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AWAL, Kobalt’s recording company, today announced an exclusive worldwide recordings partnership with Los Angeles-based independent label In Real Life, which was founded by longtime XL Recordings A&R chief Imran Ahmed (pictured above), who signed Vampire Weekend, Jungle and others. According to the announcement, the deal will leverage AWAL and its distribution and marketing expertise to support In Real Life’s artist roster. Additionally, the deal includes publishing for electronic artist Peggy Gou.

Kobalt Chief Creative Officer Sas Metcalfe said: “Imran has created an international name for himself in the industry and we’re proud to be working with him on his projects in such an early phase.” AWAL CEO Lonny Olinick added, “Imran is an amazing tastemaker and highly respected in the industry. His passion for discovering and breaking influential new artists is unique and directly aligned with AWAL’s mission. We are honored to work with him on this new venture.”

In Real Life is a record, publishing and management company based in L.A. and founded by Ahmed this year. In Real Life’s first record releases include New York-based Nathan Bajar and Danish electronic artist ML Buch.

“I’m very hyped about working with AWAL on launching my new company In Real Life,” Ahmed said. “Twelve years in London was an incredible education and there are some key lessons that I bring with me: only work with the most exciting, compelling and boundary pushing new acts and honor artist integrity at all costs. Staying in the independent sector was really important to me and the ambition and energy of AWAL’s team made it the stand out choice.”