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AWAL Links With Former XL Recordings A&R Head Imran Ahmed For In Real Life Label

In Real Life, the Los Angeles-based indie label recently founded by Imran Ahmed, has entered an exclusive worldwide recordings partnership with Kobalt's AWAL label services company.

In Real Life, the Los Angeles-based indie label recently founded by Imran Ahmed, has entered an exclusive worldwide recordings partnership with Kobalt’s AWAL label services company.

The deal wil pair AWAL’s distribution and marketing expertise with the label’s artist roster, which has so far included releases from New York musician Nathan Bajar and Danish electronic artist ML Buch. The pact also includes publishing for electronic act Peggy Gou.

“Imran has created an international name for himself in the industry and we’re proud to be working with him on his projects in such an early phase,” said Kobalt chief creative officer Sas Metcalfe. “We’re confident this partnership will enhance the launch of his new label and roster across the globe.”

Adds AWAL CEO Lonny Olinick: “Imran is an amazing tastemaker and highly respected in the industry. His passion for discovering and breaking influential new artists is unique and directly aligned with AWAL’s mission. We are honored to work with him on this new venture.”


Ahmed previously served more than 12 years as head of A&R at XL Recordings in London, where he snagged signings like Vampire Weekend, Jungle and Jai Paul. Now based in L.A., he also hosts a monthly show on NTS Radio, and launched In Real Life as a record, publishing and management company this year.

“I’m very hyped about working with AWAL on launching my new company In Real Life,” said Ahmed. “Twelve years in London was an incredible education and there are some key lessons that I bring with me: only work with the most exciting, compelling and boundary pushing new acts and honor artist integrity at all costs. Staying in the independent sector was really important to me and the ambition and energy of AWAL’s team made it the stand out choice.”

The news follows AWAL’s partnership with another L.A.-based independent label, SideOne Dummy Records, last month.