Hillman Grad Records/Def Jam Artists - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Thursday, November 3, 2022

Hillman Grad Records/Def Jam Artists

A Forest for The Trees - DTLA's Acclaimed art exhibition by notable visual artist Glenn Kaino that is bringing awareness to the Karuk Tribe and environmental issues in CA, hosted Hillman Grad Records/Def Jam artists Davion Farris and Jai'Len Josey as part of their Campfire Concert Series.


Hillman Grad Records, the music division under the Hillman Grad Ventures portfolio that was founded by Lena Waithe in 2021, aims to identify, develop, and bolster the next generation of underrepresented artists. Davion, a Grammy-Award-winning R&B singer-songwriter, opened the intimate concert series with music from his recently released EP, “Moved” which embodies a diary of past romantic relationships' highs and lows. Jai'Len closed the show and performed her singles "Death of Black Girl,” "Safe,” and a collection of songs from her 2020 EP, “Illustrations.” Jai'Len also sang her soon-to-be-released single, "Good Soup.”


Both artists displayed incredible raw vocal talent, reminiscent of the golden age of 90's R&B. Reactions were high and both closed with raucous applause. Attendees were a mix of fans, music industry execs, and music tastemakers and influencers. 


Jai’Len Josey is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter and actress. Growing up in the Atlanta R&B and hip hop music scene, Josey was heavily influenced by smooth pop tunes rooted in live soulful R&B music. At the age of 16, she made her professional debut on Broadway in Spongebob Squarepants the Musical. In 2019, she created the score for Oil of Olay’s “Rhythm of Olay” ALS musical commercial campaign, which garnered more than 1.4 million views on YouTube.


Jai’Len released her debut EP in 2020 titled Illustrations. Since then, her songs have been featured on The Terrell Show, SHOWTIME’s visual album for The Chi, and most recently, Sephora’s Hall of Black Beauty Campaign. She also won BET’s first AmpliFIND competition in April 2021. In February 2021, Jai’Len signed with Sony Music Publishing as a songwriter and has since worked with Ari Lennox and SiR. Josey is currently signed with Hillman Grad Records – the new home of hip-hop and R&B, founded by Lena Waithe, in partnership with Def Jam Records, where she is working on her upcoming album set to be released in 2022. Under Hillman Grad Records, Jai’Len performed at this year’s Essence Fest which was a “bucket-list moment” for the young singer-songwriter.


Davion Farris – R&B Singer-songwriter

Davion Farris is a GRAMMY®-winning and ASCAP Award-winning R&B singer-songwriter from Inglewood known for his introspective, soulful ballads that recount interpersonal situations with emotional maturity. In early 2021, Farris began sending his music to TV shows and quickly found success. His new single, Sometimes, and his 2017 song, Make Love featured on SHOWTIME’s The Chi.


His music has also been featured in BET’s Twenties. After working with numerous shows produced by Award-winning writer, producer, and actor Lena Waithe, she took notice and signed him to her new Def Jam-partnered record label, Hillman Grad Records where he’s currently working on his EP project slated for spring 2022.


Hillman Grad Records is the music division under the Hillman Grad Ventures portfolio that was founded by Lena Waithe in 2021. That same year, Hillman Grad Records formed a joint venture partnership with Def Jam Records – aimed to identify, develop and bolster the next generation of underrepresented artists. The first four emerging artists to sign include: two-time GRAMMY®, ASCAP Award-winning R&B artist Davion Farris, singer-songwriter & actress Jai’Len Josey, and female rapper & actress Siya.




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