The power of influence: Evident Soul Records

A new label dedicated to urban music, hip hop and R&B

Times Staff / Jerrald McMillon
Evident Soul Records founder Steve Benfield holding Ace Magazine, where he was featured on the cover. Flint Born Dynasty’s new single is out “Here Kitty Kitty”.

Ace Entertainment Magazine, a publisher based in Beverly Hills, hosted a music and media conference called Power of Influence. This event was a tribute to rapper Takeoff and showcased a 2023 Grammy Awards Weekend Special Edition on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Fever Recording Studios.

Ace is the president and CEO of Ace Entertainment Magazine, an independent publication that gives artists both known and unknown a platform to be seen on a major scale. Ace Entertainment Magazine has been in circulation since 2002.

The Grammy Awards Weekend showcase included special guests Wayno of Quality Control Music and Rizzo of Master P Reviews. Others in attendance were Mota City, 40E-D, Amornay, Pretty Porcelain, Flint Forn Dynasty and Evident Soul Records.

Evident Soul Records founder, Steve Benfield, and rap group Flint Born Dynasty, had attended the 2023 Grammy Awards Weekend, presented by Ace Entertainment Magazine, in Los Angeles. A story in Ace Entertainment Magazine was published that same month and featured Flint Born Dynasty and Evident Soul Records, among other artists, producers, business owners and entrepreneurs.

Flint Born Dynasty is a Flint, Michigan based rap group that signed to Atlanta-based Evident Soul Records and Sony Music, according to a January press release.

Evident Soul Records was founded by Benfield last November, and was incorporated in January. Benfield met the original co-founder of Fresh Start Entertainment, their first label, on the Friday before Thanksgiving in a Waffle House. Benfield was buying a meal for a homeless man when former American Idol contestant Rodney Barber initiated a conversation with him.

“Some guy in the Waffle House leans over towards me and says, ‘I see you’re doing good deeds’ and I’m like ‘yeah’, and the two of us spoke for four hours,” Benfield said. “He’s an American Idol top 10 finalist. His name is Rodney Barber.”

They both started talking about working on a song together. Benfield does lyrics, and Rodney had a great voice.

Three days later, Benfield separates from his wife through divorce, goes to a hotel downtown in Atlanta and said he ran into a man dressed like the lion man.

He turned out to be a rapper, had over 1000 DJ networks and signed artists.

His name was Nox Bonds.

Barber showed up 25 minutes later. Barber didn’t know Bonds because it was a chance meeting, Benfield said. Benfield told Barber to sing a song to Bonds, and Barber was immediately offered a record deal by Bonds on the spot in November on the streets of Atlanta.

However, about a month later in early January, Benfield decided to start his own record label because of his passion for music and his love of helping other artists achieve greatness and be heard.

Benfield said music has helped with interpersonal changes over the last year.

When Benfield started meeting artists, he said it was something he always wanted to do. When Benfield came to realize last summer that he was gay, he said it unleashed an amazing creativity within him. Benfield now spends time working on spoken word poetry, and even started his own podcast.

The original business goal of Evident Soul Records was to work with artists and help them write songs, because Benfield said he has a way with words and emotions.

Thus Evident Soul Record was born. It focuses on urban music, hip hop, R&B and other genres, like Flint Born Dynasty – one of their main artists.

“Flint Born Dynasty has the Midwest sound,” Benfield said.

Flint Born Dynasty is a husband and wife rap duo from out of Michigan. They have been married for about thirteen years.

“At the end of the day, I want to publish music that stirs the soul,” Benfield said. “That’s built into their name, Evident Soul Records.”

If you rearrange Steve Benfield’s name, it spells Be Self Evident.

“I want to publish music that many people can listen to 10 years from now or music that is timeless,” Benfield said. “When it comes to collaboration, we have a number of ways to do that. We got singers, songwriters, producers and more.

Benfield said he had developed something called Synesthesia last August. People that see colors when they hear sound is a form of Synesthesia, according to Benfield.

“The biggest thing I realized is that talent is abundant. I thought it was scarce but it’s actually abundant,” Benfield said. “There’s talented people everywhere, and the people need to have exposure. That’s all part of my motivation. I want to tell other people stories.”

Benfield said when he hears live music, he can tell if it’s really good because of how his body reacts.

“I would sit, and try to showcase and I’d watch performers, and this guy would come up and he’s like got energy and he’s going crazy, and my body doesn’t move,” Benfield said. “What I realized is people that are performing and not expressing emotions, that’s the reaction I get. It gives me some discernment of whether these people are any good because if it doesn’t feel good, I don’t want to mess with it.”

Benfield said his goal is to give everyone a chance to tell their unique stories.

“Everybody’s story is interesting,” Benfield said.

Evident Soul, LLC


Ace Entertainment Magazine