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DEF JAM AFRICA ANNOUNCES FURTHER EXPANSION INTO CÔTE D’IVOIRE, CAMEROON AND SENEGAL
July 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
First new artist signings include respected rappers; Tenor (Cameroon), Suspect 95 (Côte d’Ivoire), & Omzo Dollar (Senegal)

Universal Music Group’s label dedicated to supporting the best in African hip-hop talent and culture across the continent, extends reach into French-speaking Africa.

ABIDJAN, July 24, 2020– Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the further expansion of its Def Jam Africa division into three new markets within French-speaking Africa; Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon, effective immediately.

Def Jam Africa launched in May 2020, as the first label dedicated to representing the best hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in Africa, and follows the blueprint of the iconic Def Jam Recordings label, which has led and influenced the cutting-edge in hip-hop and urban culture for more than 35 years.

Def Jam Africa will now have additional A&R, marketing and digital resources based within UMG’s offices in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Dakar (Senegal) and Douala (Cameroon), dedicated to discovering hip-hop talent across all French-speaking African markets and will operate under the leadership of Franck Kacou, Directeur Général, Universal Music Africa.

Kacou will work closely with Sipho Dlamini, CEO, Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa and Def Jam Africa teams in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria, to ensure the Def Jam Africa continues to identify and sign the best artist talent from across the entire continent.

The first flagship artist signings to join Def Jam Africa from these countries are highly respected and hugely popular rappers; Tenor (Cameroon), Suspect 95 (Côte d’Ivoire), & Omzo Dollar (Senegal), The trio joins some of Africa’s most influential artists and MC’s already on the label including: Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Larry Gaaga, Boity, Nadia Nakai, Tellaman, Tshego, Ricky Tyler & Vector.

In making the announcement, Franck Kacou said, “We are excited to launch Def Jam Africa in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon with three of Africa’s most exciting hip-hop artists; Tenor, Suspect 95 and Omzo Dollar. There is a wealth of domestic hip-hop talent here and in the surrounding countries, that has the potential to transcend language and geographical boundaries to appeal to audiences throughout Africa, France and beyond. I look forward to working alongside Sipho to expand our community of artists across the continent, and to help elevate hip-hop from Africa to new heights.

Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings said, “The reaction to the recent launch of Def Jam Africa showed the weight and respect that the Def Jam name and brand carries globally. We are excited to welcome these new markets to the Def Jam Family. It provides an important opportunity for audiences worldwide to discover the incredibly talented hip-hop artists emerging throughout the continent.”

Olivier Nusse, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music France said, “African hip-hop is one of the most exciting movements in music today. In recent years we have seen an increase in its popularity in France, but the appetite for African hip-hop continues to grow amongst audiences around the world. We are excited to further expand Def Jam Africa into Cameroon, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, and for these incredible artists to help build Def Jam Africa into the authentic and collaborative home of hip-hop across all of Africa.”

New tracks from Suspect 95 – ‘Merc*On’; Tenor – ‘Ce Que Je Veux’ and Omzo Dollar – ‘Dictature 1’ are released today on Def Jam Africa.

Click HERE to download artist images and label assets.

About Def Jam Recordings

Founded in 1984, Def Jam Recordings has represented the cutting-edge in hip-hop music for more than 35 years. Def Jam began as a maverick independent label inspired by downtown New York City’s vibrant street culture and the emerging sound of hip-hop, pioneered by iconic stars like LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Over the following two decades, Def Jam established its dominance with superstar acts like Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Method Man & Redman, Ludacris, Rihanna, Jeezy, and the inimitable Kanye West. Now in its fourth decade, Def Jam’s music and lifestyle has grown into a global brand – synonymous with creativity, quality and authenticity – encompassing a diverse roster of marquee and emerging stars like West, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, Logic, Pusha T, Jadakiss, Vince Staples, Jeremih, Big Sean, YG, 2 Chainz, Dave East, and Jhene Aiko, among others. Today, Def Jam has reaffirmed its passion for and commitment to hip-hop culture and has expanded its global brand reach to become the most-followed major label on all major social media platforms.

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company.

