'Urban music is taking over the world': Sony/ATV's David Ventura on the publisher's rap roster

'Urban music is taking over the world': Sony/ATV's David Ventura on the publisher's rap roster

Not one to play by the rules, rising UK rapper Octavian is dropping debut mixtape Spaceman (Black Butter) today (September 10) rather than the industry’s global release day of Friday. It features collaborations with Suspect, A2, Swift and Krimbo, alongside production from J-Rick, Amir Amor, Elevated, O12, Lil Silva and Octavian himself.

The rising star from south-east London is the latest signing to Sony/ATV’s burgeoning rap roster (in partnership with Stellar Songs in this case). The mixtape follows a run of acclaimed singles and a feature on Mura Masa’s recent track Move Me.

“I literally fell in love with him as soon as I heard his first sentence,” David Ventura, head of A&R, UK, Sony/ATV, told Music Week. “He’s got this magical blend of melody and lyrics, as well as the fact that he’s playing with such different layers of tones. I think he’s in his own lane.”

Octavian is already planning future writing collaborations, including sessions in LA, following his autumn UK tour.

“There are some great things happening,” said Ventura. “The Mura Masa track was a great collaboration and it just shows that he can definitely tap into different genres.”

He’s got this magical blend of melody and lyrics, he’s in his own lane

David Ventura

Earlier this year, Octavian was given a public endorsement on Instagram by Drake, who’s also signed to Sony/ATV.

“They have been directly in touch, I think they have tried to work on something,” said Ventura. “Drake is very connected to what’s happening everywhere, that’s why he’s always a step ahead of the game.”

Of Drake’s huge success with the Scorpion campaign, Ventura added: “He’s definitely one of the most loved artists on the planet. He’s always on an international level, he’s very much leading the game. His music and collaborations are absolutely incredible, he’s got impeccable taste as well.”

Drake and Octavian are part of a burgeoning rap roster that has enabled Sony/ATV to pair up new signings with a range of writers and producers.

“We are looking at what the public want and what the young generation are listening to - we can see what radio is playing,” said Ventura. “Urban music is taking over the world and we’ve been lucky enough to have a great roster in that lane already. We’re just trying to go and sign people we are absolutely passionate about. We think Yungen is absolutely fantastic, we are extremely excited about Bugzy Malone, we’ve been working with Kojo Funds for more than a year – he’s in extremely great shape - and Stefflon Don just released her mixtape.”

Bugzy Malone’s current debut album B Inspired is one example of the publisher linking up its roster of urban talent.

“We put him together with Sony/ATV producers and writers - there are collaborations with JP Cooper, Diztortion and Mojam, who are all Sony/ATV [signings],” said Ventura.

He described Malone’s current collaboration with fellow Sony/ATV artist Kojo Funds on Who Am I? as an “absolute banger”.

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