Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) announced on Monday (Sept. 9) that David Gray and Walter Jones will lead the company’s A&R department as co-heads. The two will be bi-coastal, with Gray relocating to New York City and Jones continuing in Santa Monica.
Together, Gray and Jones will oversee A&R creative strategy for UMPG’s roster of songwriters, artists and producers; lead in finding and developing new talent; and support legacy talent with opportunities to further their careers. They will also lead growth of UMPG’s creative teams across coasts.
“David and Walter are accomplished A&R executives who have helped develop some of the brightest creative talent,” Jody Gerson, UMPG chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “David is a respected and experienced executive who has built tremendous success with Shawn Mendes, the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Logic. Walter is an excellent leader and trusted publishing A&R for H.E.R., Quavo, Lil Baby and Metro Boomin. Together, they form a strong partnership and lead the best A&R team in the industry.”
Gray previously served as executive vp head of West Coast A&R at UMPG, helping sign Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas/DNCE, Demi Lovato, Logic, Delacey and more. Before that, he worked as an artist, songwriter, music publisher and TV music executive, and was signed to UMPG as lead singer of band Idle Wilds (RCA Records). He has also held posts as an A&R executive at Zomba and David Massey’s Daylight Records imprint at Sony Music, and served as senior A&R at Syco Music where he developed artists signed to the label via TV shows X Factor and America’s Got Talent.
“There is more opportunity than ever before for songwriters and UMPG is honored to play a key role in supporting talent who moves culture,” he said in a statement. “I very much look forward to the future, and am grateful to Jody for her confidence in me and her support of our team.”
Jones joined UMPG in 2017 as vp creative and serves as publishing A&R for H.E.R., Quavo, Lil Baby, Metro Boomin, Lil Yachty, CuBeatz, Quay Global, City Girls and more. He previously worked with Sony/ATV, where he helped sign Alessia Cara, A$AP Rocky, Kid Ink, OT Genesis, G-Eazy, MadeinTYO, ASAP Ferg, Pusha T and more. Jones earned his first Grammy Award earlier this year for co-producing H.E.R.’s eponymous album, named best R&B album of the year.
“I am excited to co-head UMPG’s incredible A&R team and am inspired by Jody’s commitment and mentorship to new executive talent,” added Jones. “I look forward to this exciting new chapter and thank Jody Gerson for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the company’s growth, innovation and success.”