Def Jam Africa artists on social media

Tenor https://www.instagram.com/tenorofficiel/?hl=fr

Suspect 95 https://www.instagram.com/suspect95_/?hl=fr

Omzo Dollar https://www.instagram.com/omzodollar/?hl=fr

Cassper Nyovest https://www.instagram.com/casspernyovest/?hl=en

Nasty C https://www.instagram.com/nasty_csa/?hl=en

Boity https://www.instagram.com/boity/?hl=en

Nadia Nakai https://www.instagram.com/nadianakai/?hl=en

Vector https://www.instagram.com/vectorthaviper/?hl=en

Larry Gaaga https://www.instagram.com/larrygaaga/?hl=en

Tellaman https://www.instagram.com/tellamanofficial/?hl=en

Tshego https://www.instagram.com/tshego_worldwide/?hl=en

Ricky Tyler https://www.instagram.com/rickytylershow/?hl=en

www.defjam.africa

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Nigerian Actress / Screen Writer Pens Coronavirus hit African lockdown series
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Tunde Aladese

Tunde Aladese is an African film actress and screen writer, she won an Africa Academy Award in 2018, she has recently been a studying BA in Filmmaking at MetFilm School .As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, a  popular series called, Shuga went into a mini-series nightly show titled MTV Shuga Alone Together highlighting the problems of Coronavirus on 20 April 2020. Tunde is the screenwriter.

The show was originally  to be broadcast for 60 nights, but it’s now been increased to 65 nights and its backers include the United Nations. The series is based in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Cote D’Ivoire and the story is told through with on-line conversations between the main characters. In the Q and A below she discusses the series and her career plans

Do you remember how you fell in love with films and writing? Was there a particular film/ script?  Did it make to feel a particular way? Anything growing up that pushed you in this particular direction? 

This is a difficult one because it’s never really just one thing. It’s the gradual growth of a lifelong romance. My love for writing started with prose, making sorry imitations of any book I enjoyed in order to somehow prolong the experience that the book had given me. Cinemas weren’t much of a thing in Nigeria at the time when I was growing up but VCR was big business and watching movies was a big family pastime.

It’s hard to pick just one film because the exposure was constant, and the genres were varied. It was the eighties so there was a lot of that B movie style action. Also, a lot of the glam mini-series type content, usually centred around a woman who succeeded against all odds. There was ‘The Sound of Music’ which my siblings and I could quote in its entirety. Arthouse came later, as options widened. I didn’t have a proper understanding of how films came to be for quite a while and a couple of appearances on kids’ variety shows were a surreal experience.

I guess primary school drama club was my first proper sense of trying to create a narrative out of thin air and get other people to help bring it to life. But I can say that I fell in love with the film business, this idea of actors and directors and storytellers on screen after reading biographies of some old Hollywood movie stars between the ages of 10 and 13.

I think that was when I began to understand the process of how all that came to the screen. The possibility of anything like that being a tangible and viable career plan, came much later. 

Please expand on the origins of when and why you decided that career in the screen industry was for you. 

I’m not quite sure I decided. I think the timing was fortunate for me. My first job after university led to an introduction between my boss and a producer who was about to make a radio drama series for the BBC in Nigeria. My boss showed him some ideas I had put down and I got invited to be part of a writers’ room, something I’d never heard of. I couldn’t believe someone paid me that much money (not a huge amount but at the time I was making almost nothing) to do something I’d been doing for fun all my life. I figured ‘I could get used to this…’ Success was not immediate but over the next couple of years, enough opportunities came my way that when an international cable company became interested in producing Nigerian series, I actually had a little experience under my belt and could pitch myself for some writing opportunities.

Tunde Aladese  won an Africa Academy Award in 2018
Tunde Aladese won an Africa Academy Award in 2018

Why did you choose Metfilm school? What’s unique about it? What were you experiences there? What were your education experiences beforehand? Where did you grow up and where did you go to college / university… what did you study before? 

My first degree was in English Literature, from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. After almost 10 years working professionally  as a screenwriter, mostly in television, I wanted new challenges and a wider canvas. I thought learning formally about all aspects of film production would help me with that. Choosing Metfilm was a combination of timing, location (Berlin had been popping up a lot in my timeline in the months preceding), language and investigating their alumni and the things they had gone on to do since leaving the school. It’s a great way to study the European arthouse film aesthetic, which I was very interested in, without having to take the time to learn a whole new language. And because it’s an English speaking school in a very European city, you get to study with students from a wide variety of countries from all over the world.

