Latest: Def Jam announces partnership with Nigeria’s Native Networks


Latest: Def Jam announces partnership with Nigeria’s Native Networks

Def Jam

Universal Music’s Def Jam has entered into a global joint venture with Native Records, the music division of Native Networks, which is a media and content company with bases in Nigeria and the UK.

Says the official announcement, Native is focused on the “discovery and development of young African artists and youth culture”, and has already “amassed a track record of breaking boundaries and popularising new sounds through discovery and development of home-grown artists from the community, with special attention to the burgeoning Afrobeats movement”.

Via the new partnership, Native founders Seni Saraki, Teni Zaccheaus and Shola Fagbemi will work with Def Jam’s US-based CEO Tunji Balogun to “sign and develop talent across the African musical diaspora”, employing their “proven A&R-sensibilities and extensive expertise and contacts in the creative community” along the way.

Says Balogun: “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 [of Africa]”.

“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”, he adds. “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”.

Meanwhile, Saraki and Zaccheaus say in a joint statement: “We’ve known Tunji for quite a while now, and his ear and track record for breaking black artists from all over the world to a global audience is second to none. We are honoured 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”, they go on. “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 colour 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”.


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