MBW’s World Leaders is a daily collection wherein we flip the highlight towards a number of the most influential business figures overseeing key worldwide markets. On this characteristic, we converse to Wale Davies, Sony Music Publishing‘s Head of A&R for Africa. World Leaders is supported by PPL.
Wale Davies wears a number of completely different hats within the music enterprise.
As one-half of Nigerian rap duo Present Dem Camp, Davies, aka Tec, has over 400,000 month-to-month listeners on Spotify and hundreds of thousands of streams.
Present Dem Camp has collaborated with a number of the continent’s greatest rising stars, from Nigeria-based artist Oxlade (5.9m month-to-month Spotify listeners) to Grammy Award-winning Nigerian singer and producer Tems (14m month-to-month listeners on Spotify).
“We’ve got been pioneering a number of the choice sounds popping out of the continent, primarily Nigeria,” says Davies, about Present Dem Camp’s work.
“I’m happy with the integral function we’ve performed in introducing a number of new artists, the current and way forward for the African music scene, by way of our music.”
Past his profession as an artist, Davies works as an artist supervisor, co-managing Tems with Muyiwa Awoniyi.
He’s additionally a profitable video and movie director, (winning a Sundance Award for his brief movie Lizard) and is the founding father of Lagos-headquartered media and manufacturing firm Fatherland.
He says that making music has performed a key function in his profitable and diverse profession as an leisure govt.
“By making music, I gained a singular perspective that allowed me to assist information and form artist careers, primarily as an artist supervisor, and since in different govt roles throughout the music enterprise,” explains Davies.
Including to his lengthy record of business achievements, Davies can be a outstanding publishing govt, serving as Head of A&R for Africa at Sony Music Publishing.
SMP has been making inroads throughout the African continent lately. In August final yr, SMP expanded its operations with a brand new workplace in Lagos, Nigeria, headed up by Godwin Tom as Managing Director, who stories to SMP President, Worldwide Man Henderson.
In 2021, Sony Music Publishing South Africa signed a worldwide settlement (excluding Africa) with Gallo Music Publishers, the publishing arm of certainly one of Africa’s largest and oldest unbiased main labels, Gallo Report Firm (based in 1926).
And in January this yr, SMP hosted its inaugural West Africa songwriting camp in Accra, Ghana, spearheaded by Daviess.
The camp introduced collectively numerous songwriters from throughout its international roster together with Tems, Ladipoe, Lojay, Guiltybeatz, Ozedikus, AV, Berwyn, Moon Willis, Johnny Coffer, Rymez, and extra.
The week-long occasion featured themed conversations and workshops together with a dialogue surrounding the intersection of the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop and the artwork of Rap, that includes Davies (aka Tec) of Present Dem Camp and Nigerian rap star Ladipoe.
Right here, Wale Davies tells us about his profession in music, Sony Music Publishing’s technique in Africa and his predictions for hip-hop from the content material…
What have been a few of your profession highlights up to now main as much as turning into SMP’s Head of A&R for Africa?
There have been a number of highlights and superb moments in my profession to this point.
If I needed to slim it down, as an artist with Present Dem Camp (pictured), it’s unbelievable to see the group now we have grown and the superb followers that present up and assist us promote out venues throughout the globe.
“With my function as supervisor for Tems, seeing her develop and construct at such an outstanding price, and being part of that journey, is unquestionably a spotlight.”
With my function as supervisor for Tems, seeing her develop and construct at such an outstanding price, and being part of that journey, is unquestionably a spotlight. With so many unbelievable achievements garnered in a brief time period, Tems is an inspiration for us all.
Since becoming a member of Sony Music Publishing, I’ve been lucky sufficient to signal and work intently with a number of the most vital voices within the new era of African music – from Guiltybeatz to Tems, Lojay, Ladipoe, AV and producer Lekaa Beats. Along with our already current roster (Sarkodie, Naira Marley, Dj Maphorisa, London) SMP is constructing a powerful footprint on the continent.
What are Sony Music Publishing’s ambitions in Africa?
