×

Dre London Is the Post Malone Whisperer and Variety’s Hitmakers Manager of the Year

Even in the fast-paced stream-today, gone-tomorrow economy of modern-day hit songs, Post Malone is in a league of his own. The genre-bending artist has four of the most consumed tracks of 2018, each of which feels equally at home on a hip-hop playlist as it does a pop radio station. Credit part of that mass appeal to Post’s manager Dre London, the sort of music industry newcomer who relies on his own creative instincts ahead of absorbing the advice and trend-forecasting of others.

“Post connected so strongly in 2018 because of his consistency and authenticity,” says London, a U.K. native who relocated to the U.S in 2008, founding London Ent. “So as the year was rolling along, fans and everyone around saw consistency in his sound as he kept on putting out hit after hit. This led to discovery, transitioning into steady growth and onward.”

Indeed, with each successive Post single, the audience seemed to multiply exponentially, starting with “I Fall Apart,” a holdover from debut album Stoney,” produced by another London client, Illangelo, and following with “Rockstar,” Post’s true breakout hit. As London recalls, “Post did a video in the studio after finishing the verse and it went viral. I remember seeing Chris Brown’s Instagram showing two fire emojis as the caption. It reassured us that the rest of the world was going to see the vision.”

Adding 21 Savage as a feature was another smart move, credited in part to London, who suggested the Atlanta rapper. “When he sent us back the session files we now knew we had a hit record on our hands, because the vibe that 21 added complemented perfectly what we already had recorded,” says London, whose client Tank God had a hand in the song’s production. “It felt just right.” “Rockstar” would go on to top the Hot 100 for eight straight weeks and be certified seven-times platinum.

Follow-up “Psycho” is what London describes as “a complete creeper,” while “Better Now” was a surefire hit. For validation, look no further than a video of Taylor Swift backstage at a show telling Post, “ ‘Better Now’ is so insane… I’m so jealous of that song, that hook.”

Post Malone is in a unique position in that he blurs the line between pop and hip-hop. His singing is rhythmic, which makes it rap-like, but accessible to a broad audience as well. “What’s crazy is that in mainstream radio across America and the world, hip-hop is now the most dominant genre,” says London, who notes that Post and his team don’t court radio as is traditionally done with station visits and multi-artist concerts. He puts more importance on “the metrics of measuring data — like what they’re listening to, how long they’re listening to a particular song, and which songs are more popular than others that helps us managers gauge what works, and what doesn’t, in real-time.”

It also brings new challenges, including the speed at which tech is moving. “It’s sort of a gift and a curse,” says London. “Having to adapt so quickly to these changes is definitely key to an artist’s success.”

See Variety‘s 2018 Hitmakers list in its entirety here.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Woodstock Festival of Arts and Music

    As Woodstock Turns 50, the Fest's 10 Most Sacred Music Moments (Watch)

    Cars were left abandoned along the New York Interstate. Electrical and speaker systems fuzzed and popped. Amps blew then went silent. The rain was endless as the mud sank deep and rank. Young children ran naked and dazed through crowds of strangers. Food was scarce. Water, unclean. Looking back, Woodstock seems a more apocalyptic, than [...]

  • 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band

    Film Review: 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas'

    Settling in to watch “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” you may have a burning question that applies to almost no other rock documentary, and that is: Who, exactly, are these guys? The ones behind the beards? If you’re old enough, of course, you probably know that ZZ Top started out, in 1969, [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Jay-Z to Acquire Ownership Stake in NFL Team (Report)

    Jay-Z will soon acquire a “significant ownership interest” in an NFL team, TMZ reported on Friday. The team was not disclosed, but a source told the site the deal will happen in the “near future,” adding that the billionaire rapper “wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL.” Jay-Z’s company, Roc Nation, [...]

  • Blake Shelton, Trace AdkinsCMA Music Festival

    Blake Shelton Takes a Shot at 'Old Town Road' in New Single

    Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins have just released a duet, “Hell Right,” that seems to have a beef with “Old Town Road.” But is it a light-hearted, maybe even affectionate slam — or should anyone read culture-war significance into the two country stars expressing a preference for Hank Williams Jr. over Lil Nas X, the breakout [...]

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Teddy Riley Walk of Fame

    From Blackstreet to Hollywood Blvd. as Teddy Riley Receives a Star on the Walk of Fame

    Many musical artists are responsible for hits, whether recording and writing for themselves or producing smashes for others. Teddy Riley’s got the success, having fashioned platinum-plated R&B works for, and with, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Keith Sweat, Doug E. Fresh and more since the mid-’80s, not to mention the music of his own slick soul [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content