Tell me about MTV Shuga – how did the project come about about? 60 episodes – it’s quite an ask… how did you manage to complete it? 

We’re still trying to! And I’m not going to deny that it is a challenge. I just take it one block at a time, and fortunately I don’t have to do it all on my own. There’s a co-head writer and co-director who alternates blocks with me and of course, the SAF team. I had worked on 2 previous seasons of the series, including one season as Head Writer and had therefore had some contact with some members of the team. They reached out within the first couple of weeks of lockdown in Germany and told me about this idea they were throwing around, and asked whether it was something I would be interested in coming on board for. I’d been sitting home for 2 weeks, reading about everything going on all around the world, from news headlines to social media posts sharing people’s emotions, so I knew as soon as they asked that there was potential here. I didn’t imagine at the time that it would be 65 episodes (yeah, it’s 65 now)! We’re recording 41-50 this week and then my co-head takes over again for the next batch.

What’s the response been like? From the audience and the industry? 

To be honest? I don’t know. I usually try to stay away from comments because you get drawn in by the good stuff and then one negative comment and you might spend the rest of the day overthinking. I do understand that reactions and feedback from the first few episodes was quite exciting. It’s been challenging trying to find ways to maintain and increase the momentum and interest. But I did say I was looking for challenges, right?

Tunde is the screenwriter  of the mini-series nightly show titled MTV Shuga Alone Together highlighting the problems of Coronavirus
Tunde is the screenwriter of the mini-series nightly show titled MTV Shuga Alone Together highlighting the problems of Coronavirus

What are you working on now, what are your plans for the future? 

I’m almost done with this season of Shuga and there are a couple of things lined up for me to switch over to from next month. But nothing that I am at liberty to talk about right now.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about becoming a screen writer / considering a career in the screen industries? 

Read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies. Figure out what you like, what excites and moves you and why. And then try to put it into your own work. Write, write, write. Even when you hate it, keep at it. I had a period of about 6 years from secondary school into university where, everything I wrote, I hated soon after. But that made me question why I hated it and what I needed to do differently. The trick is to keep writing so that when an opportunity comes your way, you have something to show of your ability that will make them at least consider you. Don’t wait for someone to find you and make you a writer. And then of course, seek out those opportunities. I know this is a bit glib, and won’t work out for everyone, but it will for some. Oh, and I should mention this magic trick. The first time I went to a writers’ workshop, everyone there introduced themselves as a writer except me. I didn’t think I had the right to claim that about my hobby. The people present in the room made me say it ‘I’m a writer’. When I returned to my life, I started introducing myself that way. And people remembered. And the calls started coming.

*Q & A facilitated by Ruth Sparkes and MetFilm School

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Nigeria:Bond Ebigbo Stanley Publishes His Book “Grounded Ways To The Music Industry”
March 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

According to Bond, “this book touches on developing your talent, branding yourself both online and offline, carving a niche for yourself and building a formidable fan base. It also sheds light on networking as an artiste and building relationships within and outside the music industry”. Grounded promotions have been a force in the artiste and music management business for a long time and Bond Stanley the founder and CEO is well versed in the music business so any artiste, manager, enterainment practitioner, intending investor or label owner who gets a copy of this insightful book, reads and applies the principles outlined will benefit a lot from a well-experienced music executive.

 The music sector is one of the industries that houses the most number of personalities in need of direction on how to become a successful brand. Potential performing artistes are seeking knowledge on how to score hit songs and develop a marketable brand while indie labels are in pursuit of how to go about promoting unknown artistes into mega brands.

With all these in mind, Bond Ebigbo Stanley, the C.E.O of Grounded Promotions, with years of experience in managing some of the most successful artistes in Africa like Phyno and Runtown, authored his book titled “Grounded Ways To The Music Industry”. His experience in the music industry spans over a decade with diverse roles: artiste manager, promoter, blogger, PR person, event manager, booking agent and road manager. He tapped into these experiences to write this book with a view to helping both the established and upcoming artiste and also to contribute positively to the fast growing Nigerian music industry.

According to Bond, “with my wealth of experience in the music industry, I founded a mentorship class where I trained young people, including artiste managers, on how to become successful in the music industry”. I also created a Talent Search, GROUNDED TALENT SEARCH  – geared at discovering and encouraging new/young talent in music and mentoring them”. Indigenous hiphop act B Shine Akabuike based in Enugu was the winner of the maiden edition in 2017.

