Jonathan Azu

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Jonathan Azu
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Born
Jonathan Chukwunye Azu

(1976-10-26) October 26, 1976 (age 44)
St. Louis, MO, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma materDrake University
Occupation
  • Entrepreneur
  • Music executive
  • Investor
  • Philanthropist
Years active2000–present
OrganizationCulture Collective, Red Light Management, Superfly Presents, CBS Radio
Spouse(s)Rosa Azu
Children2
Parents
  • Charles Chukwuemeka Azu (father)
  • Gail Anne Azu (mother)
RelativesMichelle Azu (sister)

Jonathan Chukwunye Azu (born October 26, 1976) is an American entrepreneur, music executive, investor and philanthropist[1][2]. He has been honored in Billboard Magazine's annual list of the top “40 Under 40[3][4] executives in music and was highlighted in Variety Magazine's Culture Impact Report[5] for leading around the topic of diversity and inclusion in entertainment. In 2008 Azu was honored with the Young Alumni Achievement Award[6] by almater, Drake University. He is the Founder and CEO of talent management company Culture Collective[7][8][9] and a former executive at CBS Radio, Superfly Presents and Red Light Management[10]. In 2020 Azu and Culture Collective launched a global distribution deal[11] with Universal Music Group’s INgrooves. Azu's management roster has included Anita Baker, Emily King, Jośe James, Cory Henry, Luke James, Michelle Williams, Miguel, Kool & the Gang, Lecrae, Leon Thomas, Robert Randolph,[12] Outside Lands Music Festival, and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Early life

Jonathan Azu was born in St. Louis, MO to Dr. Charles Chukwuemeka Azu, MD and Gail Anne Azu. After marrying his parents relocated to Imo State, Nigeria, the native region and country of his father. While living there the Biafran war began eventually forcing his parents and older siblings to flee back to America where Azu and his twin sister, Dr. Michelle Azu, MD, were born.

Azu attended Drake University in Des Moines, IA where he was president of the Student Activates and best credited for booking Dave Matthews to perform on campus his senior year then later in his professional career going on to be General Manager of Red Light Management which has had Dave Matthews Band as a client since the band was founded. Jonathan currently serves as on Drake University's Board of Trustees[13] and is an adjunct professor in contemporary music at University of Southern California.

Career

Azu began organizing concerts while a student in college while included performances by George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, Dave Matthews and more. In 2000 Azu accepted a job at CBS

Radio's corporate division where he quickly rose through the executive ranks to become Vice President of Music Partnerships working alongside company Chairman's John Sykes, Joel Hollander and Dan Mason during his tenure. Following helping to solidify a $30 Million dollar partnership[14] with AOL, the first ever webcast of a large-scale music festival[15] with AT&T, ticketing agreement with Live Nation, Jonathan left CBS Radio to join live events startup Superfly Presents - the creators of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival[16][17], Outside Lands Festival, Vegoose and more.

In 2012 Jonathan was hired[18] by Red Light Management founder Coran Capshaw to become company General Manager. With an artist roster that included Marshmello, Luke Bryan, Phish, Alabama Shakes, Bastille and more Red Light Management quickly became the largest independent artist representation company in music.

Azu Left Red Light Management in 2019 to launch Culture Collective[9], a full service management company where diversity is woven into the ethos of the company. Culture Collective's current artist includes Emily King, Jośe James, Cory Henry, Luke James, Michelle Williams, Tunji Ige, Leon Thomas. In 2020 Azu also solidified a worldwide distribution partnership with Universal Music Group's InGrooves.[11] Via that partnership, Culture Collective released Luke James sophomore album, To Feel Love/d[19] as well as Cory Henry's first solo album, Something to Say[20]. In November, 2020 Culture Collective earned the label's first GRAMMY Awards nomination in the Best R&B Album[21] category for the release of Luke James' album To Feel Love/d.

Philanthropy

As has served as a Board Trustee[13] for Drake University since 2018. He also is an advisor on the music advisory board[1] for Save The Music Foundation and is a member of the Los Angeles GRAMMY Foundations Committee and has participated in their GRAMMY Career Day[22] events.

Jonathan Azu in the media

  

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff, Variety; Staff, Variety (2020-10-10). "Save The Music Expands Industry Advisory Board With Apple's Ebro Darden, Motown's Ethiopia Habtemariam". Variety. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  2. "Jonathan Azu elected to Drake University Board of Trustees". Drake University Newsroom. 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  3. "40 Under 40: Music's Top Young Power Players Revealed". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  4. "40 Under 40: Music's Young Power Players". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  5. Moreau, Jordan; Moreau, Jordan (2019-05-09). "Inclusion Impact Report 2019". Variety. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  6. "Drake Blue Magazine - Fall 2007". Issuu. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  7. Collective, Culture. "Jonathan Azu Announces New Artist Management Venture Culture Collective". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  8. Johnson, Kevin C. "Jonathan Azu's latest music venture is created for the culture". STLtoday.com. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Jonathan Azu Launches Artist Management Company Culture Collective: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  10. "Jonathan Azu Joins Red Light Management". Billboard. 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Jonathan Azu's Culture Collective Signs Global Distribution Deal With Ingrooves". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  12. "Robert Randolph: A Soulful Salvation". Relix Media. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Jonathan Azu elected to Drake University Board of Trustees". Drake University Newsroom. 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  14. Barnako, Frank. "$30M AOL-Infinity deal gets Web radio". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  15. "Bonnaroo: Friday 6/15/07". Stereogum. 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  16. "Bonnaroo". John Clore. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  17. admin. "VEVO will bring the summer's biggest music event to fans via an exclusive live stream of the 2011 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival | JambandNews.net". Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  18. "Jonathan Azu Joins Red Light Management". Billboard. 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  19. Ifeanyi, K. C. (2020-02-28). "How a 6-year hiatus led to R&B singer Luke James's creative emancipation". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  20. "Cory Henry Shares New Single "Don't Forget", Announces Halloween Livestream Performance [Listen]". L4LM. 2020-10-16. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  21. "Grammy Nominations 2021: See the List". The New York Times. 2020-11-24. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  22. "GRAMMY Museum Announces 2020 Career Day". GRAMMY.com. 2020-09-23. Retrieved 2020-11-19.

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