Sire Records co-founder and chairman Seymour Stein was the featured guest for a recent installment of the GRAMMY Museum's Icons of the Music Industry series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Stein discussed his career in the music industry, founding Sire Records and signing the Ramones and Talking Heads, and his own musical influences. Additionally, folk/rock sextet Delta Rae, Stein's latest Sire signing, performed a brief set of songs from their debut album, Carry The Fire.
"The minute I [heard Talking Heads,] I was swooped in. I had no control — it was like a snake charmer," said Stein. "[They were] one of the greatest bands, not just that I signed, but ever."
As co-founder of Sire Records with producer/songwriter Richard Gottehrer, Stein has helped launch the careers of some of music's most iconic artists. Under Stein's leadership, Sire signed artists such as the Cure, Depeche Mode, Echo And The Bunnymen, k.d. lang, Madonna, the Pretenders, the Ramones, the Smiths, and Talking Heads, among others. Sire emerged as a driving force in establishing the punk and new wave genres in the '70s and '80s. The label was acquired by Warner Bros. in 1978 and became an important imprint within the Warner Bros. Records label family. Stein was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
Formed in Durham, N.C., Delta Rae consists of siblings Brittany Hölljes (vocals), Ian Hölljes (vocals/guitar) and Eric Hölljes (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Elizabeth Hopkins (vocals), Mike McKee (percussion), and Grant Emerson (bass guitar). The group was signed to Sire Records in February. Their full-length debut album, Carry The Fire, was released in June and reached No. 20 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Their latest single is "Morning Comes."
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Reel To Reel: My Koaloha Story, featuring ukulele luthier Alvin Okami (Aug. 28), The Drop: Steve Fobert (Sept. 11), and An Evening With Lila Downs (Sept. 17).