Universal Music Canada Promotes Kardinal Offishall to Sr. VP of A&R

Universal Music Canada (UMC) has announced that multi-platinum, award-winning artist and producer Kardinal Offishall has been named senior vice president of A&R, a promotion that further solidifies his role curating current and future artistic legends.

Inking a joint-venture deal with British mega-producer Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Maroon 5, Ella Mai) and a yet to-be-announced label imprint (launching later this spring) is just the latest in a series of significant UMC projects overseen by Kardinal. In 2020 alone, his hand-selected roster of talent released a trio of significant debuts: Emanuel, the first Canadian domestic act co-signed to the historic Motown label and a breakout star amid the pandemic; Savannah Ré, the prolific songwriter and performer championed by R&B heavyweights Babyface, Boi-1da, Jessie Reyez and Wondagurl; and Zach Zoya, a bilingual dynamo whose debut EP is a collection of energetic hip-hop, intricate rap and emotive R&B.

“Kardi is a force. He’s a ground-breaking, internationally respected artist, a smart and insightful label exec, a compassionate and bold thought leader, and a tireless philanthropist. He’s always been at the forefront of Canada’s music scene and UMC’s artists and team have long benefitted from his thoughtful collaboration, unmatched energy, and drive,” said Jeffrey Remedios, chairman and CEO of UMC. “This promotion underscores our big aspirations — Canada is bursting with talent and we’re committed to building the best team we can to put that talent front and centre on a global stage. I’m honoured to continue to lead alongside Kardi.”

A globally respected leader in all he does, Kardinal is uniquely placed as a creative within the label system, sharing his lived experience as an artist to inform his work in artist relations and artist development.

“Whether it was intentional or the by-product of hard work and excellence, I was able to stand on the shoulders of giants who came before me. I’ve seen the world several times over and am able to dream with my eyes wide open, because the bar kept being raised by those brave enough to lift it to unseen heights. This new Senior Vice President, A&R, position at Universal Music Canada is about me continuing to prepare my shoulders, so that many others can stand taller than I did and have the opportunity to showcase their gifts on a global stage. Where I’m from, the phrase ‘dare to dream’ is a real warning, because without endurance and an uncanny ability to navigate through many storms – you can end up eternally picking up the pieces of broken promises and regret. I am proud to be taking steps forward with Jeffrey Remedios, who as CEO, has placed great responsibility in my hands. Today, I walk so that the next generation can run. Forward movements forever, until we all fly,” says Offishall.

Reporting to Remedios, Offishall will continue to discover, sign, and develop artists, forge new creative partnerships, and provide strategic direction to drive the international success and cultural prominence of UMC’s artist roster. He works closely with the company’s newly created Urban Marketing team, led by industry veteran Craig 'Big C' Mannix, while continuing his roles as chair of  UMC’s B.L.A.C.K. Label Coalition (BLC) and Canada’s representative on Universal Music Group’s Task Force for Meaningful Change.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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