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Muni Long Signs With Def Jam Recordings

The "Hrs and Hrs" hitmaker's deal includes a partnership with her imprint Supergiant Records, marking Tunji Balogun's first major signing as CEO.

Muni Long has entered into a partnership with Def Jam Recordings that includes the “Hrs and Hrs” hitmaker’s  imprint Supergiant Records, Billboard can confirm.

While spending nearly a decade as an independent artist, the 33-year-old singer (real name Priscilla Renea Hamilton) released three EPs in 2020 and 2021 — Black Like This, Nobody Knows and Public Displays of Affection — under a new name Muni Long and under her own imprint Supergiant Records, which she co-founded with her husband Raysean Hairston and her co-manager Rashad Tyler. “A supergiant is like the biggest star in the galaxy. I just thought that was incredible, the metaphor, and that’s really what we’re trying to do,” said Long of her label during Billboard‘s Twitter Spaces conversation about Black independent musicians last month. She is also managed by Chris Anokute, and Long partnered with J.R. McKee and Drew de Leon of MPR Global Distribution, LLC to distribute the music.

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“It has been a lifelong goal of mine to be able to bring my gifts to the world. This alignment with Tunji and Def Jam for a global takeover is a literal dream come true,” Long said in a statement. “Supergiant Records started as an idea between myself and my husband Raysean in 2019 and over the course of the next two years we would invest, hire, strategize and create. As our team grew, so did our success, and as a result of hours and hours of hard work and intense focus, this year we reaped a bountiful harvest. Many, many thanks to my partners, Rashad Tyler, Raysean Hairston, Chris Anokute and all those who contributed to this historic moment. We look forward to an incredible journey with Tunji and the Def Jam family.”

This marks the first major signing for Def Jam since Tunji Balogun, who personally oversaw Long’s signing, took over as the label’s CEO and chairman at the top of the new year. He previously left his longtime post as executive vp A&R at RCA Records. “Muni represents everything a Def Jam artist should be: bold, independent, authentic, creative, visionary, and one of a kind,” he said in a statement. “I have followed her artistry and journey very closely, from her time as a writer for some of the biggest artists in the world, to the incredible run of success she is now so deservedly enjoying. Muni sets the new standard for where we want to go as a label. I’m thrilled to join with her and her world-class team in this exciting partnership. With all the amazing work done by Priscilla and Raysean, Chris, Rashad and the Supergiant team, along with J.R. McKee and his MPR team – combined with the resources and passion of the Def Jam family — the sky’s the limit.”

Her latest hit “Hrs and Hrs” was a last-minute addition to her Public Displays of Affection EP that she released last November, and it paid dividends in the long run. A viral TikTok challenge sparked by her friend Bre-Z and Bre-Z’s fiancé Chris Amore — as well as TikTok’s SoundOn beta program that helps independent emerging creators on the platform upload, market and distribute their music — helped the song’s growth tremendously at the top of 2022. “Hrs and Hrs” reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot R&B Songs chart and No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February, and Long peaked at No. 1 on the Emerging Artists chart. The song has also earned 194.48 million global on-demand official streams through March 17, according to Luminate, formerly MRC Data. Of that sum, 139.46 million are in the U.S.

“We’ve both known Muni for over a decade, since the start of her music business journey as a teenager. So fast forward to now, through the ups and downs we’ve seen her endure, we couldn’t be happier for her current success,” added her managers Tyler and Anokute. “Let’s just say she put in her 10,000 hrs.”

In 2008, Long landed her first record deal with Virgin Records, which released her debut album Jukebox a year later. Anokute signed the singer — who went by her real name Priscilla Renea at the time — but he left the label in 2011. Three years later, Capitol dropped Long from its roster, which is when she pivoted her career to becoming a songwriter. Long spent the next decade sharpening her pen game and co-writing major pop, R&B, country and hip-hop hits, including Pitbull and Kesha’s three-week Hot 100 No. 1 “Timber,” Rihanna‘s “California King Bed,” Fifth Harmony and Kid Ink’s “Worth It,” Selena Gomez‘s “Who Says,” Chris Brown’s “Don’t Wake Me Up,” and Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert‘s “Somethin’ Bad.” She received a nomination at the 2022 Grammy Awards for her writing work on H.E.R.‘s Back of My Mind, which is up for album of the year.

Long told Billboard last month that she is currently working on her next project. She has since made her late-night television debut by performing “Hrs and Hrs” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, delivering a jazzy Amazon Original Live performance of the R&B smash, and collaborating with rapper Kali on “Chainzzz.”