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Signed: A.R. Rahman Inks WME Deal; MGMT Moves In With Mom + Pop

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Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer-producer-musician A.R. Rahman has signed with WME, the agency tells Billboard.

Rahman’s work spans more than 160 film soundtracks and albums in more than half a dozen languages. His music has been featured in movies including Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Roja, Bombay, Dil Se, Taal, Lagaan, Vandemataram, Jodhaa Akbar and Ponniyin Selvan (I & II). Over the course of his career, he has collaborated with artists including U2, Mick Jagger, Coldplay, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, M.I.A., Vanessa Mae, the Pussycat Dolls, Sarah Brightman, Dido, Hossam Ramzy, Hans Zimmer and Akon. His band also recently enjoyed two sold-out tours: one in the United States in 2022, and the other in Europe this year.

For Slumdog Millionaire alone, Rahman won two Oscars, two Grammys, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, among other awards.

Rahman’s orchestral compositions have been performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Babelsberg Film Orchestra and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, he was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony to create “The Flying Lotus,” his first composition solely for orchestra.

In addition to music, last year, Rahman directed India’s first-ever virtual reality movie, Le Music, and co-wrote and produced the 2019 film 99 Songs, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival.

Rahman also works to inspire and nurture new talent via initiatives including the all-women Firdaus Orchestra — supported by United Arab Emirates Excellency Reem Al Hashimy — and the A. R. Rahman Foundation, which is dedicated to providing underprivileged children with music education. The foundation currently funds the KM Music Conservatory and its youth symphony, Sunshine Orchestra.

MGMT signed with Mom + Pop Music, the duo’s new label after a long run with Columbia Records. Mom + Pop will release the band’s fifth studio album, Loss of Life, on Feb. 23. The album is preceded by first single, “Mother Nature,” which is out now. Loss of Life will also include the track “Dancing in Babylon” featuring Christine and the Queens, marking the first-ever feature on an MGMT album. The new LP, the duo’s first since 2018’s Little Dark Age, was produced by Patrick Wimberly and mixed by Dave Fridmann.

New Zealand-Australian singer-songwriter-producer Jordan Rakei signed a long-term global record deal with Decca and Verve Forecast, which just released his latest single, “Flowers.” The Grammy-nominated artist has released a total of four studio albums; he was previously signed to Ninja Tune.

Texas rapper BigXthaPlug signed with Solid Foundation Management, making him the first artist outside of Quality Control Music to join the firm’s roster. Solid Foundation partner Brandon Farmer will co-manage the rapper alongside his current manager, Kyle Wilson. “Solid Foundation is open for business,” said Farmer in a statement on the signing. “There was a previous perception that Solid Foundation Management was exclusive to QC artists, but that’s no longer the case. We are here to work with anyone who is a good fit and is interested in our services.”

Chinese pop star Eason Chan renewed his contract with Universal Music Greater China. The announcement followed the release of Chan’s first studio album in five years, CHIN UP!, on Oct. 27. He has been with Universal Music Group for more than 19 years, first signing to Universal Music Hong Kong’s CinePoly label; he has since released a total of 22 albums and EPs. Chan is managed by Lisa Kan.

K-pop group KARD signed with UTA for representation in North America, South America, the United Kingdom and Europe. The group released its debut project in 2016. Its first mini-album, Hola Hola, hit the music charts in 32 countries only three hours after its release, according to a press release.

Austin Williams, known for his breakthrough song “Wanna Be Saved,” partnered with CAA for booking representation. The Nashville native signed to Missi Gallimore and Jim Wilkes’ T.R.U.T.H. Management Projects/Promotion and indie label Truth or Dare Records earlier this year. He also issued his debut EP, Wanna Be Saved, in September. – Jessica Nicholson

UMG Nashville signed Fort Worth, Texas native and singer-songwriter Louie Thesinger. “Having witnessed Louie’s magnetic charisma translate on stages across this country and watch the rabid fan base he is building, I know that Louie is going to widen the country music audience,” UMG Nashville chair/CEO Cindy Mabe said in a statement. “I am so inspired by Louie’s energy, purpose, and intention to expand the sound of country music through his own personal story and his songs. I am so proud to bring Louie into the Universal Music Group Nashville family!”

L.A.-based indie-pop artist Kacy Hill signed with Nettwerk, which released her new single, “No One,” on Friday (Nov. 3). Hill is managed by Michael Kadziulis of YMU Group; her booking agent is Spencer Pinson at Arrival Artists.

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