We’re centered on supporting and educating SMP songwriters throughout the continent and offering them with the instruments and assets they want for fulfillment. By constructing sturdy foundations for our songwriting group domestically, we will present them with an elevated degree of artistic help. We’re additionally specializing in international collaboration alternatives to assist in giving SMP Africa songwriters a seat on the worldwide desk.
By which markets inside wider Africa are you seeing probably the most progress presently?
Along with Nigeria and South Africa, which proceed to be artistic hubs, international locations like Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania are exhibiting a number of progress – it’s unbelievable to listen to and see what is occurring, and I consider that these markets will proceed to increase and evolve.
You hosted the inaugural West Africa songwriting camp in Ghana in January – how did the camp go, and the way vital are occasions like this for Sony Music Publishing’s A&R technique?
Our Inaugural Ghana Track Camp was an vital expertise for our workforce and songwriters and helped set the tone for future SMP occasions throughout the area.
As an A&R my method is to create space for expertise to create collectively and construct lasting connections. To witness a lot expertise from throughout the continent work and type relationships throughout the week, and create superb music collectively – it was a gratifying expertise.
We need to be proactive in creating data and placing folks in the suitable rooms. In a knowledge pushed world, I actually consider within the music being first.
What style or enterprise tendencies are you seeing within the publishing sector that you could inform us about?
I believe the affect of information as an important instrument for figuring out new songwriters has formed the present dialog round songwriter discovery.
These instruments have given publishers much more perception and visibility into completely different markets and areas they could have ignored prior to now attributable to an absence of entry. I believe the refinement of those instruments will result in much more perception and can shine a lightweight on songwriters from rising areas.
Might you inform us about hip-hop’s progress trajectory particularly in Africa – what tendencies have you ever been seeing and so on?
We’re seeing genres merge and hip-hop artists experiment extra with African sounds. We’re additionally witnessing a resurgence of hip-hop throughout the continent.
Artists like Ladipoe (Nigeria), Blaqbonez (Nigeria) Blxckie (SA) and Black Sherif (Ghana) are creating new sounds and redefining what hip-hop from the continent seems like.
What are your predictions for the way forward for hip-hop in Africa and what’s your forecast for the way forward for Africa-based hip-hop songwriters and artists on the world stage?
I consider African hip-hop is making inroads and as extra genres from the continent are gaining visibility, I do know we are going to see proficient generations of hip-hop songwriters and artists being part of the dialog.
Ladipoe, a rapper and an SMP songwriter, had probably the most streamed music in Ghana and Nigeria on Spotify in 2021, and that is simply the beginning of African hip-hop artists breaking into the mainstream consciousness.
The place are the most important alternatives, and what are the most important challenges, for worldwide songwriters in Africa presently?
As an business, we have to work collectively to assist modernize and revamp native societies and frameworks to higher help songwriters throughout the continent.
At SMP, we need to increase help for the songwriting group in Africa and assist tackle lots of challenges that they’re going through, together with lack of schooling round publishing and lack of entry to studios and inventive areas.
“As an business, we have to work collectively to assist modernize and revamp native societies and frameworks to higher help songwriters throughout the continent.”
We’re offering alternatives for schooling by way of panels and masterclasses, like those we just lately hosted at our Ghana Camp. We’re additionally creating areas for songwriters to work and collaborate by way of the launch of latest songwriting conferences / camps in Africa and world wide, which we’re persevering with to increase this yr.
I consider SMP has an vital function in shaping the following era of African songwriters and constructing a sustainable ecosystem for the rising music scene.
If there was one factor you could possibly change concerning the music enterprise, what would it not be and why?
We are able to’t purely depend on knowledge, let’s take it again to the core. Let’s start to belief our intuition.
World Leaders is supported by PPL, a leading international neighbouring rights collector, with best-in-class operations that help performers and recording rightsholders around the world maximise their royalties. Founded in 1934, PPL collects money from across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. It has collected over £500 million internationally for its members since 2006.Music Enterprise Worldwide