California singer/songwriter Ilsey has signed with Elektra Records and will release her debut album, “From the Valley,” on October 6, the label announced today. The first single from the album, “No California,” is out now.
The album was produced by BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Soccer Mommy, Low) with additional production and co-writing from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Earlier this month, Ilsey shared another collaboration with Vernon, their cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” which was also produced by Burton. The cover, and the ‘70s vibe of some of her music, reflects Ilsey’s childhood growing up in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon neighborhood.
Isley has already made her mark as a two-time Grammy-nominated songwriter, contributing to songs by Miley Cyrus, Kacey Musgraves, The 1975, Shawn Mendes, Panic! at the Disco and others.
Johnny Minardi, Elektra senior vice president of A&R, says, “Ilsey’s timeless, captivating vision and brilliant songwriting immediately drew us in. We are thrilled to be working together on the next chapter of her artistic journey as a solo artist and couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the Elektra family.”
+ Singer-songwriter Dream (not to be confused with The-Dream) has signed with Mercury/ Republic Records and dropped his first new music in two years, a single titled “Until I End Up Dead.”
The video features a YouTube fundraiser for the Sarcoma Foundation of America, which also works closely with the One of Us Global Foundation, a non-profit set up by the late Technoblade’s father (known as MrTechnoDad in the streaming and gaming community). MrTechnoDad co-wrote the music video treatment with Dream, and even makes a small cameo in the video playing the doctor. Recently, TechnoDad hosted a fundraiser on the one year anniversary of Technoblade’s death that featured twenty plus creators and streamers – including Dream.
Dream said, “ ‘Until I End Up Dead’ is about enjoying every moment that life gives you because you never know when life will end, and it’s really important to live yours to its fullest. The song is special to me because I was able to take two really serious events that impacted me and my community and put them into a song that I think is really meaningful. The passing of my friend’s mom when I was a kid and also the passing of Technoblade, one of the largest streamers in the space at the time, had a major impact on my life and made me realize how quickly life can change, and how important it is to enjoy the moment, your friends, and your family.”
Thursday, June 22
Republic Records has appointed Marguerite Jones as vice president of A&R to discover, sign and develop the label’s fresh talent. She will work out of Los Angeles on projects for artists across hip-hop, R&B, and pop, including upcoming releases from G Herbo, ATL Jacob, and more.
“MJ has established herself as one of the industry’s most prescient and forward-thinking A&R executives,” commented Wendy Goldstein, co-president of Republic. “She has been instrumental to culture-defining breakout talent, and her ability to spot greatness is already proven. Plus, she knows hip-hop and R&B inside out. It’s an honor to welcome her to the Republic family.”
Jones was previously manager of A&R at RCA Records and also signed Latto to the label. She got her start with RCA as an intern but rose to the role of manager of A&R over the course of four years.
“Republic’s reputation for strong instincts and commitment to excellence led me here. Even though it’s home to some of the world’s biggest superstars, it maintains the environment of a close-knit family,” said Jones.
“Artists and executives are offered the flexibility to craft unique and fruitful partnerships. Monte and Avery Lipman have not only set the gold standard, but they also brilliantly keep the pace. I have tremendous respect for their impact on the business. It’s always driven with a hands-on approach and no complacency. Wendy is a genius and an innovator. Our connection was instantaneous. The opportunity to work for a President who has championed women in the business is also an honor I’m extremely grateful for.”
+ Caron Veazey joins Dice‘s board of directors to support the ticketing company’s aim to transform the live music industry. In addition to working alongside the artist development, content, and leadership teams, Veazey will also utilize her leadership experience in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) spaces to mentor Dice’s DEI team.
Veazey is the founder of Something In Common, a management and consulting agency specializing in music, film, art and culture. Prior to founding Something In Common in 2020, she managed Pharrell Williams for nearly a decade. Veazey has also held positions at major music groups including Sony Music, RCA Records, Island Def Jam, and Epic Records and is a co-founder of the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC).
“Caron is one of the industry’s top music executives and her global knowledge will be invaluable as Dice continues to expand,” said Phil Hutcheon, founder and CEO of Dice. “Not only has Caron worked at some of the biggest record labels and managed one of the world’s most successful artists, I greatly admire her commitment to advocacy work and desire to change the industry for the better.”
