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September 6, 2012
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Sharika Soal on Ladysoal’s new development deal

By Chad Taylor

Ladysoal’s last performance at Wooly’s paid off in the way of a development deal the band subsequently signed on Aug. 24 with Nashville’s PopGun Entertainment.

“This is a huge opportunity for us,” said Ladysoal front woman, Sharika Soal. “We’re so excited, and ready for what’s next.”

After their show at Wooly’s on Aug. 24, the members of Ladysoal gathered in the venue’s green room to put their signatures to a new development deal with Nashville, Tenn.-based PopGun Entertainment. In an interview from Pella, Soal talked with Cityview about the excitement and the challenges ahead.

“We (had) a phone meeting with (PopGun owners) Dustin and Lindsey on Sept. 1,” she said. “From there we (laid) out the next steps for getting the album recorded, and we’ll plan for a trip to Nashville in the coming weeks.”

This all makes for a busy quartet of musicians. In addition to the strategy meetings and trips to Tennessee, the band is booked solid through November with gigs in the Ames and greater Des Moines area, including the Maximum Ames Music Festival on Sept. 23, as well as a show on Sept. 14 at the M-Shop in Ames with former street singer and “The Voice” contestant, Naia Kete. It’s a show that Soal is particularly looking forward to.

“It’s going to be awesome being on stage with her. She’s got a fabulous reggae sound, and our fans are going to love her.”

It’s also a show that the band hopes is a harbinger of things to come, thanks to the newly-minted partnership with PopGun. Ladysoal was introduced to PopGun by A and R rep Austin Cook, whose previous clients include Jars of Clay and Sixpence None The Richer. With the development deal in hand, PopGun is poised to help fine tune the band’s image, as well as to handle everything from promotion and online presence to booking and publicity. This is music to Soal’s ears after five years of doing all of the band’s heavy lifting.

“Their job is to get us on a level playing field nationally and to let us work on the album,” Soal said.

The album, after all, is what this is all about. The Ames fourpiece has a sound that demands your attention, and PopGun’s assistance will ensure that attention is indeed paid. With the burden of studio time and funding lifted from their shoulders, Ladysoal is left to focus completely on the sound that got them this far in the first place. Hence the full concert schedule and happy front woman.

The album has a soft 2013 release date, and the band is working now to fill out the track list.

“We’ve got some of the songs written, but there’s still more to do,” she said. “We’re still a writing band.”

Part of the decision-making process for the new album will be what to do with the band’s previously independently-released material. Namely, what to do about “Sunshine.” Put out last year, “Sunshine” is arguably the band’s most popular song to date, with the music video garnering several thousand views on YouTube, as well as being featured on Cliché Magazine’s video line-up. Publicist Joe Dolan stated in a press release that the current plans for the debut album include the possibility of a re-recording of “Sunshine,” though nothing has been formalized. But if Soal has her way — as she usually does — you can expect to hear the track when the album drops next year.

“I definitely feel like we need to include (‘Sunshine’),” she said. “It’s such a good song, and I feel like it deserves the chance to be professionally recorded, so everyone can hear what it sounds like,” Soal said. “I really think that if it’s given a chance, that could be the big single.” CV

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