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20 Things You Didn’t Know About Andre Harrell
We’ll be talking about things you didn’t know about Andre Harrell in today’s article. Andre O’Neal Harrell was an American music executive and multimedia producer who was born on the 26th of September, 1960 and died on the 7th of May, 2020. During his time in the music industry, he formed Uptown Records and was a leader in hip hop, R&B, and the “New Jack Swing” group. He later became the CEO of Motown Records. So, therefore, read through this article to see some certain things to know about Andre Harrell.
Having been born in The Bronx, New York City, his father, Bernie, worked at a produce market in Hunts Point, and his mother, Hattie, was a nurse’s aide. He went to the Charles Evans Hughes High School and later studied at Baruch College before transferring to Lehman College. As at then, he has featured in communications and business management before withdrawing to join a local radio station. Before he graduated from high school though, he met a friend, Alonzo Brown, and both of them formed a rap duo, “Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde”. Now read below to further still know about Andre Harrell.
All You Need to Know about Andre Harrell
We’ll be providing you with details in bits so it will help you know about Andre Harrell, with respect to his personal life, career, and death.
Early Life and Background of Andre Harrell
- Harrell was born in The Bronx, New York City, on September 26, 1960.
- His parents are Bernie and Hattie Harrell. Whereas his father at a produce market, his mother was a nurse’s aide.
- He graduated from the Charles Evans Hughes High School and went to Baruch College before transferring to Lehman College.
- He also hosted Champagne & Bubbles on Sunday nights from 6 to 9 pm on Emmis Urban AC WRKS (98.7 Kiss FM)/New York.
About His Career
- Initially, he intended to become a newscaster, and majored in communications and business management. He later withdrew from the communications and began working for a local radio station.
- As a teenager, Harrell and Alonzo Brown, a friend from high school, formed a rap duo, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde—Harrell and Brown, respectively. They had several hits, including Genius Rap in 1981 and A.M./P.M. in 1984. Foreshadowing his later influence, the duo wore suits and ties.
- In 1983, Harrell met Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records. He went to work for Def Jam and within two years became vice-president and general manager.
- After a few years working at Def Jam, Harrell left and founded his own label called Uptown Records, and is credited with having discovered and signing Sean “Puffy” Combs.
- In 1988, Harrell was offered a label deal MCA Music Entertainment Group.
- Still, in 1988, Mary J. Blige recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker‘s “Caught Up in the Rapture” at a recording booth in a local mall. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to Harrell, who met with Blige.
- In 1989, Mary J. was signed to the label, and she became the company’s youngest and first female solo artist.
- After he had multiple successful releases, in 1992, MCA offered Harrell a multimedia deal, which involved film and television productions. They developed the feature film Strictly Business and FOX’s hit police drama series, New York Undercover, which aired from 1994 until 1998.
- Harrell renamed Uptown Records as Uptown Enterprises, and its records were featured in productions for Universal Pictures and Universal Television.
- In 1994, Harrell had a son with Wendy Credle, a music attorney. They named him Gianni Credle-Harrell.
- In 1995, Harrell was appointed CEO of Motown Records and remained there until 1997.
- Harrell was the CEO of Harrell Records, which is distributed through Atlantic Records.
- He partnered with budding Atlanta-based production company L7 Entertainment for the release of their new artists Hamilton Park and Netta Brielle.
- Harrell was the Vice Chairman of Revolt, Diddy‘s multi-platform music network.
- On October 17, 2014, he was instrumental in launching the Revolt Music Conference in Miami, Florida, at the Fountainbleau Hotel. The event was attended by such entertainment figures as Guy Oseary, Russell Simmons, and L.A. Reid.
- BET announced last year (2019) that it was partnering with Mr. Harrell on a mini-series about Uptown Records.
About His Death
Andre Harrell died on the 7th of May, 2020, at his home in West Hollywood, California at the age of 59. The news about his death was first announced on Instagram by D-Nice. According to a report from his ex-wife, Wendel Credle, he had been suffering from heart problems which might have caused his death.
After the announcement of his death, there have been lots of tributes trolling on Instagram to wish the former record producer an eternal rest.
