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L.A. Reid

L.A. Reid
File:L.A. Reid.jpg
Reid at The X Factor in June 2011
Background information
Birth name Antonio M. Reid
Born (1956-06-07) June 7, 1956 (age 59)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Years active 1984–present
Associated acts

Antonio M. "L.A." Reid (born June 7, 1956) is an American record executive, musician, songwriter, record producer, former television music competition judge, and is currently the chairman and CEO of Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.[1][2]

A co-founder of LaFace Records, Reid's production and studio drumming skills have helped to bring numerous music figures to multi-platinum sales, including OutKast, Toni Braxton, TLC, Mariah Carey, Avril Lavigne, Paula Abdul, Pink, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kanye West, Usher, Ne-Yo, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Ciara, Kerli and Dido.[3] He has won three Grammy Awards.[4]

Reid is also the president and CEO of Hitco Music Publishing, based in Atlanta, and was the chairman and CEO of the Island Def Jam Music Group for six years until his move to Epic in 2011.

He appeared as a judge on the first two seasons of the U.S. version of the television show The X Factor, but in December 2012 announced he would not be back for the show's third season, saying he wanted to focus on his leadership at Epic Records.[5][6][7]



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 the remake by LA Production and Recording Studio Music Intersection. 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 (Sound Of Los Angeles Records). The song peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1989–2004: LaFace Records and Arista years

After The Deele disbanded, Reid and band mate Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds founded LaFace in 1989 through a joint venture with Arista Records, with funding from Arista Records creator Clive Davis.[8] 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.[9] Other popular acts on the label during its peak include Toni Braxton, TLC, and Outkast. Initially headquartered in Atlanta, the label played a role in building the current landscape of the [Atlanta] music industry.[8] In 1991 Reid co-wrote the controversial Jermaine Jackson single "Word to the Badd."

Hitco Publishing Group

With the belief that good songwriting is essential to the success of recording artists, Reid formed the Hitco Publishing Group in 1996, as a joint venture with Windswept Music.[10] While starting up Hitco, Reid was looking to connect to a wholly new market of producers and songwriters and talent spotted the young 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".[11] He gave the future senior vice president of Island Def Jam Music Group his first position as an inter-level creative person at Hitco.[11]

"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.[9]

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. Davis went on to find success creating another BMG imprint named J Records, which signed global superstars such as Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, Luther Vandross and Rod Stewart.

In 2000, LaFace was merged into Arista Records with Reid being promoted to president and CEO of Arista Records. He took a six-week executive course at Harvard Business School [12] in order to become CEO of Arista Records in 2000. Reid signed his first unknown artist to Arista, pop/rocker Avril Lavigne (whose debut album Let Go sold 6 million copies in the United States.) As president of Arista Records, Reid brought the company great success by signing 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 (album) sold 3 million copies in the US).

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 also went on to sell 10 million copies and won a Grammy Award for Album of the year.

He is still currently Chairman/CEO of Hitco Music Publishing.

2004–2011: Island Def Jam Music Group

File:Mcla re03.jpg
L.A. Reid and Mariah Carey in 2005

Following the merger of Sony and BMG, L.A. Reid was released from his contract at Arista in 2004 and quickly 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 2001-2003 with less than stellar sales and general lack of public interest for her two previous projects Glitter and Charmbracelet.

Reid also played a role in the successes of artists such as Amerie, Kanye West, Rihanna (alongside Jay-Z), Bon Jovi, and teenage pop phenomenon Justin Bieber. Reid stepped down as CEO and Chairman of Def Jam in March 2011.

2011–present: The X Factor and Epic Records

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.[6][7]

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.

In July 2011, Reid became the Chairman and CEO of Epic Records which also includes various former Jive Records artists.[1][2][13]

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 had his team of finalists in the "over 25's" including Tate Stevens, the winner of the season. Reid announced in December 2012 that he would not return for the third season in 2013.

Cosmetic line

In 2008, Reid joined the advisory board of a cosmetics line named 'Le Métier de Beauté.' [14]

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.[15] Together with Babyface, Reid has produced and/or co-written penning numerous R&B hits, racking up 33 No. 1 singles.[16]

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.[17]


Main article: L.A. Reid discography


  1. ^ a b "L.A. Reid's First Week at Epic Has Some Staffers Feeling 'Energized'". 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  2. ^ a b "L.A. Reid Officially Named Chairman & CEO of Epic Records". 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Island Def Jam. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  4. ^ "Grammy Award Winners". Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  5. ^ "Judge and mentor L.A. Reid is leaving 'The X Factor'". CNN. December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Official: L.A. Reid signed as 'X Factor' judge". Entertainment Weekly. 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  7. ^ a b "Breaking News: Grammy-winning music mogul Antonio "L.A" Reid to join Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole as a judge on The X Factor!". The X Factor (Facebook). 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  8. ^ a b Rule, Sheila (1992-12-02). "The Pop Life; Arista's Formula: Country and Film Music.". NYTimes. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  9. ^ a b Halperin, Shirley (2011-02-09). "Justin Bieber Cover: The Team and Strategy Behind Making Him a Star". Hollywood Reporter/Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  10. ^ "EMI Music Publishing forms strategic partnership with Antonio "L.A." Reid.". EMI Music Publishing. Retrieved Jun 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Interview With Shakir Stewart". HitQuarters. Nov 14, 2005. Retrieved Jun 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ Philips, Chuck (2000-05-03). "BMG Chief Strauss Zelnick Sens Reid back to school". Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  13. ^ "L.A. Reid to Run Restructured Epic Records". 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  14. ^ "Photos:Antonio "L.A." Reid Launches Le Metier de Beaute Luxury Cosmetic Line". MSN. 2008. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  15. ^ "BMI Salutes Top Urban Music Makers at Star-Studded Gala in NYC". Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  16. ^ "DEF JAM'S NEW TUNE". NewsWeek. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  17. ^ The Recording Academy, Clive Davis Partner For Pre-GRAMMY Gala

External links

Preceded by
Amanda Ghost
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Epic Records
July 2011-present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Chief Executive Officer of Island Def Jam
February 2004-March 2011
Succeeded by
Barry Weiss