Nigerian musician and label exec Larry Gaaga has been appointed as the new Vice President, A&R, at Def Jam Africa, a division of Universal Music Group (UMG). His appointment “reaffirms the label’s belief and respect of Larry’s artistry and creative vision.”
In his new role, Larry will head Def Jam’s A&R division across English-speaking markets, while reporting to Universal Music South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa CEO Sipho Dlamini, who took on the role in 2016. His team will also work to identify and sign African continent talent that “speaks to and resonates with the defining culture and artistry of the Def Jam legacy”, says the company.
Larry Gaaga began his career in 2010 with YSG Entertainment, where he rose through the ranks to become general manager. He’s been involved in a number of commercially successful songs, including 2Baba’s ‘Gaga Shuffle,’ Joeboy’s’ Slow Burner, ‘Davido’s’ Doe, ‘and Wizkid’s’ Low.’
“I’m excited at the opportunity I’ve been entrusted with here at Def Jam Africa,” Larry Gaaga said. “My experience as an artist and manager at the label not only gives me a unique perspective to share with our talent, but means I’m well versed in the spirit and culture of this legacy label.”
Dlamini said: “Larry is a talented creative, astute A&R and strategic executive. Expanding his relationship with Def Jam is an exciting next step in Africa’s hip hop story and a big move for the culture.”
Def Jam Africa launched in May 2020, and is now home to musicians and artists Boity, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Tshego, Tellaman, Ricky Tyler and the South African star Nasty C, who has since signed to Def Jam Recordings in the United States through a joint venture with Universal Music Africa. Ghanaian Afropop, dancehall and reggae artist Stonebwoy also recently signed a global deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) label divisions Def Jam Recordings, 0207 Def Jam and Def Jam Africa.