L.A. Reid

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L.A. Reid
L.A. Reid.jpg
Reid in 2011
Background information
Birth nameAntonio Marquis Reid
Born (1956-06-07) June 7, 1956 (age 63)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1973–present

Antonio Marquis "L.A." Reid (born June 7, 1956) [1] is an American record executive, record producer, A&R representative, and panelist. He is founder and current co-chairman of Hitco Entertainment. [2] He has served as the chairman and CEO of Epic Records and The Island Def Jam Music Group, the president and CEO of Arista Records. Reid was the founder and CEO of Hitco Music Publishing and the co-founder of LaFace Records with producing partner Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. [3] [4] He has won three Grammy Awards, picking up awards as a songwriter for songs such as Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road." [5]

A music executive or record executive is a person within a record label who works in senior management, making executive decisions over the label's artists. Their role varies greatly but in essence, they can oversee one, or many, aspects of a record label, including A&R, contracts, management, publishing, production, manufacture, marketing/promotion, distribution, copyright, and touring. Although music executives work in senior management, a number of music executives have gone on to establish their own record labels as owners themselves, sometimes being involved in the music industry initially as artists, A&Rs, or producers for a number of years and building a strong reputation.

Artists and repertoire (A&R) is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists and songwriters. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label or publishing company; every activity involving artists to the point of album release is generally considered under the purview, and responsibility, of A&R.

Epic Records American record label

Epic Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was founded predominantly as a jazz and classical music label in 1953, but later expanded its scope to include a more diverse range of genres, including pop, R&B, rock, and hip hop. Epic Records has released music by artists including Glenn Miller, Tammy Wynette, George Michael, The Yardbirds, Donovan, Shakin Stevens, Europe, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Shakira, Sly & the Family Stone, The Hollies, Celine Dion, ABBA, Culture Club, Boston, Dave Clark Five, Gloria Estefan, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Michael Jackson. Along with Arista, Columbia and RCA Records, Epic is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.


Over the course of his career he has written and produced for many artists including Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Outkast, Toni Braxton, TLC, Mariah Carey, Avril Lavigne, Paula Abdul, Pink, Justin Bieber, Meghan Trainor, Rihanna, Kanye West, Usher, Ne-Yo, 21 Savage, Young Jeezy, Ciara, Zara Larsson, Jidenna, Jennifer Lopez, Future, Travis Scott, Fifth Harmony, DJ Khaled, Death Grips, Rick Ross, Halsey, and The Jacksons.

Bobby Brown American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor and dancer from Massachusetts

Robert Barisford Brown is an American singer-songwriter, occasional rapper, dancer and actor. Brown started his career in the R&B and pop group New Edition, from its inception in 1978 until his exit from the group in 1985. Starting a solo career, he enjoyed success with his second album in 1988, Don't Be Cruel, which spawned a number of hit singles including the self-penned "My Prerogative", and the Grammy Award–winning "Every Little Step". Brown had a string of top ten hits on various Billboard charts between 1986 and 1993. Brown, alongside frequent collaborator Teddy Riley, is noted as a pioneer of new jack swing; a fusion of hip-hop and R&B. His other hits include, "Don't Be Cruel", "Roni", "Rock Wit'cha", "On Our Own", "Humpin' Around", "She Ain't Worth It" and "Something in Common".

Johnny Gill American singer, songwriter and actor

Johnny Gill Jr., also known as J.G., J. Skillz and Johnny G, is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Gill is the sixth and final member of the R&B/pop group New Edition, and was also a member of the supergroup called LSG, with Gerald Levert and Keith Sweat.

Outkast American hip hop duo

Outkast is an American hip hop duo formed in 1992 in East Point, Georgia, composed of Atlanta-based rappers André "André 3000" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton. The duo achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, helping to popularize Southern hip hop while experimenting with diverse genres such as funk, psychedelia, jazz, and techno.

He appeared as a judge on the first two seasons of the U.S. version of the television show The X Factor , but left the show in December 2012 to focus on his leadership at Epic Records. [6] [7] [8] One of the major projects that Reid embarked on following his stint on The X Factor, was the remaking of Michael Jackson songs after his death, with the May 13, 2014 release of the album XScape . [9] In 2016, Reid published the New York Times bestselling memoir Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next. [10]

<i>Xscape</i> (album) 2014 compilation album by Michael Jackson

Xscape is the twelfth studio album and second posthumous album by American entertainer Michael Jackson, composed of previously unreleased tracks that were recorded between 1983 to 1999. It was released on May 13, 2014 by Epic Records, MJJ Music and Sony Music, and is the tenth release by Sony and/or Motown since Jackson's death on June 25, 2009. L.A. Reid, chairman of Epic Records, curated and served as executive producer for the album enlisting Timbaland to lead a team of record producers, including StarGate, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, John McClain, and Rodney Jerkins, to remix and contemporize the eight selected tracks. Jerkins produced the title song and is the only original song producer to work on the final productions.



