R. Harlan Smith founded Royalty Records 40 years ago this coming March 2014. With the first 30-odd years Harlan recorded two albums for GRT Records (“Uptown Country” and “I Remember Love”) and five subsequent albums on his own label Royalty Records receiving numerous regional, provincial and national industry awards and nominations, including awards of excellence for performance, production, songwriting, and industry builder. In 1977 Harlan was the recipient of Canadian Country Music Album of the Year Award for his album “Here Comes Yesterday”. Throughout his career Harlan sang and performed live and had his recordings played in numerous countries, wrote over 200 songs, produced over 40 albums and 200 plus singles, mainly for western Canadian artists, the majority of which, over the years, charted nationally and some internationally, twice won the award as Canadian Country Music Producer of the Year, and holds the distinction of being the first Canadian record producer to have 4 separate singles by 4 different artists all charting nationally in Canada’s top 50 at the same time, all four being western Canadian artists.
Because of his belief in Canadian country music, especially the kind coming from Western Canada, in 1974 R. Harlan Smith, along with a business associate Jack Dubasz, founded one of Canada’s most successful record label/distributors – 100% owned and controlled, Alberta’s Royalty Records. Later on, Harlan developed the concept of a Canadian Country Music All-Star Show through a separate company, Royalty Shows Ltd. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s saw the 13 piece show travel and perform not only in western Canada, but in a variety of foreign countries including Holland, Belgium, England, Scotland, Denmark and Germany, thus creating international exposure not only for the musicians involved, but for western Canadian artists and their songs, such as Laura Vinson, Gary Fjellgaard, Chris Nielsen, and others to new markets and performance opportunities.
Harlan was also a founding member, secretary-treasurer by acclamation, and later vice-president and six-year board member of the Canadian Country Music Association, president of the Alberta Recording Industries Association, director of Global Country Canada, and vice-president of the Alberta Cultural Industries Association.
Harlan has also been honoured by the city of Moose Jaw, SK as an Honorary Citizen, is an Honorary Westerner and an Honorary Calgarian, and in 2004 received the prestigious honour of Industry Builder from the Western Canadian Music Alliance. In 2005 Harlan was also inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame as an Industry Builder. Several years ago, Harlan was a nominee for Alberta’s inaugural prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Awards, chosen along with 84 other artists, performers, architects and playwrights. In 2012 Harlan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alberta Men & Women of Country Music and most recently was inducted into the 2013 Alberta Country Music Association’s hall of fame.
In 1972 Harlan founded Helping Hand Music Ltd, now known as Royalty Music Publishing Inc, the first wholly owned Canadian music publishing company from western Canada to be invited to join the Canadian Music Publishers Association. The song publishing company now holds administration or copyright ownership on a significant catalogue of music of mainly western Canada based writers.
Through his music publishing efforts and sound recording projects, many young, unheard of writers saw their songs recorded and played on national and sometimes international radio.
Several years ago Harlan retired, but on occasion still performs with the Alberta Country Legends, and consults on a limited basis, when asked, within the industry. The Royalty group of companies are now under the guidance of Harlan’s son, Rob D Smith, and a hand-picked team of dedicated people whose mandate is to further the growth of Royalty Records as an Alberta owned nationally recognized label/distributor/music rights/intellectual property company focusing mainly on the development, marketing, and promotion of Alberta and Canada’s best musical talents to Canada and the world.
ROYALTY RECORDS TODAY
Royalty Records has grown to become a full-service, nationally recognized record label and distributor for both Canadian and international recording artists and labels. Since its creation, the Edmonton based label has focused mainly on country music, and now represents recordings by such current Canadian artists as Hey Romeo, Tristan Horncastle, Tenille, The Orchard, George Fox, Chris Cummings, Boom Chucka Boys, Jay Sparrow and Blake Reid,
Royalty Records also represents the recordings of Canadian legends such as Bev Munro, Jimmy Arthur Ordge, Joyce Smith, R. Harlan Smith and Chris Nielsen.
The Royalty Records catalog also includes a variety of other genres of music. old-time, dance and polka music is represented by five albums from the internationally acclaimed The Emeralds (of Bird Dance fame), polka icons Frankie Yankovic / Walter Ostanek, Brian Sklar’s Western Senators, and Gaby Haas’ catalogue, as well as jazz, big band and solo piano by Canadian great Tommy Banks (former Senator Tom Banks) and Showdown’s ever-popular Rodeo Song.
As a full-service label, Royalty combines its distribution expertise with marketing, promotion, licensing, manufacturing, publishing, and music rights administration services, provided by a qualified group of music-minded people.
CANADIAN ARTISTS WITH ALBUMS RELEASED ON ROYALTY
Wayne Vold – Gaby Haas – Brian Sklar – R. Harlan Smith – Jimmy Arthur Ordge – Danny Hooper – Chris Nielsen – Cheryl Keyla – Glory-Anne Carriere – Russell Thornberry – Larry Gustafson – Gary Fjellgaard – Laura Vinson – Randy Mueller – The Emeralds – Ben Tobiasson – Metro – Wilf Ingersoll – Joyce Smith – Lorilee Brooks – Greg Paul – Tommy Rogers – Trevor Watkins – Tineta – Amber Dawn Fleury – Thomas Alexander – Momentum Band – Wanda Faro – Sharon Anderson – Calvin Wiggett – Debbie Nelson – Tommy Banks – Miranda Jackson – Frankie & Walter – Jamie C Taylor -Silk – Bev Munro – Craig Moritz – Marlee Scott – Jason Greeley – Shane Chisholm – Gord Bamford - Tenille – Katie Mission - The Orchard.