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Chris Ayears Named VP of Artist Managemnt of Music World Gospel

Music World Gospel (MWG) welcomes Chris Ayears as its new Vice President of Artist Management. Ayears comes to MWG from Universal Music Group Distribution (UMGD), where he was Director of Marketing and Product Management for Fontana Distribution and its urban labels. In that position, he focused on key releases including Joe, Rakim, Kurpt, DJ Quik, Marques Houston, Lil Rob and several others. Ayears brings to his position 17 years of industry experience in marketing, sales, production management and artist management.

Throughout Ayears career in the music industry, he has worked successfully in multiple genres and with a diverse roster of artists and projects. However, he is particularly excited to be working with Music World Gospel because he has a real passion for the music. “Gospel artists have a higher calling,” said Ayears. “They don’t just perform—they testify and praise God in everything they do. I feel a great sense of purpose and fulfillment when working on projects with the anointed artists at Music World Gospel.”

As Music World Gospel’s Vice President of Artist Management, Ayears will help guide the careers of a roster of award-winning Gospel and Christian artists signed to MWG, including Trin-i-tee 5:7, Brian Courtney Wilson, Juanita Bynum, Micah Stampley and others. In his new position, Ayears will report to Nichelle Poindexter and will be responsible for all aspects of management and artist development services, including developing strategic partnerships and touring opportunities for MWG artists.

“Chris Ayears brings both a broad range of expertise and an infectious enthusiasm for the music business to his new position in our Music World Gospel family,” said Nichelle Poindexter, Senior Vice President of Music World Gospel. “I am confident that he will be a great asset to our management team and a tremendous and supportive resource for our Music World Gospel artists.”

Born in Sherman, Texas and raised in Los Angeles, California, Ayears began his music industry career while attending the University of North Texas, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Administration with a minor in Psychology. While in college, he worked with radio pioneer Russ Parr as a co-producer at KJMZ-FM (later renamed KDVD-FM) in Dallas, Texas. In addition to his duties at the station, he landed a segment in the show and created a popular character named “Nathen the Name Dropper.” Following his stint at the radio station, he was hired for his first label job as an intern at Virgin Records, where he worked in the radio promotions department.

After Virgin Records, Ayears was hired as a Field Marketing Representative for EMI Music Marketing (then Capitol EMI Music and Associated Labels Distribution) in Dallas and worked with a diverse roster of artists including Kirk Franklin, Garth Brooks, Ben Harper, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Radiohead, Tim McGraw, Trace Atkins and more. Later, he was named Southwest/Southeast Urban Marketing Manager for EMI Records, where he worked with artists such as Prince, D’Angelo, Gangstarr, Digable Planets and Arrested Development. When EMI Records folded in 1996, Chris was quickly hired by Virgin Records, where, as Urban Marketing Manager, he worked on releases for Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Tina Turner, Gangstarr, Scarface, Geto Boys and many others.

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In 1999, he joined Universal Music Group (UMG) and worked within several divisions of the company, including Universal Music Group Distribution and Fontana Distribution. Ayears’ first position with UMGD was Urban Artist Development Representative, where he worked closely with several labels under UMGD, including Universal, Motown, Interscope and Def Jam, which boasted a roster of top recording artists such as Jay Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Hot Boyz, Juvenile, BG, Lil Wayne, and others. He then became a Sales Representative, where he sold regionally to Tower Records, Virgin Megastore, Best Buy, and various local music retailers. He later worked for the company as a National Assortment Representative. That job took him to Minneapolis, where he sold to Musicland/Sam Goody and then to Target. Ayears next position at UMGD brought him back to Los Angeles as Director of Artist Development/Universal Motown/Universal Republic, where he oversaw a team of Artist Development Representatives and worked on key projects with Nelly, Erykah Badu, Brian McKnight, Indie.Arie, Jack Johnson, Mars Volta, Mase, Mario Winans and others. He later was named Director of National Sales, where he was the liason between the UMGD home office and the field sales staff.

Ayears currently lives in Houston with his wife, Jacquelyn.



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