This book “GROUNDED WAYS TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY” isn’t just for upcoming artistes. It is for everyone and anyone who desires to make/have a career in the music industry either as a talent manager, curator of music or an artiste. Even outside the music industry, the guidelines in this book can be applied anywhere and in any field.

Bond, a native of Nnewi LGA of Anambra State, Nigeria, was born and raised in Enugu, Enugu State. He moved to Lagos state where he lived most of his life and acquired all his knowledge in the music industry.

He currently resides in New Jersey United States of America.

You can connect and interact with Bond via his social media platforms
TWITTER/INSTAGRAM @bondgrounded

Link to purchase the book (available in hard copies and eBook)- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0851MB3P5/ref=mp_s_a_1_7?keywords=grounded+ways&qid=1582358944&sr=8-7

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German Based Gambian Singer Release New Single ‘Always there’
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Jarck Boy, Germany-based Gambian reggae-dancehall artiste has release a new song called ‘Always there’ as part of his new Extended Play, EP called Ghetto Defender.

The EP will contain six tracks and so far two tracks have been recorded at Chosan Bi Records. The two tracks are ‘Gambia kankiling’ with a video making waves now in various TV stations and online platforms and ‘always there’

Jarck Boy explained that The ‘Gambia kankiling’ song depicts that Gambians should come together despite our political, religious and tribal difference to move the country forward for the betterment of all.

He added that the second song ‘Always There’ is a love song depict then men’s should always be there for their loves ones like wife, finance and girlfriends.

According to him, the EP will also talks about youths in the ghetto their plights to stardom by inspiring and encouragement them to stand firm to live in a descent life in society.

He promised to release more videos from the EP. “After releasing my new reggae album from FULL100 MUSIC Label, am very   busy in the studio again working on his upcoming EP this year again. 2020 still alive. Jah mission continues to uplift and spread the divine love and unity, watch out for another conscious hit,” he said.

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Show-Me Festival Underway in Zurich
January 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

The project co-ordinators of Show-me are Cameroonian musician, Blick Bassy (left), and Swiss journalist, Elisabeth Stoudmann (right).

Show-me is 2nd Edition of the first digital live music forum dedicated to self-entrepreneur artists in solo and duo format is currently underway in Zurich Switzerland at the legendary Moods club from 24th -26th January 2020. A crowdfunding project by Show-me, music, community, and festival, Zürich. 

The project co-ordinators are Cameroonian musician, Blick Bassy (left), and Swiss journalist, Elisabeth Stoudmann (right). Coming from the same milieu but with different skill sets, their aim is to cause ripples in the musical world via the creation of Show-me.

It features the showcases of 10 of the best DIY artists of the moment, selected this summer via an online competition. Show-me also serves to connect these new independent artists with specially invited professionals who will inform and coach them.

Lastly, Show-me offers a collective music writing exercise in a professional studio that helps the musicians to forge contacts and practice group collaboration.

The goals of Show-me
Today, getting into the music business independently is full of constraints and difficulties. Show-me was created to allow these entrepreneurial artists to be seen and heard in the flesh by music business specialists, as well as online. Show-me also offers them several useful tools.

At the end of the event, each nominee will go home with: a booking date at a festival or club, the filming and broadcast of their showcase in HD, a series of quality photographs, advice from programmers, bookers and other music business professionals, and lastly, the chance to make a studio recording.

Last year, during the first edition of Show-me, some nominated artists were able to launch careers after their participation. 

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German based Sierra-Leone Praise worship leader Out with New single ‘Bow and Worship’
January 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Cyrus Richard Togba popularly known as Cyrus Richie is a praise-worship leader, singer-songwriter and a recording artist currently based in Germany.

Born in Sierra Leone, Cyrus grew up in a God-fearing home where Christian values were instilled in him from a very tender age.

His commitment to Church activities which always kept him around the environ, helped him quickly discover his love for music and calling as a minister. Ever since Cyrus Richie became actively involved in the choir of every Church he joined.

According to him, “His journey with the Lord hasn’t been a smooth one,” but life experiences and challenges have strengthened his resolve to serve Him (God) more.

Having served in various ministries for years, Cyrus Richie made his official debut as a recording artist in 2018 after storming the gospel music scene with his first single “Most High God”.

