Mouna Dif on shattering sector gender roles, leading Quality Fantastic Records’ merger with Virgin Songs/UMG

For much more than 6 decades, electronic audio label High quality Goods Information (QGR) has been led by artist UZ and co-founder Mouna Dif, who has molded the imprint’s expansive reach and varied roster of expertise. Less than Mouna’s leadership as head of operations and artist manager, QGR has released the careers of some of dance music’s esteemed functions, like Rome In Silver, ATLiens, Oski, Nitti Gritti, and Jon Casey. On March 31, QGR announced a merger and distribution deal with Common Audio Team/Virgin Music Artist & Label Services Dif was the key driver. “Quality Items Records has only been about pushing our generation’s up coming most forward-imagining artists in electronic new music no subject the significance of their sphere of impact, social media numbers, country of origin, electronic streaming system existence, or whether they are actively touring or not. It has only been about the music and using challenges. On this working day, I am pleased that we caught to our guns from the start out and never drifted away from the eyesight UZ and myself experienced for QGR,” she explained.

With help from Virgin Songs, the crew will carry on to widen its access and roster, focusing on impending artists and bringing them even more into the spotlight. Via entry to extra UMG-supplied assets, QGR intends to even further advance artist enhancement, streamline releases and bigger assignments, and continue on broadening its sonic achieve, with a target on singers and songwriters in distinct. “I’m planning on remaining deeply concerned on the A&R side with UZ. Getting strong vocalists and songwriters to actually amp up the degree of every music. I’m excited to be employing my knowledge and pastille as a singer-songwriter to curate these releases. And UMG/Virgin Tunes will undoubtedly assistance facilitate that system also with their massive and diversified roster in the pop and rap earth,” Dif claimed.

As the driving pressure of the acquisition, Mouna Dif, an independent artist turned indie artist-supervisor and label head, warrants a glance as an influential lady in the digital marketplace. The daughter of an Algerian father and British mother, Dif hardly ever set out to be the frontwoman of the QGR label and model, but alas, soon after two many years of triumphs, trials, and tribulations in new music, she’s established herself as a revered industry veteran and a pioneering lady at the helm of an indie label.

In the early 2000’s, Dif was a singer-songwriter doing below the moniker Moona in France. Checking out digital-hip hop with her mates in the metropolis by night, and learning architecture and photography by day, it was for the duration of this component of her lifestyle that she created character, figured out to acquire an creative vision, and in the end honed her unwavering determination to come across success in the songs field. “I’ve under no circumstances been a standard learner. I like to examination matters as very well as knowledge the outcomes on my own, to be analytical of people results. I was absolutely by no means fearful to inquire anything possibly. My encounter firsthand as an indie artist this sort of as booking reveals, releasing my own audio, as effectively as marketing every little thing really aided and shaped my skills to do the greatest career I can as an artist supervisor and head of a label,” she said.

From 2002 by means of the early 2010’s, Moona would go on to complete in an acid-jazz are living band (Moon and the Funky Satellites), collaborating with French duo Walter Sobcek, German nu-disco band Les Loups, Anoraak (who she now manages), International Beggars, and foreseeable future QGR founder-turned-label-husband or wife, DJ Troubl aka UZ. The pair fulfilled on a single fateful evening in Strasbourg, France in 2009, Mouna dished in a 2020 interview with noisprn. Her ideal friend was an lively digital audio and hip-hop promoter who’d booked the 2X Entire world DMC winner, together with French rapper-graffiti artist Grems, for a dwell celebration. Throughout the function, the two linked they’d stay in touch and in the future couple of a long time, Dif would come to be increasingly associated in and challenged by the business facet of the marketplace.

Like quite a few independent artists, Moona’s foray into the field would be plagued with highs and lows. Just after viewing achievements from a number of singles, garnering support from Diplo by using his “Diplo & Pals BBC Radio Present,” and placing an primary composition in the major title of a well-known kid’s show (for which she was under no circumstances credited nor compensated), Dif was frustrated by the confined possibilities for an indie-electronic artist with a little group. “Only a several artists had been earning it massive in all those days by possessing couple managers, as properly as labels and promoting groups to back them up. Alternatives have been quite confined except if you experienced a huge team about you. It is what pushed me at a place in my artist profession to rethink my goals and to check out other avenues while even now getting immersed in my passion—music. I only needed to support artists out so they wouldn’t make the exact same faults I did,” reported Dif.

In 2014,  she was approached with an give to turn into UZ’s tour manager, dealing with the day-to-working day logistics and “big picture things.” Shortly thereafter, she would go on to become the artist’s comprehensive-time supervisor and his QGR label spouse. “I’m thankful to UZ for believing in me and giving me the gain of the doubt. Trusting me with his jobs and overall eyesight for not only his occupation, but the foreseeable future for QGR. We’ve regarded each individual other for over 13 several years now, and we have normally been pushed by the exact passion and eyesight for music as a total. He has constantly authorized me to observe my gut and have faith in my perception and decisions from the commencing to now.”

For Dif, getting an inclusive roster and varied team working together with her has constantly been an vital portion of her operate with QGR and its intercontinental staff of artists and companions. “Diversity is prosperity by means of the treasured information it brings, allowing you see the countless possibilities the planet has to supply from the wealthy and timeless artwork and music within just. It is really critical to me to emphasize artists from around the environment for the reason that everyone’s eyesight is diverse. Their personal inventive process is incredibly a lot encouraged by classic tones and feelings. Their lifestyle, notion on daily life and all round private experiences are what make the task beautifully original in a scene in which artists are typically bundled by mainstream tendencies,” claimed Dif.

Nevertheless, since its basis in 2016, the Good quality Merchandise Information roster has only signed significantly less than three percent of women or woman-figuring out artists to its label. When questioned if she expects this share to modify in the long term, Dif pointed out that there is “still considerably operate to be accomplished inside the digital audio community” initially. “In get for there to be change, there has to be ongoing equivalent illustration of gals on the govt side of the field as very well. We need much more women administrators, engineers, reserving brokers, label professionals, and a lot more. And as extended as we keep standing up and carry on to force for alter, we’ll all see far more and extra women of all ages and female-figuring out artists becoming a member of this industry,” she claimed.

Of program, the new partnership with Virgin Audio and UMG poses a grand option for development and transform at the label. With Dif spearheading this new acquisition and planned endeavors, rest certain that QGR’s future chapter will be an evolutionary one particular. “We’re impressed by the new music that we acquire and find day-to-day, and want to share it with the globe. It is all about the songs and if we’re vibing with it, not about what sub-genre it is or how it would be labeled,” mentioned Dif. “We have some great releases prepared for the future months: D&B, wave, rap, house, and entice! And with UMG backing us, up we feel more comfortable and thrilled than ever in checking out these new roads.”

Highlighted Image: Diane Sagnier

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