s attunement to mental wellness also allowed them the opportunity to provide support to the much-buzzed-about artist Summer Walker, who appeared last year on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series when she was struggling with social anxiety issues.
LVRN’s decision to form a division focused on psychological wellness evolved after meeting licensed marriage and family therapist Syreeta Butler by chance at a concert. Butler, who has extensive experience working with musicians, had tried unsuccessfully in the past to get music companies to realize the need to invest in their acts’ emotional well-being just as they do with the performance side. LVRN, however, immediately recognized the importance of Butler’s work and brought her in as a consultant to help create this pioneering new program.
The division’s initial focus will be on LVRN’s artists and personnel, but the firm plans to extend its program. Their mission is to bring about positive change to the entertainment industry, as well as to society at large, while also encouraging other companies to devote more attention to mental wellness issues.