He followed the well-received track with “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” released in January 2019.

The talented worshiper is set to kick-off the coming new year (2020) on a high note as he recently announced the release of a brand new single “Bow and Worship” featuring Gambia-based music minister Kalusian. 

Anticipation among fans has been heightened towards the upcoming release due on January 11th, 2020.

Cyrus Richie is happily married to Mrs. Fatmata Togba and they are blessed with four lovely children.

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Gambia:European Tour Wrap-Up, T. Smallz Tells Fans Thank You, Expect more Projects in 2020
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

T.Smalls

T.Smalls

One of Gambia’s finest singers and songwriter T. Smallz, has commended his fans across Europe for supporting him during his recent European tour in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Belgium was a huge success.

He also commended promoters, Djs, in Europe for having the trust and confidence in him in hiring his service in concerts across Europe, hoping that next year tour will be on fire again.

“You are the best keeping the fire blazing till me meet again let keep the vibes going,”

Katato, as widely called assured his fans across the globe to expect more projects in 2019 and the upcoming album ‘Level Low’

The tour started on 20th July- 30th August, 2019, was organised by Warriors in a Dance and Katato Entertainment, paving the way for many. He is one of Gambian artistes who always tour Europe annually and returns home.

T Smallz performed at revered clubs and entertainment venues such as Pays Club, Club Casablanca, Karlsruhe, Club Calwer Stuttgart, Diamond Dance Café and Halle Saale all in Germany.

He performed at Austria, Vienna; in August entertain the Na Nang Club.

In Italy, he performed at the Playa Catania Lido Jolly Club and the Replay Club in Bologna, after moving to Sweden where he performed at the Styrso festival and then wrapping things up in Belgium.

He was speaking to journalists shortly before leaving the shores of The Gambia, telling them the objective of the tour is to reach out to fan-bases across the globe.

An international star singer, Smallz said the tour is necessary because not only Gambians listen to his golden voice over radio and podcasts. “It is prudent to do more shows in Europe to build a wider audience of followers and contacts, has a studio session with artistes, video shooting, sessions with deejays, producers and promoters across Europe.”

According was huge people are loving the vibes in Europe, as his new ‘Problem’ featuring Lil Omz  was big in Europe and disclosed he shot a video for the song ‘Elafta Elafta’, the first single from his album in-making ‘Level Low’.

“This is a big uplift for my music representing Gambia across the globe and at the same time educating and entertaining my global fans.  I commended all Gambian and non who come to attended the shows in their various cities,” Smallz, also widely referred to as Katato -troublemaker for English, said.

“We commend them, however, we urge them to do more, and to do better for Gambia music to cross borders,” the 2013 Nominated Male artiste of the year said.

He urged Gambian DJs to keep supporting and embracing Gambian music by playing it in their various concerts because a lot of good music is coming outta Gambia.

 

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Universal Music Nigeria releases Jizzle’s Debut Album, ‘Finally’
August 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Jizzle

By: Bakary Ceesay
Jizzle

 Finally, Universal Music Nigeria releases Gambia’s afro pop artiste  Jizzle’s 1st album, Finally.  There have been many months of anticipation for the album, from the Biggest In The Game artist. 

 The album is made up of twelve tracks representing the sounds of Afro pop, Afrobeat, and Afrofuzion with elements of Hip Hop.

The lyrics are very catchy with a sing along type of vibrations with topics that all elements of his fans can identify with.  As a multi-talented artist, Jizzle has produced five songs on the album with the production from top Gambian producers Shyboy, Endy Official, and J Live Music. Machine Man Tim from the UK and J Masta from Sweden also make hot beats on the album.

Jizzle is dubbed as the artist in the Gambia that can take Gambian music to an international market and make it successfully on the mainstream platform.  “My main goal with my music is to take Gambian music to the next level.  Finally means the world to me and I put a lot of myself in it for the world to love and enjoy,” expresses Jizzle.

He features a number of West African Artists, Dip Doundou Guiss, Samba, Peuzzi, Bm Jaay, and Hakill from Senegal.  Shaydee represents Nigeria and Gee from The Gambia.  Jizzle is a very unique type of artist and his style is very different compared to a lot of artists. He is able to capture his audience through a variation of different languages from English to Mandinka, Fula, and Wolof.

