Capitol Records has hired Chris Turner as senior director of A&R, reporting to Jeff Vaughn, who was named president of the label in December 2019. Turner was previously an A&R executive at L.A. Reid’s HitCo Entertainment, signing the popular acts Yella Beezy and Rubi Rose. Prior to HitCo, he signed hip-hop group Devine Council to a joint venture with Epic Records.
Asked his A&R philosophy, the Los Angeles-based Turner tells Variety: “Sign stars only, artists with direction and focus — unless they have an undeniable smash! Also early discovery is very important for me. I like to know I got there before anyone else did. Artists appreciate that as well. It doesn’t take much talent to notice artists once the numbers are there.”
Adds Vaughn: “Sign artists who write with a point of view, and can’t help but be 100 percent themselves.”
Turner, who started at the Universal Music Group subsidiary on July 1, likens his joining Capitol to rounding out a championship basketball team that “needed a few pieces to get back to the chip!” Says Turner: “I was one of the missing pieces. We’re building something special that’s about to take this world by storm. We’ve already signed a few superstars. I don’t use the term loosely. Jeff and I, we speak the same language in terms of our process. Amazing chemistry, we clicked immediately.”
Of his time at HitCo, Turner adds: “There’s levels to hit records, watching that process up close and personal from the inside out is a different feeling.” Indeed, Yella Beezy brought multiple plaques to the HitCo wall, with “That’s On Me” becoming an instant viral smash from coast to coast. The record rose to No. 1 at the Urban radio format and its official music video currently counts over 131 million views. Other records Turner worked on include Rubi Rose’s “Hit Yo Dance” featuring NLE Choppa and Yella Beezy, and Yella Beezy’s feature on Chris Brown’s “Restroom Occupied.”
“I use the tools of today with an old school approach,” says Turner. “I like to follow my gut instinct. You have to believe in yourself more than anyone else. Online research is great but it’s nothing like getting on a plane and going to an artist’s city to attend a show. You want to feel what their fans feel. Once you get those chills bumps and know it’s real, do whatever it takes to build that relationship from that point. Then close the deal and make history together!”