Tiwa Savage, pictured with Universal Music group executives after signing an international deal with the label, one of the largest in the world.
How Nigeria's biggest pop star rose to fame
07:34 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

One of the world’s leading music groups, Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed an exclusive recording agreement with award-winning Nigerian singer, Tiwa Savage.

Savage, under the agreement, will make music with UMG and have access to their infrastructure and distribution tools.

Her future music will be released to a wider international audience through UMG’s operations in 60 countries across the globe.

The singer, one of Africa’s biggest music stars, is the only woman to have won the MTV Europe Music Awards in the best African act category.

‘Making Africa proud’

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Savage previously performed as a backup singer for artists such as Mary J. Blige and the late singer George Michael.

She later attended Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music on scholarship.

“My biggest goal is to make Africa proud. I’m so excited for this moment, and I’m thankful to (UMG CEO|) 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” Savage said in a media release announcing the deal.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Tiwa and her team to help her music reach new audiences around the world,” said Adam Granite, executive VP market development at Universal Music Group. “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.”

A win for everyone

Savage’s recording agreement is not UMG’s first foray into Africa, the Los Angeles-based music group currently operates in West and East Africa and has signed some of the continent’s top artists such as Ivorian DJ and singer DJ Arafat and Nigerian popstar Tekno.

Last year, UMG acquired AI records, one of East Africa’s largest labels, and opened offices in Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

They also have a multi-year licensing agreement with Boomplay, Africa’s top music streaming platform.

The agreement offers UMG’s catalog in 10 African countries to Boomplay’s 5.6 million active daily users.

American record labels are increasingly looking to Africa. Warner Music Group recently inked a deal with Afrobeats label Chocolate City, while Sony Music’s RCA record label has signed some of the continent’s leading artists such as Davido and Wizkid.

Many musicians in developing countries don’t have access to structures that will help them grow, market and distribute their talent and music and by spreading its footprint on the continent, Universal will create a stronger music market for Africans, says Nigeria-based music analyst Joey Akan.

“UMG is trying to build businesses that involve talent management and infrastructure. They are expanding their territory and positioning infrastructure for the growth of artists too. Everybody benefits,” he told CNN.