Akademia Music Awards

Anwar Najmi- From Artist To Altruist

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March 14, 2014

By Karin Francisca

Anwar Najmi

Anwar Jamal Najmi is an award-winning singer-songwriter, composer and producer who has recorded five albums, placed songs in the international top ten, and secured song placements in Hollywood feature films and hit television series.

As an artist, he witnessed firsthand the decline and collapse of the record business, brought on by what he describes as two decades of endemic corruption, exploitation and overall lack of regard for the creative individuals who had built the record business into a multi-billion dollar industry.

In 2008, Anwar and his wife Roujeanne reached into their own pockets spending $1 million to found The Akademia. The mission of The Akademia was simple: To identify talented musicians throughout the world who were passionate about developing their art and to give those artists the support and resources required to make their artistic visions a reality. Having cultivated numerous industry contacts through the years, Anwar persuaded six senior record executives, handpicked for their integrity, to lend their knowledge and expertise to The Akademia cause.

The result has been a quiet revolution. From its relatively small endowment, The Akademia has grown rapidly, using innovative thinking, new technology and an artist-centered approach to build a new platform for developing and commercializing the work of an exciting cadre of talented artists. At its core, The Akademia offers an impressive suite of services to its members in the areas of radio, press, video, global DJ servicing, live performance and publishing. In all respects, it looks a lot like a major record company- with the key exception that artists keep 100% of the rights to their creative product.

Having accomplished many of their own creative goals, it was natural for Anwar and Roujeanne to begin reaching out to help other artists navigate through the new music environment. ‘We made the costly mistakes so that other artists don’t have to,’ states Anwar. Judging by the increasing number of Akademia entrants, the new generation of artists appreciates the guidance and support.


Veteran Music Executive Ken Wilson Talks About The Akademia and the Changing Musical Landscape

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From senior posts at Arista Records, Columbia and MCA to J Records and Warner Brothers, veteran record executive Ken Wilson has shaped the careers of legendary artists such as Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Seal, Sade, George Michael and many more, leading to record sales in excess of $2 Billion.



Ken Wilson started his career in music at Arista Records. There he worked with acclaimed artists Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Billy Ocean, Taylor Dayne and Kenny G. Ken continued his journey on to Columbia Records where he served as Senior Vice President of Radio Promotions. He became responsible for the success of artists such as Mariah Carey, Maxwell, LL Cool J, George Michael, Kriss Kross, DaBrat, Slick Rick and more. He then went on to MCA Records as President of Urban Music where he oversaw operations in the urban music division, signing KC & JoJo of Jodeci, Rahsaan Patterson, Anthony Hamilton, coordinated the success of Mary J Blige’s ‘Share My World’ album and New Edition’s ‘Home Again’.

Ken Wilson’s reputation then brought him to J Records where he reported directly to Clive Davis as Senior Vice President of Urban Music. Once again, Ken played a key role in the success of artists such as Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross, Monica, Busta Rhymes, Mario, Fantasia, Jamie Foxx and Ruben Studdard, to name a few. After a long tenure at J Records, Ken moved to the west coast to serve as Senior Vice President of Urban Music at Warner Brothers Records. There, he was responsible for urban radio airplay and marketing efforts while managing budgets and overseeing field staff. Here he has been instrumental in the careers of Seal, Eric Benet, Mike Jones and V.I.C. of ‘Wobble’ fame.  Ken is continuing to guide successful artists, such as Beyonce, Johnny Gill, Eric Benet, J. Cole, Juicy J and Cee-Lo, through effective marketing and promotions.

“The traditional music business model has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. But while many doors have closed to new artists, many new doors have opened as well. The Akademia brings together the expertise of top record executives and producers to help guide the careers of new up-and-coming artists and groom them for success,” states Ken. “I look forward to The Akademia becoming a major force in the near future.”

The Akademia Music Awards is based in Los Angeles, California and supports musicians interested in receiving a higher degree of market exposure and recognition in the new music business era. As one of the six Akademia board members, Ken concentrates his efforts on the Hip-Hop, R&B and Gospel categories, guiding artists from the earliest stages to commercial success.

You may contact Ken with questions or requests for assistance at ken@theakademia.com

Read more at: http://www.theakademia.com/ken_wilson