A raft of leading urban music experts and executives have tipped Island’s new urban division to be a major success.
News of the dedicated urban division’s launch was revealed exclusively by Music Week, with the major’s current A&R and marketing manager Alex Boateng heading up the operation. Artists that will fall under the Island urban division umbrella include Drake, Sean Paul, Dizzee Rascal, Donae’o, Solo 45, Bossman Birdie, Fekky, Seyi Shay and Angel.
Now, several leading figures from the sector have told Music Week that they predict great things for the Island urban division under Boateng’s leadership.
Drake’s manager Adel Nur, commented: "Its been an absolute pleasure working with Alex. I'm confident he will take the time and care it takes to help emerging talent pursue their dreams."
Grime pioneer Wiley said simply: “Alex has been a visionary and a good friend. Greatness only.”
Austin Daboh, senior editor at Spotify, also welcomed the move: "I have known Alex for over a decade, watching him blaze a trail for a generation of domestic and global superstars. His contribution to urban music is practically unmatched, and he has played a crucial role in the success of grime, AfroBashment and hip-hop in the UK. I've witnessed first-hand the role Alex plays in ensuring that Island Records is a trusted home for credible urban acts - and look forward to working with him even closer in his new role."
Meanwhile, Jamal Edwards, SBTV, said: “I'm glad that Alex is now going to be heading up urban over at Island. He's been key on my journey from when I met him so many years ago, with advice amongst many other things. The knowledge and kindness that this man has is untouchable, so I can only wish him good luck for the future and I know he's gonna smash it.”
Amber Davis, A&R director at Warner/Chappell also added: "Alex is a real pioneer of the urban scene and what makes him great is that he always remains authentic to his artists’ musical direction and vision."
Speaking from a brands perspective, Nana Adu-Sarfo, entertainment director, Nike UK, hailed Boateng’s appointment to lead the division: “Alex's knowledge for UK music and culture music spreads far and wide. Worked on various projects together over the years and his judgment on talent has been impeccable”
Koby ‘Posty’ Hagan, founder of GRM Daily, commented: “He's an unprecedented supporter of our movement with a passion for the continuous development of homegrown talent”
Boateng will also continue his A&R role under head of A&R Louis Bloom, who told Music Week: “I have really enjoyed working very closely with Alex since we signed JP Cooper together a couple of years ago. He has great instincts, impeccable taste and has a special affinity with artists. His connections in the urban world are second to none and I know he is going to be incredible in his new role."
You can read our exclusive interview with Boateng and Island Records president Darcus Beese here and in the latest issue of Music Week, out now.