+ The City Parks Foundation (CPF) has announced Tim McGraw as a headliner for the benefit concert scheduled to take place on Sept. 28 at SummerStage in Central Park. McGraw will perform after the dinner and awards ceremony honoring Tom Poleman, chief programming officer and president of national programming for iHeartMedia, with the SummerStage Icon award. They will also recognize Devon Eisenberg, co-founder and principal of the Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx, with the People and Parks award.
+ MusiCares has launched Humans of Hip-Hop, a program that provides health and human service resources across three years for hip-hop communities nationwide. The initial focus will be on eight key cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles/Compton, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
“Like so many other communities post-pandemic, the hip-hop community is in need of support,” said Rico Love, chair of the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective. “I’ve heard my community voice their needs. With MusiCares and Humans of Hip Hop, I’m excited to work directly with artists and change-makers to get people the services that will really make a difference in their lives.”
“I’m thankful to be part of Humans of Hip Hop and bring a voice to my community,” added Salt-N-Pepa. “With MusiCares we’re going to listen to leaders and creators and make sure our people are getting the help they need.”
+ Music marketing firm Feature.fm promoted Michael Sherman (formerly director of business development) to the company’s vice president of business development to lead the company in identifying expansion and diversification opportunities.
Sherman will continue to work with cross-functional teams to identify trends, conduct market research, and assess the competitive landscape. He will also lead negotiations with potential partners and clients.
“My role as [VP] of business development will involve fostering relationships with key industry players, negotiating high-level partnerships, and driving revenue growth through innovative initiatives,” said Sherman. “Additionally, I will collaborate with other departments to align business development efforts with marketing, product development, and customer success to ensure seamless execution and optimal results.”
Wednesday, July 21
Wasserman Music has named industry vet Jason Roth vice president of communications. In his new role, Roth will lead the agency’s communications strategy – encompassing media relations, executive communications, thought leadership, industry relations, and partner communications – in collaboration with the company’s marketing, social media, and internal communications teams.
He joins after most recently serving as communications director for SiriusXM, which followed senior communications roles at Pandora, Apple, HP, and Capitol Records. He is also a veteran music writer who has contributed to NPR Music, Spin, the Chicago Tribune, and numerous music books and album liner notes as well as Variety.
Wasserman CMO Lori Beth Feldman says, “Jason’s breadth of communications experience with music-related brands, technology, and artists will be invaluable for the strategic development and messaging of Wasserman Music’s growth on a global scale. He is a tremendous addition to our company and culture – we’re thrilled to have him on board.”
+ Tim Devine has joined Sunset Blvd. Records as head of A&R, the company announced. Devine has already signed several bands to the label including Portland-based Everclear, Austin-based rock ‘n’ roll band Fastball and the San Antonio-born Butthole Surfers.
“These are exactly the kinds of groups we are looking to sign,” commented Devine. “Acts who remain active with fan and touring bases and are still writing and recording vital new material as they continue to expand their audiences.”
Among his many accomplishments as a seasoned exec, Devine oversaw Bonnie Raitt’s stint at Capitol Records, discovered Brandi Carlile, helped launch Katy Perry and developed multi-platinum artists Blind Melon, Train, Switchfoot and others. He began his career at Warner Bros. Records in Burbank, where he served as product management for U2, Prince, Bob Marley, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Devo and Gang of Four, among others.
Devine’s plan at SBR is to build on the label’s foundation of catalogs while growing a roster of veteran bands, before beginning the “third phase” of the label’s development by signing new artists. “I’m having so much fun and I am totally into it,” says Devine. “Everyone is taking my calls,” he laughs, “and this position fits my skill set like a glove. I look forward to building the next chapter of SBR’s success.”
+ Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has hired Annette Gentz in the role of general manager GSA (Germany/Austria/Switzerland), classics and screen, effective immediately. Based in Berlin, she will report to Thomas Vidovic, managing director of UMPG Germany and Natasha Baldwin, executive vice president, UMPG classics and screen.
Gentz will bring her film and stage music agency, Annette Gentz / Music and Film Arts, into UMPG where it will continue operating under its own name. Previous film projects she was involved in include scores by Volker Bertelmann/ Hauschka, Dascha Dauenhauer, Michael Nyman, Hannah von Hübbenet, Carsten Nicolai/ Alva Noto, Max Richter, Freya Arde, Frans Bak, Annette Focks and John Gürtler and Jan Miserre. Most recently, she supervised the score deal for Volker Bertelmann/ Hauschka that won him the 2023 Academy Award for best original score for “All Quiet on the Western Front.”
