How Seattle’s Indie Bands Benefit From Big Brand Partnerships
Poppin’ off like Topo Chico
When Cade Legat, a Kirkland-based electronic songwriter and producer, worked at 5 Stones Coffee in Redmond, he would sometimes improvise little ditties about the brand of sparkling water the shop carried.
“I started coming up with the beginning of the hook, ‘I’m like Topo Chico,’ and joking around singing it,” he recalled. “Enough people heard me sing and asked me, ‘What song is that?’ or ‘Dude, you gotta do something with this.’ ”
In 2021, he released his effervescent single “Topo Chico” on digital streaming and social media, and caught the attention of the Mexico-based sparkling water brand. Based on this connection, Legat, 23, was selected for “Yellow Room”, a shared space within London Bridge Studios in Seattle, where several emerging artists from the North West were invited to record their own original music. – entirely at the expense of Topo Chico. The resulting singles are set to be released in the summer of 2022.
Topo Chico is not a Seattle brand, but the company has on-the-ground marketers whose job it is to keep the brand relevant in a variety of local markets. Seattle guy Topo Chico, Daniel Mattson, also happens to be a well-connected local musician. After watching the pandemic decimate live music, he approached London Bridge Studios sound engineer Erik Laviolis with a desire to support emerging artists.
“Daniel and I frequently talk about the scene and potential collaborations and it sort of evolved into talking about this potential idea for the yellow room,” Laviolis said.
With the Yellow Room, Legat and four other up-and-coming artists will each get a week of studio time with a London Bridge producer to record and release their single. Topo Chico will then help promote the song on his social media. Mattson insisted that all profits from the singles will go into the artists’ pockets, as will the rights to their songs.
Laviolis said he was proud to be involved in this partnership, which can do a lot for independent artists in a time when finances are tight, access to a quality recording studio experience is expensive and opportunities for Live shows are still limited.
“Having something tangible to share and sell is necessary to be able to book shows,” Laviolis said. “Touring is how most people make a living – and how most artists reach their fans and grow their audiences – so for emerging artists who haven’t had a chance to go to parties at an open mic or to perform as an opening [during the pandemic], which really limited opportunities for growth and discovery. Topo Chico’s yellow room [helps] provide a platform.
Legat, for his part, is also excited to be involved, noting that working with corporate America as an artist doesn’t have the same connotation now as it did for generations past.
“You always hear stories of bad deals with labels or brands, so there’s a certain level of hesitation that almost every creative has, but I will say Topo Chico has eliminated that,” Legat said. “I think brand partnerships are becoming more mainstream in the indie artist community, especially as brands get into micro-influence. A lot of indie artists I know see it as a huge win.
Legat said he’s noticed increased awareness and responsibility from some large companies due to consumers’ new desire to engage with brands that give back to the community and operate ethically.
“With brands being held more accountable in this COVID era, I feel more open to working collaboratively with different companies,” he said. “I hope more companies and brands will reach out to local communities and uplift them.”