Reid first began his music career as a drummer, with his first appearance on record being with the Cincinnati funk rock outfit Pure Essence. Pure Essence released one solitary 45 in the mid-1970s. They later appeared on local FM rock radio station WEBN's second annual LP compilation, but the group was renamed 'Essence'. Reid would experience more mainstream success when he became a member of the 1980s R&B band The Deele, best known for their 1988 hit "Two Occasions", a song on their third album Eyes of a Stranger . The band had broken up before the success of the single, then reunited to promote "Two Occasions" as it rose up the charts under Dick Griffey's Solar Records. The song peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. [11]

Pure Essence were an American R&B band from Cincinnati, Ohio, originally consisting of Steve "Tuck" Walters, Jerome "Mouse" Richmond, Toby Rivers, Tony Coats, Dwight Trible, Larry Middleton, Antonio "L.A." Reid, and Kevin "Kayo" Roberson. The band released only one record, in 1976, and achieved limited regional fame during their tenure. But they received wider attention and acclaim nearly three decades later after one of their songs, "Third Rock", was sampled by producer/musician RJD2 on the track "Clean Living" (2004). The group's songs later appeared on the Chrome Children compilation album (2005), the Saints Row 2 video game soundtrack (2008), and the Soul Cal: Funky Disco & Modern Soul, 1971–82 compilation album (2012). A 2006 issue of The Fader called Pure Essence a "crucial soul-rock outfit" of the 1970s.

This article includes an overview of the major events and trends in popular music in the 1970s.

The Deele is an American band from Cincinnati, Ohio who achieved success in the 1980s with such hit singles as "Body Talk" and "Two Occasions." When the group began recording in the early 1980s, the lineup consisted of Indianapolis native Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds along with Cincinnati musicians Antonio "L.A." Reid, Carlos "Satin" Greene, Darnell "Dee" Bristol, Stanley "Stick" Burke, and Kevin "Kayo" Roberson. In 2007, Bristol, Greene, Roberson & Burke reformed the group with several new members.

1989–2004: LaFace Records and Arista years

After The Deele disbanded, Reid and bandmate Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds founded LaFace in 1989 through a joint venture with Arista Records, with funding from Arista Records creator Clive Davis. [12] The label soon became one of the premiere destinations for popular African-American entertainers who created Black Pop music that was easily accessible to both Urban and Top 40 radio formats. Reid signed 14-year-old Usher to the label, whose six album releases have sold 65 million units worldwide. [13] Other popular acts on the label during its peak include Toni Braxton, TLC, and Outkast. Both TLC and Toni Braxton went on to sell more than 65 million records each. Initially headquartered in Atlanta, the label played a significant role in developing the city's music industry. [12]

Arista Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was previously handled by Bertelsmann Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for Columbia Records. Until its demise in 2011, it was a major distributor and promoter of albums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Along with Columbia, RCA, and Epic, Arista is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.

Clive Davis American record producer and music executive

Clive Jay Davis is an American record producer, A&R executive, and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer.

Toni Braxton American R&B singer-songwriter

Toni Michelle Braxton is an American singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. She began performing with her sisters in a family group known as The Braxtons in the late 1980s, who were signed to Arista Records.

Hitco Publishing Group

Reid formed the Hitco Publishing Group in 1996, as a joint venture with Windswept Music. [14] While starting up Hitco, Reid, looking to connect to a new market of producers, songwriters and talent, hired Shakir Stewart whom he saw as someone with "a finger on the pulse of the next generation of hot producers in the Atlanta music scene". [15] Shakir's first job in the music industry was as a creative executive at Hitco; he went on to become a senior vice president at Island Def Jam Music Group. [15]

Shakir Stewart, a native of Oakland, California, was a US record executive in a number of companies, the latest being Def Jam. At the time of his death he was the Senior Vice President of Island Def Jam Music Group and the Executive Vice President of Def Jam.

"The most vital lesson [Reid has] learned from 22 years working at record companies? 'That you keep the doors open and the lights on and a star will walk in,' he says. 'I learned to stay in business. People are still buying music, dancing to it and dressing like it. They're using it to sell cars and CoverGirl makeup, so we sell product lines with our artists. The popularity of music is at an all-time high. How we monetize it is sometimes a moving target.'"

