UMG taps Wright to head Uni South
EmptyMark Wright has been named president of Universal Music Group's Nashville operation Universal South Records, succeeding co-founders Tim Dubois and Tony Brown.
UMG said Dubois is leaving the company to "attend to family matters," while Brown — one of Music Row's top producers before his executive tenure at MCA Nashville and then Universal South — has decided to renew his focus on production work and is in discussions to sign a new agreement with the company.
Wright is Sony BMG Nashville's executive vp A&R and will remain under contract until early 2007; Dubois and Brown will stay on board at Universal South during the transition.
A changing of the guard had been anticipated at Universal South, whose roster features such country and rock acts as Joe Nichols, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Marty Stuart, Lee Roy Parnell, Shooter Jennings and Rockie Lynn. Some observers believe that a rebuff of Dubois' attempt to buy the label from UMG led to the moves at the top of the company.
Wright has signed such acts as Gretchen Wilson, Lee Ann Womack, Josh Turner and Gary Allan. He has penned such hits as Mark Chesnutt's "Goin' Through the Big D," the Oak Ridge Boys' "Lucky Moon" and "Today My World Slipped Away," cut by George Strait and Vern Gosdin. He produced Womack's enormous hit single "I Hope You Dance."
Wright distinguished himself as a songwriter before moving to the label side: He authored hits for Alabama, Amy Grant, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers and Strait. In 1984, he joined the RCA Records A&R department; while there, he co-produced Clint Black's debut album.
Following a stint as an independent producer, Wright joined UMG's Decca Records in Nashville as senior vp in 1994; he later segued to MCA Nashville as executive vp A&R. He joined Sony Nashville as executive vp in 2003.