You already know the music. DaBaby’s “Suge” and “Baby Sitter.” Nicki Minaj’s “Yikes.” Khalid’s “Location.” Big Sean’s “Bounce Back.” Kehlani’s “Open (Passionate).” Jack Harlow’s “What’s Poppin’.” But there’s one thing that these groundbreaking tracks have in common.
Welcome to the Winners Circle. It’s the publishing/production enclave that’s home to the cutting-edge producers and songwriters behind those and more trendsetting hits. To date, Winners Circle has amassed 23 platinum and 16 gold-certified songs. In addition to providing management and soon-to-launch mixing/mastering services, the burgeoning enterprise is fast becoming a one-stop powerhouse.
Founder/CEO Kash Johns launched Winners Circle Publishing — administered by global publisher Warner Chappell — in 2015 with one client, producer Go Grizzly. Five years later, the roster numbers24 — and growing. Among those joining Grizzly (DaBaby, Future, Kevin Gates) in the Winners Circle since then: fellow producers David Sava6e (Khalid, Chris Brown), Hood Famous (Lil Wayne, Travis Scott), Pooh Beatz (DaBaby, Nicki Minaj, Jack Harlow), Smash David (Khalid, Chris Brown, Big Sean), Turn Me Up Josh ( Lil Durk, Drake), and songwriter London Jae (Cardi B, Mulatto). The roster also includes Sterl Gotti and YNC Cappo.
“Winners, in business and life, aren’t afraid to face a challenge or go that extra mile,” says Johns from the company’s Atlanta headquarters. “And that’s what I look for in potential clients — the originality, orative spirit and commitment that can take music to the next level.” That next level means more than just being able to craft a hypnotic beat, pen a catchy hook or lead the next musical trend. It also means understanding the first order of the music business: publishing. That’s how a producer or songwriter can build a solid and ongoing financial return on their creative investment. Publishing ensures that songwriters and producers are paid for their songs that are used commercially, including radio airplay, streaming, artist recordings, films, television and product ads. And therein lies the reason why Winners Circle has become so successful in a relatively short span of time. Rather than a one-man operation, the company is a creative co-op/business incubator in which Johns encourages producers to not only stretch themselves creatively but to become equally savvy about fostering their music brand now for a profitable future. In fact, potential clients are first put through their paces during boot camp sessions. Upgraded recently, the 8000-square foot Winners Circle compound in Atlanta now houses nine recording studios, which complement the facility’s existing TV/film rehearsal hall, full kitchen and bunking area. “I’m looking for individuals that have a natural hunger for the art and the business,” emphasizes Johns. “What’s the purpose of securing a major publishing or production deal if you’re not planning to expand on that opportunity, such as signing other producers, songwriters or artists? It’s about motivating and educating. I can give clients the tools but they have to do it themselves. As long as that relationship is nurtured in all aspects, you can do great business so that everyone involved becomes a winner.”