“We are mourning the loss of a cultural icon, Andre Harrell, a chief architect of the modern hip-hop and R&B sound,” said BET President Scott Mills. “Andre was tremendously excited about sharing the origin story of Uptown Records, and its pivotal role in the urban music landscape. With his tragic passing, BET is committed to ensuring that the Uptown limited series event tells both the Uptown story and Andre’s story – that of the incredible music innovator, man, and friend to so many.”
He was survived by a son, Gianni Credle-Harrell; a brother, Greg; and his father. No memorial service details have been announced.
Also read: 60 Things You Didn’t Know About Rebel Wilson
His Legacy Speaks for Itself
Andre Harrell, whose Uptown Records is considered one of the key bridges between hip-hop and R&B, died of heart failure Thursday night at his West Hollywood home.
- With the founding of Uptown Records and Management, Andre launched the careers of not only Mary J. Blige, Heavy D, and the Boyz, Jodeci, Al B. Sure, Anthony Hamilton, The Lost Boyz, Teddy Riley, and Guy, but also mentored the hip-hop mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs. Known to have the Midas touch when it came to discovering and developing talent, Andre was responsible for changing the sound of R&B music and crossing artist and executives over into what was then known as “pop culture.” By the end of 1994, Billboard Magazine ranked Uptown second amongst all the major labels for the number of charted R&B singles and fifth for the number of R&B charted albums.
- His label, Uptown Records, is remembered as one of the R&B giants of the 1990s, finding a niche as a home for artists who were sophisticated and smooth, yet retaining its street edge.
- He had already worked for Rush Management, run by Def Jam’s Russell Simmons. Harrell rose to vice president and general manager, working with Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Whodini.
- He sent on his own to found Uptown Records. He targeted an upscale audience that would appeal to the hip-hop street and the upwardly mobile young adults. The result was a label that rode the rising tide of hip-hop and managed to carve out a lucrative niche. It partnered with industry giant MCA and became a bedrock of success in the golden age of CDs.
- While serving as the chairman of Uptown Records, Andre also created and produced “New York Undercover,” the first multicultural major network television drama ever, starring Malik Yoba, Michael DeLorenzo, and Lauren Velez. He also simultaneously executive produced STRICTLY BUSINESS, famous for being one of the first films to showcase the socio-economic diversity among African Americans, starring Halle Berry in her first leading role.
- Harrell also hired Sean Combs as an intern, bringing aboard another ambitious young man with an ear for talent. Although Combs was a hard worker, the two Alpha males clashed, and Harrell fired him in 1993. That inspired Combs to found Bad Boy Records, signing The Notorious B.I.G. as one of his first acts. The two later reconciled, and Harrell became a vice-chairman of Combs’s Revolt.
- Andre Harrell served as Vice Chairman of REVOLT TV & Media before his death. An entertainment powerhouse with credentials spanning film, television, music, and branding, Andre has helped influence and create an urban and millennial culture around the world. In this role, Andre helps create new opportunities for Combs Enterprises with technology companies, brands, and the music industry, largely focusing on business development, outreach, and strategic partnerships.
- He also oversees the REVOLT Music Conference (RMC). For four decades, Andre has been one of the leading entertainment entrepreneurs and cultural ambassadors of our time – as a member of the early 80s pioneer rap duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde; a film and television producer; founder of Uptown Records; Chairman of Motown Records; and founder of Nu America advertising agency.
- Andre became the president and CEO of Motown Records. During his five-year tenure, he not only oversaw the careers of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Queen Latifah, but also launched the careers of 98 Degrees and Mario Winans, and is credited for increasing the scale of executive compensation for black music executives throughout the industry.
- He also became a film producer, with Strictly Business and Honey on his resume. He was also an executive producer of the television police drama New York Undercover.
- After leaving Motown, Andre became president of Bad Boy Records overseeing the careers of Puff Daddy, Faith Evans, 112, and breaking new artists like Black Rob, Shyne Po, The Dream, and Carl Thomas. Andre also worked with Bono and Bobby Shriver to introduce the (RED) campaign for HIV/AIDs awareness among the urban market in addition to producing Urban Aid for LifeBeat at Madison Square Garden, a benefit concert televised on BET and MTV.
- Andre founded Nu America Records and launched the career of one of today’s leading vocalists and chart-toppers, Robin Thicke. After four decades – having a hit record in each – Andre continues to have his hand on the pulse of music, recently executive producing the biggest single in the history of radio with Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines” – the most played radio song.