 “I am very happy with the response that I have been getting from my first album, Finally.  I feel like the whole world loves this project. The outpour of love and support for my first album has been breathtaking. I am humbled by my fans and ask that continue to buy my music,” explains Jizzle in jubilation.

 Jizzle does not take for granted his natural musical ability and quality. He employs both exuberance and brainpower to pull off conscious, sweet songs viable in today’s pop-culture. Finally, is a testament to Jizzle’s love for music and natural star quality.

 He  is currently embarking on a three-week European Tour in Sweden, Italy, and Germany to promote Finally.  All of his shows will display his dynamic stage presence and performance. ALBUM DOWNLOAD LINK: https://umgafrica.lnk.to/finally

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ADM REMIX OF IDYL’S, ‘SATISFY ME’ OUT NOW
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Off the success of the studio single, ‘Satisfy Me’ released March of this year, Nigerian RnB sensation, Idyl is back with a new project, ‘Satisfy Me the (A.D.M. Remix)’ Pack.

 A Collaboration between the ‘Better Lover’ crooner and music collective, Africa Dance Music (A.D.M), the three-track project is an energetic take on the already upbeat single. A.D.M. is Nigeria’s first dance music collective, focused on introducing the world to Africa’s many variants of dance music. The label was launched and founded by seasoned music producer and DJ, Timi “TMXO” Aladeloba in 2017.

 ‘Satisfy Me (A.D.M. remix pack)’ includes three remixes of the original track, featuring DJ’s Jamie Black, D3an, and Calix. This unusual genre is an African take on electronic dance music, and is quickly carving out a space for itself within the continent.

 The ‘Satisfy Me A.D.M. Remixes’ build on the existing feel-good sound and dancehall vibes heard on the original. This remix pack is bound to be the soundtrack to your summer and is sure to be on every DJ’s playlist.

 You can listen, stream and download Idyl’s ‘Satisfy Me ADM Remix’ Here https://umgafrica.lnk.to/SatisfyMeRemixes

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UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP TO LAUNCH STRATEGIC DIVISION IN NIGERIA
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

FIRST MARQUEE LABEL SIGNINGS INCLUDE ACCLAIMED ARTISTS TEKNO, STONEBWOY, VANESSA MDEE & MR EAZI

L-R_Korede Ogunyomade_ Ezegozie Eze_ Bayo Fatoba_ Efosa Aiyevbomwan.

L-R_Korede Ogunyomade_ Ezegozie Eze_ Bayo Fatoba_ Efosa Aiyevbomwan.

SANTA MONICA/LAGOS, July 17, 2018 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced a significant expansion of operations within Western Africa, with the launch of Universal Music Nigeria. This new strategic division, will operate from a new office in Lagos, under the leadership of seasoned music executive Ezegozie Eze Jr., who has been named General Manager of Universal Music Nigeria.

Eze and his team will support artists from Nigeria, Ghana, and Gambia throughout the continent and beyond, utilizing Universal Music Group’s global networks for wider discovery, marketing, promotion and distribution. Eze, has previously held roles at Channel O Television, Empire Mates Entertainment (Banky W & WizKid) and was a founder of Pan-African creative companies, Republic 54, Alore Group, and Duma Collective, brings vital experience in the Nigerian music market. He will report to Sipho Dlamini, MD, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The label has signed a host of Nigerian-born artists including WurlD, Odunsi (the Engine), Tay Iwar, and Ghanaian-born artists Cina Soul and Stonebwoy. In addition, the label has recently signed marquee deals with acclaimed Banku singer and songwriter Mr Eazi for pan-African releases, co-signed Nigerian artist Tekno in conjunction with Island Records UK and Tanzanian singer and songwriter Vanessa Mdee in conjunction with AfroForce1 Records/Universal Music Central Europe/Universal Music South Africa. These two signings mark the first time UMG labels from the two continents have combined to sign and release African artists globally, with other artist partnerships in the pipeline with UMG labels from around the world.

In making the announcement, Dlamini said, “In recent years there has been an increase in visibility of Nigerian and Ghanaian music and its influence on contemporary music around the world. Eze and his team are perfectly placed to support, nurture and help develop artists and musicians from the region, whilst creating opportunities for new talent from the region to reach the widest possible audience.”

