Warner Records Names Steve ‘Steve O’ Carless President, A&R (EXCLUSIVE)

The industry veteran co-manages Polo G and worked closely with the late Nipsey Hussle.

Warner Records Names Steve ‘Steve O’ Carless President, A&R
Courtesy of Warner Records

Warner Records has named Steve “Steve O” Carless president of A&R, a new position at the Warner Music Group label that’s home to such artists as Dua Lipa, Saweetie David Guetta and Anitta. Carless’ start date is Dec. 1 and he’ll be reporting to co-chairman and CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck and working closely with Julian Petty, EVP/head of business and legal affairs, and Chris Atlas, EVP, Urban music and marketing, according to an announcement issued today (Sept. 23).

The veteran executive’s credits include successes Polo G — whom he co-manages — Jeezy, Big Sean and the late Nipsey Hussle. He’s also held senior A&R and creative roles at at Def Jam Recordings, Atlantic Records and Republic Records. He also served as president of Uptown Records was where Carless worked with Nipsey Hussle and Big Sean, as well as YG, Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Dave East and Pusha T, and more.

Prior to Warner, Carless was executive VP of A&R at Universal Music Group’s Republic Records. He began his music career in 2003 as an office assistant at Star Trak Entertainment, home of the Neptunes. The following year, he joined Def Jam Recordings as director of lifestyle & radio promotions. In 2012, he moved to Atlantic Records, where he oversaw projects for YG and Jeezy, while also serving as president of Jeezy’s Atlanta-based CTE World Recordings. He returned to Def Jam in 2015 as senior director of A&R & special projects before being named senior VP of A&R, artist relations & development. He also co-founded the lifestyle branding company Best of Both Offices in 2005, and was an organizer of the Republic Records Action Committee and a member of UMG’s Meaningful Change Task Force. In 2014, he co-founded the Marathon Agency, and began to manage Hussle’s career. In 2019, he worked with Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment to help A&R her album, “The Lion King: The Gift” and “Black Is King” visual album.

Said Bay-Schuck in making the announcement: “Steve-O has one of the most brilliant A&R minds in our business — driven by an innate ability to identify and nurture emerging artists and champion superstars. He’s been behind the success of countless hits and the development of next generation talent. Combined with his experience in artist management, as well as multiple other areas of our industry, he’s a true renaissance man and a fantastic addition to the Warner Records senior executive team. Tom [Corson] and I are very happy that he’s come on board.”

Carless noted: “I’m thrilled to be joining Aaron, Tom, and the entire Warner Records team at such an exciting time in both the label’s growth and the evolution of our business. I’m incredibly grateful that this iconic label group recognizes the critical importance, growth, creativity, and worldwide inclusiveness of the vast diversity of artists of color the world over. My focus will be on rising Black creators as they need to know they have advocates in positions of power who can be mentors, guides, and will support them as they navigate the music world and devote themselves to making game-changing music. With the belief of the team and our resources, we will create multiple runways and landing strips for creative entrepreneurs and artists of every stripe.”