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Ethiopian-American achieves new height in US music industry

Ethiopian-American achieves new height in US music industry

Ethiopian-American Leah Bekele has been appointed as Vice President of Rhythm Promotion & Lifestyle with Warner Music, a historic appointment for the 30-year old ambitious music executive, early this week.

"I am incredibly honored to be the youngest Black Woman to be named Vice President,” she said in a statement. She is to take charge of its important division and is to work with some of the leading artists of Warner, including Saweetie and Bebe Rexha and others.

A historic appointment, she said that it is hopeful what it means for women of color and said, “She hopes to continue to break barriers for young women of color in the music industry by helping to develop new talent and aiding the next generation of female executives through mentorship and volunteering in her free time.”

Born in Addis Ababa, Leah moved to Washington DC at the age of 2 and is a graduate of Columbia College in Chicago. This is the second such high profile appointment for an Ethiopian born music executive in recent years.

Ethiopia Habtemariam became the President of Motown in 2014, a historic appointment to the most important music record company started by Berry Gordy and ushered in the golden ages of black music with the likes of the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and others.

Prior to her most recent appointment, Leah was with Epic Records, a division of Sony Music serving as its national director of promotion & lifestyle. One of the best selling Ethiopian artists, Aster Aweke was once signed to Sony Records, as an attempt to move her cross appeal to the mainstream audience but that yielded little success.

At Motown, to make the record label relevant with a youthful audience beyond its appeal to an older generation, Ethiopia rebranded it as “the new definition of soul” and signed a slew of new and young artists to much success.

Currently, Toronto born, Ethiopian-Canadian artist, Abel Tesfaye, AKA The Weeknd is one of the best selling artist signed to Republic Records, affiliated with Motown.