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Music and Branding Veteran Fadia Kader Trades Instagram for Clubhouse (EXCLUSIVE)

As Head of Media Partnerships and Creators, she'll work with creators and brands in the music and entertainment ecosystems.

Fadia Kader
Courtesy Fadia Kader

Fadia Kader has left Instagram after four years and is joining Clubhouse as its new head of media partnerships and creators. She reports to global head of marketing Maya Watson, who recently arrived from Netflix. Clubhouse is a quickly growing audio drop-in chat app.

Kader’s role will focus on working with creators and brands in the music and entertainment ecosystems, and educating industries on the best ways to utilize Clubhouse, and to also bring the music and entertainment community to the app.

Currently by invitation-only and accessible to just iPhones, Clubhouse achieved a valuation of over $1 billion in January on the strength of a booming user base — it currently boasts 10 million weekly active users — and participation by such notable personalities as Elon Musk, Tiffany Haddish and rapper 21 Savage, among many others. It launched a year ago.

“I joined the Clubhouse app back in August and quickly found myself drawn to the platform,” Kader tells Variety. “I reconnected with friends and colleagues I hadn’t spoken to in many years. I met new friends from all around the world and we shared very human moments together. As I spoke with the Clubhouse team about this role, the relationships built and moments shared were at the forefront of my mind.”

She shared the news on Instagram.

Kader has a long history working at the intersection of music, branding and tech, having held previous roles at Twitter, where she was senior music partnership lead, as well as Def Jam and Complex Media. Her start in the music industry includes having curated Atlanta’s A3C Hip-Hop Festival.

“Fadia is a one-of-a-kind leader,” says Guy Oseary, co-founder of the tech investment fund Sound Ventures with Ashton Kutcher. “She doesn’t follow culture, she is the culture. When COVID hit and the world shut down, Fadia immediately went to work helping talent connect with their audience in a new and meaningful way. She is loved by the talent because of her care, thoughtfulness and passion … and will continue doing the human connection work in this exciting chapter.”

During the pandemic, Kader played an integral role in connecting artists to Instagram viewers in lockdown, via DJ D-Nice’s popular DJ sets, and the early Verzuz battles, where two artists try to out-spin each other with songs from their respective catalogs.

Likewise. Clubhouse expanded its reach significantly during lockdown, to which Kader attributes: “The authenticity of voice has been missing in social media. Clubhouse removes barriers to connection – allowing people to hear empathy, passion, and excitement all through voice. As a lover of music, I’m excited about new auditory ways for humans to connect in a true and authentic way. Post-lockdown, people will still seek out this connection.”

Audio is certainly having a moment, with the proliferation of podcasts, and Kader credits voice as “a powerful, raw, and authentic medium where people can be themselves.” She notes that the community and creators on Çlubhouse are what drew her to the platform. “A global community from many different walks of life,” says Kader. “In each room, you can find someone from a very different lived experience and walk of life than you. I’m excited to work with creators, artists, musicians and more to help tell their stories and meet people on Clubhouse.”

Kader adds of Clubhouse leadership, including founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth: “I have never met founders as passionate and as sincere as Paul and Rohan. To top it all off, the opportunity to work with Maya is one I have been looking forward to over the last couple years.”

Kader served as the only woman on Instagram’s music team and has advocated vocally in support of using resources to help those coming up to flourish and grow into leaders themselves. Speaking to Variety at its virtual Power of Women event in October, Kader said, “It’s really important that once you actually get power, that you’re lifting people up, that you’re giving them the money, that you’re giving them the access and you’re putting them on panels. There’s so few women who have access to power in most industries.”