Eze commented, “I am delighted to be officially launching Universal Music’s Nigerian division at such an exciting time for African music around the world. The world’s largest music company opening an office within the region is a huge statement of belief in our local music talent. The signings we have already made show our ambition to help our artists reach the widest global audience and we are looking forward to working closely with our UMG label partners around the world to make that happen.”

This new division will work in partnership with existing UMG operations throughout the continent including Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco and alongside key markets across English-speaking Africa in order to offer artists comprehensive opportunities throughout the region and provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success.

Universal Music Group operates two successful live music companies within Africa, both of which will also have divisions within Universal Music Nigeria. Launched in 2017 in Johannesburg, UMG Live Africa has quickly become one of the leading talent booking agencies within the continent. It has succesfully helped redefine the role of a booking agency within Africa, with a broad roster of artists made up of both UMG talent and non-UMG signed artists making more than 600 performances throughout 2017. ULive Africa was founded in 2016 and is engaged in staging, producing, programming and hosting large-scale live concerts and events throughout Africa including Runway Jazz, the innaugral African Comedy Awards, Lekki Sunsplash (30th Anniversary Edition), The Music Industry Awards in Nigeria, Afrochella and Baskets & Wine in Ghana, and Cocktails in the Wild in Uganda and Nigeria, with several other exciting projects in the pipeline.

Universal Music Group is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of its divisions including CanalOlympia, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout the continent.

Universal Music Nigeria is currently developing plans to open a recording studio in Lagos in order to further advance the recording facilities available to local African talent. It will become UMG’s second fully purposed studio within Africa, alongside the existing facility in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Through these strategic investments, initiatives and executive appointments, UMG is accelerating the company’s focus on growing the entire African music ecosystem including recorded music, music publishing, production, live events, brand partnerships and merchandising efforts.

Stoneboy

Stoneboy

Universal Music Nigeria (UMGNG) is a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, with strategic divisions in more than 60 countries worldwide. UMGNG covers neighbouring English speaking-markets within Western Africa including Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia. UMGNG is committed to A&R, artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship in broadening opportunities for African artists both domestically and internationally, creating new and innovative experiences for fans whilst supporting the local music ecosystem in Nigeria and throughout the continent. UMGNG includes several key business units that operate alongside its recorded music, music publishing and audiovisual content divisions including UMGB (creative and brand partnerships division), ULive Africa (live events & production company), UMG Live Africa (talent booking and management), and Bravado (360 full-service merchandise company). These business divisions are structured to work with both UMG signed and independent talent within Nigeria and other African markets. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.ng.

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com

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Claudio Oben On Defying The 6TH
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Destiny Kwenchia

Claudio Oben

With the world premiere set for the USA on April 8th, Actor and Producer Claudio Oben discusses Defying the 6th, his latest production. I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet, says the hard working actor who also stars in Defying the 6th.

Your latest film defying the 6th hits is set to premiere in the days ahead, what is the movie about?

The movie is about the causes of suicides, struggles and trauma that people deal with that eventually if not strong enough drive people to commit suicide.

What message do you seek to convey in that film?

For this film, I seek to start a conversation with people in dark places in their lives or with people who know someone in a dark place that we hear them, we can share their pain and ending one’s life if not the only way out.

Where was the movie shot and could you introduce the cast for us?

The movie was shot 90% in Cameroon and 10% in the United  States. Main Cast: Claudio Oben (Myself), Berlinda Nahbila, Malvis Ann, Lucie Memba and Libota MacDonald.

Where would you rank Defying the 6th in terms of other movies you have produced and starred in?

To me, it’s really not a matter of ranking but more of growth and like anything we do in life, the more you do it, better you get at it. So, as a filmmaker, I believe I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet

What were some of the challenges faced in the production of the movie?

Besides the regular challenges you face when dealing with schedules of a hand full of people, it was more so filming in Cameroon, something I had not done in my career yet. I had to learn and understand the way it is done there and at the same time implement my findings on set on the fly, so it was a huge experience that made me learn a lot.

You have been one of the key actors trying to promote the put Cameroon film industry, how is it

doing and what else needs to be done to get it better?

The Cameroon Industry, just like every industry on cooperation that is belt on talent, art and passion has grown a great deal and it just keeps getting better. That is very evident with the quality and quantity of good film being produced under that umbrella so its a good time to be part of that family.

