Dr. Leonard Scott co-founded Tyscot Records in 1976 to help his church choir release its first LP. In the 40 years since, Tyscot has introduced the world to artists such as John P. Kee, Deitrick Haddon, VaShawn Mitchell and Anthony Brown & group therAPy. In addition, Tyscot has produced several gospel radio favorites such as Rodnie Bryant's "A Testimony," Kathy Taylor's "Oh How Precious," Bishop Larry Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit's "Only A Test" and The PAW Mass Choir's "How Majestic."
The company has had it's share of ups and downs, including a near bankruptcy in 1993 but the company survived it and is back and stronger than ever with a new generation of gospel stars such as Casey J, Bri and Anthony Brown & group therAPy. Last year, Billboard Magazine ranked Tyscot has the third most successful gospel label of the year right behind the powerhouses RCA Inspiration and Motown Gospel.
Q: Thank you Dr. Scott for your time. How did the Lord lead you to set up Tyscot Records 40 years ago?
A: We started Tyscot as a label to release our church choir recording on, "Feel Good" by the Christ Church Apostolic Radio Choir. We became a viable label when other artists approached us about using our label for their recordings.
Q: What was your vision of the company then? Has your vision changed over the years?
A: Truthfully, I had no idea Tyscot would reach the heights it has accomplished. Over the forty years the vision has shifted somewhat. We began as a company that was available for artists that other gospel recording companies were not interested in, but that we felt had talent and ministry that the world needed to be exposed to. Today our focus is not just on new artists, but any artist that is a good match for Tyscot, and that we feel we can assist in propagating the Gospel message through their ministry.
Q: I believe there was a time where the company was close to bankruptcy. What happened there? How did you experience God and his help then?
A: We represented the number one gospel artist and recording in the nation at that time, "We Walk By Faith" by the Rev John P. Kee and the New Life Community Choir. Our distributor called to inform us of their filing for bankruptcy. They told us they were not reorganizing but going completely out of business. The money they owed us was needed to pay our artists, manufacturers, staff, publishers, writers and other vendors. We prayed and felt that God did not want us to go the bankruptcy route. All of those on our team worked with us and God turned our situation around to not only survive but to thrive.
Q: Over the years, you have signed some really great artists and released some amazing music. What are some of the records and artists that you are particularly proud of?
A: "Feel Good," our very first recording will always have a special place in my heart. One of our first major breakthroughs was signing Rev John P Kee and New Life Community Choir in the late 1980s. He was responsible for a number of gospel hit songs and recordings including "Jesus Is Real", "Wait On Him", "It Will Be Alright", "Wash Me", "Never Shall Forget", "We Walk By Faith", "Lily In The Valley", "Show Up", and "Strength". Then Deitrick Haddon,s sound in the late 1990s with "This is My Story" and "Chain Breaker" introduced a more youth centered music. Rance Allen singing "Something About the Name Jesus" is one of my favorites, as well as Darwin Hobbs singing Deitrick's "He's Able". I also love Casey J's number one chart topping song, "Fill Me Up", and Anthony Brown's "Worth".
Q: What are some of the releases we can look forward to for this year?
A: Briana Babineaux is one of our newest artists whose recent release, "Keys To My Heart", is a wonderful recording. Ruth La'Ontra just recorded her sophomore project for us. It was produced by Anthony Brown and is expected to become a classic. We just did a production deal with producer Stan Jones that promises to bring some other fresh new ministries through Tyscot. And we along with the world anticipate the next release from Anthony Brown and Group Therapy later this year.
Q: You have also released a new single "Feel Good." Tell us more about this new song, what does it mean to you personally?
"Feel Good" was the first song we released when we launched the label. It is a toe tapping, hand clapping joyful song about the way a Christian should feel after having their sins washed away. Even though it was written forty years ago, its music is still relevant and its message is timeless.
Q: In celebration Tyscot Records has released a new compilation album. Tell us a little about this brand new compilation.
A: "Feel Good! 40 Years Of Life Changing Music" is a collection of some of the top songs and artists coming through the label in the past 40 years. It begins with the first single released, "Feel Good", and travels through time to include one of Kirk Franklin's early hits on the Trinity Temple Choir's recording, "Holy One". It features one of John P Kee's early hits, "Jesus Is Real" and Bishop Larry Trotter's "It's Only a Test". It includes Rodney Bryant's "A Testimony" and a remix of VaShawn Mitchell's "Don't Last". Also included are classic songs by The Rance Allen Group, Bishop Noel Jones, and Darwin Hobbs singing Deitrick Haddon's "He's Able". The album closes with two of our more recent artists, Anthony Brown and Group Therapy with "Do It Again" and Casey J with "Better (The Benediction Song)." The compilation is a mix of some of the finest gospel songs of the period.