HITS Daily Double


In our latest roundup, we present eight rising professionals from various parts of the biz whose dedication and effort make their superiors look good.

This week's entrants will also find their faces in our latest mag, which could make for good—or disappointing—talking points during Thanksgiving dinner.

Becky Sake
Senior Director, Digital Marketing, Capitol Music Group

Sake hit the ground running at Capitol three years ago with new releases from Katy Perry and Niall Horan her first week and has since worked on Sir Paul McCartney’s McCartney III, scoring digital firsts like a Reddit AMA for the enduring icon. Today she’s busy with Sam Smith’s latest hit, “Unholy” with Kim Petras, which is #1 at Top 40, and the debut album from FLETCHER, who’s on her fourth sold-out tour of the year. In her free time, Sake’s updating her historic, 1800s New Jersey home. We’re pre-historic at best.

Kendell “Sav” Freeman
VP/Co-Head of Urban Music, Arista

Freeman will never forget working with his partner Steve Carless at Def Jam (and director Rik Cordero) to create a video trailer for JAY-Z’s 2007 “Blue Magic”—which they also starred in alongside DJ Clue and DJ Enuff. At Arista, he’s been helping develop one of his latest signees, Brooklyn native Lola Brooke, who made a splash last year with “Don’t Play With It” f/Billy B and dropped her latest single, “Here I Come,” on 11/18. Freeman says he “can’t live without fantasy football.” Wait ’til he realizes he’s got to live with this feature.

Lauren Holman
Senior Director of Streaming & Playlisting Strategy, Virgin Music

Holman once mounted a Surfaces concert with Amazon Music in her folks’ backyard. Fast-forward to the duo’s track “Sunday Best” being certified quadruple platinum, featured in a Superbowl commercial and the recipient of 5b+ streams―the duo’s management team sent the five-foot plaque to her parents’ home. Presently, Holman’s working on new music by Montell Fish, Rema, Leah Kate, Grace Ives, Cyn, Shy Girl, mazie, Forrest Nolan and more. A black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Holman is also starting a pickleball league. Our invite was apparently lost in the ether.

Ricky Laubenstein
EVP, Digital, 237 Global

Laubenstein once led a first-of-its-kind presale campaign for Shawn Mendes via the ShawnAccess app, giving fans an early shot at tickets while supplying management with marketing data. He’s now focused on empowering more artists to make fan connections through their own mobile apps, allowing them to own their data and help communicate directly with and market to their superfans. When Laubenstein was 10, he was crowned East Coast regional Yu-Gi-Oh! card-tournament champion. We’ve been crowned least-favorite trade publication for the last 37 years.

Darlene Hall
Senior Distribution Operations Manager, Create Music Group

Hall’s first festival was Insomniac’s Escape Halloween in 2012, the same year DJ-producer Kayzo won the Discovery Project and performed at the festival. Fast-forward to June 2022 and Hall was backstage at Electric Daisy Carnival with Kayzo discussing the release strategy for his third album, NEW BREED (5.3m+ streams). She’s presently all up in remixes by Kayzo and Subtronics as well as Dillon Francis’ new DJ Hanzel project. When Hall was one, she danced on a tabletop in Vegas at an Elvis-impersonator show. We’ve been known to fall off tabletops.

Rohan Kohli
Sr. Director, A&R, Warner Music Nashville

Having known Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers for 15+ years, it was a career high and full-circle moment for Kohli when, in 2020, the duo headlined (and sold out) Bridgestone Arena two nights in a row, with Ingrid Andress, his first WMN signing, supporting. His latest efforts include Bailey Zimmerman’s record-breaking Leave the Light On EP, Giovannie and the Hired GunsTejano Punk Boyz and Avery Anna’s Mood Swings EP. Yet another massive football fan, Kohli’s learning how to throw a perfect spiral. We’re learning how not to spiral.

Ann Markwell
Senior Artist Manager, A&R Director, This Fiction Management

Back when she was at Atom Factory, Markwell spent New Year’s Eve in Times Square with Charlie Puth as he performed with Wiz Khalifa. A seasoned manager, she loves getting in on the ground floor―she started handling This Fiction client Corook before she’d even released a song and has since seen her ink a major-label deal, play Bonnaroo, tour with KFlay and go viral on TikTok with “it’s ok!” Client Heather Sommer recently signed to Nonstop for publishing. A fashion lover, Markwell enjoys helping style TF’s artists. We need expert help in all fields.

Peter Rugo
Co-Founder, Keel & Thirty Knots

Rugo signed Louis the Child, ILLENIUM, Loud Luxury, Dr. Fresh and SNBRN to his first label, founded when he was at USC. They eventually headlined festivals and sold out venues like Red Rocks and arenas nationwide. He recently helped elevate Nicky Youre’s “Sunroof” f/dazy (Thirty Knots/Columbia) to #1 at Top 40 and 400m+ streams. He’s also managing Dr. Fresh, who sold out the Palladium this year, and Emeline, who hit 65m+ streams with her breakout single, “Cinderella’s Dead.” A USC football superfan, Rugo rarely misses home games. We’re rarely missed, too.