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News July 14, 2023

SAHXL Is First Australian Signing to Def Jam U.S.

Senior Journalist, B2B
SAHXL Is First Australian Signing to Def Jam U.S.

The only way is up for SAHXL, the rising R&B singer and songwriter from Western Sydney who signs directly with Def Jam in the United States — becoming the first Australian artist to do so.

Aged just 20, SAHXL (pronounced Suh-heel) joins the label home of Rihanna, Jay-Z and Justin Bieber, amongst others, and was signed by label chairman and CEO Tunji Balogun.

Though relatively unknown, SAHXL’s new reps hope to change all that.

To celebrate the new deal, announced today (July 14), he releases “REDO @ LUV,” the first through Def Jam.

Written in Sydney with production from JoeFromyo, Chuck Taylor and SAHXL’s neighbourhood friend and producer Sid Mallick, the new song is “about the ups and downs of chasing your dreams and trying to balance relationships,” he explains in a statement.

“With the Def Jam team behind me, I am really excited to start sharing my music and I hope I can help put on for my city and show the world all of the incredible creatives we have out here in Australia”.

His signing follows a major score in November 2022, when SAHXL, Chillinit and Barkaa were tapped to write and record original tracks for the NBA 2K23 campaign.

His project, “The One (2K ‘Court in Session’),” has enjoyed more than 140,000 views on YouTube, and he’s accumulated close to 20,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

At Def Jam, SAHXL is in esteemed company.

Balogun is recognised as a hip-hop heavyweight, in charge of one of the genre’s most powerful labels.

He took the reins at Def Jam, a division of Universal Music Group, at the start of 2022, following a six-year stint with RCA, where he served as executive VP of A&R and signed and developed Khalid, Bryson Tiller, SZA, Ruel, Brookhampton, Doja Cat and a stack of others.

Balogun has appeared in Billboard’s R&B Hip-Hop Power Players list and, in 2018, co-founded Keep Cool, a joint-venture label with RCA whose roster has included Normani, VanJess, Lucky Daye and Freddie Gibbs & Madlib.

Earlier in his career, he served in an A&R role at Interscope, where he worked with Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, The Game, Keyshia Cole and OneRepublic, signed Atlanta rapper K Camp and introduced West Coast rapper Cozz to Dreamville, J. Cole’s joint venture with Interscope.

Earlier this year, Khaled announced a partnership with Def Jam Recordings for his We The Best imprint, a deal orchestrated by Balogun.


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