THE ISLAND DEF JAM MUSIC GROUP (IDJ) EXPANDS A&R WITH PROMOTION OF KAREN KWAK TO EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT/HEAD OF A&R
New York, NY, August 22, 2011 – The Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJ), a division of Universal Music Group, has expanded its Artists & Repertoire (A&R) operation with the promotion of Karen Kwak to Executive Vice President/Head of A&R. The announcement was made today by Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO of Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown, to whom Ms. Kwak reports.
In this expanded role, Ms. Kwak will now oversee the discovery, signing and nurturing of artists, producers and songwriters for IDJ and its affiliated labels across all genres of music. Based in Los Angeles, Ms. Kwak will also work closely with Mr. Weiss and Steve Bartels (President & COO, IDJ) in her role as a key creative executive for the label group.
“As we continue to expand our creative operations across all of our labels, there is no one better to lead our A&R efforts at IDJ than Karen,” stated Mr. Weiss. “Over the past decade, she has developed into one of the most formidable and respected A&R executives in this business. Karen’s track record of hits for a wide variety of artists is exceeded only by those artists’ love and trust in her. This is a well-earned and much deserved promotion.”
“I am truly honored to be working with the most cutting-edge and creative artists in the business,” said Ms. Kwak. “I am inspired and excited every day by this amazing and diverse roster and by the new leadership and vision of Barry Weiss. I look forward to discovering new talent and building an innovative team of the very best writers and producers.”
Ms. Kwak has served as Executive Vice President, A&R Operations, Island Def Jam Music Group, since 2007. Previously, she was Senior Vice President, A&R Operations, Island Def Jam Music Group, since 2004. She has been instrumental in the success of some of today’s biggest stars, including Mariah Carey, Usher, OutKast, and Rihanna, among others. She was widely commended for discovering the song “Umbrella” which she brought to Rihanna and which became a worldwide #1 hit. Ms. Kwak went on to sign the song’s co-writer and co-producer, The-Dream, to IDJ. Ms. Kwak’s recent A&R album credits include Rihanna’s Loud, Jennifer Lopez’s Love?, Mariah’s Merry Christmas II You, and Big Sean’s debut Finally Famous.
Ms. Kwak came to Island Def Jam from Arista Records, where she spent four years, rising to the position of Senior Vice President, A&R Operations and Administration. Prior to joining Arista, Ms. Kwak was Vice President, A&R Administration, at LaFace Records in Atlanta. She began her career as an intern at Motown Records in 1991, and over the next eight years held positions of increasing responsibility, rising to Vice President, A&R Administration in 1999.