Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), today announced that David Gray and Walter Jones have been named Co-Heads, A&R. Gray has relocated to New York City and Jones will continue to be based in Santa Monica.
As UMPG continues to accelerate its best-in-class, global publishing strategy, the appointments strengthen the company’s top creative leadership. Helming UMPG’s bi-coastal U.S. hubs, Gray and Jones will collaboratively oversee A&R creative strategy for signed songwriters, artists and producers; lead the team in finding and developing the best rising talent; and support legacy talent in providing opportunities to further their careers. In addition, the executives will lead the growth of UMPG’s creative teams across coasts.
Jody Gerson, UMPG Chairman and CEO, said: “David and Walter are accomplished A&R executives who have helped develop some of the brightest creative talent. 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.”
Said Gray: “There is more opportunity than ever before for songwriters and UMPG is honored to play a key role in supporting talent who moves culture. I very much look forward to the future, and am grateful to Jody for her confidence in me and her support of our team.”
Said Jones: “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. 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.”
In his previous role at UMPG, Gray served as EVP, Head of West Coast A&R. He is responsible for the signing of numerous multiplatinum artists to the company including Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas/DNCE, Demi Lovato, Logic, Delacey, among others.
Prior, Gray held a wide range of music industry positions including as an artist, songwriter, music publisher and TV music executive. He served as A&R executive at Zomba and David Massey’s Daylight Records imprint at Sony Music. Gray also served as SVP A&R at Syco Music, developing artists signed to the label via TV shows X Factor and America’s Got Talent. Gray started his career as a songwriter signed to UMPG and was lead singer of band Idle Wilds (RCA Records).
A respected publishing A&R executive, Jones joined UMPG in 2017 as VP, Creative and quickly built an outstanding track record of signing and developing top talent. He has been instrumental in building UMPG’s stellar songwriting roster and serves as publishing A&R for top artists including H.E.R., Quavo, Lil Baby, Metro Boomin, Lil Yachty, CuBeatz, Quay Global, City Girls and more.
Before joining UMPG, Jones boasted a blockbuster list of signings from throughout his career including Alessia Cara, ASAP Rocky, Kid Ink, OT Genesis, G-Eazy, MadeinTYO, ASAP Ferg, Pusha T, and DJ Marley Water. In 2019, Jones earned his first Grammy Award for co-producing H.E.R.’s Album of the Year.
Since Gray and Jones respectively joined the company, UMPG has been named ASCAP Publisher of the Year in 2018, BMI Publisher of the Year in 2018 and, most recently, ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Publisher of the Year in 2019.