Music Industry Moves: Rae Khalil Signs With Def Jam and Anderson .Paak’s Apeshit Label (EXCLUSIVE)

Rae Khalil, a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, has signed to Def Jam Recordings via Anderson .Paak’s Apeshit label. The R&B singer and hip-hop also has shared her debut single and music video with the label, “Is It Worth It.”

Said Paak, “Once Tunji [Balogun, CEO of Def Jam Recordings] signed [Rae], he asked me to do my ‘Quincy Jones’ thing and it’s been such an amazing experience being part of her journey and helping with her incredible project… Rae is not only one of my favorite artist/collaborators but one of my favorite human beings. I’ve seen her go from a contestant on a Netflix show to us winning Grammys together.”

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Rae contributed her songwriting and background vocals to Paak’s “Lockdown,” which won for best melodic rap performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards. The 26-year-old California native has also received co-signs from Queen Latifah, Chance The Rapper, Common and Free Nationals after gaining popularity in 2019, as a contestant on “Rhythm + Flow” – Netflix’s first original music competition program.

+ Kunal “KJ” Jadav has been promoted to senior VP of A&R and marketing for RCA Records.

Jadav, who started at RCA Records in 2015, showed an incredible prowess for discovering and developing talent which eventually landed him in A&R and Marketing. He’s signed and developed acts including Young Nudy, BabyDrill and Kenny Mason.

Jadav also helped develop the partnership between RCA Records and PDE Records, which resulted in him signing Young Nudy to RCA in 2018. Jadav has been a mainstay in the music industry, he formerly managed Nebu Kiniza. Additionally, Jadav currently manages breakout Atlanta producer Coupe.

+ Concord Music Publishing has signed the songwriting team of Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen to a worldwide administration deal, effective immediately. The deal includes Miller and Tysen’s full catalog and all future works.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be joining some of my favorite writers and artists at Concord and can’t wait to see what lies ahead,” said Miller. “Concord has been a champion of our work for a long time, so it feels like coming home.”

Added Tysen, “I am so grateful to Concord’s support over the years commissioning, recording, and licensing our work. It is an absolute thrill to join the Concord Music Publishing family and be in the company of so many legendary songwriters.”

Miller, who handles the music, and Tysen, who writes the lyrics, are behind the Broadway musical “Tuck Everlasting.” Their off-Broadway work includes “The Burnt Part Boys,” and “Fugitive Songs.” Their current projects include “Blown Sideways Through Life” (with Claudia Shear, based on her one-woman show), and “Revival,” based on Willa Cather’s short story “Eric Hermannson’s Soul.” Television work includes songs for “Sesame Street” (2012 Daytime Emmy Award), “Elmo’s World,” and “The Electric Company.”

+ Steinza (Zachary Stein), a singer-songwriter from Virginia Beach, has signed a global publishing deal with BMG. This announcement comes alongside the release of his new single “Visions Of You.”

Dimitri Farougias, director of A&R for BMG, described Steinza as a “blunt poet” with “the ability to send you up to the clouds with his melodies while sharing his raw emotions and experiences in the most honest way.”

Added Steinza, “Songwriting is more important than ever and I’ve found a trustworthy partner in BMG. The team already feels like family and I’m very excited to move forward in my career here.”

+ Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder LLP, a full-service music and entertainment law firm, based in Los Angeles, New York and Miami, has promoted Lisa Lester to the position of Partner with the firm.

Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder LLP represent Gunna, Jazmine Sullivan, Marshmello, Logic, Charlie Puth, Kehlani, Chloe x Halle, Caroline Polachek, Jon Bellion, Top Dawg Entertainment, Anthony Tiffith, Kevin Liles, Moe Shalizi, and Southside, among many others.

Lester also represents Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning mixer Rob Kinelski and producer Noah Goldstein, Domi & JD Beck, Bunt., and many other songwriters, producers, music executives and artists.

Lester joined Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder LLP in March 2020 and is based in its Los Angeles office.

+ The Academy of Country Music has announced a series of new hires across several departments.

Ben Carter has been hired as VP of live events and production; Matt Brum-Taylor has been hired as director, digital marketing; Lexi Cothran has been hired as senior manager, communications and strategic initiatives; Kendra Williams has been hired as coordinator, finance; Brooke Boyd has been hired as assistant, ACM Lifting Lives; and Heather Howard has been hired as assistant, marketing.

