Warner Records has appointed Steve ‘Steve-O’ Carless to the newly created post of president, A&R in the US.
Carless is due to join the company on December 1, reporting to co-chairman & CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck. He will work closely with the whole Warner Records A&R team, as well as Julian Petty, EVP/head of business & legal affairs, and Chris Atlas, EVP, urban music & marketing.
Carless founded SC Company, which steered projects for artists including Beyoncé and Polo G. Previously, he has held senior A&R and creative posts at Def Jam Recordings, Atlantic Records, Republic Records, and served as president of Uptown Records, working with artists such as Nipsey Hussle, Big Sean, YG, Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Dave East, Pusha T and more.
Aaron Bay-Schuck said: “Steve-O has one of the most brilliant A&R minds in our business – driven by an innate ability to identify and nurture emerging artists and champion superstars. He’s been behind the success of countless hits and the development of next generation talent. Combined with his experience in artist management, as well as multiple other areas of our industry, he’s a true renaissance man and a fantastic addition to the Warner Records senior executive team. Tom [Corson] and I are very happy that he’s come on board, and we’re looking forward to all the amazing talent and music we know he will be bringing into the fold.”
Steve-O has one of the most brilliant A&R minds in our business
Aaron Bay-Schuck, Warner Records
Steve Carless commented: “I’m thrilled to be joining Aaron, Tom, and the entire Warner Records team at such an exciting time in both the label’s growth and the evolution of our business. I’m incredibly grateful that this iconic label group recognizes the critical importance, growth, creativity, and worldwide inclusiveness of the vast diversity of artists of color the world over. My focus will be on rising Black creators as they need to know they have advocates in positions of power who can be mentors, guides, and will support them as they navigate the music world and devote themselves to making game-changing music. With the belief of the team and our resources, we will create multiple runways and landing strips for creative entrepreneurs and artists of every stripe.”
Before arriving at Warner, Carless was executive vice president of A&R at Republic Records. He began his music career in 2003 as an office assistant at Star Trak Entertainment, home to the Neptunes. He then joined Def Jam Recordings before moving to Atlantic Records in 2012. He returned to Def Jam in 2015 as senior director, A&R & special projects before being named SVP A&R, artist relations & development.
My focus will be on rising Black creators
Steve Carless, Warner Records
In 2014, Carless co-founded Marathon Agency, which managed the career of Nipsey Hussle. In partnership with Atlantic, they released his Grammy-nominated debut album Victory Lap, which was followed by two posthumous Grammy wins in 2020. Carless is part of the management team for the Nipsey Hussle Estate.
Additionally, he worked with Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment to A&R her 2019 US No. 1 album, The Lion King: The Gift and the Black Is King visual album. He also co-manages rising rapper Polo G.
While at Universal, he organised the Republic Records Action Committee and was a member of UMG’s Meaningful Change Task Force.