Canadian Soccer Mom is New Death Row Records Owner
When WIDEawake Entertainment Group purchased Death Row Records' masters and publishing for the bargain price of $18 million last week, very little was known about the three-year-old Canadian company or Lara Lavi, the woman who runs it.
"I've been fielding questions like, 'Is Suge in Jail?' Am I secretly doing this on his behalf? Am I really just his publicist?" Lavi quipped.
The truth, it turns out, is that Death Row's new head honcho is a self-described "Jewish soccer mom," who founded her company WIDEawake in 2006, in order to facilitate her interests in film and music. "It's going to take us at least eight months to assess and coordinate what we've bought -- making sure that the tracks are stored properly, and digitized, with all rights negotiated," she said, of the uphill battle that her company now faces.
Lavi was a child prodigy who began playing piano at the age of three, but went on to earn a law degree. She has worked in music for the majority of her life, both as a singer/songwriter and as a lawyer and is excited to be working with the Shakur estate to release new 2Pac material. "Death Row artists have a legacy just like the Motown artists did," she said. "The lifeblood of the company is their body of work -- and I want to get down to the task of honoring it."
To that end, WIDEawake is already prepping Canadian "soul rock" artist Sean Jones, whom Lavi describes as similar to "John Legend and Lenny Kravitz with a bit of Seal thrown in there," to take on the roll of the legendary label's first new artist.
In addition to Jones and Shakur's new music on the label, several Dr. Dre tracks leftover from unfinished projects on Death Row may not be seeing the light of day. "Some of them are finished masters," says Lavi, of the unreleased gems in the Death Row coffers. "It's a treasure trove that can be used to produce new songs, even if it means having to scrub some of the samples off."
Having supplanted Suge Knight's thuggish leadership with a 48-year old lawyer/singer/soccer mom, one wonders exactly what WIDEawake's new take on Death Row records will be. "The label is no longer destined for death," Lavi joked. "We have given it a full pardon."
We'll believe it when we see it.