In an effort to find out who was behind all these sad shenanigans, I used all my research abilities (finely honed from watching hours of Catfish marathons) and uncovered a story that was even more baffling and shrouded in mystery than this company's promotion tactics.
The first place logic took me for information was the website of Ailee's U.S. label, WestSide Entertainment (formerly Fo'Reel Entertainment.)
At first, their artist roster looks like it might be fairly impressive: Nelly? Notorious BIG? But looking a little further, this seems to be a list of every artist they've ever managed rather than who they've got currently: according to his official website, Nelly is currently signed to his own label, Derrty Ent./Republic records; Keyshia Cole is on Interscope/Universal; Mase is semi-retired from music entirely; Teairra Mari seems to have left the label and was recently banned from Uber for assaulting her driver; Lil Fizz was still releasing music through the label as of 2015 but mostly seems to be shilling Lyft and Herbalife on his website and social media now; and Biggie is... well....
They still seem to have a nebulous connection to Bad Boy records that I can't quite determine the nature of; their website has dates for the Bad Boy concert tour from 2016 and they're listed on the Family page. But the question remains... who exactly are Ailee's labelmates? Does she have any?
But first, let's back up a bit. How did all of these artists come to be associated in the label in the first place?
If you're looking for more info on the company, this is the first thing you see on the Who We Are page:
This is where things start getting weird.
There's little information about Cudda (sometimes "Cuda" or "Country") Love, other than what's listed above and that he was the infamous guy that Kelly Rowland wrote her song "Dirty Laundry" about.
[TW for domestic violence/sexual assault]"Dirty Laundry" is about an abusive ex, and apparently Cudda's arrest record for domestic violence was posted online at one point but I was unable to find it.
While trying to dig up info on Cudda, Google retrieved search results for a guy named Wayne Kao, a producer connected to Cudda who is the subject of some pretty wild sexual assault allegations. He's also rumored to have connections with Dean Kelly, who was arrested on a rape charge. [OP note: I didn't find any info about this guy being arrested or charged for any crimes. At the time of writing, these claims are legally unsubstantiated.]
On his own about.me page, Wayne Kao mentions Cudda and Fo'Reel Entertainment (former name of WestSide Entertainment):
Another site also links him to Fo'Reel Entertainment:
That's enough about this guy; I couldn't find any evidence that he's still associated with WestSide Ent. so he's (hopefully) out of the picture as far as Ailee is concerned. But what about Cudda?
Like I said earlier, info about Cudda is basically nonexistent. I couldn't find out his real name, there appears to be only one picture of him on the internet, and he has no social media or other online presence to speak of. The general consensus I've seen is apparently that he died around 2009... but, again, nobody seems to know for sure.
So what does Fo'Reel Entertainment have to do with the WestSide Entertainment of today? The answer seems to be the current VP of WestSide, Steven "Um" Umavitz, who worked with Cudda Love and spoke to Korea Times way back in 2010 about creating a girl group with "two Korean Americans, two Koreans and one Korean-Japanese," which obviously never panned out.
Back to Aileean's official Twitter. The account is only following 6 people: current/former labelmates, JRE (who was rumored to be running the A.Leean twitter since his was the first account they followed - a rumor that is still unconfirmed) and David Yung Ho Kim - an actor/attorney who calls himself "the Hollywood lawyer" and lists Ailee as a client on his website:
His LinkedIn page reveals that he used to work for CJ Entertainment America and as an executive assistant to the VP at JYPE's New York office.
Kim only created his twitter account this month and it seems to exist solely as a promo account for A.Leean at the moment. Some of the accounts he's following include Jaeson Ma, whom Ailee and Amber are both following; Tayen Kim, who may have done the artwork for A.Leean's lyric video; and someone employed by kpop promoting company SubKulture. He apparently also appeared with JRE on a panel at KCON in 2014, which may be why the official A.Leean twitter account followed him first. His facebook also reveals that he's friends with Ed Nam, Eric's brother.
So far, these are the only two people I can officially confirm are working with Ailee on a management level (or really any level - I found one producer for her song and that's it.)
Things don't look like they're shaping up too great for our girl Ailee - besides the aforementioned new name, song, graphics, and lyric video, which all leave something to be desired, WestSide's main promotion strategy seems to be acting like her lyrics are super deep, asking fans to bombard their local radio stations with requests to play the song and re-tweeting those same 4 people's tweets over and over, a tactic that I don't think I've ever seen actually work. Coupled with their inability to release anything on time and failure to understand how going viral works, I'd say that Ailee sis would probably be just as well off tweeting herself and handing out mixtapes in the parking lot, not to mention out way less money in "management fees."
As much as I honestly want her to succeed, all signs point to this debut being yet another failure to launch for a kpop star in America.
WestSide Entertainment 1, 2, 3, 4 | Nelly.net | Keyshiacole.com | VH1 | LilFizzVevo | airfizzomusic.com | freddyo.com| whocallsme.com | about.me | TMZ | naymz.com | Kultscene | Korea Times | A.Leean twitter | davidyunghokim twitter | thehollywoodlawyer.com | jaesonma twitter | tayenkim twitter | ellenxsubk twitter | thehollywoodlawyer linkedin | davidyunghokim instagram | DK1984 facebook | excelbeats instagram
I'm sorry mods for all the links OTL I worked hard