EMPIRE has signed Afrobeat sensation Afro B, Billboard can exclusively announce today (June 20). The singer has entered an exclusive global recording partnership with the independent label.
Under the agreement, EMPIRE will oversee the release and promotion of Afro B’s forthcoming music and projects. The announcement comes at an optimal time for the London-raised artist (who is of Ivorian heritage), as his massive "Drogba (Joanna)" single has now entered the American mainstream market after taking over the clubs and airwaves internationally.
The lively tune, which embodies Afro B's "AfroWave" sound, first caught steam when it was released last February. The single has now gained traction on the Billboard charts, where it currently sits at No. 23 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts, reaching a new peak. Its success is a reflection of the rapid rise of Afrobeat and Afropop, proving that it's not just a trend.
"'Drogba (Joanna)' is living proof that African music can spread on a global level," Afro B tells Billboard. "One of my goals is to spread African culture worldwide, educate and get more people in touch with what is going on back in the motherland globally. I believe being in partnership with EMPIRE allows me to achieve this. They share the same vision, allow me to have the freedom to be creative and have ownership to my blood sweat and tears. This is more than music, it’s a movement. The future is AfroWave and EMPIRE!"
Ghazi Shami, EMPIRE founder and CEO, commented on the label's latest addition: "Afro B has proven to be not only an incredible artist, but a true champion of African culture and music. We admire and respect what he’s built so far and look forward to breaking his music globally."
Afro B's latest singles include "Melanin" and "Shape Nice" featuring Jamaican stars Vybz Kartel and Dre Skull. The artist, who is also signed with CAA, will continue to be managed by Gavin Douglas of Ultimate Clientele.