In his new role, Carter will lead the planning and execution of the Academy’s live events, including the acclaimed Academy of Country Music Awards and ACM Honors. Brum-Taylor was previously responsible for building out the Opry’s social media and digital presence and will now spearhead all digital and social media efforts for the Academy.

Cothran will handle publicity and PR for the Academy’s organizational initiatives, key programs and courses, ACM Lifting Lives, brand partnerships and sponsorships as well as executive leadership. Williams will focus on responsibilities across the finance operations of the Academy. Boyd will support the ACM Lifting Lives team with administrative duties, live events and fundraising efforts. Howard will work with the marketing and communications teams on all day-to-day needs.

+ WME has signed multi-platinum ACM and CMA Award-winning artist Jon Pardi for global representation in all areas. The Capitol Records Nashville recording artist will be represented by multiple departments across the agency, including touring, brand partnerships, TV, film and digital.

“Jon is an incredible talent who has seen a tremendous amount of success through the impact he’s made on country music,” shared WME’s Nashville Office Co-Head Joey Lee. “We’re excited to have Jon join the WME family and be a part of the journey in taking his career to the next level.”

Pardi has charted six career Country radio No. 1s – including multi-platinum hits “Dirt On My Boots,” “Head Over Boots,” “Heartache On The Dance Floor” and “Night Shift.” Pardi is currently working on new music and recently released “Cowboys and Plowboys” with Luke Bryan.

+ Michael Kushner has been promoted to senior VP deputy general counsel, business and legal affairs for Warner Music Group.

He joins after more than two decades as general counsel of the company’s Atlantic Music Group division. Based in New York, Kushner reports to Paul Robinson, executive VP and general counsel, and will be involved in the full range of WMG’s business and legal affairs activities.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to count Kush as a trusted partner and close friend for the past 25 years,” said Atlantic Music Group Chairman & CEO Julie Greenwald. “He’s guided countless deals, modernized our contracts, mentored our amazing BA department, and been there for me, Craig, and our Atlantic team morning, noon, and night. Artists and managers love him, because he not only has a brilliant business brain, but a creative brain that allows him to see their point of view. Atlantic wouldn’t be the company it is today without him, and it’s fantastic to see him graduate to this brand-new role.”

+ Raphael Saadiq‘s music production company, My Kind of Music/My Kind of Movies (MKOM), has tapped entertainment industry veteran Yancey Richardson to oversee music supervision for film and television projects.

Richardson’s first role for MKOM is as music supervisor for “Freaky Tales,” which recently played at Sundance.

“We are thrilled that ‘Freaky Tales’ is premiering at Sundance 2024, and the addition of Yancey Richardson to our team further solidifies MKOM’s commitment to delivering exceptional musical experiences in the world of television and film,” said Saadiq.

+ Rimas Publishing, who represents over 125 artists, including globally recognized stars like Bad Bunny and Eladio Carrión, has signed a slate of artists to exclusive publishing agreements.

Andrea Cruz, a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter in the indie-folk genre, joins Rimas Publishing after sharing the stage with acts including Buscabulla, iLe, and Kany García, and has been featured in NPR Tiny Desk concerts. Valentina, a singer-songwriter from the Dominican Republic, joins after her recent signing with Universal Music Mexico last year.

Additionally, Elia, a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter in the urban genre, enters the roster after seeing success with her latest song, “Recordarte.” Also on the lineup: Harold Wendell Sanders, a producer on Grammy and Latin Grammy-award-winning songs; Manu Berlingeri, Elia’s producer; Mendoza, a Mexican artist and producer; and Nes, the popular Chilean author and producer.

+ Kobalt has signed Umbrella Songs to a worldwide publishing agreement.

Founded by Lunick Bourgess, a music executive with over 10 years of music experience, Umbrella has signed artists in the hip-hop and rap spaces in the UK, US, France, and Africa. Umbrella’s catalog includes songs with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Pop Smoke, Emeli Sande, Yeat, Aitch, Teezo Touchdown, D-Block Europe, WizKid, Nines, Chloe Bailey, as well as a share of Tyla’s Grammy-winning hit “Water.”

Umbrella has already hit the ground running with Kobalt, signing Liverpool-based Rapper Mazza_l20.

+ Create Music Group has named Carl LeGrett senior VP of A&R and music publishing at the company.

