Universal Music group


Pearlena Igbokwe, a Nigerian-born media executive, has been appointed to Chairman of Universal Studio Group. As the new chairman, she replaces Bonnie Hammer, who will take a new role as Vice Chairman, as announced by NBCUniversal.

This makes Pearlena the first woman of African descent to head a major American television studio.

Universal Studio Group is a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information for a global audience.

According to a statement by Universal Studio Group, she will lead the company’s growing global television studio businesses and report directly to Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal.

Here are six facts about Pearlena Igbokwe:

  • She was the president of Universal Television, where she oversaw all aspects of the studio business and achieved record volume for the legacy studio. Some of the programmes under her purview include the critically acclaimed comedies “Russian Doll,” “The Good Place,” “Superstore,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “Little America,” popular dramas “Good Girls” and “New Amsterdam,” and Dick Wolf’s new “FBI” and “FBI: Most Wanted,” among many others.
  • She served as Executive Vice President, Drama Programming, for NBC Entertainment, where she developed the top-rated new broadcast dramas.
  • Before joining NBCUniversal, she worked at Showtime for 20 years and was involved in developing a variety of hit series including “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie.”
  • She currently serves as the Vice President of the Hollywood Radio and TV Society (HRTS) board and is a member of the Television Academy Executive Committee.
  • She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and an MBA from Columbia University.
  • Pearlena was born in Nigeria. She is married and has two children. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


Under the multi-year agreement, UMA will serve as the exclusive worldwide recorded music partner for Yemi Alade and her label Effyzzie Music Group, and UMF will serve as the international roll-out partner for the project.

Yemi Alade is the first African female Afropop artiste to hit over 100 million views on Youtube and VEVO with her smash hit single “Johnny”, which is now the most viewed video from any African female artiste. She is also the first female entertainer in Africa to have over a million subscribers on Youtube.

Taiye Aliyu, CEO and founder of Effyzzie Music Group, added, “We at Effyzzie Music Group and Yemi Alade are pleased to be working in partnership with the Universal Music Group, changing the narrative of African music, one artist at a time. The Future is Africa.”




Credit: Bella Naija

Though the likes of Tuface Idibia, Davido, Wizkid, Olamide, Flaour and the rest have continued to dominate the country’s music scene, recent events show that female singers are no longer confortable playing second fiddle. Unlike the days when it was all about the boys, some music chics are gradually making big moves that will eventually narrow the gap and change the narrative.

Just recently, Effyzzie Music Group singing sensation and mama Africa, Yemi Alade, teamed up with American Hip-Hop/Rap star Rick Ross to serve up the remix of her buzzing single Oh My Gosh. The singer’s Instagram is presently flooded with the behind-the-scene shots and videos of the new single, which was directed by Ryan Snyder. The song, which was produced by ace producer DJ Coublon, with strings by talented guitarist Fiokee, was mixed and mastered by raving sound engineer, Swaps. Meanwhile, the original version, also produced DJ Coublon, was released in 2018, with a video directed by Ovie.

Yemi, who said she is keen on taking Africa to the world with her songs, said the track is already trending in Nigeria and UK. The song, according to source, will be featured on Yemi Alade’s album titled Woman Of Steel, which will drop later this year. The work will feature collaborations with prominent acts like Rick Ross, Duncan Mighty, Funke Akindele, and Angelique Kidjo.

Earlier in the year, the songwriter hit a one hundred million view mark on her YouTube platform and emerged the second Nigerian artiste to attain the feat. Alade made this achievement with the video of her hit single, Johnny, which she released in 2014. She has performed around the world and shared the stage and songs with the likes of Mary J. Blige, Shina Peters, Wizkid, Becca, M.I, Waje and others.

Just when it seems the buzz had subsided, Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, announced an exclusive global recording agreement with Tiwa Savage, one of Africa’s biggest stars and an artiste whose success spans music, fashion, film and television.

Under the agreement, her future music will be released internationally through UMG’s operations in more than 60 countries worldwide, with projects executively produced by Efe Ogbeni of Regime Music Societe and Vannessa Amadi-Ogbonna.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and later received a scholarship to study Professional Music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts before embarking on a career that has seen her achieve creative success across a multitude of mediums, 2018 remains Tiwa’s most successful year to date, which saw the singer-songwriter crowned Best African Act by the MTV European Music Awards, making history as the first female to win the accolade.

