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Maidstone music manager Daniel Stephenson in partnership with Virgin EMI Records

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A company founded by a music manager from Maidstone has entered into a partnership with a major British record label.

After a string of chart successes, Straight Forward Music signed a deal with Virgin EMI Records, part of the global Universal Music Group.

Heading up the joint venture will be president and founder of Straight Forward Daniel Stephenson, who grew up in Park Wood and Shepway.

Maidstone music mogul Daniel Stephenson
Maidstone music mogul Daniel Stephenson

The 32-year-old will be president of A&R, responsible for talent scouting and artistic development at the new label.

The deal is set to be announced by Virgin EMI’s president, Ted Cockle.

Daniel said: “I’m extremely excited that Ted and Universal Operations believe in my vision.

“The Virgin/EMI team are the best I have worked with. Together were going to change the game.”

The deal comes as artists releasing work under licence to Straight Forward are making waves in the music industry.

They include Swedish DJ, Nevada, whose debut single The Mack reached the top 20 in multiple countries, selling more than two million copies and amassing more than 300 million streams.

Daniel Stephenson (far left) with Nevada (third from the left) with their plaque for The Mack
Daniel Stephenson (far left) with Nevada (third from the left) with their plaque for The Mack

Daniel also manages Kent DJ and producer David Zowie, whose song House Every Weekend reached number one in the Official Charts Company’s rankings.

The first act of the Straight Forward/Virgin EMI partnership was to sign Maejor, a Grammy-nominated producer, singer-songwriter and rapper from Detroit. The label is gearing up to release their new signing’s debut EP in the next few months.

Daniel, who is also an executive producer and songwriter under the alias Pyramids In Paris, said he hopes the new project will enable him to fuse “the passion, ethics, hustle and entrepreneurship of an indie, with the might of a major label to elevate artists globally”.

The former North Borough Junior and Maplesden Noakes pupil splits his time between offices in London, Stockholm and Amsterdam with plans to open a Los Angeles branch this year.

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