In her dual role, Ethiopia Habtemariam, 33, maintains one single focus: “Quality songwriters, producers and artists who will have careers for a long time. Nothing novelty,” she says. Universal Music Publishing Group’s urban division is having a hot year, thanks to Miguel (his own “Adorn” as well as work on Janelle Monáe’s new album The Electric Lady) and chart successes penned by roster mates J. Cole (his No. 1 Billboard 200 album Born Sinner), Rock City (Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Ciara) and Ester Dean (Selena Gomez). Another UMPG artist, Big Sean, will release his sophomore set on Aug. 27. Also on the roster: Def Jam singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko. Launching its revamp last November with Ne-Yo’s R.E.D. (which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200), Motown recently scored top 10 R&B album debuts with Chrisette Michele and India.Arie. Habtemariam is ramping up several forthcoming projects, including a Babyface and Toni Braxton duets album and one with Erykah Badu. Also on the Motown docket: projects by newcomers B. Smyth, Stacy Barthe (another UMPG urban roster member), Kevin Ross, BJ the Chicago Kid and Scotty Rebel.
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