L.A. Reid, regarding the challenge in marketing current music artists, as quoted in The Hollywood Reporter , February 9, 2011. [13]

In May 2000, Edmonds and Reid sold their remaining 50% stake in LaFace to parent company BMG. The label became an imprint of Arista Records, with Arista taking on sales, marketing, and promotional duties for its acts. At this time, Reid also succeeded his mentor Clive Davis as president of Arista Records.[ citation needed ]

In 2000, LaFace was merged into Arista Records with Reid being promoted to president and CEO of Arista Records. In 1997 Reid attended the Harvard Business School six-week Advanced Management Program, in preparation to become CEO of Arista Records. [16] In 2000. Reid signed his first unknown artists, Havana Mena latin/hip hop and pop/rocker Avril Lavigne, to Arista. Avril Lavigne’s debut album Let Go sold 6 million copies in the United States. As president of Arista Records, Reid signed artists such as P!nk (whose November 2001 album Missundaztood sold 5 million copies in the US) and Ciara (whose September 2004 debut album Goodies sold 3 million copies in the US).[ citation needed ]

Under Reid's tenure at Arista, Usher (whom Reid originally signed at LaFace) completed production on his multi-platinum hit 2004 album Confessions , which went on to spawn 4 #1 hit singles and sell 10 million copies in the United States alone. Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below sold more than 10 million copies and won a Grammy Award for Album of the year.[ citation needed ]

2004–2012: Island Def Jam Music Group and The X Factor

Following the merger of Sony and BMG, L.A. Reid was released from his contract at Arista in 2004 and became the chairman and CEO of The Island Def Jam Music Group in February 2004. Reid is noted for bringing Mariah Carey's career back to prominence with her multi-platinum 2005 album The Emancipation of Mimi after her career had stalled from 2001 to 2003 with less than stellar sales and general lack of public interest for her two previous projects, Glitter and Charmbracelet .[ citation needed ]

Reid also played a role in the successes of artists such as Kanye West, Rihanna, Bon Jovi, and Justin Bieber and was credited for the musical comeback of Jennifer Lopez with her 2011 album Love? .[ citation needed ] Reid stepped down as Chairman/CEO of Island Def Jam in March 2011.[ citation needed ]

In early 2011 Reid became a judge on the U.S. version of the British television singing competition The X Factor , alongside its creator and former American Idol judge Simon Cowell, 80s pop star Paula Abdul and former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, who replaced British recording artist Cheryl Cole. [7] [8]

Reid pictured with Mariah Carey at The Emancipation of Mimi release party in April 2005. Mariah Carey & L.A. Reid 2005.jpg
Reid pictured with Mariah Carey at The Emancipation of Mimi release party in April 2005.

Reid was assigned the Boys category throughout the competition, aided by friend and singer Rihanna at the Judges' Houses stage of the competition in The Hamptons. His final four acts were Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, Astro and Phillip Lomax. Lomax was eliminated on week one of the Live Shows, with Astro being eliminated on week six. Marcus Canty came fourth in the competition and was eliminated by the public vote in the semi-final (week eight). Chris Rene was Reid's most successful act who came third overall in the competition, bested by Josh Krajcik (who was mentored by Nicole Scherzinger) in second place and Melanie Amaro (mentored by Simon Cowell) who won the show. After the season ended, Reid worked with Astro, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene on their music careers.[ citation needed ]

In July 2011, Reid became the chairman and CEO of Epic Records. The label's roster included various former Jive Records artists. [3] [4] [17]

In September 2012, Reid returned for The X Factor's second season along with Simon Cowell, while Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were axed from the panel, along with Season 1 host Steve Jones. Joining the judging panel were new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, while Khloé Kardashian and Mario Lopez replaced Jones as co-hosts. Reid's team of finalists in the "over 25's" included Tate Stevens, the winner of the season.[ citation needed ]

Reid announced in December 2012 that he would not return for the third season in 2013.[ citation needed ]

2013–present: Memoir, Xscape album, revival of Hitco

One of the projects that Reid embarked on following his stint on The X Factor, was remaking Michael Jackson songs after his death with the album Xscape , released May 2014. [9] Reid went through 40 years of tracks catalogued by the Jackson estate, and eight tracks of Jackson vocals set to new music from Timbaland and J-Roc, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate and John McClain, the former A&M Records executive who is co-executor of the Jackson estate with John Branca. The originals they worked with were recorded by Michael Jackson from 1983 to 1999, the period just after Thriller and before Invincible. [9] Xscape earned Gold certification. [18]

In 2016, Reid published the memoir Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next. [10] The book received favorable reviews. Soul Train wrote: "In Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next, his memoir written with Joel Selvin, Reid vividly takes readers on a musical journey via fascinating stories and rare photos that chronicle his modest beginnings as a young musician in Cincinnati, to his storied and adventurous path to becoming one of the most successful music executives in history. [19]

