Myke Towers is going global…
After a two-year courtship, and rising above offers from multiple competing labels, Warner Latina and Warner Records have jointly signed an exclusive global distribution deal with the 27-year-old Puerto Rican rising star and his independent label, Whiteworld Music.
The deal was spearheaded by Warner Music Latina president Iñigo Zabala, who brought Towers to the attention of Warner Records global heads at a time when music in Spanish is a global force, a fact highlighted by Towers’ remarkable success as an independent artist.
In the past 12 months alone, Towers, whose full name is Michael Anthony Torres Monge, has placed seven songs on the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, two songs on Billboard’s Global Ex U.S. chart, six songs on the Spotify 200 chart (more than any other Latin act) and is currently No. 8 on YouTube’s Global artist chart while his video of “Bandido” with Juhn is No. 2 on the service’s Global chart this week.
No wonder that while Towers sings in Spanish, Warner sees him as a completely global act. “He is one of our most important signings of the past year,” Warner Records Co-Chairman & COO Tom Corson says bluntly.
That import has already been tested, most impactfully in “Me gusta,” the Anitta track released last September where Warner paired Towers with the Brazilian star and Cardi B.
As it turns out, Towers has been on Warner Latin’s sights since 2017, when he first started releasing music. But the label’s approach began in earnest in 2019, after he collaborated with Warner Music Latina group Piso 21.
“We formally contacted him in April 2019, when he released his single ‘Si Se Da,’” says Zabala, president of Warner Music Latin America & Iberia. “At that point, it was clear he was a very, very special artist. We always presented to them [Towers’ management] that we were the better partner to help them globalize Myke’s music. It’s been a long conversation, but it’s been very successful.”
Towers has risen quickly to fame at a time when Latin music is exploding in popularity at a global scale and consumption is at an all-time high. But it took him a beat to become coveted.
In 2018, after an initial stint with another indie, Towers approached Orlando “Jova” Cepeda and José “Tito” Reyes, partners in Whiteworld, a label, production and management company in Puerto Rico. “We gave him a hand and he decided to stay with us,” says Cepeda. “He was vastly underestimated; quiet, humble, the opposite of the genre. But we saw the originality in him.”
Towers was a rapper who shunned the more facile lyrics of reggaetón, opting for more heartfelt storytelling in his beginnings in 2016. But he also had a more melodic, commercial side to him, and quickly became highly sought-after for collaborations by big stars like Thalía and Becky G a couple of years later.
Whiteworld released Towers’ music through GLAD Empire, an indie distributor that’s known for achieving huge hits, like Anuel AA’s debut album. As Towers began to chart higher – by 2019, his “Si se da” peaked at No. 11 on the Hot Latin Songs chart — outside notice in him rose.
“But Warner were the only ones who initially had that interest,” says Reyes. In 2019, he says, Héctor Rivera, Warner Latina’s VP of A&R, showed up at Whiteworld’s studios in Puerto Rico.
“I told him, ‘Brother, truly, we’re not looking for anyone. But I’m paying attention because you’re here,’” recalls Reyes. “Honestly, if they hadn’t come to see us that day at the studio, maybe we wouldn’t have made the deal.”
By then, many other people wanted a deal with Towers, but Warner won out. “Warner gave us respect,” says Cepeda. “They understood the project. I told Iñigo that if they wanted to sign Myke, it had to be global.”
Corson and Warner Records Co-Chairman & CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck both reached out to Towers and his team, signaling their commitment.
“Iñigo took the lead, but once the ball is rolling we’re working closely,” says Corson. “In this climate, with global playlisting, and genres meaning less and less, and records crossing over, language being less of a barrier, you have to be in each other’s business. It used to be much more one way: what could the U.S./Anglo labels export? Now, you’d be foolish to take that attitude and you would lose a lot of business if you weren’t in constant communication with your teams.”
As big as Towers has already become, “there’s still a major part of the globe who doesn’t know who he is,” says Bay-Schuck. “That’s where we’re going to come in and find the right ways to seed his music, collaborate with the right English speaking artists so Myke Towers becomes the same household name here that he is in the rest of the world. We’re intentionally curating our roster […] and that means you can’t have a roster with 10 of the same things in it. I think Myke saw a massive opportunity to really be one of one and have the belief we were going to treat him like the priority he is.”
Max Lousada, Global CEO of Recorded Music, Warner Music Group added: “Myke is a distinctive songwriter, powerful performer, and incredible artist […] He’s at the forefront of a new generation of global talent that’s transcending languages, crossing boundaries, and disrupting genres. His possibilities are limitless.”