Stormzy signs to Universal’s new 0207 Def Jam label, exits Atlantic deal

Credit: Misan Harriman
Stormzy, pictured in October with [Left-Right]: Tobe Onwuka (Stormzy’s manager), Alec Boateng (co-president, 0207 Def Jam), Sir Lucian Grainge (Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group), Alex Boateng (co-President, 0207 Def Jam) and David Joseph (Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK)

Twin brothers Alec and Alex Boateng were last week officially unveiled as co-Presidents of 0207 Def Jam, a newly-launched frontline Universal Music UK label.

Today (November 30), the label has announced its first major signing: superstar British rapper Stormzy.

In an Instagram post published earlier today, Universal Music UK called Stormzy “a once in a generation artist”.

It added: “Welcome to the 0207 & Universal Music family”.

Stormzy’s signing with 0207 Def Jam comes nearly three years after he inked a landmark deal with Atlantic Records (in January 2018), and means he has now exited his deal with the Warner label.

Prior to his deal with Atlantic Records in 2018, Stormzy had become of the country’s most celebrated and successful independent artists.

His debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, hit No.1 in the British market in February 2017. It was released on his own #Merky label, via Warner Music’s distribution division for indie releases, ADA.

The LP sold 69,000 UK combined copies in its opening week and set a British record for the most first-week streams for a No.1 album in UK chart history, with 13.9m streams – surpassing the previous record set by Drake’s Views.

GSAP was the 10th biggest-selling album in the UK that year.

Stormzy headlined the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival in June last year.

His second studio album Heavy Is the Head was released in December 2019 and hit No.1 on the Official UK Album Chart. It was also nominated for the 2020 Mercury Prize.

Heavy Is the Head featured the UK No.1 single Vossi Bop as well as the UK No.4 single, Crown.

In June, Stormzy and his brand #Merky revealed that he will be donating £10m ($12.6m) over 10 years to black-run organizations in the UK.

Acting as the UK home of Def Jam Recordings, 0207 Def Jam has launched in partnership with the legendary New York-based Def Jam label, which is also part of Universal Music Group.

It continues the Def Jam label’s expansion around the world.

In May, Universal launched Def Jam Africa based out of Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria; it has since expanded into Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon.

And in September, Universal launched Def Jam Vietnam. It became the sixth country from the region to join the global Def Jam family, alongside Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia as part of Def Jam South East Asia.Music Business Worldwide

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