Universal Music U.K. has today announced the launch of 0207 Def Jam, a new frontline label and the U.K. home of the iconic Def Jam Recordings label, which will be helmed by newly minted co-presidents, Ghanaian London-born twin brothers Alec and Alex Boateng.
Confusingly, the label will actually be called 0207 Def Jam, which takes the first part of its name and inspiration “from a telephone code in London as a nod to the music, culture and art the UK is famed for,” along with the legendary Def Jam label.
Alongside his brother, Alex (pictured above, left, we think) takes the helm after 10 years at Universal Music UK, most recently as president of Island Records’ first Urban Division. After taking the role in 2018 he oversaw UK campaigns for Drake, Tiwa Savage, Buju Banton, Nav, Giggs, Unknown T, Ray BLK, M Huncho, Tekno and Miraa May. He is also a member of Universal Music’s Task Force for Meaningful Change, which was created as a driving force for inclusion and social justice. He joined Universal Music in 2010 in a digital role at Island Records before going on to hold positions in marketing and A&R. He started his music career balancing a marketing degree with DJing, multiple shifts at radio and running his own marketing and promotions company with his then BBC 1Xtra colleague G Money, moving on to consulting roles with Atlantic Records, Polydor and AATW.
Alec joins 0207 Def Jam after seven years at Warner Music, most recently as co-head of A&R at Atlantic, where he played a pivotal role in the success of acts like Jess Glynne, Stormzy, Burna Boy, Rita Ora, and many more. A seasoned broadcaster, he also spent over a decade at BBC 1Xtra where he hosted the breakfast show for several years and a series of other specialist shows with a focus on breaking new British music. Previously, he worked at Ministry of Sound and then began operating his own co-owned music company alongside the late industry lawyer Richard Antwi.
Alex’s former Island colleague Amy Tettey will be joining the team as managing director after 11 years, the past four as finance director. Alongside Amy, Jacqueline Eyewe (previously of Atlantic) and Char Grant (from BMG Publishing) join as marketing director and A&R director respectively.
Alec and Alex report to Universal Music UK Chairman & CEO David Joseph. He says, “Bringing the Boateng brothers together at 0207 Def Jam is an important moment in British culture. Alec and Alex have always done things their own way with success always quick to follow. They have already assembled an exceptionally talented top team with a clear vision for this exciting new chapter in the history of one of the world’s most famous labels”.
Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings said, “It is a perfect fit having Alex and Alec at the helm of 0207 Def Jam. Their creativity, artist relationships, and connection with culture are all key elements that have made Def Jam such an important label for over 35 years. I have no doubt that Alex, Alec and their team will only make the label and the brand even stronger.”
Alec Boateng says, “Music, art and artists really, really matter. I’m super excited to play a leadership role in this brilliant new space we’re creating for amazing music and talent to live and evolve. A space which will support both our teams and our artists to be the best version of themselves.”
Alex Boateng says, “Especially in these times, this is a real privilege. I’m proud our collective journey now includes partnering a legendary label with a style that only London and the UK can provide. Looking forward to watching and guiding where the music and art takes the journey next.”