Universal and Republic Records have teamed up with music mogul Wassim “SAL” Slaiby to launch Universal Arabic Music, a new label that releases music from the Middle East and North Africa. The first newcomer is the 17-year-old Jordanian singer-songwriter Issam Alnajjar.

Slaiby, who will serve as the label’s founder and CEO, said in a press release: “It was my dream to highlight the talent and culture of Arabic music on a global scale with partners I trust and admire.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “In today’s global music market, we’ve shown time and time again that global hits come from all over the world. There is so much talent in this part of the world that SAL, with his incredible experience and intimate knowledge of the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] In addition to his track record of breaking global artists, he will give Universal Arabic Music a unique vision, strategy and power. ”