+ Los Angeles-based music label, distribution and rights management company Cinq Music has partnered with Jesus Ortiz Paz’s Street Mob Records. Paz is the lead singer of Fuerza Regida, one of the leading Mexican bands fueling the resurgence of the genre on American charts.
The deal includes an equity investment by Cinq into Street Mob and will see them supporting Street Mob’s goal to grow its artists’ exposure, discover new talent and release new music. Cinq Music has had a longstanding partnership with indie label Rancho Humilde that has launched the careers of Fuerza Regida, Natanael Cano and Victor Cibrian, among others.
Tuesday, June 21
Niall Horan has signed an exclusive, worldwide publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). This follows the release of Horan’s third album “The Show,” which earned the former One Direction member his second UK No. 1 single as a solo artist.
“It’s my absolute pleasure to sign with UMPG,” shared Horan in a statement. “I have known Mike [McCormack, UMPG UK managing director] personally for many years and I’m so happy that I get to work with a man who firstly genuinely cares about artistry and the art of writing a song, and secondly knows the world of publishing like no other. To have met the great Jody Gerson who I’ve known of throughout my career as being a badass publisher and when I felt the love from her and Mike, I wasn’t going anywhere else, to be honest.”
Horan, a songwriter and self-taught guitarist, has sold over 80 million records and toured the world multiple times as a member of One Direction. In 2017, he released his first full-length solo album “Flicker” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 as his first solo No. 1 in the U.S.
“I’ve known Niall for years and he has always shown a deep commitment to the art of songwriting,” said McCormack. “I’m thrilled UMPG has the privilege to represent his past, present and future solo works and support his artistry alongside Harry and Richard from Modest Management. We are especially excited to be celebrating Niall’s fantastic new LP and know he has a bright future ahead.”
Modest Management’s Harry Magee added, “Mike has been talking to me about Niall since our lockdown bike rides and when the album finally started to come together, it was then very post-lockdown in McCormack’s kitchen with some great wine, my phone and the obligatory Bluetooth speaker. He really gets Niall’s musicality and singer-songwriter spirit which has reached new levels of maturity on this record. Mike was excited from that day and so this partnership has always been written in the stars!”
Pictured above (L-R): Niall Horan, Mike McCormack (UMPG), Harry Magee (Modest Management), Richard Griffiths (Modest Management)
+ Peermusic has acquired the song catalogs of famed bluegrass/country music pioneer Earl Scruggs and the majority of the song catalog of his son, Gary Scruggs. Through this deal, peermusic acquires the U.S. rights it was previously administering for Earl Scruggs as well as some of the songs that were previously controlled by the Scruggs estate. The deal also includes the acquisition of the majority of the song catalog of the late Gary Scruggs.
Peermusic has served as the publisher of the Earl Scruggs’ song catalog for decades, dating back to their early conception. The Scruggs family is now in their third generation of family working with the music publishing team at Peermusic.
“It’s a rare opportunity to acquire these incredible catalogs of songs in this competitive music rights landscape, but what makes this most meaningful to us is the decades-long relationship that Peermusic has enjoyed with Earl Scruggs and Gary Scruggs,” said Kathy Spanberger, president and chief operating officer of Peermusic. “This deal really exemplifies everything a relationship between a songwriter and a publisher should be. Earl and Peermusic worked together successfully for decades to share his music with the world, and Peermusic continues that tradition with the songs of Gary Scruggs. We thank Jesse, Jaime, and the Scruggs family for this opportunity—the entire team at Peermusic is honored to continue championing and protecting Earl and Gary’s incredible legacy of music so that these songs can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
+ Warner Chappell Music (WCM) has promoted Wallace Joseph to senior vice president of A&R, and Jon Chen to VP of A&R. They will continue to report to Ryan Press, president of North American operations.
Joseph works with top talent including Summer Walker, Wale, Ari Lennox, JetsonMade, Tay Keith, Turbo, Section 8, Pooh Beatz, and many others. He also works closely with record label LVRN to sign and develop writers and producers through WCM’s publishing partnership.
