We’re pleased to announce the launch of a new urban division here at the label, which will be headed up by Island A&R Alex Boateng, and aim to serve both UK and international urban artists.
Instigating the first dedicated urban division at a UK major label is an exciting development for us. Artists that will fall under the Island urban division umbrella include Drake, Sean Paul, Dizzee Rascal, Donae’o, Bossman Birdie, Fekky, Seyi Shay and Angel.
Island president Darcus Beese told Music Week: “Alex is without doubt one of the most knowledgeable, connected and passionate people in urban music and indeed the industry full stop. He possesses what every top A&R needs – great ears, has an innate understanding of marketing and is also on top of all developments in the new ways in which we consume music.”
“Perhaps one of his greatest strengths is the relationships he has built in other areas outside the record label,” he went on. “The testimonials bear witness to that. All’s I know is that if Alex wasn’t at Island I’d do everything to get him here. Island has always been seen as a powerhouse in urban music and with Alex now at the helm we intend to be the No.1 destination for artists and managers.”
Of course, we couldn’t lose Alex in his A&R role under Louis Bloom: “I have really enjoyed working very closely with Alex since we signed JP Cooper together a couple of years ago,” says Island’s Head of A&R. “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.”
“Black/Urban culture continues to be one of the loudest, most influential cultures across art, ashion, film & of course music,” says Alex Boateng himself. “Since its inception with Chris Blackwell + Bob Marley up until now with Darcus at the helm, Island continues to be at the forefront of it. So in continuing that tradition it’s exciting to provide a focus and team for not just the talent, but the brands, managers, businesses etc around and to support urban / black music & culture worldwide in new & exciting ways, alongside my current A&R activity outside that with JP Cooper, Jack Steadman et al, it’s exciting times!”