Music mogul and legendary record executive Andre Harrell has started up a new music venture and he’s on the prowl for new talent.
Andre Harrell founded his new record label Harrell Records, and he currently already has R&B group Hamilton Park on his roster. The group boasts a hit song like “Thing Called Us.”
Andre is responsible for discovering many stars like Sean “Diddy” Combs, among many others.
GlobalGrind caught up with the busy mogul to talk music, what it takes to be a star, who he wished he had signed and of course, his new group Hamilton Park.
Check out the exclusive interview below!
GlobalGrind: You’re one of the most respected men in industry as far as artist development and having that ear for good music. You started up Harrell Records and you have Hamilton Park on your roster, what was it about them that caught your attention?
Andre Harrell: I liked Hamilton Park because they were in the church, so they had experience singing live and had really good understanding of harmony, of background. I also liked them because they were rugged. They met playing basketball at a AAU tournament. So that combination, along with singing about love, made me feel like they would be right to represent Harrell Records. Because I felt that love was missing on the radio, especially from black men. I felt like rap had gotten so much in the psyche of all music, and machismo and really doesn’t talk about the need for love from a woman. I felt like it was time to put that perspective into the music of 2000 like it was in the music of the ’90s.
You’ve accomplished so much, do you ever have those moments where you just reflect?
Probably on my 50th birthday, where Puff hosted my 50th birthday party last year. A lot of people that I’ve worked with over the years were there to celebrate. But most of the time I’m not really reflecting, I’m still busy doing.
What else can we expect from Hamilton Park?
They’re going on tour. They’re starting the “Scream Tour.” They end it this month and that includes Diggy and Tyga and, Mindless Behavior. They are coming to 25 cities. And the tour is selling out.
Are you still working on “Champagne and Bubbles?”
Yes, Champagne and Bubbles, I have a radio show called Champagne and Bubbles. On Sunday nights from six to nine. We’re going to throw a Halloween party, a black and white ball next month, and we’re also going to start to do some comedy events up at the Apollo.
So what’s your favorite champagne?
There’s a lot of people who love R&B, and who aren’t able to hear old classics because of hip-hop’s overwhelming presence.
I think we miss a tremendous amount of black culture when we don’t get to hear R&B.
Who else do you have on your roster or thinking about adding to your roster at Harrell Records?
I’m looking at signing a female. I can’t tell you about it yet until I complete the deal, but I’ve got a 21-year-old female coming out of Oakland that could really sing her face off that we’re going to sign this year and put out next year. And she’s going to do a duet with Hamilton Park.
As a record executive, as somebody who’s been in the industry for a long time, what do you look for in an artist that makes you say, ‘I want to sign them?’
I look for a emotional ability in their voice to connect, to make me feel something. That’s the first thing. Then I look for a performance swagger. Then I look for a point of view, whether they be hip-hop or they be ghetto fabulous, whether they be new America or alternative people, but I look for a clear point of view that has a lifestyle attached to it.
Has there ever been somebody that you didn’t sign and that blew up later, and you wished you had signed them?
The only person I wanted to sign that I didn’t get to sign is Tyrese when he was 18-years-old. When he made the Coca-Cola commercial.
If you were sent to a deserted island and you could only bring three albums with you, what three albums would you bring?
Michael Jackson, his greatest hits, Biggie and Mary.
Which Mary album would you bring?
My Life. And, what album I would bring of Michael Jackson, it wouldn’t be Thriller, it would be the one where he had “Don’t Stop Get Enough,” if you want a specific album, not the greatest hits. Off The Wall. I would bring Off The Wall. The first album Quincy produced on.
Why Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall?
I picked that one because I think that was the sound of champagne. When he made “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” when that record went (mimics the song) you know how when you bring champagne out, people bring the sparkles on it. That’s what that record sounds like to me. That record sounds spectacular and vibrant.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Berry Gordy, Clive Davis, Babyface, Stevie Wonder, Barry White and Whitney Houston. Old Whitney Houston.
Do you think that Whitney will return to a lucrative singing career?
All she’s got to do is stay sober, and she’ll have a lucrative singing career. Whitney has the fortune to sing old records, and to sing them well.
Is there anything else that you really want to talk to us about?
We have a remix coming out, matter of fact it comes out today. “Thing Called Us” by Hamilton Park featuring Jermaine Dupri.
I have this company I work with called BlazeTrak.com and what they do is they allow artists, or writers, or producers, from all over the world to have meetings with me. As a pay system—so as opposed to people getting on a plane from say Nebraska or from Paris or from London or from Alabama and trying to meet me, they could get on this site, Blazektrak.com/AndreHarrell, and they could have a four minute video meeting with me. They have four minutes to put two or three songs on there for me to consider and then I give them a 30 second video answer about what I think the direction should be for them, or if I think they are good enough for me to sign. Or if I would like for them to come in and actually see me.