A newly-minted Brooklynite by way of Madison, WI, singer-songwriter and producer Chris LaBella maintains a mission of musical fusion. Blending funky basslines with grungy rock and boom-bap hip-hop, LaBella has begun to develop a sound all his own. His self-produced EP, Flyaway, found its way onto the CMJ Top 40 Hip-Hop Charts in early 2015, peaking at #13 for two weeks, and lasting an impressive 7 weeks in the top 25.
In 2016 LaBella teamed up with producer Norwei to create on Trapo’s acclaimed Shade Trees project. Leading the composition of “Love Is,” “Jam Up,” and “Youth,” LaBella helped shape an album that went on to receive high honors on Pigeons & Planes’ top 50 albums of the year list. Landing at 41 ahead of artists such as Childish Gambino, Post Malone, and KiD CuDi, LaBella admits it was an eye opener. “Shade Trees definitely gave me a lot of validation that all the work I’d been putting in over the years was actually starting to pay off,” he says. “For so long it felt like I was just running in place without gaining any traction. It was really easy to doubt and get down on myself but at the same time I never lost the fire, that inner voice that kept telling me this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. It let know know I’m not crazy -- at least not completely!”
In 2018 LaBella launched Permasonic Records, a team comprised of himself, and fellow Wisconsin artists D.E.M.I and Ra’Shaun among others. His single “WYA” featuring the latter has amassed upwards of 40,000 streams, and their duet on “She Told Me” has gone on to notch numbers and accolades in its own right. After being placed on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist in late May, the track has notched over 150,000 streams. LaBella and the Permasonic crew have performed locally in and around the Wisconsin music scene, a growing operation that he is pleased with thus far.
“Permasonic Records more or less created itself. I was working super heavy with Ra’Shaun, Javar, and D.E.M.I -- and Red is someone I think hasn’t gotten nearly the shine he deserves,” LaBella asserts, adding “Madison, WI has an extremely vibrant and hungry music scene. The pool of talent is ridiculous, and the fans turn up. Sometimes it’s hard to get traction on a larger scale because the city isn’t very big.”
In moving to New York City, LaBella begins to take on a different type of transition. He chalks up his early solo efforts as learning experiences, admitting his belief that group efforts prove more fruitful. For now though, his sights are on spreading the sound.