“Carl epitomizes the kind of executive that succeeds at Create Music Group,” said the company’s Founder and CEO Jonathan Strauss. “His deep entrepreneurial spirit led him to identify a need in the marketplace and his dogged determination helped him win the confidence of music’s most prolific producers and songwriters. His ability to think outside the box and discover untapped talent and trends has made him a true leader and we look forward to his continued success here at Create Music Group.”

Added LeGrett, “Jonathan and his co-founders Alex Williams and Wayne Hampton have created an environment at Create that supports new ideas and rewards hard work and results. To know that I have their confidence as my team and I continue to grow this division is incredibly rewarding.”

Feb. 14, Wednesday

UJA-Federation of New York’s Music Visionary of the Year Award Celebration will honor Ron Perry, chairman and CEO of Columbia Records, at the annual luncheon this spring.

“We are thrilled to honor Ron as our 2024 UJA Music Visionary of the Year,” said Daniel Glass, founder and CEO of Glassnote Records, chair of UJA’s Music Division and co-chair of UJA’s overall Entertainment division. “Ron is one of the new leaders of our industry. Throughout his career, Ron stays close to songwriters and artists. He has proven himself to be a true trailblazer and ‘song person’ – the greatest compliment a music executive can get.”

After assuming the role of chairman and CEO of Columbia Records in 2018, Perry led the charge on campaigns for artists including AC/DC, Adele, Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Blink-182, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Harry Styles, among many others.

Perry was formerly the president and partner of Songs Music Publishing where he signed the Weeknd, XXXtentacion, Lorde, Diplo and others before the company’s sale to Kobalt in December 2017.

Past honorees of the Music Visionary of the Year Award include Rob Stringer, Steve Boom, Scott Greenstein, Doug Davis, Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, John Sykes and Tom Poleman, among several others. Funds raised at the luncheon will go toward UJA’s annual campaign supporting the year-round work of confronting antisemitism, promoting inclusion, and caring for New Yorkers of all backgrounds. A portion of the proceeds will also support UJA’s Music for Youth, which helps thousands of young people connect to life-changing music programs at school, at camp, at home, and beyond.

+ Prescription Songs has extended their publishing deal with multi-platinum music producer, sound designer, DJ, and mix engineer Vaughn Oliver, it was announced Wednesday by Prescription Songs founder Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and Rhea Pasricha, head of A&R for West Coast.

Since signing with Prescription Songs in 2019, the LA-based artist has worked with Latto, Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion, Khalid and Kim Petras, among others. His most recent credit includes the song “Please U” from Usher’s latest effort, “Coming Home.”

“I am thrilled to be a part of the incredible Rx family and continue working alongside these talented, amazing people!” shared Oliver.

Added Gottwald, “It is a privilege to be able to sign an amazing talent such as Vaughn Oliver and be part of his journey. The rest of the world is seeing what we saw from the beginning, and we are totally grateful for his continued success.”

+ Jack Hedges – a senior record label executive with stints at Atlantic Records and Sony – has joined indie label Transgressive Records as its inaugural general manager for North America.

Hedges spent two decades overseeing the creative, A&R and marketing campaigns for alternative artists including the War On Drugs, alt-J, Frightened Rabbit, Death Cab For Cutie, Grouplove, Manchester Orchestra, Briston Maroney as well as Transgressive Records signee Michelle.

Canvasback Music, the boutique label imprint that Hedges ran with revered industry legend and mentor Steve Ralbovsky will form part of the new structure, operating as an imprint within Transgressive Records, again under Hedges’ lead. Transgressive Records is also a partner of music company Firebird.

+ Universal Music Publishing Group has signed singer-songwriter and producer Dan Wilson to a global publishing agreement. Under the new agreement, UMPG will represent Wilson’s future works, effective immediately.

Wilson, a lead member of the band Semisonic, won his third Grammy award at the 66th Grammy Awards in the best country song for Chris Stapleton’s “White Horse.” He has also been awarded song of the year for co-writing the Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice,” and album of the year for Adele’s “21,” which featured three of his co-writes including “Someone Like You.”

He also has credits on Grammy-nominated songs by Jon Batiste (“Butterfly”), Semisonic (“Closing Time”) and Taylor Swift (“Red”). Wilson also received his first-ever Oscar nomination for co-writing and producing Jon Batiste’s “It Never Went Away.”

