Industry Spotlight: Making it Rehn
We recently enjoyed the distinct opportunity to catch up with promoter extraordinaire Daniel Rehn. An entrepreneurial spirit to the core, Rehn was passionate in recalling a career path marked by successes within and beyond Scandinavia. Approachable and down-to-earth, Daniel is passionate in describing his appreciation for artists and dedication to their success. Having already launched Stockholm’s Artery: Music Group with producer Thomas Rushak and releasing works by Mwuana, Orkid, Cotis, Bellhouse to name just a few, Rehn has partnered once again with Rushak in launching NEXT of KIN CREATIVE.
Though his start in the industry was quite early, Daniel was initially charting a course towards a career in sport. “I started out playing basketball when I was eight years old, and basketball was my biggest passion outside of music. And being 5’10”, I realized that maybe basketball wasn’t the best option for me, especially in Sweden. We don’t have the same type of system as in the U.S. with basketball in high school. You actually have the teams outside of school. And one of my basketball coaches, he was doing music videos and he always saw me being in the gym, being a real gym rat. I’ve always been just completely submerged in myself, and in my passions, regardless if it was basketball or music. I was always trying to get better.”
It proved to be quite the fateful turn of events. “He asked me if I wanted to help out with some music videos. I was 16 at the time. Nothing major in production, I was just basically getting coffee and doing whatever was needed to make everything flow perfect. And that led to another video, and another video. And then he had this big opportunity to shoot an artist that was signed to BMG in Sweden.”
It was during a video shoot in Sicily that Daniel began to glean the ins and outs of A&R, speaking with the artist’s manager. “I just started stalking him with questions in regards to the music, like the industry. I didn’t know what A&R was, I just knew that I wanted to work with artists in the creative sphere. I wanted to be involved in helping them succeed and reach their potential. I knew that that was really what I wanted to do, but I had no idea about A&R. I had no idea really about any position at a label.”
Take note, those pondering the merits of Nike and “Just Do It.” This…is clearly how it gets done. “He introduced me to the head of A&R for BMG Scandinavia, who became my mentor. His name is Peter Swartling, and I’m still working with him to this day actually. And I was 17, about to turn 18 when I went up to his office and he asked if I wanted to be his assistant. And so I started out being his assistant under BMG Scandinavia. And he developed, her name is Robyn, she was pretty big.” One could say that!
While Rehn clearly cut his teeth and learned a great deal in the role, almost apprentice style, he yearned to take on more. “Being an assistant, I felt that I needed more responsibility because I wanted to start to develop my skills. And if you’re an assistant, at least in my world, it’s hard to develop any further because at the end of the day, the responsibility’s not yours, which means that you’re always safe. So it doesn’t really matter what you do because you’re always going to be safe, because it’s not going to fall on you. I like to take calculated risks, and I feel that that’s where I do my best, when I have my back against the wall.”
It’s that spirit that appears to guide all aspect of Rehn’s process, including his approach with artists.
He spoke in particular about Mwuana. “He’s amazing with melodies, the way he phrases words, and the way his whole output, his charisma. And so I put the strategy together with him. We worked hand-in-hand. We went to Portugal to a little harbor village. We shot the first video with just him, me and his little brother Kevin. And I was hands-on and everything, because I like the grass roots. I love that, the whole thing about being involved in all aspects, I love it. You can’t always do it. And I did it with him, and we released EPs in 2015.”
Mwuana is one of many artists to whom Rehn has applied his unique philosophy. 2018 has seen the dynamo work with Alex Sparrow, described as a “triple threat” across film, music, and dance. The Russian-born talent has even appeared on Russia’s The Bachelor, Dancing with The Stars, and The X-Factor!
While Rehn clearly has clearly blazed quite a career trail, he’s not keen to spotlight it. After all, it’s about the music. “I never focused on myself as being its own brand. I always focused on the work will show and prove what I’m about and my capacity. I don’t have a Bio. I know it’s something I need in a sense in this day and age. But it also proves something, that I’m really about what I’m saying. You know it’s about the artist.” As NEXT of KIN CREATIVE’s Instagram proudly announces, “We Do Not simply aim to build careers, we focus on establishing entrepreneurs!”