Donel, 'UK VOICE' Star, Signs To Warner Records Over Zoom
Donel, 18-year-old star of The Voice UK, has signed a major U.S. record deal with Warner Records and also a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Donel signed both deals over Zoom, signaling an exciting new chapter in his young career.
Donel captivated the nation when he first appeared on The Voice UK at just 16-years-old. Coached by Will.i.am, he received a hand written letter from Prince Harry, inviting him to perform for Queen Elizabeth II’s 92nd birthday at The Royal Albert Hall. Introduced by Prince Harry on stage as ‘a star of the future,’ Donel went on to write & release debut single ‘Bang Like A Drum’ through Polydor Records. He then spent the next 18 months developing his artistry, songwriting and social media following (clocking up over a million combined social followers, and 16m+ likes on TikTok).
Raised in Zimbabwe, Donel blends afrobeat with modern pop & R&B, weaving his native ‘Ndebele’ into his lyrics. He has written and collaborated with MNEK, Guilty Beatz, Pip Kembo, 2FVDED, Alan Sampson, Rymez, Daecolm, Dr Vades, The Writers Block, Dantae Johnson & many more. Sending his toplines over Instagram to any artist that would listen, he caught the attention of both Major Lazer & Nigerian singer/songwriter, Mr Eazi, who included Donel’s latest single ‘Wish You Well’ in his African incubator program emPAWA.
After meeting Donel in a London session, Max Gousse, Founder & CEO, Artistry Records (Beyoncé, Saweetie) was so blown away by his talent he offered to sign both his publishing and record deal there and then. The partnership was born, and JV deals were soon signed through Max to both Warner Records & Sony/ATV out of the US.
Richard Griffiths, Harry Magee & Sarah Gallagher, Modest! Management:
‘We’re very excited for Donel to sign his global deals with Aaron & Tom at Warner Records, Jon at Sony/ATV, and partner with Max Gousse at Artistry, who all share in our enthusiasm for Donel and what a star he is. He’s incredibly driven and hard-working, and passionate in bringing his Afropop to the mainstream. He’s got an incredibly exciting career ahead, and we couldn’t be prouder to steer that journey for him.’
Max Gousse, Founder & CEO, Artistry Records & Co-Founder, Scorpion Media:
“I am beyond thrilled to have such an amazing talent on Artistry’s roster.
Artistry Africa has been born with this signing and we look forward to helping Donel realize his dream of bringing the sounds from the Motherland to the world with his music”.
Aaron Bay-Schuck, CEO & Co-Chairman, Warner Records:
“Meeting artists for the first time over Zoom is never ideal, but in this case it was all we needed to see just how amazing and talented Donel was. He lit up the proverbial room with his energetic and charismatic personality and then pressed play on a collection of songs that blew us away. Tom Corson and I, along with the Warner Records family, are thrilled to give Donel a platform to take his music and the afrobeat movement to new heights and equally as excited to do it in partnership with Max Gousse and The Artistry team.”
Jon Platt, Chairman & CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing:
“As an exciting young talent with unlimited potential, Donel brings a new energy to the global Afrobeats movement. We’re glad to welcome Donel to Sony/ATV, and look forward to working closely with Max, Alessandra and the Scorpion Media team to further his career as a songwriter.”
“I’m so excited to embark on this new adventure with an awesome team who understand my vision & goals! This is a massive opportunity for me to step up and show my artistry to the world”
Donel is currently working on his first EP for Artistry Records/Warner Records with his next single planned for release later this year.
Donel Signing his Deal with Warner Records via Zoom.
Top row– Donel, Richard Griffiths (Director, Modest! Management), Tom Corson (COO & Co-Chairman, Warner Records), Sarah Gallagher (Manager, Modest! Management), Middle row - Monica Payne (EVP, Artist Management & development, Artistry Group), Monee Perry (Co-President, Artistry Records), Chris Atlas (EVP Urban Music & Marketing, Warner Records), KeyzBaby (Producer) & Max Gousse (CEO, Artistry Records), Bottom Row - Aaron Bay-Schuck (CEO & Co-Chairman, Warner Records), Adam Small (Co-President, Artistry Records), Miriam Camara (Business Affairs, Warner Records)