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. Thankfully, they had an extra hour to lament this mortifying experience.

Andrew Sexton
Principal, Label Relations, Amazon Music

Among Sexton’s career highlights: chatting with Jay-Z about streaming, partying ’til 3am with Dave Chappelle while Erykah Badu DJ’d, meeting Paul McCartney―twice―hanging out at Diddy’s Beverly Hills mansion, giving Bone Thugs a lift to the airport and talking with Dave Grohl about Kurt Cobain. He recently booked Season 2 of Amazon Music Live, which has seen performances by Ed Sheeran, Metro Boomin, Peso Pluma and Green Day. Sexton is known as Andy to his family and pre-2009 friends. He’s asked that we call him [checks notes]―oh, sorry, that we not call him.

Mallory Smith
Brand Partnerships Agent, Wasserman Music

Reuniting Drake with sponsor Sprite for the It’s All a Blur Tour was a career highlight for Smith (the man and the brand first joined forces 13 years ago for Drake’s “Spark” campaign and reconnected to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary). Other pacts shepherded by Smith include SZA campaigns with Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger and a SKIMS collab with RAYE & PinkPantheress. Smith has likewise secured branded performances for Shaggy (Smirnoff), Wale (AT&T) and Too $hort (Amazon Music). She was once a Division I soccer champ. We’ve been told to kick rocks.

Nima Nasseri
VP, A&R Strategy, Universal Music Group
Manager, Hit-Boy

Nasseri has had a hand in conceiving and executing 700+ TikTok campaigns for the UMG catalog, catapulting tracks by The Weeknd, Demi Lovato and Phantogram to new heights. He’s also guided producer Hit-Boy’s career through six Nas albums in three years (which yielded a Grammy) and Jay-Z’s first diamond-certified track, “N-ggas in Paris” (with Ye). Today he’s focused on building Hit-Boy’s Surf Club Publishing and label ventures. “I used to be a nutritionist and personal trainer, but music gave me the body I currently have,” says Nasseri. We were born this way.

Elizabeth Rivera Sosa
Director, Digital Accounts, Warner Music Latina

Sosa is proud to be advocating for Spanish-language artistry as doors continue to open for the Latin music community, including WML acts like Luis Miguel, Paulo Londra, Myke Towers, Elena Rose and Natanael Cano. She just celebrated Mexican singer-songwriter Junior H’s Top 20 album, $ad Boyz 4 Life II, and is thrilled to be working on new music by Argentine singer Maria Becerra, Colombian producer Ovy on the Drums and Colombian singer-rapper Blessd. Sosa is also a WSET Level 1-certified sommelier. We’re Level 5-certified aficionados of absolutamente nada.

Justin Luffman
VP, Artist Development, Warner Music Nashville

From the ridiculous to the sublime, Luffman has been carried out of Qwest Field upside down by Kenny Chesney’s head of security and waved the green flag in the crow’s nest with Cole Swindell at the Kansas City Motor Speedway. He’s now preparing for the CMA Awards with Swindell, who’s up for Musical Event of the Year, and his Twelve Tour. Luffman’s also excited about Tyler Braden’s “Friends” and 2024 headlining trek. When he was a child actor, Luffman lived next door to Guns N’ RosesDuff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin. We’re the reason NIMBYism was invented.

Stephanie Gaber
Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, AWAL

Gaber has volunteered alongside Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo at the Los Angeles Food Bank for the annual All Within My Hands day of service and worked on Microsoft and BMW partnerships for Little Simz’s interactive “Gorilla” video. She’s now collaborating with Chanel, Valentino and Cartier on looks for Laufey as the chanteuse promotes her Bewitched album and a tech partnership for JVKE, among other projects. Gaber studied classical and jazz piano on a collegiate level for 18 years. We’ve contemplated our navels on a postgraduate level for 37 years.

Joel Beaver
Associate Director, Marketing, Monument Records

For Beaver, nothing beats sharing in the triumph of Walker Hayes’ quintuple-platinum “Fancy Like,” which was juiced by a viral TikTok dance, multifaceted Applebee’s campaign and lyrics on Buc-ee’s signs. He’s following that up by advancing the fortunes of Pillbox Patti’s 10/13 debut album, Florida, and music by Tigirlily Gold slated for 2024. The first album Beaver owned was Sara EvansRestless in 2003. He’s since interned at her management company and was first in line for tickets to her August Ryman show. It’s safe to say no one is that dedicated to us.

Emma Burns
Creative/Design Manager, 740 Project/Blac Noize! Recordings

Burns is from Breese, Illinois (pop: 5,000), so she says even the mundane parts of the biz give her that “I can’t believe I get to do this for a living” feeling. Nothing, however, has topped earning her first platinum plaque, for Hitkidd & GloRilla’s “F.N.F. (Let’s Go).” She’s lately been energized by projects like Hitkidd’s Renegade and Lil Joc x OMG Peezy’s joint album, Top Kill, plus new music by Jdot Breezy. Burns is saving all her ridiculous music-biz stories for a stand-up routine she plans to develop upon retirement. We’re already clowns.