Wilson has written with a diverse range of artists including Carole King, Mitski, Celine Dion, Florence + The Machine, Chris Stapleton, Halsey and Weezer, among others.

Tuesday, Feb. 13

UTA has signed singer-songwriter and actor Kylie Minogue for live representation in the United States and Canada and acting worldwide.

Minogue won a Grammy during the 66th annual pre-telecast ceremony for best pop dance recording for her 2023 single “Padam Padam,” a track released as a part of her 16th album, “Tension.” The tune became ubiquitous on social media, emerging as a worldwide anthem for the LGBTQ community and qualifying as the singer’s biggest hit of the streaming era.

Minogue, managed by Polly Bhowmik of A&P Artist Management, is also set to receive the Brits Global Icon award at this year’s ceremony on March 2, “in recognition of her career spanning across five decades as one of the world’s most successful and iconic music stars,” the organizers said.

The Brits Icon is the highest accolade given by the Brit Awards, with previous winners including Elton John, Robbie Williams, David Bowie and Taylor Swift.

+ Bear1Boss has signed a three-year co-publishing deal with Rick Rubin’s American Records and Pulse Records that will allow the rising hip-hop act to remain independent. In tandem with the signing announcement, Bear1Boss has released his new project, “Super Boss!”

Brought in by A&Rs Isaac Heymann and Orlando Emerson-Sullivan, the deal was negotiated and managed by the attorney Aurielle Brooks, and Bear1Boss’ manager, Joseph Hirsch.

+ BMI will honor singer-songwriter Horacio Palencia with the BMI President’s Award at the 2024 BMI Latin Awards on March 13. The private ceremony will be hosted by BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI VP of Creative for Latin, Jesus Gonzalez, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

“Since joining the BMI family twenty years ago, Horacio has played a major role in the success and evolution of Música Mexicana through his profound connection to the heart and soul of his musical heritage,” said Gonzalez. “In addition to Horacio’s commercial success, he’s garnered widespread respect within the industry and established himself as one of the most talented and sought-after songwriters in Latin music. We’re so proud to honor Horacio and his prolific career with the BMI President’s Award and celebrate the creative accomplishments of all our 2024 BMI Latin Award winners. It is going to be an incredible night to remember.”

The BMI President’s Award is presented to a songwriter, composer, producer or executive who has profoundly influenced the entertainment industry. In receiving this honor, Palencia joins previous BMI President’s Award recipients including Carlos Vives, Gloria Trevi, Juanes, Luis Fonsi, Mario Quintero, Pitbull, Sergio George and Wisin & Yandel, among others.

+ Jason Bentley, a Los Angeles-based music executive with a history as a radio host and DJ, A&R director, and music supervisor for film and TV, has joined independent record label Thrive Music.

Bentley will act as president of licensing and soundtracks for a new division of the company dedicated to sync services. He will oversee business development in the sync space, pursuing opportunities for Thrive Music in feature films, TV, advertising, and video games. Bentley will work alongside Thrive distribution partners at Virgin Music Group to acquire and elevate soundtrack properties with music solutions amplified by Thrive’s marketing expertise.

“Thrive is on the frontlines of dance music culture, and I’m thrilled to join Ricardo and the Thrive team as they continue to build a global force in dance music,” Bentley shared. “The vision and passion in the building is unrivaled, and I’m looking forward to a successful 2024 and beyond.”

In the record business, Bentley has worked as an A&R executive for Island Records and Maverick Records, as well as produced projects for various artists including the Bob Marley estate, Madonna, and Depeche Mode. As a music supervisor for film, he notably produced the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for “The Matrix” (Warner Bros), as well as “Tron Legacy” (Disney) with Daft Punk, and most recently served as a music consultant for “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount).

+ Sony Music Publishing has expanded its operations across the Middle East and North Africa with the opening of its new office in Dubai, and the appointment of its Managing Director, Dounia Chaaban, effective immediately.

As managing director, Chaaban will be responsible for overseeing operations, advancing the company’s creative strategy, and developing the company’s talent across the region. Based in SMP MENA’s flagship office in Dubai, Chaaban will report to SMP’s senior VP of International, Dan Nelson.

Dounia Chaaban began her music business career at Anghami, the leading Middle Eastern music streaming platform, where she spent seven years. During her tenure, Chaaban served as the Arabic Indie community lead, working closely with independent artists across the MENA region. She later took on the role of artist relations manager at Believe Music, where she advanced the company’s artist development efforts, drove marketing strategy and more.

