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Learning From Hip Hop’s Most Wanted A&Rs

Courtney Miller
Posted by Courtney Miller on Oct 6

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photo by DV Photo & Video

Many people have argued that in the age of social media and the face-paced music industry, the role of an A&R has become blurry and almost a lost art. Moderated by Gray Rizzy (Shade 45 Sirius XM, On Air Talent), this year’s hip hop A&R panel featured industry veterans, Amina Diop (The Diop Agency, CEO//Republic Records, SVP of A&R), Caroline Simionescu-Marin (XL Recordings, A&R Manager) and Askia Fountain (Mass Appeal Records, VP of A&R), as they provided raw and honest feedback and answers to a packed out room on Friday.

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photo by DV Photo & Video

While the role may have evolved, A&Rs are still responsible for finding, discovering and grooming new talent and acting as the liaison between the artist and the label. In answering an attendee’s question, Amina explained that while social media is helpful, talent is not solely based in social media following and numbers. “Talent is talent and somehow talent just finds me.” Speaking on being open to hear someone drop sixteen bars at the drop of a dime or posting a viral video, Diop and Fountain agreed that there is a point in the middle where traditional A&R roles and the modern music industry meet. Using digital platforms and social media play a part in discovering new talent, but successful A&Rs should also be present and actively seeking talent in the community as well.

 

In the closing question and answer segment, Gray asked Diop and Simionescu-Marin to provide insightful advice to aspiring artists, A&Rs and managers. At the root of every answer was that any career in this industry requires hard work and consistent effort. Diop also emphasized the importance of building solid relationships within the music community, but not using those relationships as a source of handouts. There is not an photocopied blueprint that can be used as the map for navigated and ensuring a successful career in the relationship, however a successful career can be curated through understanding and learning from those that have come before you.



Topics: a3conference, a3c18

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