Michael Kyser has been named the first-ever President of Black Music for the Atlantic Records Group.
The announcement was made today by Atlantic Chairman/COO Julie Greenwald and Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman. Kyser, who began his music career two decades ago at Def Jam Recordings, joined Atlantic Records in 2004 as Executive Vice President of Urban Music.
Julie Greenwald commented:
“Kyser has been my trusted colleague and close friend for nearly 20 years, since we both joined Def Jam. We grew up together in this business. He has a deeper understanding of the urban music landscape than anyone in our industry.
Kyser has immersed himself in the music and the culture, and he is a master at creating opportunities, building careers, and developing invaluable artist relationships. He has been a down-to-earth mentor and guide to artists and staffers alike, earning the genuine respect and loyalty of everyone he works with. I am very proud to announce this much-deserved promotion.”
Craig Kallman noted:
“It is a terrific testament to Kyser’s rich knowledge, insight, and achievements that he becomes the first person in Atlantic history to hold the title of President of Black Music. Among his many gifts, he knows intuitively how to bring the music to the widest possible audience, breaking down cultural barriers while nurturing the artist in the process.
Since coming on board at Atlantic seven years ago, he has played a pivotal role in the revitalization of our urban presence, and I join Julie in congratulating Kyser on his new post.”
Lyor Cohen, Warner Music Group Vice Chairman and Chairman and CEO, Recorded Music — Americas and the U.K., said:
“Since Kyser joined us at Def Jam, I have watched him quite literally learn the business from the ground up: working the streets; hitting radio, TV, and the clubs; going on the road with the bands and doing whatever it took to break artists, get their music heard, and build brands.
That kind of complete immersion in an artist’s career is one of our top priorities at WMG, where we are 100% focused on identifying rising stars and nurturing their careers, as well as on giving our creative executives the support they need to make those careers the biggest they can be.
Kyser is one of those executives. He doesn’t just do his job, he lives his job, and since those early days at Def Jam, I’ve seen him evolve into one of the most admired and accomplished members of the urban music community. This appointment is richly deserved.”
Michael Kyser commented:
“To say that this is a dream come true is an understatement. The heritage of black music at Atlantic Records is second to none in this industry, and it is both humbling and thrilling to take on this new post at a label with such an amazing legacy. To be a part of the birth of the new Atlantic over the past seven years has been an extraordinary experience.
I want to thank Julie and Lyor for the incredible encouragement, support, and belief they have shown me over our past two decades together, and Craig for welcoming me so enthusiastically into the Atlantic family. We have a fantastic roster of talent, combined with the best staff in the business, and I’m looking forward to building on our achievements to take black music at Atlantic Records to new heights.”
Michael Kyser began his music industry career in 1992 at Def Jam Recordings, joining the company as a national radio and DJ promotion representative. Rising through the ranks, he began to oversee Def Jam’s national promotion and street team departments, while also expanding into long-term artist development and building touring foundations.
In the early years of his career, Kyser worked and toured with such artists as Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Method Man, Redman, Foxy Brown, Warren G, and Montell Jordan.
In 1999, Kyser was instrumental in staging the historic, record-breaking “Hard Knock Life” stadium tour with Jay-Z, DMX, Method Man, and Redman. In 2000, he was named Vice President of Def Jam, working with Roc-A-Fella Records and Murder Inc., while developing the Def Jam South and Def Soul brands and making such artists as Ludacris, Ja Rule, Ashanti, and Kanye West household names.
In 2004, when Island Def Jam head Lyor Cohen left the company to join Warner Music Group, Kyser joined his IDJ colleague Julie Greenwald in making the move to WMG’s Atlantic Records division. As Executive Vice President of Urban Music, he has helped expand and/or launch the careers of such top-charting artists as T.I., Missy Elliott, Estelle, Sean Paul, Flo Rida, Trey Songz, B.o.B, Jaheim, Musiq Soulchild, and Janelle Monae.
In 2009, Kyser was a key player in one of Jay-Z’s most successful releases to date, The Blueprint 3. He spearheaded Jay-Z’s achieving his 11th #1 album, surpassing Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most #1 albums, while leading the team that delivered Jay-Z his first #1 Billboard Hot 100 single as a lead performer, the multi-Grammy nominated “Empire State Of Mind.”