+ Bandsintown is partnering with Spotify to integrate Bandsintown event listings on the streaming platform.

“Bandsintown is on a mission to help artists get discovered and sell out shows,” said Fabrice Sergent, co-founder and managing partner of Bandsintown. “With Spotify on board, we are bringing artists and fans closer in a world where every show counts and every fan matters.”

Bandsintown for Artists gives artists full control of their event listings, providing a more complete and accurate pipeline of data to Spotify. Artists can link their Spotify profiles and publish their shows on Bandsintown.

“Our partnership with Bandsintown reinforces our commitment to help artists connect with and monetize their fanbases. With more concert listings and data directly sourced from artists, this integration gives artists more control to update their tour schedules on Spotify and ultimately improves the fan experience of discovering and purchasing tickets,” said Jon Ostrow, associate director of growth and discovery for live events at Spotify.

Monday, Feb. 12

Paramore has announced its first order of business as independent artists will be championing independent record stores as a Record Store Day Ambassador for 2024.

Paramore — the trio consisting of frontwoman Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro — took to social media over the weekend to share the news and confirmed the band is “freshly independent,” as Variety reported in January.

“After a long career in the music industry we have decided to announce that… we are going to continue to have a long career in the music industry (sorry for any inconvenience),” the band wrote on Instagram. “Our first order of business as a freshly independent Paramore is to shine a light on independent record stores — a vital part of our journey from music obsessed school friends to professional music makers. With that being said, we are humbled to be your Ambassadors for Record Store Day 2024. The timing feels kismet.”

Paramore joins Killer Mike, Jason Isbell, Taylor Swift, Brandi Carlile and more as Record Store Day Ambassadors. The band kicked 2024 on a high note by recently winning in the rock album of the year category as the first female-fronted band to achieve the feat. They also have a busy touring schedule ahead, mostly on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in Europe.

+ Universal Music Group will be opening three new Capitol Studios recording studios – the first-ever Capitol Studios outside of the storied Capitol Tower in Hollywood — in addition to live performance spaces, music education academies and a new record label, as part of a collaboration with DGMC in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubbed the “Music City” development, the new partnership aims to bolster the regional hub for both local and international recording artists and songwriters. The label will be a joint venture between UMG and DGMC and will sign and develop local artists.

“At its heart, the UMG-DGMC partnership’s aim is to support and nurture talented artists and songwriters in the region and help them reach their full creative and commercial potential,” the companies wrote in a press release.

“We are thrilled to partner with UMG, the world’s leading music group, on this unique and exciting endeavour,” said Rasha Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairwoman of DGMC. “Building a state-of-the-art music infrastructure and providing industry services to support aspiring musical artists is critical to our leadership’s vision to promote culture and the arts. DGMC’s initiatives will not only help to foster our regional creatives and music-related professionals, but elevate the UAE’s music economy to global levels.”

+ Messina Touring Group has elevated three team members to vice president roles: Lauren Cairerises has been upped from director of finance to VP of finance; Keena Cheatham moves from promoter rep to VP of touring and LeeAnn Rotondo has moved from director of ticketing to VP of ticketing.

MTG has worked with such acts as Blake Shelton, Ed Sheeran, Eric Church, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift and The Lumineers.

Caire first joined MTG in 2015 as a Senior Accountant and has since managed finances for the company and all of its tours, including a marquee year in 2023 anchored by Swift’s headline-dominating Eras Tou and Sheeran’s Mathematics World Tour. Cheatham, who joined MTG in 2013 as a promoter rep on Swift’s Red Tour, has had a role in over half of the MTG roster in both the pop and country music sectors.

Rotondo joined MTG in 2015 as a ticket manager, primarily to assist with ticketing for Swift’s 1989 Tour. Nine years later, she spearheads all ticketing for Swift’s tours, as well as many other MTG clients including Church, Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton.

+ France-headquartered music company Believe has announced an expansion into Japan with a new imprint called PlayCode, dedicated to Japan’s hip-hop scene. The company will also be partnering with Japan-based acts for the new label, including ¥ellow Bucks, Red Eye, and Issei Uno Fifth.

As part of Believe Japan’s Artist Services offering, PlayCode will combine Believe’s digital artist development capacities and long-term partnerships.

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