MERGER WILL BOOST SA MUSOS ABROAD

LOCAL label Ghetto Ruff and Grammy award-winning engineer Gordon Williams have formed a partnership that will allow African talent to tap into the American market.

LOCAL label Ghetto Ruff and Grammy award-winning engineer Gordon Williams have formed a partnership that will allow African talent to tap into the American market.

Williams, who owns Lalabela Group in the US, was in South Africa as part of last week's Moshito musicconference.

The venture, known as Muthaland, will comprise a record label, a publishing company, a recording studio and an artist management agency. It will be based in Johannesburg.

"This will be one of the first 360 degree music businesses to benefit local and international artists," Williams said.

He said the project would start with local hip-hop outfit Jozi because as soon as he heard the group's music he knew they could make it internationally. He added that the trio's up-coming album would be released locally and abroad.

"I will not focus on hip-hop only, but will accommodate various genres," he said.

Ghetto Ruff founder Lance Stehr said: "Gordon is multi-talented and has a wealth of experience in many aspects of the industry. His knowledge and skills will not only be critical to the establishment of the 360 degrees business, but he is also committed to the transfer of skills to young South Africans."

Jozi's Lesley Mampe said this was a great opportunity to launch their career internationally.

Williams made a name for himself by working with Lauren Hill, Amy Winehouse, Babyface, Wycleff, Diana Ross and Quincy Jones, among others.

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