Sony Music announces new Southeast Asian label, OFFMUTE

Its first artists are Philippines' Clara Benin, Malaysian Liesl-Mae and Indonesia's Mezzaluna

Sony Music has unveiled a new Southeast Asian label, OFFMUTE. Its first signees are Filipino singer-songwriter Clara Benin, Malaysia’s Liesl-Mae and Indonesian newcomer Mezzaluna.

The new label aims to support emerging artists in developing their music and creative visions by helping them build a pan-regional audience.

Benin – who was already releasing music with Sony Music Philippines in 2020 – is the most experienced artist signed to the label so far, having released her debut album ‘Human Eyes’ in 2015. Her last project was the ‘Fragments’ EP, and her most recent release a collaborative single with Singaporean artist Gentle Bones.

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Liesl-Mae from Malaysia has released two songs on Spotify so far: A cover of Don McLean’s ‘Vincent’ and the 2019 track ‘Macaroni Song’. She was discovered by Sony Music Malaysia’s A&R team, and her joining OFFMUTE marks her first signing to a label.

Mezzaluna will release her debut single on OFFMUTE. In the press conference, the Indonesian artist named Amy Winehouse as her biggest inspiration.

OFFMUTE was conceptualised by Sony Music executives during the pandemic and has been in the works for the past six months, said Shridhar Subramaniam, Sony’s president of strategy and market development for Asia and the Middle East in a press conference on March 19.

OFFMUTE “aims to be collaborative, genre-agnostic and even country-agnostic”, he said in the virtual conference.

In a separate press statement, Subramaniam said, “OFFMUTE is a first-of-its-kind label in this part of the world, embracing the eclectic appeal and rich diversity that Southeast Asia has to offer, empowering artists with the resources and expertise to find success in a diverse region.

“That offering is compelling for a new generation of artists in the region and we’re excited to help these artists fulfil their potential in the years to come.”

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The label’s name was informed by the circumstances in which it was conceptualised: namely, the coronavirus pandemic, Sony Music Singapore general manager Shawn Paltiel said at the press conference.

“We realised that especially with the lack of ability to travel and go around and have direct face-to-face with audiences, that it can be very difficult to break through the noise at times,” he said. “So through OFFMUTE we want to make sure that amazing artists like Liesl, Clara and Mez are able to reach audiences across the region.”

OFFMUTE will be signing new artists and announcing them in due course, it was revealed in the press conference.

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