First of her kind
UTA has hired Spotify’s Vanja Primorac as an executive in a new role: focusing on music innovations. She will use her experience as a Spotify artist marketing representative to develop and implement new marketing, distribution and platform partnerships for UTA’s artists.
“UTA is taking a holistic approach to their artist partnerships and I’m excited to start the next chapter of my career with the incredible team they have in place,” Primorac said in a statement. “It’s tricky to break through the noise in today’s competitive music landscape and together, we can develop innovative partnerships and campaigns that can move the needle.”
At Spotify, Primorac helped market LANY, J. Cole, Mumford & Sons, AlunaGeorge, Mike Posner and Calvin Harris and also spearheaded the service’s “Louder Together” campaign, featuring Sasha Sloan, Nina Nesbitt, Charlotte Lawrence and King Henry. She previously helped launch Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Revolt TV, leading production of all its co-branded content and producing artist-driven interstitials.
“The music industry continues to be a hotbed for innovation and disruption, with new platforms and business models continually redefining the landscape,” UTA chief innovation officer Brent Weinstein said in a statement. “We are excited to utilize Vanja’s experience and entrepreneurial spirit to help our clients navigate this ever-changing world, and to lock new creative and business opportunities.”
Name in lights
Veteran Broadway press agent Michael Hartman is returning to New York to join advertising agency Serino Coyne as a managing director alongside Leslie Barrett and Matt Upshaw. The trio are part of a new leadership team installed by CEO Angelo Desimini.
With his theatrical media relations firms Barlow-Hartman and later The Hartman Group, Hartman was a Broadway stalwart from 1999 to 2014. He’s spent the time since then as CEO of Austin-based Amy’s Ice Creams.
“My four years as CEO of a larger company in a different industry and a city dominated by tech and cutting-edge company culture allowed for tremendous personal growth, perspective and the kind of expansion as a businessman I’d likely not gotten otherwise,” Hartman said in a statement. “I’m eager to bring renewed energy to the business of Broadway, not only to the work itself but to company culture. Serino Coyne has been a constant in my career as a press agent and business owner since I started and I am thrilled to join this respected, award-winning agency where Broadway history has been made many times over. Let’s make some more.”
The 42-year agency has been behind many successful Broadway and other live entertainment campaigns, including for The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King and Dear Evan Hansen.
Poppy signs with an agency
Abrams has signed singer-songwriter Poppy, whose eccentric YouTube videos have built her a cult following. She won the 2018 Shorty Award for “Best in Weird” and the 2017 Streamy for breakthrough artist. Her collaborations include “Time Is Up” with Diplo and “Play Destroy” with Grimes. She signed with Island Records in 2016 and Mad Decent a year later. Abrams will represent Poppy in its alternative programming, digital media, licensing and branding division, while she continues to be repped by Paradigm for touring and literary and managed by Nick Groff at Geffen Records.
Abrams also has signed gamer Justin “Fearitself” Kats. He began streaming on Twitch this April and has amassed more than 100,000 followers since then by playing Fortnite and Battle Royale. He placed fifth in Fortnite‘s Fall Skirmish Series at TwitchCon in October and third in the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Doritos Bowl as a member of Ninja’s team. He has been playing video games professionally for 13 years, starting with Halo, from which he retired in 2016 after winning several Major League Gaming tournaments.
ICM Partners has signed Machete Productions, which produces CNBC’s The Profit. Previously at CAA, Machete is currently in production on E!’s Nat & Liv and CNBC’s Back in the Game with Alex Rodriguez. It has worked with both networks before, producing E!’s The Dance Scene and Dirty Soap and CNBC’s Treasure Detectives.
Cue the sax
Verve has signed former Roseanne showrunner Eric Gilliland, who ran the family comedy for two seasons during its original run. His credits also include The Connors, Mr. Sunshine, My Boys and That 70s Show. Last year he developed Elna at IFC, based on Elna Baker’s struggle with her desire to leave the Mormon church. Gilliland continues to be repped by attorney Jeanne Newman of Hansen Jacobson.
Others on the dotted line
Wolf Kasteler Public Relations has signed:
— Sam Elliott, winning praise for his latest project, A Star Is Born
— Haley Lu Richardson, who next stars opposite Cole Sprouse in CBS Films’ Five Feet Apart
— Zawe Ashton, who stars in BBC One’s Wanderlust and will next be seen opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in horror thriller Velvet Buzzsaw at Sundance
— Dianne Doan, a Vikings alum who next will be seen as one of the stars of Cinemax’s upcoming Warrior
— Jenna Laurenzo, director and star of indie feature Lez Bomb
— Will Roland, who originated the role of Jared Kleinman in Dear Evan Hansen and next will star in the musical Be More Chill, opening March 10 on Broadway
— Danielle Rose Russell, the star of The CW’s Legacies
Katz PR has signed:
— Lisa Durupt, who most recently was seen in Hallmark Channel’s Reunited at Christmas and Lifetime’s Christmas Lost and Found, airing Dec. 7. She will play Topher Grace’s wife in Fox 2000’s faith-based drama Breakthrough, also starring Chrissy Metz and Mike Colter. She continues to be repped by Canada’s Collingwood Management.
— Chantelle Albers, who stars in and produced the upcoming indie horror The 6th Friend, which will be released Jan. 15 on VOD and in select theaters. Her other credits include Reawakened, Condemned, Axeman, Turquoise and Uncut. She continues to be repped by PureFlare Acting and Modeling Agency.
MDM Media has signed:
— Neon Hitch, whose singles include No. 1 Billboard U.S. Dance hits “F*ck U Betta” and “Gold” featuring Tyga, as well as “Follow Me Down” featuring 3Oh!3, “Devil” by Cash Cash featuring Busta Rhymes and B.o.B.
— Wissam Hilal, a Dubai-based Universal Music MENA artist who released a music video for his “Change Is Gonna Come” on Nov. 15.
Venice-based production company Saville Productions has signed Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for her first U.S. commercial and branded entertainment representation. Her documentary shorts Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015) each won the Oscar and News & Documentary Emmy.
Los Angeles-, New York- and Sydney-based production company Interrogate has signed director Lee J. Ford. Previously a creative who worked for such agencies as 180 Amsterdam, Ogilvy London, TBWA London and Saatchi & Saatchi London, he has helmed episodes of Top Gear as well as campaigns for SportsPesa, Audi and Roland Mouret. He was previously represented by Prettybird in the U.S. and U.K.
Elsewhere in Rep World: