Music Industry Moves: TDE Artist Doechii Signs With Capitol; Def Jam Celebrates Diverse Female Staff

Doechii Signing
Lester Cohen

Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) has partnered with Capitol Records to bring new signee Doechii to the Universal Music Group label. Hailing from Tampa, Florida, the singer, rapper and dancer is best known for her breakout single, “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake,” which has amassed over 32 million streams on Spotify, and is already garnering comparisons to the legendary Missy Elliott.

Doechii marks one of the first signings under new Capitol chairman and CEO Michelle Jubelirer, who describes, upon hearing her music, an “incredible chill-inducing feeling that I live for, as both a music executive and music fan.”

The artist’s debut track, “Persuasive,” is produced by Kal Banks (Isaiah Rashad, J. Cole, SiR) and executive produced by TDE’s Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith.

“I came across Doechii in 2018 and knew she was a star,” Chris Turner, senior director of A&R at Capitol, tells Variety. “I couldn’t reach her to save my life. I figured she had signed. Fast forward to 2021, I’m sitting in Top’s living room and he shows me his ‘new artist.’ The rest is history. In 2022, the world’s about to find out about this global superstar Doechii!”

TDE is home to some of hip-hop’s biggest stars, among them Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and SZA.

Pictured at top (from left): Manny Smith, senior executive, TDE; Michelle Jubelirer, chair and CEO, Capitol Music Group; Doechii; Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, founder and CEO, TDE; Chris Turner, senior director A&R, CMG; Anthony “Moosa” Tiffith, president, TDE.

+ SoundExchange has named Anjula Singh chief financial officer and chief operating officer to lead the financial, operational, human resources, and office services teams.

During her 16 years at SoundExchange, Singh played a key role in scaling the organization for growth and investing in platforms and infrastructure to maximize efficiency. Singh also provides leadership in the day-to-day operations at SoundExchange, including the company’s move into the publisher services line of business.

“I am thrilled to announce Anjula’s well-deserved promotion to chief financial officer and chief operating officer,” said Michael Huppe, president and CEO at SoundExchange. “Anjula has been a tremendous partner over the years in advancing the mission of SoundExchange. Her immense institutional knowledge, mastery of our business’s complexities, and ability to work across teams will be critical to our strategy and success as we move into the next chapter.”

Most recently, Singh served as executive vice president and chief financial officer where she helped lead the organization in the distribution of digital royalties to music creators.

“I’m excited to continue serving our community of over 500,000 music creators with the incredible team at SoundExchange,” shared Singh. “Our mission is what drives my work at the company, and I am dedicated to maximizing the value of music and making the business more efficient for music creators.”

+ Caroline Abs has been promoted to senior VP, strategic market development of Sony Music Latin-Iberia. With 16 years of experience with Sony Music, Abs will be working closely together with Chairman and CEO, Afo Verde.

In her new role, Abs will focus on expansion and reach for Sony Latin-Iberia’s artist roster. She will be working with all divisions across the Latin-Iberia region including marketing, business development, digital and more with the hopes of broadening reach in the US markets.

Abs has navigated Sony Music’s region-wide marketing efforts for the past six years, increasing market dominance in the Latin space as the head of marketing for the Latin-Iberia region. She’s overseen many artist campaigns, including Shakira, Ozuna, Maluma, Camilo, Becky G, and more in the region, as well as spearheading marketing efforts for international artists including Adele, Harry Styles, Doja Cat and others.

“With her blend of experience, consumer insight and industry knowledge she is the perfect person for this job. I am grateful to her for her efforts across our region and for helping to further evolve our incredible marketing team,” added Verde.

+ Universal Music Publishing Group has promoted Dani Sawyerr to director of A&R for UMPG UK. Based in London, Sawyerr will continue reporting to Mike McCormack, managing director of UMPG UK.

“Dani deserves this promotion based on the success he’s had over the past few years,” McCormack said. “He’s always been a diligent and very selective A&R, only backing what he 100% believes in, and is a respected and well-liked member of the creative team.”

Sawyerr — who joined UMPG in January 2013 — serves as publishing A&R for UMPG songwriters and artists including Holly Humberstone, S1mba, Shobeatz and Noizu, as well as being A&R link to music publishing partners such as TAP.

Added Sawyerr, “It’s been an honour to be part of such an incredible company. UMPG always puts songwriters first and continues to set the highest standards as a leader in the music industry. Thank you to Mike McCormack for his support, and of course to our amazing songwriters who I am very grateful to work with. I am extremely excited for this next chapter.”

Wednesday, March 30

Def Jam Record­ings celebrated Women’s History Month — in partnership with LUCID Motors — with a special event recognizing its own female staff. Held March 28 in Beverly Hills, “The Women of Def Jam” brought out the iconic label’s executive team, staff and VIP guests as well as artists like Kendra Jae, DaniLeigh, Pap Chanel, Nevaeh Jolie, Ilham and Kaash Paige, who joined a “Future Leaders” panel moderated by Variety executive editor Shirley Halperin.

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Courtesy of Def Jam

After closing statements from newly installed Def Jam chairman and CEO Tunji Balogun, the event concluded with a performance by Coco Jones, a new label signee and star of Peacock’s “Bel-Air.”

Def Jam’s female execs were also celebrated earlier this month with the release of “The Women of Def Jam” — a 24-track compilation album showcasing music by Nikki D., Foxy Brown, Boss, Ashanti, Amerie, Teyana Taylor, Alessia Cara, Rapsody and Jhené Aiko, among others.

Of the major labels, Def Jam is a model of inclusivity and diversity as half of its employees are women, including seven women of color in senior executive positions. In addition, for the first time since 2007, Def Jam boasts an all-female marketing staff.

Pictured above: Def Jam’s Nicki Farag, Khorey Washington and Natina Nimene; Coco Jones and Tunji Balogun can be seen below.

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Courtesy of Def Jam

+ Sony Music Publishing has partnered with the non-profit organization Girls Make Beats to host a songwriting and composing workshop for young girls in music. This collaboration marks the launch of Sony Music Group’s second annual Beyond The Instrument program, an ongoing initiative designed to develop the next generation’s music industry.

With the support of SMP songwriters Crystal Nicole, Caroline Ailin, and Sarah Aarons, as well as Bleeding Fingers Music composers Laurentia Editha, Adam Lukas, Christian Lundberg, Anze Rozman, Kara Talve, and Denise Santos, 15 students — enrolled in GMB — worked together to create an original song and video score about women empowerment.

“Songwriting and composing are viable career pathways that have traditionally been male dominated fields,” said Tiffany Miranda, president and founder of Girls Make Beats. “We are both honored and excited to have our girls mentored by the inspiring industry professionals at Sony Music Publishing and Bleeding Fingers to create a pipeline for the next generation of music makers.”

The experience, which was held on March 26 at Bleeding Fingers Music in Santa Monica, provided students with the proper resources and access to music professionals across the industry. The workshop is part of a series of composition programs with the goal to inspire and empower the next generation of songwriters, composers, producers, DJs, and audio engineers.

“The young talent behind the Girls Make Beats program is exceptional and working with them is a rare privilege. It’s exhilarating to feel the raw energy and talent these girls bring to the table. The results speak for themselves,” added Russell Emanuel, president and CEO of Sony Production Music.

+ Prescription Songs >has signed songwriter Morgan Nagler, who is credited on songs by Phoebe Bridgers (“Kyoto,” which was nominated for a best rock song Grammy in 2020) and Haim (“Falling”), among others, and is a former actress and the frontwoman of Whispertown and Whispertown 2000.