Def Jam Recordings has entered into an exclusive worldwide joint venture partnership with Lagos, Nigeria and UK-based NATIVE Records.
The deal was announced on Tuesday (September 20) by Tunji Balogun, Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings, and Seni ‘Chubbz’ Saraki and Teni ‘Teezee’ Zaccheaus, Co-Presidents and Co-Founders of NATIVE Networks.
NATIVE Records is the music division of NATIVE Networks, the black-owned and operated, multi-platform, multi-disciplinary media and content company dedicated to the discovery and development of young African artists and youth culture.
NATIVE Networks was founded in 2016 by Seni Saraki, Teni Zaccheaus, Shola Fagbemi, Addy Edgal and Suleiman Shittu.
Def Jam says that “NATIVE has amassed a track record of breaking boundaries and popularizing new sounds through discovery and development of home-grown artists from the community, with special attention to the burgeoning Afrobeats movement”.
Def Jam also says that Zaccheaus and Fagbemi – in collaboration with Balogun “will use their proven A&R-sensibilities and extensive expertise and contacts in the creative community to sign and develop talent across the African musical diaspora”.
With NATIVE, NATIVE Networks magazine and digital platform, Def Jams says that the company has “established credibility for being early, seeing what will come today and tomorrow”.
THE NATIVE has given prominent artists like Burna Boy, Tems, Naira Marley, Mowalola, Odunsi The Engine, Santi, and others their first-ever covers.
Meanwhile, NATIVELAND, the company’s festival, has hosted artists such as J Hus, Dave, NSG, and others for their first live performances in Nigeria.
“Seni, Teni and the Native crew have their fingers on the pulse of what’s truly happening in the scene, as an engine for discovery, and as a hub for creators and artists.”
Tunji Balogun said: “As we build a culture here at Def Jam that connects the best in the global black music diaspora – from hip-hop and R&B to reggae, afrobeats and more – clearly some of the best, most vital, interesting and cutting-edge new artists and sounds in music today are coming out of the continent.
“Seni, Teni and the Native crew have their fingers on the pulse of what’s truly happening in the scene, as an engine for discovery, and as a hub for creators and artists.
“I’ve been a fan of their platform, and have been connected to the guys for some time. Our partnership feels authentic and natural, and I believe we’re going to discover and develop some amazing talent together.”
“We’ve known Tunji for quite a while now, and his ear & track record for breaking black artists from all over the world to a global audience, is second to none.”
Seni ‘Chubbz’ Saraki and Teni ‘Teezee’ Zaccheaus
Seni ‘Chubbz’ Saraki and Teni ‘Teezee’ Zaccheaus, said: “We’ve known Tunji for quite a while now, and his ear & track record for breaking black artists from all over the world to a global audience, is second to none.
“We are honored to be invited into his new home, and to be the first joint venture partnership with an African company in Def Jam’s legendary history. We truly believe that for music, the continent is the most exciting place in the world right now.
“We want NATIVE Records to be about artistic freedom, and as a company, we’ve always been passionate about discovering and working with artists that don’t quite color within the lines, and helping them to express themselves and build community.
“Africa is not a monophonic continent, and we believe this partnership will prove just that.”
Music Business Worldwide