In the same year, she also became the first African female to sell out London’s IndigO2. In December, Tiwa was handpicked by Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin to perform alongside Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Jay Z live at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg to a 70,000 strong audience and millions across the globe in celebration of the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

An accomplished live musician, she has performed around the world, including a notable performance at Jay Z’s Made In America festival in Philadelphia in 2017. Tiwa was named one of the world’s Top 100 Inspirational Women in Fashion by Vogue US then later featured in British Vogue’s December 2018 issue as one of 10 women that are changing the face of music globally. She has released a string of singles including Mr Lova Lova ft Duncan Mighty, Diet and Tiwa’s Vibe all of which hit the No. 1 spot across charts within Africa, securing her position as one of Afrobeats leading artists.

A resilient force within Africa’s ever-growing entertainment industry, she has also managed to carve a career as a reputable songwriter, conquering the charts in Africa whilst balancing her roles as an entrepreneur, mentor and mother.

Throughout her career, Savage has been active in her philanthropic endeavours, supporting various youth engagement organisations and breast cancer screening projects across Nigeria and further afield. Through her work with MTV’s Shuga, Savage is also keen to share further knowledge of HIV/ AIDS prevention and awareness within the continent. One of Africa’s most followed women on social media, Savage was the first African female to represent Pepsi as an ambassador and represents leading global brands including Nike, MegaGrowth Hair, MTN and Star Beer.

Throughout summer 2019, Tiwa will play a string of international festivals including the UK’s Wireless Festival, Afropunk in Paris and Oh My! Festival in Amsterdam.Commenting on the deal, Tiwa Savage said, “My biggest goal is to make Africa proud. I’m so excited for this moment and I’m thankful to Sir Lucian Grainge and my new UMG family for their belief in my dreams. I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my career and I’m more ready than I have ever been.”

Adam Granite, EVP Market Development, Universal Music Group said, “We are looking forward to partnering with Tiwa and her team to help her music reach new audiences around the world. As one of Africa’s most successful, influential and dynamic singer-songwriters, Tiwa has truly global ambitions and UMG is committed to help her in achieving them.”

Efe Ogbeni and Vannessa Amadi-Ogbonna of Stealth Management said, “We’re very proud to be a part of this ground-breaking partnership between Tiwa Savage and Universal Music Group. Tiwa is undoubtedly the most hardworking and talented female artist crossing over from Africa to the rest of the world, and UMG has demonstrated its commitment to the Continent by placing its formidable machinery behind her amazing career. Partnerships like these symbolise the hopes and dreams of so many talented artists back home in Africa and it is an honour to be the executive producers of her project.”

In a moving message to Tiwa on her new deal, Mavin Records Boss Don Jazzy said, “Our darling Tiwatope. We at Mavin would like to say a very big thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us, a friend, a sister. It’s been an epic journey with you and we are very proud of what we have achieved together.“As you start this new chapter in your life we want you to know that we are solidly behind you and can’t wait for the world to see what we have always believed you can be. Your jersey as the First Lady of Mavin will forever be yours, as we do not intend to fill that position with anyone else.

“We love you from the bottom of the heart and pray GOD’s blessings to continue to follow you. Amennnn.” Meanwhile, X3M Music has announced the departure of one of its recording artistes Simisola Ogunleye, following the expiration of her recording contract. The Lagos-based label confirms, in a statement signed by A&R executive Vincent Nwanze, that both parties have determined to not renew the contract.

In a career that is still unfolding, Simi as she’s fondly called, has emerged one of the most remarkable music talents of her generation; combining a peerless skill for writing and arranging, with a vocal prowess like none before her.

That special voice, an unassuming look, and writing talent are what attracted her to X3M when she was signed in 2014. She immediately warmed hearts with the hit single Tiff, which earned her a Headies nomination. Her debut album for X3M (her career second) was released to local and international acclaim in September 2017, and named album of the year in 2018, by The Headies Awards.

Her final album for X3M music Omo Charlie Champagne was released on April 19, 2019. X3M music is reputed to have a bias for original, alt music; especially in an industry dominated by pop.

‘We only sign artistes that we love and believe in. We know our taste in music is rather different; but we only sign talents who meet that taste. Fortunately, we have been able to find millions of music lovers here and abroad, who share similar tastes, as is evident in the success of all the artistes we have worked with, including Simi, who is without any doubt one of the biggest music talents in the country today…’

Though nothing has be said regarding Simi next move, many suggest that the Jamb Question singer might be working out something with her newly wedded husband and singer, Adekunle Gold. On the other hand, rumour has it that the singer might be on the verge of inking a new music deal with an international music platform soon.

Source: CHUKS NWANNE for Guardian