There’s a lot that goes into creating the perfect label: understanding the brand, choosing the right name, look, and aligning with the right artists and music. When we speak of urbano or El Movimiento, there’s one creatively driven duo that encompasses the formation of a label working towards this grandeur: Daniela Morales and Alejandro Ramirez (aka Sky) of Black Koi Entertainment, a label composed of interdisciplinary tastemakers and artists.
Morales and Sky are on a mission to find fresh voices and the next big stars through their indie label, which also serves as a publisher and creative collective.
“For us, it’s not a huge interest for [an artist] to already be known in the industry or have a career; we love new talent,” Morales tells Remezcla. “Great quality music, that’s transcendental… we want to focus on bringing things that are transcendental.”
Building unconventional artists and creating new sounds has been at the forefront of Morales and Sky’s objectives. They’ve been less consumed with “commercial” appeals to the market and have instead signed artists with an open-minded approach. “We want to be in the game. We want to be in the major game, but with different types of players,” Sky says.
We want to focus on bringing things that are transcendental.
Before launching Black Koi Entertainment in 2017, they each worked in their own respective parts of the Latin music space. Morales, who was born in Venezuela, grew up in Colombia and later the United States. She was an industry baby of sorts: Her mother had jobs in marketing for the label EMI and at a radio station. At 14, Morales began working closely with her father, traveling and touring with big names. She learned the fundamentals of management, promotions, and touring through that experience, which eventually gave her the chance to work on J Balvin‘s tour. That’s where she met Sky.
At the time, the songwriter/producer was figuring out his next career move. “My dream was to be a producer, but at the moment when you start achieving your dreams, they start getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” he says. He started out as a beatmaker in his room, and he made a name for himself in the cultural scene that had formed in Medellin. He joined the J Balvin project as a writer and producer at 19; at the time, Balvin was making noise on local airwaves. A year later, they heard themselves on U.S. radio.
“I was behind that. I was writing, I was producing all those records. And as we continued to grow, I started to realize how many people were involved in an artist’s process. I started realizing that it wasn’t only music that brought them there,” Sky said. After seeing all the executive planning that labels do, he began to think bigger. “I started questioning myself. What else can I do to keep developing and producing, not only a song, but producing an artist or developing a new artist, a younger kid that has no idea of the music business or the music industry, but wants to achieve his dreams?”
I started to realize how many people were involved in an artist’s process.
Once they began sharing their dreams and aspirations with each other, the duo quickly realized that their goals intersected. “[Daniela] wanted to be an A&R at a label, and she had the experience,” Sky says.
“I feel like we’re both super intertwined,” Morales adds. “He is Sky, a huge producer and a creative, but he’s also a huge business person. That’s why he’s been able to get to where he’s at. He has both mindsets, and I feel like I’m very similar in that sense. I have all these ideas on who should hop on a track, from there I go, and I execute the day-to-day things like getting a song out there and make it what we want it to be.”
Now, Black Koi Ent. is home to San Juan native LeeBrian (who recently released Ghost of the East), Argentinian singer-songwriter, producer Sael, and Chilean producer Taiko. Taiko, who has been creating beats since he was 15, impressed Sky, who signed him in 2019. Taiko’s sounds can be heard on Bad Bunny’s “Una Vez” featuring Mora, Jhay Cortez’s “Easy,” and J Balvin’s “Rojo.”
Sael’s songwriting credits include Mariah’s “Perreito” and Maxiolly’s “Fanatico” featuring Feid. The newest in the collective, Sael signed to the label in June of this year. He made his debut with “Anoche,” which showcases the romantiqueo that underlines much of his music. Most recently, he dropped “Pase Lo Que Pase” with Manuel Turizo, Feid, and Andy Rivera.
LeeBrian’s lyrical delivery on Freestyle Mania also caught Sky’s attention. After keeping a close eye on his music, Sky approached him, intent on signing him. In 2018, LeeBrian dropped “Rookie” as Black Koi Ent’s. first signee, and later that year, he followed up with “Como Te Gusta”with Lunay. In 2019, he became the first non-English-speaking Latin artist to perform at Rolling Loud with a Spanish-language set. The promising rapper has proven his abilities with star-studded tracks, including “No Fue (Remix)” with Cauty, Rauw Alejandro, Feid, and Brray, as well as “Tren Thomas,” featuring trapero Eladio Carrion.
The two-year journey has undoubtedly been a crash course for Morales and Sky, but they’ve gladly accepted the challenge. As music continues to evolve and transcend languages and borders, it’s making way for new generations of diversified talents. Black Koi Ent. is just getting started, and their eyes are set on the future.
“I don’t want to only be a part of what’s happening now,” Sky says. “I want to be a part of what’s going to happen in a couple of years.”