Chen, who was featured in Variety‘s “10 AAPI Music Executives Making an Impact in 2023” list, supports talent including Ian Kirkpatrick, Benson Boone, BEAM, Sir Nolan, Ashnikko, Heavy Mellow, DZL, Jorgen Odegard, J.Lauryn, Khamari, and Baby Fisher, among others. Prior to joining WCM, Chen held positions on both the label and publishing side.
“A&R is all about following your instincts and being deeply ingrained in the culture, areas where both Wallace and Jon excel,” said Press. “They go above and beyond for our team and our songwriters, and they’re masters at connecting talent with other music creators – not just here in the U.S., but all around the world. I’m very proud to see them both continue to grow with us as leaders. Here’s to many more No. 1’s to come!”
+ Singer-songwriter and producer Projexx has signed to Electric Feel Entertainment for publishing.
Originally from Jamaica, and currently living in Miami, Projexx is the son of music producer Lloyd “John John” James and grandson of Lloyd “King Jammy” James, one of dancehall’s most recognizable producers.
Projexx has collaborated with established artists such as Wizkid on “True Love feat. Projexx, Tay Iwar,” which appears on Wizkid’s “Made in Lagos” album. Projexx also worked with Konshens on “Brace It,” in addition to writing and producing with younger artists such as Jesse Royal, Ruger, Juls, Bakersteez and more.
Austin Rosen, founder and CEO of Electric Feel Entertainment and Ventures, adds: “Projexx is an artist and songwriter that I really see filling a void in songwriting right now and we are excited to welcome him to the Electric Feel Entertainment roster for publishing. I look forward to working alongside his team at Warner/R&R Digital/Big Wave and Super Music Group/Bashment on all of his upcoming releases.”
+ Dr. Dre is set to receive ASCAP’s first-ever Hip-Hop Icon Award at the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Celebration of 50 Years of Hip-Hop on June 22 in Los Angeles.
“Dr. Dre’s groundbreaking early work laid a foundation for hip-hop as we know it today. As a champion for some of today’s biggest artists and a successful entrepreneur, he changed the culture around hip-hop,” said ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams
The award aims to spotlight ASCAP members whose musical contributions have made an “indelible impact on the art and culture of hip-hop,” according to the press release. DJ Kid Capri and DJ Drama will provide music for the event.
+ Chaka Khan and Rufus‘ “Ain’t Nobody” recently became RIAA-certified Platinum, marking the first-ever platinum song award for the funk band fronted by Khan. The track experienced a streaming boost some 40 years after its original release, accounting for a total 47% increase
The band previously secured gold plaques for “Sweet Thing” and “Tell Me Something Good.”
Pictured above (L-R): Chaka Khan, Rhino President Mark Pinkus, and Catalog and Marketing Consultant John Hughes.
+ Capitol Music Group (CMG) and Capitol Christian Music Group (Capitol CMG) have relaunched Tamla Records as a mainstream imprint focusing on hip-hop and R&B music, it was announced today by Capitol CMG Co-Presidents Brad O’Donnell and Hudson Plachy. EJ Gaines, currently senior VP of marketing for Capitol CMG, has been tapped to oversee the label’s roster of artists and staff.
Berry Gordy first founded Tamla Records nearly 65 years ago before changing the startup label’s name to the now-emblematic Motown Records. The first release on the label was the 1959 single “Come to Me,” from gospel-singer-turned-R&B-artist Marv Johnson. Tamla’s artist roster boasted Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.
The first partner announced under the revived imprint is Quality Control’s longtime mix engineer and collaborator, Thomas “Tillie” Mann (Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, Drake, Migos) and his label, Encouragement Music. The Tamla roster of artists will be further supported by parent company Capitol Records.
+ Dr. Jan Fischer has been appointed chief executive officer of EMP, Europe’s leading online specialist music and entertainment retailer owned by Warner Music Group.
“Our sector is continuously changing and we need to ensure that we’re adapting with it to operate at the heart of the relationship between creators and fans,” said Dr. Fischer. “We’ve taken steps to upgrade our systems and reboot our teams so that EMP can remain the market leader in this fast-growing sector.”
Fischer has been part of the EMP team since 2013, joining as chief financial officer and also acting as chief operating officer since 2022. He will be based in EMP’s headquarters in Lingen, Germany and report to Karl Walsh, executive VP and head of global commerce for WMG, who is based in Los Angeles.
Fischer’s appointment as CEO follows the departure of his predecessor, Ernst Trapp, last month.