VETERAN MUSIC EXECUTIVE ANDRE HARRELL PASSES AWAY AT 59

NAYZE MEDIA     5/9/2020     7:56am(est)

 

 

 

Today is a sad day in the music world. Whether you’re familiar with the name Andre Harrell or not, you have surely heard some of the work or talent that was discovered by him. Most notably, Sean “Puff Daddy” combs, who interned for Harrell at Uptown Records, which Harrell founded before he went on to serve as head of Motown Records.

 

 

jekyll & hyde

DR. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

 

 

Variety Magazine (@variety) reported, DJ D-Nice was first to report word of Harrell’s passing. D-Nice made the announcement Friday night on his Instagram live during his now internet famous “Quarantine Radio” show. Harrell was 59-years old. His cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

 

 

Harrell Blige Combs

Andre Harell, Mary J. Blige, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs

 

 

Harrell has a long history in the music industry, and has connections with many people in the industry that date back to the very early 1980’s.

 

  • Andre Harrell was born on September 26, 1960 in Harlem, New York
  • In high school, Harrell and high school friend, Alonzo Brown formed the rap duo Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
  • The group achieved some mainstream success, including hit songs: Genius Rap, Fast Life, and AM/PM
  • Despite the early success as a rap duo, Harrell still decided to go to college and pursue a degree. He attended Lehman College in the Bronx, where he majored in communications and business management. He aspired to become a newscaster.
  • Harrell dropped out of college after 3-years and got a job at a local radio station.
  • In 1983 Harrell met Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records
  • Harrell went on to work for Simmons at Def Jam.
  • Within two years, Harrell had become Def Jam’s Vice President and General Manager.
  • Harrell left Def Jam a few years later to start his own record label, Uptown Records, where a young Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs worked as an intern, before eventually working right underneath Harrell as a sort of understudy
  • In 1988 Mary J. Blige recorder a cover of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up In The Rapture” at a recording booth in a local mall. Mary’s Mother’s boyfriend at the time, later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, who was a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to Harrell, who met with Mary in 1989. She was signed to the label a short time later, and became the company’s youngest and first female solo artist.
  • In 1988, Harrell was offered a label deal with MCA Music Entertainment Group. After multiple successful releases, in 1992, MCA offered Harrell a multi-media deal, which involved film and television productions. They developed Fox’s hit police drama series, New York Undercover, which aired from 1994-1998.
  • Harrell renamed Uptown Records as Uptown Enterprises
  • The company’s records were featured in productions for Universal pictures and Universal television
  • In 1995 Harrell was appointed CEO of Motown Records.
  • At the time of his passing, Harrell was Vice President of Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Revolt, a multi-platform music network.

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