Ethiopia Habtemariam

Ethiopia Habtemariam Save The Music Music Industry Advisory Board

Music Industry Board Chairman & CEO of Motown Records

In her current role, Ethiopia is responsible for revitalizing Motown Records, the storied record label that is home to cultural hit makers such as Lil Baby, Vince Staples, Migos, Ne-Yo, City Girls, Tiana Major9, Lil Yachty, BJ The Chicago Kid, Layton Greene, Tiwa Savage, Kem and Erykah Badu. In 1959, Mr. Berry Gordy forged a core for Motown, crafting relationships and a path for creative Black entrepreneurship. Since her appointment as President, Motown Records and EVP of Capitol Music Group, Ethiopia has furthered Motown’s unique stance and brought a twenty-first century definition to that pursuit of Black excellence.

Part of her charge was to continue Motown’s singular tradition – making a home for music whose hometown roots captured worldwide hearts and imagination, and whose artistry guaranteed it equally powerful cultural impact. She did just that in 2015; under her tenure, Motown signed its first partnership with Quality Control Music, an Atlanta-based record label with an excitement and immediately recognizable artistry that connects it to the immediacy of Motown in the 1960s. The significance can be noted through Motown/Quality Control’s extraordinary worldwide successes of acts including Lil Yachty, Migos, Lil Baby and City Girls. Recent partnerships include Blacksmith Recordings (Vince Staples, Ted When) and Since The 80’s (Njomza, Asiahn). This phenomenon expands the reach of youth culture into something richer and longer lasting – and demonstrates that Ethiopia’s ambitions both represent and redefine Motown.

As the daughter of immigrant parents, Ethiopia’s love and passion for music and storytelling influenced and informed her from a young age. She began her career as an intern at LaFace Records in Atlanta at the age of 14. Eventually moving to Los Angeles to work for Edmonds Music Publishing, she polished her skills for identifying and developing new talent. She later joined Universal Music Publishing and grew to become the President of Urban Music & Co-Head of Creative, as she developed the careers of some of the most significant songwriters/producers in music today. Her impressive roster of writers included J Cole, Justin Bieber, Miguel, Quavo, Sebastian Kole (Alessia Cara), Rock City, Childish Gambino, Big Sean, Jhene Aiko, Hit Boy, Chase & Cashe, Ester Dean, Polow Da Don, Keri Hilson, Ciara, Happy Perez, Needlz and Danny Boy among many others.

Ethiopia has been recognized on numerous occasions for categories including: Billboard’s Power 100 List, Hip-Hop Power Player List, Women in Music, Top 40 under 40 Executive along with Variety’s Women’s Impact Report.

*Photo credit: Stephanie MeiLing (@stephaniemeiling)

The Music Industry Advisory Board aims to ensure that students have access to a diverse set of successful music professionals, so they are aware that there is more to the industry beyond being on the main stage. Our mission is to close the gap for the next generation of music industry professionals to create a more inclusive and diverse future.