Music Executive Andre Harrell Has Died at 59

The Uptown Records founder shaped the careers of P. Diddy and Mary J. Blige.

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Legendary music executive Andre Harrell has passed away at the age of 59. DJ D-Nice broke the news on Instagram Live, with reports later verified by Billboard. His cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

Throughout his career, Harrell fostered acts such as Mary J. Blige and Jodeci. He perhaps most notably discovered P. Diddy, hiring the future megastar as an intern at Uptown Records.

Harrell was born in New York City and got his start in music as half of hip-hop duo Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But his career took a different path after meeting Russell Simmons at Def Jam Records. Harrell eventually became vice president at the influential label before founding his own imprint, Uptown Records. In 1993, Uptown recorded the first label showcase of MTV‘s Unplugged, featuring Uptown artists such as Blige, Jodeci and Heavy D.

Harrell left Uptown in 1995 for a brief stint at Motown, and later founded another label Harrell Records. At the end of 2019, it was announced he was in talks with BET to produce a miniseries based on his time at Uptown.

In light of Harrell’s death, musicians such as Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott have shared their respects to the influential music executive on social media.

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