You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Def Jam Exec VP Steven Victor on the Future of A&R: ‘We Need to Be Young and Nimble’

The executive also shares news on Alessia Cara's second album.

Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent collaborator of Tyga’s and the rapper’s Last Kings Records, whose first signing is 18 year-old YK Osiris, newly known for the track “Valentines” which has gone viral in a month’s time. In addition, Victor has brought in 25-year-old producer Ronny J (XXXtentacion, Lil Pump, and Smokepurpp) and his his Listen Up Forever Records for an exclusive joint venture deal.

“We need to be young and nimble,” says the New York-based Victor, who oversees a staff of 20. “We need gut-based A&R where we’re signing an artist not a product. I don’t want to hear the [research] numbers. I want to see someone who can have a career and impact culture. I want to build an artist not a collection of songs.”

Certainly the 34-year-old revered label that’s home to Kanye West, Rihanna and Justin Bieber — and in its nascent years, Run-DMC and LL Cool J — has seen its share of all of the above, but maintaining not only a legacy but continued relevance is a tall order for any executive, never mind success in both hip-hop and pop.

Victor, who arrived from a cross-label post at parent company Universal Music Group after running GOOD Music, the collective launched by Kanye West and featuring releases by rappers including Desiigner and Pusha T, says he “welcomes the pressure.” And with guidance from new chairman and CEO Paul Rosenberg, who took the reins in January, the two share a vision for Def Jam’s future. Says Victor: “Look at Kanye, Eminem… I like polarizing artists. I have to be awed.”

Rosenberg, Eminem’s longtime manager, has instituted certain rules for Def Jam, Victor shares. “That an artist should be authentic, unique, have edge and a strong sense of identity — and I agree 100%,” says the executive, adding that today’s hip-hop, the most popular genre on streaming platforms, “is accessible to all.”

As for the label’s pop acts, Victor reveals that a new Alessia Cara album is pretty much in the can and eyeing a fall street date. Coming off a Grammy win for Best New Artist, the Canadian singer’s second release, on which she wrote every song, is “honest” and will speak to her audience. “It’s about her life,” he says, circling back to the notion of trusting your instincts and wanting to “take a bet on her.” Adds Victor: “You’ll be right more than wrong by following your gut.”

More Music

  • LeLe Pons

    Lele Pons Signs With Universal Music Group’s 10:22 pm Label

    Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent […]

  • Joe Jonas House

    Joe Jonas Lists Luxury Farmhouse in Los Angeles

    Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent […]

  • A Look at Emmy-Nominated Composers for

    Emmys: Limited Series or TV Movie Score Nominees Range From History to Penguins

    Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent […]

  • ‘The Velvet Underground Experience’ Opening in New York

    ‘The Velvet Underground Experience’ Exhibition Opening in New York This Fall

    Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent […]

  • Music Streaming Wars

    T-Mobile Customers to Get Free Pandora Subscriptions, $25 Live Nation Tickets

    Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent […]

  • Amazon Music Names Andre Stapleton Head

    Amazon Music Names Andre Stapleton Head of U.S. Label Relations

    Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent […]

  • Honoree Chester Bennington, left, performs with

    Slash Reveals Unreleased Chester Bennington Collaboration, Talks GNR

    Def Jam executive vice president and head of A&R Steven Victor is fortifying his department with new hires and a key promotion. Noah Preston, who signed Logic in 2012, has been upped from VP to senior VP of A&R, the label announced today. Also arriving at the company as VP is Alexander “AE” Edwards, a frequent […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content