Suhel Nafar VP & Development at EMPIRE WANA on Signing Artists
Scene Noise x XP Conversations: Suhel Nafar sheds light into EMPIRE’s WANA region focus, while giving artists insight into signing with a record label.
Suhel Nafar is a prominent figure in the music industry, known for his work launching Spotify MENA and his current role as VP of Strategy & Development EMPIRE’s WANA division. Nafar is a Palestinian musician, producer, and entrepreneur who has dedicated his career to promoting Arab and North African music to a global audience.
In 2018, Nafar was recruited by Spotify to launch its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division, a move that marked a major step towards making Arabic music more accessible to audiences worldwide. In 2021, Nafar left Spotify to launch EMPIRE's WANA division, where he continues to champion music coming out of the region and developing new talent.
In this sit-down, Nafar explains that EMPIRE aims to close the gaps for artists, while supporting them with tools, a team, and the necessary infrastructure for their growth and development. Nafar also challenges popular terminology, with EMPIRE’s regional division labeled as WANA rather than the ‘Middle East’, in that it is a colonialist term. He also gives priceless tips about when to sign to a record label, and when to run away from one.
Watch the full video here: