In an effort to expand its urban music roster, Universal Music Latin Entertainment is partnering with Miami-based management/production company MeccaLani to develop and sign urban acts to its roster.
MeccaLani is headed by music attorney Angie Martinez, who has long worked with major Latin urban names, including Pitbull, Tego Calderón, Fat Joe, J Alvarez and Alexis y Fido and also worked with the business affairs and legal teams at EMI/Capitol, Universal Publishing and BMG U.S. Latin.
MeccaLani’s mission is twofold: On the one hand, the company will develop artists who already have a following in their home countries, and, if signed to Universal, market them to a worldwide audience.
For the past year, the company has been developing an initial roster of acts that include Poeta Callejero from the Dominican Republic, Danay Suarez from Cuba and Milkman from Mexico.
“It’s a new generation of Latin acts,” Martínez told Billboard. “It’s not reggaeton. These are acts from Latin America who have huge following and huge numbers. When it comes to urban music, a lot of these artists have been around for 15 years.”
But although these three acts come from Latin America, adds Martinez, the notion is to also work some of them—like Mexico’s Milkman—to English speaking audiences.
“There’s a void for these bilingual, bicultural Latinos and a lack of options when it comes to new urban music,” adds Martinez. MeccaLani’s acts, “bring something fresh that will not only bridge the gap between the Latin music industry and the underground music scene but also the barrier between the Latin and mainstream urban music worlds.”
The notion, adds Jesús López, Chairman/CEO of Universal Music Latin American & Iberian Penninsula, is to eventually develop MeccaLani’s acts for mass consumption.
“In recent years, I’ve seen Angie develop a unique expertise in US and Latin America to identify new artists and musical movements that at first seem very alternative, but I think the collaboration of Universal Music teams in Latin America and US Latin will lead to some of these artists becoming the mainstream artists of the near future,” he said.
MeccaLani artists are expected to begin releasing music through Unviersal as early as this summer.
While reggaetón has long dominated Latin music’s urban scene, a growing number of acts from the region—including J Alvarez, J Balvin and Maluma—have been slowly but surely entering Billboard’s radio and sales charts.