Today, Universal Music Canada announced Canadian hip-hop legend, Kardinal Offishall, was named the new Senior Vice President, A&R. In his new role, the multi-platinum, award-winning artist and producer will continue to discover, sign and foster the next generation of Canadian artists. Among his recent signees are Emanuel, the first Canadian domestic act co-signed to the Motown label, R&B singer-songwriter Savannah Ré, and Montreal rapper Zach Zoya.
True to his monicker “Mr. International”, Offishall recently inked a yet to be named joint-venture deal with British mega-producer Harmony Samuels, who has worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Usher, and Ella Mai. He will also be exploring new creative partnerships, as well as spearheading the international success of Universal Music Canada’s roster. Despite the new role, the long-time philanthropist will continue to chair Universal’s B.L.A.C.K. Label Coalition (BLC) and serve as Canada’s representative on Universal Music Group’s Task Force for Meaningful Change.
For Universal, the promotion is about building on the company’s global ambitions of taking Canadian talent to the world.
“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 & CEO, Universal Music Canada. “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.”
The move comes after Universal Music Canada hired music industry vet, Craig ‘Big C’ Mannix, in late January as the new head of Urban Marketing, with whom Kardi will be working closely, and it appears they aren’t done as they are also looking to hire a new Hip-Hop & R&B Marketing Manager according to a recent job posting.
The hires come as artists and fans have called for more Black professionals in executive positions at major record labels following the murder of George Floyd and the increased awareness surrounding anti-Black racism.
For Offishall, the promotion is about legacy, both continuing the legacy of those who went before him, but also handing off the baton to those who are coming after him.
“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”, Kardi explains. “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.”