P / P Interview: Founder of True Groove Records – Tomás Doncker

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

It’s quite important that we take a look inside the minds and processes of the independent music industry’s most innovative minds. After all, a part of what Publik / Private does is works to find career opportunities for musicians. 

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True Groove Records founder, Tomás Doncker founded his artist development focused label because he wanted to start a label that was non genre specific and put music at the forefront of his company’s priorities.

“What is most important to us is the spirit and vision of the artists within the True Groove family— each artist is fiercely individual, has a strong work ethic, and shows a genuine commitment to community — these are the cornerstones of Global Soul.”

Tell us the history True Groove and how you got started?

The label grew out of all the different productions and co­writing situations that I had been developing with like­minded artists. I figured we needed a home base, a platform from which to brand the sound, the integrity and the artistry, which is the core of what we do. The name of the label came from our reaction to all the falsehoods that are being promoted in the so called “modern music business.”

What made you decide to make the label R&B focused?

It’s not. We describe what we do as GLOBAL SOUL. The ethos of our movement is to be genre inclusive. Anything is cool if it comes with heart, soul and spirit, and is about something as opposed to well…nothing.

The Curtis Mayfield cover you put together is great, are you a musician?

Well, yes. I am a musician. I am also one of the artists on the label. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the Curtis Mayfield tune. It’s a very important song to us. When that song was first really released by Curtis and The Impressions in 1967 it was a very powerful anthem for the civil rights movement. We felt that it was still a very relevant and important message that needed to be heard today. That’s why we did it.

Obtaining distribution from The Orchard is a huge deal, how did you position your label to gain that success?

Thanks. I really appreciate you recognizing the potential of our relationship with the Orchard. As far as how it happened, we have been bouncing around for a while doing stuff. It is to the Orchard’s credit that they recognized what we’ve been up to and invited us in.

What will this distribution deal mean for your artists. What will you be able to offer them that you couldn’t before?

In a nutshell what it boils down to is that we can really offer our artists a legitimized position in the world­wide music marketplace. This affects every aspect of an artist’s career from sales to touring to PR, etc. An artist cannot move forward without these things being in play.

What struggles have you gone through as an independent executive?

Ha ha! That would be a separate interview, or actually a science­fiction thriller! Nonetheless, it’s all worth it. It’s all for the music. I think Frank Zappa said it best­”music is the best”. We certainly agree.

What advice do you have for young people who want to start a label?

First and foremost, be good. Know how to write, know how to play, practice your instruments, sing. Then of course, probably the most important thing, put together a team of people that you believe in and trust. Otherwise it’s just not possible.

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