Ethiopia Habtemariam
Ethiopia Habtemariam

Executive VP/head of urban music, Universal Music Publishing Group; senior VP, Motown Records

Relaunching An Icon
After a year of rebuilding, Ethiopia Habtemariam is excited to "get the ball rolling" on the revamped Motown, where she holds the title of senior VP, concurrent with her role as Universal Music Publishing Group executive VP/head of urban music. The iconic Motown label marked its formal re-emergence Nov. 6 with the new studio album R.E.D. from singer/songwriter (and Motown senior VP of A&R) Ne-Yo, which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.The album sets the tone for a host of 2013 projects from a newly honed 15-act roster that includes Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Kem, Chrisette Michele and B. Smyth. "My goal is to just have quality music-nothing that's for the moment or following a trend," Habtemariam said in July when she was an honoree on Billboard's inaugural Urban Power List. The same holds true in her roles at UMPG. Her signings, ranging from Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and J. Cole to Big Sean and Hit-Boy, have prompted a string of hits and multimillion-dollar results while reflecting her "focus on the future." The Atlanta native believes her dual responsibilities represent the future of the business. "I put a lot of pressure on myself because I feel a level of responsibility for showing the next generation of executives the potential and amount of opportunity you can have. I take that very seriously."-GM