HITS Daily Double
“Chris has a musician’s ear for talent and hit songs that has brought him huge long-term success in the industry."
—-Antonio "L.A." Reid on Hicks


Atlantic/Warner-Chappell Exec Gets Nod as Def Jam EVP

The post-Jay-Z era kicks into high gear at Def Jam.

Christopher Hicks has been named EVP for the label, according to Island Def Jam Music Group Chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

Hicks will assume responsibility for the acquisition and development of new talent, overseeing producers and guiding the creative vision and branding of the label, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. He replaces the late Shakir Stewart, who succeeded Jay-Z as head of the label.

He will report to Reid and IDJMG President/COO Steve Bartels, based in both Atlanta and New York.

Said Reid: “Chris has a musician’s ear for talent and hit songs that has brought him huge long-term success in the industry. His track record in Atlanta has resulted in breaking some of the biggest names in Urban and hip-hop out of that city over the past decade. We look forward to the next quarter-century of history with Def Jam as we welcome Chris aboard. He’s also agreed to be my Facebook friend.”

Hicks comes to IDJ after nearly two years in the joint posts of SVP Urban A&R for Atlantic Records, and SVP A&R, and Head of Urban Music for Warner/Chappell Music. While at Warner/Chappell, he played a key role in striking publishing agreements with T.I., Lil’ Wayne and The-Dream, among others. Mr. Hicks was also instrumental in the pubbery’s re-signing of Dr. Dre in 2005, and the purchase of the Timbaland catalog and his re-signing in 2006.

Hicks began his career at the Atlanta-based music publishing company Noontime, the company he founded in 1997, forming a joint venture with Warner/Chappell in 2000. During his 13-year career in the music business, Mr. Hicks has identified and developed numerous artists, including Noontime writers Bryan Michael Cox, Jazze Pha, Dave Young and Teddy Bishop; as well as Warner/Chappell writers Eric Hudson and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, among others.

As a manager, Hicks developed the career of Def Jam’s Johnta Austin as well as Urban Songwriter of the Year and multi-Grammy winner Bryan Michael Cox. Hicks has worked with Usher, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lopez, bringing several songs to Blige for her Grammy-winning album The Breakthrough (including the two-time winner “Be Without You”).