Under Reid, Epic had four albums debut at #1: Future, DJ Khaled, Travis Scott, and the final album from A Tribe Called Quest. [20] [21] [22] [23] On March 3, 2017 Future became the only artist on the Billboard charts to release back-to-back albums that debuted at number 1. [24]

In May 2017, it was announced that Reid would exit his post at Epic Records following an accusation of unlawful behavior by a female co-worker. [25] In response Reid stated: “I’m proud of my track record promoting, supporting and uplifting women at every company I’ve ever run. That notwithstanding, if I have ever said anything capable of being misinterpreted, I apologize unreservedly.” [26] [27] [28]

While at Epic, Reid established the label as a hub for hip-hop acts such as Future, Travis Scott, DJ Khaled, and had significant success with pop artists including Meghan Trainor and Fifth Harmony. During his tenure, Epic grew its market share to 3.63 percent, up from 2.56 percent when he took over in 2011. [29] [30]

In 2018, Reid became founder and co-chairman of Hitco Entertainment, LLC with Charles Goldstuck, the former Chairman and CEO of TouchTunes Interactive Networks. Formed in January 2018, the company has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta and has signed over 15 artists including platinum-selling acts Big Boi (of Outkast) and Dinah Jane of Fifth Harmony; [31] the first release is a new album from Big Boi of Outkast. [32] [33] [34] [35] In April 2018, Empire Distribution, the San Francisco-based independent music company founded by Ghazi Shami, announced that it will provide distribution services to Hitco for their first new album release for Big Boi. [36] [37] In August 2018, Hitco held The Hit List showcase in New York City with performances by Hitco artists including Light Skin Keisha, Coca Vango, Brianna, DJ Holiday and Yella Beezy. Hitco's hit, Yella Beezy's "That's on Me," reached #1 at Urban Radio and Top 20 at Rhythm in September. [38] Songwriter Delacey, who has written for the likes of Halsey and Zara Larsson, joined the Hitco roster as a solo artist releasing “My Man,” in March 2019. [39] Also in March, Jennifer Lopez premiered the single "Medicine" featuring French Montana, her first release with Reid's Hitco Entertainment label. [40] Using Reid's past project experience on The X Factor and Xscape, Hitco is also working on a music documentary and music competition program called "Take the Lead." [41]

Awards and honors

On August 30, 2006, L.A. Reid, along with Babyface, was honored as a BMI Icon at the 6th annual BMI Urban Awards. As of 2006, he has won 18 BMI awards. [42] Together with Babyface, Reid has produced and/or co-written penning numerous R&B hits, racking up over 40 No. 1 singles. [43]

Reid was honored with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences' President's Merit Award at the Grammy salute to Industry Icons celebration on February 9, 2013, the day prior to the 55th Grammy Awards. [44] Reid is also a 3 time Grammy Award winner. In 2014, Reid received the Harvard University Alumni Award of Excellence in Media.

In March 2016, Reid, received an award from BET Honors for The Business of Entertainment Award. [45]

Reid is the co-author (with Joel Selvin) of The New York Times bestseller [46] Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next. [47]


In 2006, Reid was noted for his philanthropic efforts to bring arts programs to urban youth at the Art for Life Palm Beach fundraiser hosted by Russel Simmons. [48] That year he also received the UJA-Federation of New York’s Music Visionary Award. [49] He has also been involved with the Taste of Hope event for the City of Hope organization [50] and the Robin Hood Foundation. [51] In 2008 Reid wrote and co-produced the song "Just Stand Up" for the television special Stand Up To Cancer, which was performed by artists including Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Miley Cyrus, Melissa Etheridge, Ashanti, Natasha Bedingfield, Keyshia Cole, Ciara, Leona Lewis, LeAnn Rimes, and Carrie Underwood. The record sales for the single were donated to the show’s eponymous organization. [52] In 2009, Reid received the Spirit of Compassion Award from UNICEF. [53]

Personal life

Reid has a son named Antonio Reid Jr, born in 1979, with an ex. [54] Reid had his son Aaron Alexander in November 1989 with Perri "Pebbles" Reid and they were married from 1989 to 1996. [55] [56] In 2000 he married Erica Holton. [57] They have two children. [58] [56]


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Preceded by
Amanda Ghost
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Epic Records
July 2011–May 2017
Succeeded by
Sylvia Rhone
Preceded by
Chief Executive Officer of Island Def Jam
February 2004 – March 2011
Succeeded by
Barry Weiss