And for what else needs to be done better: We the artist, be it producers, actors, directors and all need to remember that without us the art dies, so we need to concentrate more on the art and forget about fame and recognition. Those things come by default when the work is done right.

Could you share more information about the Premiere, venue, fees, and any other side shows taking place ?

DT6 will be premiered in MD this Sunday, April 8th, 2018 at the Old Greenbelt Theatre from 7pm-11pm. Tickets for that are $20 even and can be purchased at the gate or on eventbrite. Thereafter, it will be premiered in Cameroon. on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 at the Mountain Hotel in Buea. Tickets for those are: 5000 cfa-Regular, 10.000 cfa-VIP (Comes with 2 drinks), Tables- 50.000 cfa.

 

What next for Claudio Oben after Defying the 6th, any other projects coming up?

After the premieres and film festival runs, Claudio Oben and Zeallmatic pictures will get back to work, if not already in the works for the spin-offs of DT6. That’s all I am allowed to reveal for now.

Thanks for talking to PAV                           

Thank you so much for having me and hope to see you at the premiere. Stay blessed.

 

 

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Kenyan band takes Afro-pop music worldwide
June 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Ilya Gridneff*

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Not many musicians can boast they’ve made U.S. President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes. But Kenya’s Afro-pop band, Sauti Sol, did just that.

Obama, whose father hails from a village in western Kenya, put his heritage on full display at a state dinner in Kenya last July when he boogied down to the traditional Lipala dance that the band revived with their hit song “Sura Yako.”

“Singing and dancing with the world’s most powerful man was incredible,” said Bien-Aime Baraza, a vocalist for the four-man band. “He really was feeling us. It was wonderful for Kenya.”

A savvy mix of catchy tunes, appealing looks and social media promotion has brought success to Sauti Sol, Swahili for voices in the sun. The band has worked to make traditional East African music cool again, said Rand Pearson, who runs Nairobi’s hip monthly, UP Magazine.

“I first remember seeing Sauti Sol in a dingy Nairobi club 10 years ago. My first impression was that finally there it was, a modern pop version of Kenyan music,” he said, crediting the band’s growth internationally to “visionary management, styling and its ever-evolving musical talent.”

Sauti Sol’s have won a number of international awards including the All African Music Awards Best African Group in 2015 and MTV’s Best African Act.

Pop music is big in Africa, where there are more than 200 million in the 15-to-24 year age group. It is also big business. The entertainment and media industries of Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya together will grow to be worth $24 billion in 2018, according to a 2014 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The band recently toured Kenya and performed in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.

In November last year Sauti Sol launched their latest album “Live and Die in Afrika” free on their website, the first Kenyan album to be released online. The demand was so high that the site crashed and soon it was offered on the website of Safaricom, East Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator with more than 25 million subscribers.

“This is testament to the fact that an increasing number of users in this market are using high speed data connectivity to access a whole new world of entertainment,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom,

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta booked the band for his inauguration in 2013. “He definitely likes our music. We’ve even played at his last private birthday party,” said Savara Mudigi, drummer, vocalist and producer for the band.

The band, whose members grew up in modest conditions in Nairobi, are now gaining fame across the continent. Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama invited Sauti Sol to play at the West African country’s national holiday in March.

Social media is one of the main driving forces propelling Sauti Sol to African and worldwide audiences, according to band manager Marek Fuchs.

“Cheaper handsets and data plans have allowed the fans to be continuously in touch with the group and we strive to give them a dynamic and interactive story to follow every day,” he said.

Sauti Sol has a dedicated social media team who, along with the band members themselves, run campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, competitions on Instagram, instrument tutorials, Q&As and behind-the-scenes snippets on Snapchat and YouTube.

“We also have to adjust our strategy to fit the local context, language and time zones. It is a balancing act between posting for our traditional Kenyan base, our pan-African and worldwide fan base in different time zones,” he said.

Willis Austin Chimano, a vocalist, said this strategy is new for Africa.

“You’ve got to get with the times. More and more Africans are online, on their phones, using social media and that’s where we are,” he said.

Despite their international successes Sauti Sol remain with their feet firmly on Kenyan soil. The band members say their latest album is an ode to loving and loathing the good and bad of Kenya and the continent.

 

*Source AP/Washington Post

 

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