When I wrote about D.C.’s House Studio in 2012, its co-owner Yudu Gray Jr. spoke of bigger plans for the Edgewood recording hub. “My idea was to build a community, not just a studio,” Gray said at the time.

So the studio’s new venture isn’t surprising. Gray tells us that he’s launched a new record label, to which former Studio43 rapper RAtheMC is already signed. Launching a label “was a countdown from Day One,” Gray says. “We’ve been a home for all kinds of artists, so this seems like a natural fit.”

During the interview, Gray was honest about House Studio’s reach: Artists looking to be famous should probably sign elsewhere. But “if you want a career, and have a happy and productive life, then I can probably help you,” he says.

Much like the Arizona-based Mello Music Group, which has DMV natives Oddisee, Substantial, and yU signed to its roster, the House Studio label aims to let its musicians create the art they want. Then it’s up to Gray and other management to secure radio spins and make sure the artists are paid to perform. “At the end of the day, these artists want to be on a label,” Gray says. “I couldn’t see all these people going to sign a deal that wouldn’t be beneficial to them.”

House Studio is looking to sign all kinds of musicians to the label. “Dope rock bands, pop acts, you name it,” Gray says. “I don’t want it to just be urban.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery