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Music Industry Moves: Interscope Capitol Labels Group Promotes Gary Kelly and Jason Kawejsza

Gary Kelly and Jason Kawejsza have been elevated to primary positions at Universal Music’s newly formed Interscope Capitol Labels Group

Kelly has been appointed chief revenue officer and general manager, and Kawejsza has been named executive vice president and head of business and legal affairs for the company that is now comprised of all artists, labels and personnel within the formerly named Interscope Geffen A&M and Capitol Music Group.

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Kelly will oversee numerous company departments and be tasked with “attracting and engaging fans across myriad markets while building diverse revenue streams.” Kawejsza will steer the ICLG business and legal affairs department structure, and negotiate, and draft all deals for ICLG and its labels.

Chairman and CEO John Janick said, “Gary and Jason have each been making invaluable contributions to our company for nearly 15 years, and both combine strong business acumen with an entrepreneurial mindset that will continue to be crucial to my leadership team and to ICLG’s success in the years to come. I know that everyone in the company joins me in congratulating Gary and Jason on these well-earned promotions.”

Pictured above (L-R): Gary Kelly and Jason Kawejsza

+ UTA has tapped Dina Marto as an executive in the music division.

In making the announcement, Gibbs stated, “We are thrilled to welcome Dina to the Atlanta office. Her deep connections in the city’s music scene will undoubtedly open doors and create new opportunities for our clients, further solidifying our position as the leading talent agency in the region.”

Marto added, “Atlanta has always proven to be a source of incredible talent and I am excited to join the UTA team with the aligned purpose of amplifying the voices of creatives and continue to elevate the entertainment infrastructure in this city.”

Marto will be based out of UTA’s Atlanta office, reporting to partner and co-head of UTA Atlanta, Rob Gibbs. He joins the agency with over 20 years of experience as the founder and visionary of Atlanta staple Twelve Music & Studios. Her clients include Grammy award-winning “Songwriter of the Year” Theron Thomas and producer Polow Da Don, along with Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Maybach Music Group and Empire Distribution.

Marto also previously served on the A&R team for Antonio “L.A.” Reid at Island Def Jam, where she helped coordinate albums by iconic artists such as Young Jeezy, Nas, Rick Ross, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J and more.

+ UMG Nashville has appointed David Friedman to the newly created position of VP of promotion and strategy.

Friedman will handle strategic elements of UMG Nashville’s promotion operation. He brings over 25 years’ experience to the role including eight with UMG Nashville where he has worked across the full artist roster and most recently, Friedman led the MCA Nashville promotion team.

“Over the past year, the UMGN promotion department has evolved, and having someone with David’s vast experience running point on our overall radio strategy makes the department stronger,” said UMG Nashville executive VP and COO, Mike Harris. “Having his expertise at the center is a natural fit, and I’m really excited for David and to see where he can take this new role.”

“UMG Nashville has the best roster in the business, so I’m very excited to expand my role and work with all of our artists in this new capacity” adds Friedman. “UMG has been my home for 8+ years and I’m looking forward to working with all four of our iconic imprints in plotting a course for the future. Thank you, Mike and Cindy, for this great opportunity!”

March 6, Wednesday

Blackpink’s Jisoo has been tapped as the new brand ambassador for the London-based fashion brand Self-Portrait, her first partnership since launching her label, Blissoo.

Sporting the brand’s SS24 collection, the Korean superstar is the first musician to appear in a Self-Portrait campaign.

Han Chong, founder and creative director of Self-Portrait said, “Musicians quickly became a great source of inspiration for me as a designer – through their costumes, their chameleonic evolutions, and mesmerising performances. I’ve therefore always wanted to work with an artist who could transmit the values we hold at self-portrait and who represents the women we connect with globally.”

Established in the UK in 2013 by Chong, Self-Portrait is a modern fashion house available globally including its flagships in London, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Taipei.

+ Warner Chappell Music, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has appointed Lisa Li as managing director of China. Li will be based in Beijing, and report to Arica Ng, president of Asia Pacific for WCM.

In addition, Mar Ma has been appointed as director of A&R for China. Reporting to Li, she will spearhead the development and execution of A&R and creative strategies that align with the company’s vision and objectives. Li will be responsible for WCM’s operations in China, developing strategic plans, and collaborating with teams across Asia.

“I’m incredibly excited to lead the talented team at Warner Chappell and embark on this new chapter. The music landscape in China is thriving, so this is the perfect time to take on this challenge,” said Li. “Together, we will continue to build upon our success, nurture emerging talent, and forge strategic partnerships that will shape the future of music in our market. I am committed to championing the voices of our songwriters and artists, and I look forward to creating exceptional opportunities for them in this dynamic industry.”

Ng adds, “We are delighted to have Lisa on board. With her extensive experience and deep understanding of the Chinese market, we’re confident that she’ll drive our business forward and lead our brilliant team to new heights. Lisa’s strategic mindset, leadership skills, and passion for the entertainment industry make her the ideal person to capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunities in China.”

+ Roberto Neri has been confirmed as the next CEO of the Ivors Academy. He will start the role on April 15, taking over from Interim CEO Charlie Phillips.

Neri has over 20 years of experience working in senior roles across the music industry. Most recently CEO of the publishing arm of Believe, which represents over 400,000 songwriters and composers globally, Roberto’s previous roles include chief executive and chief operating officer at Utopia Music Services, executive VP and head of business development at Downtown Music, founder and CEO at Eagle-i Music and VP of International at Bug Music Ltd.

“On behalf of the Board and Academy, I am thrilled to welcome Roberto Neri as our new CEO,” said Tom Gray, chair of the Ivors Academy. “He brings a huge breadth of industry experience, knowledge and leadership skills. His commitment – and ours to him – to be the most influential voice for songwriters and composers in the world.”

+ Music creation platform Splice has released a new mobile experience that combines its AI-based Create technology with the industry-leading catalog of samples.

Splice Mobile is available across iOS and Android, empowering users to browse, audition, and create from the Splice library of sounds, featuring over 300 instruments across 140 unique genres of music.

Splice has partnered with producer Terrace Martin (Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, the Game, Busta Rhymes, Stevie Wonder, Raphael Saadiq) to highlight the creative potential of Splice Mobile. “I didn’t even need band members. What makes Splice’s Create function amazing, you don’t need a keyboard, you don’t need a computer, you don’t even need a studio. So long as your phone is charged.”

“We believe that great ideas should never be confined by time or space,” said Splice CEO, Kakul Srivastava. “We continue to be led by our customer’s desire to integrate Splice sounds deeper in their workflows. This new mobile experience is another path for our customers to bring new ideas to life anytime, anywhere – without losing any of the quality they’ve come to rely on from Splice.”

+ 740 Project, a marketing company in the industry, has elevated Nancy Liu to Partner, joining Jesse “Punch” Edwards, Rahim Wright and Charley Greenberg. Jacolyn Carrasco has also been promoted to VP of marketing, spearheading many key projects and social initiatives for 740.

After nearly a two-year run as the president of the marketing agency, Liu moves to Partner as 740 expands its brand marketing efforts into technology, spirits, and fashion, with active campaigns with Sonos, Amazon Prime Video, Gin and Juice by Dre and Snoop, Julien’s Auctions, and more.

Almost a decade in, 740 has been well known for its close working relationship with Quality Control and their roster including Lil Baby, Migos and Lil Yachty, as well as Travis Scott, Tyler The Creator, Justin Bieber, Megan Thee Stallion, Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris, J Balvin, Megan Thee Stallion and others.

March 4, Monday

Raphael Saadiq has signed with Tyler Childs at Forward Artist Management, the management company announced Monday.

The Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated producer and singer-songwriter is a member of the American soul/R&B band, Tony! Toni! Toné!, with whom he recently went on tour for the first time in 25 years.

Saadiq co-wrote and produced both of Beyoncé’s latest country singles, “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold ‘Em,” the latter of which is currently the No. 1 song in the United States. He shares additional co-writing and production credits on music for Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Usher, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige and Solange. As a solo act, Saadiq’s last release was the album, “Jimmy Lee.”

“Raphael is one of one,” said Childs in a statement shared with Variety. “He’s been making history, creating some of the biggest musical moments of the last 30 years. He continues to write and rewrite the playbook on what an elite artist, producer, songwriter and creative is.”

Childs, who previously served as VP of A&R/creative at Sony ATV Music Publishing, also manages RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan. Other artists managed by Forward Artist Management include Benjamin Booker (managed by Jacob Greene), Tyler Cole, and Sarah Cothran.

+ Warner Chappell Music (WCM) has signed a global publishing deal with singer-songwriter and “Yellowstone” star, Luke Grimes in partnership with Range Media Partners.

His debut song “No Horse To Ride” was featured in the mid-season series’ finale last year and peaked at No. 7 on Billboard’s Country Digital Song Sales chart. Grimes will be releasing his highly anticipated self-titled debut album, produced by Dave Cobb, on March 8 via UMG Nashville’s Capitol Records.

“When you meet Luke you quickly realize his deep love for creating music,” said Ben Vaughn, President and CEO of Warner Chappell Music Nashville. “We’ve been so impressed with how he has formed strong creative relationships with other amazing writers and his commitment to country music. Everyone at Warner Chappell is beyond honored that he has chosen us to represent his songs.”

Grimes said, “Writing songs has become one of the most fulfilling things in my life. To now be able to do it in Nashville with some of the greatest to ever do it is a beyond a dream come true. Warner Chappell has been incredibly helpful getting me started on this journey and I’m honored to officially become a part of their family. Big thanks to Ben and Jessi and the rest of the team. It means the world.”

+ Josh Reich has been promoted to senior VP of Top 40 promotion for Warner Records.

In his newly expanded position, Reich will lead the pop promotion department in all aspects of day-to-day operations, implementing strategy and promoting singles to 170 Pop radio reporters. Since joining Warner Records in 2011, he has worked closely with breakthrough artists such as Dua Lipa, Benson Boone, Bebe Rexha, Teddy Swims, Jason Derulo, David Guetta and more. Based in Chicago, he reports directly to Executive VP of Promotion and Commerce, Mike Chester.

Reich joined A&M Records as a promotion assistant, and in 2003, he moved to RCA Records as associate director of promotion and was named director of national Top 40 promotion in 2006. Over the last 13 years, Reich has played an integral role in supporting Warner Records’ artists, most recently as VP of Top 40 promotion and digital strategy. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Iowa.

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