Production magic sometimes happens by fluke, rarely by accident. It’s the task of the producer to conjure spells in the studio. The best in the game prepare like pros, bringing to the room vision, ideas, a competitive streak and a knack for wrangling. Always wrangling.

Malay is at the top of the tree, a Grammy Award-winning hit machine who has shaped recordings with the likes of Zayn, Lorde, Sam Smith, Frank Ocean and many more. It could have panned out so different.

There was a time when the U.S. producer brought his a-game to the wrestling mats.

A teenage Malay (real name James Ryan Ho) was one of the hottest prospects in the sport heading into college, an Olympic medal the stuff of his dreams. Music won.

These days, Malay is energised by the rough and tumble of music making, and he’s thrown himself into the challenge of the label business through Britannia Row Recordings, which he launched in 2016 with longtime manager Randy Cohen.

Britannia Row Recordings vinyl
Britannia Row Recordings launched in 2016

Things stepped up a notch last year when BMG partnered with Britannia Row, and Grammy-winning engineer Manny Marroquin came on board as a partner.

Its first signing was New Jersey indie rock outfit The Parlor Mob, followed by JOHNNYSWIM, the husband and wife duo of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano, daughter of Hall of Famer Donna Summer.