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Best known for his European dance hit "Million Voices" in 2012, Otto Knows has released little since while lending his talents to other artists -- notably co-writing and co-producing Britney Spears' "Work Bitch." The Stockholm native returned with soaring single "Next to Me" in May, and his new team believes the 26-year-old is ready to come into his own as an artist.
"I've known Ash as my friend for almost a decade now and I really love and respect him," says Otto Knows. "I think we both felt that time has come for us to work together. To still have Sebastian involved is all I can wish for and I think that we will form a fantastic team."
Billboard sat down with Ingrosso and Pournouri to discuss their new venture and their new signee's potential.
How did this management co-venture come together?
Ingrosso: I've been working with Otto since he was a kid. Now he's growing and it's time for him to work with the real guys. Ash is obviously a big inspiration to both me and Otto, and we love his work and love him as a person. Both Ash and me are very into the musical side, so we asked and he really wanted to do it -- and now we are here.
Pournouri: We've always followed each other's careers, and he's already accomplished a lot under Seb's representation. When we spoke about it, we just felt that we had a lot of resources that could make things easier for Seb, seeing as he's got his own career, he's got a family and there's a lot of things happening around that could make it easy to link up as partners. We feel very similarly on a lot of stuff. It wasn't dramatic -- it just felt very natural to join forces on Otto and further his career.
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What excites you the most about Otto Knows as an artist?
Ingrosso: The fun story with his career is he started making music, and it was just kind of an experiment that became bigger than he ever thought it would be. He's just been in the studio for a long time now trying to develop something different, but still something that is right for him as a person. He's a very positive and happy person and he wants the music to sound the same -- positive and happy and filled with energy. And he's achieved it now, I guess. He got inspired by a lot of his heroes back in Sweden and he's just trying to develop every day.
Pournouri: I can tell you a fun fact about Otto. Otto went to the same class as Tim when they were kids. He's kind of been present throughout for as long as I've known Tim and managed Avicii. To see him grow into his own artist has been really exciting. There's plenty more to come, he's just started.
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What does each of you bring to this new partnership?
Pournouri: I really appreciate Seb's taste and creativity in all aspects -- not just the music, but all aspects of an artist like Otto's career. That's what I most look forward to in this partnership, getting his thoughts, building on them and hopefully getting something very unique for Otto as a platform.
Ingrosso: I feel the way Ash works is phenomenal. The way he sees other ways of coming to things rather than doing the normal thing that everybody does, which is a bit boring. I think that will help Otto a lot.