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Kris Chen Named Senior Vice President of Nonesuch Records

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  • September 14, 2016
    Kris Chen Named Senior Vice President of Nonesuch Records

    Kris Chen has joined Nonesuch Records as Senior Vice President. Chen comes to the Warner Music Group label from XL Recordings, where he served as head of the company’s U.S. operations for the past 11 years and was responsible for signing and/or working closely with artists such as Vampire Weekend, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Sigur Ros, Tyler the Creator, Ratatat, and The xx. In his new post, Chen reports to Nonesuch Co-President David Bither, and is based at the label’s global headquarters in New York City. He will be involved across all areas of the company, with a particular focus on signing and developing both new and established talent.

    "One of the remarkable things about Nonesuch has been the stability of its core management team,” said David Bither. “When Bob Hurwitz – who assembled and led that group as he reinvented Nonesuch over the past three decades – first told me about his plan to transition to a less active role with the label, my initial thought was whether it was time to add a new voice to a senior team that has worked together for over 20 years. My next, almost simultaneous thought was of Kris Chen. I've known Kris for more than a decade and have regarded him from the start as a fellow traveler. His success over the years at XL provides ample evidence of his ability but it is his convictions about music and culture that have always impressed me even more. I'm delighted that he is joining us and believe it speaks to our ambition to build on the course that Nonesuch has charted, today and in the years to come."

    “Since I bought my first Kronos Quartet album as a teenager, I have been a huge fan and close follower of Nonesuch,” said Kris Chen. “That recording opened up a new musical world to me, and it also introduced me to a unique and visionary label that has continued to move and surprise me ever since. There are few labels where the name alone stands for music of the quality, distinction, and diversity that defines Nonesuch. Since I met David on the day of  the legendary New York blackout of 2003, we have been great friends and musical compatriots, and he’s always been generous with his advice and viewpoints on art and commerce. When this opportunity at Nonesuch was presented, I knew it was the culmination of many moments along a path that has pointed me here. I believe that great recordings tell great stories, and I’m excited to be working with David, Bob Hurwitz, Peter Clancy, and the entire smart and passionate Nonesuch team to sign and develop artists that we love and music that we believe in.”

    A classically trained violinist from the age of 5, Kris Chen began his music career in 1994 as a sales assistant, and eventually a rep at Warner Music Group’s Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA). In 2001, he moved to Tommy Boy Records as a one-man digital marketing department. When Tommy Boy closed its offices the following year, Chen joined the fledgling Domino Records, where he handled sales, marketing, publicity, and finance, and brokered the label’s deal with ADA. At Domino, he developed artists such as Franz Ferdinand, Caribou, Juana Molina, and Four Tet.

    When Chen joined XL Recordings in 2005, it marked his first full-fledged foray into A&R, in addition to overseeing U.S. artist development and marketing. The first album he landed was Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s debut solo album, The Eraser. In 2007, Chen signed Grammy winners Vampire Weekend to their first deal, which has so far yielded a trio of gold albums, including two #1 Billboard 200 debuts. That same year, he had a “sign your favorite band” moment when he brought acclaimed Icelandic group Sigur Ros to XL. Among the many artists that Chen has developed from their earliest days is Mercury Prize–winning British group The xx.

     

     

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on September 14, 2016 - 10:10am

Kris Chen has joined Nonesuch Records as Senior Vice President. Chen comes to the Warner Music Group label from XL Recordings, where he served as head of the company’s U.S. operations for the past 11 years and was responsible for signing and/or working closely with artists such as Vampire Weekend, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Sigur Ros, Tyler the Creator, Ratatat, and The xx. In his new post, Chen reports to Nonesuch Co-President David Bither, and is based at the label’s global headquarters in New York City. He will be involved across all areas of the company, with a particular focus on signing and developing both new and established talent.

"One of the remarkable things about Nonesuch has been the stability of its core management team,” said David Bither. “When Bob Hurwitz – who assembled and led that group as he reinvented Nonesuch over the past three decades – first told me about his plan to transition to a less active role with the label, my initial thought was whether it was time to add a new voice to a senior team that has worked together for over 20 years. My next, almost simultaneous thought was of Kris Chen. I've known Kris for more than a decade and have regarded him from the start as a fellow traveler. His success over the years at XL provides ample evidence of his ability but it is his convictions about music and culture that have always impressed me even more. I'm delighted that he is joining us and believe it speaks to our ambition to build on the course that Nonesuch has charted, today and in the years to come."

“Since I bought my first Kronos Quartet album as a teenager, I have been a huge fan and close follower of Nonesuch,” said Kris Chen. “That recording opened up a new musical world to me, and it also introduced me to a unique and visionary label that has continued to move and surprise me ever since. There are few labels where the name alone stands for music of the quality, distinction, and diversity that defines Nonesuch. Since I met David on the day of  the legendary New York blackout of 2003, we have been great friends and musical compatriots, and he’s always been generous with his advice and viewpoints on art and commerce. When this opportunity at Nonesuch was presented, I knew it was the culmination of many moments along a path that has pointed me here. I believe that great recordings tell great stories, and I’m excited to be working with David, Bob Hurwitz, Peter Clancy, and the entire smart and passionate Nonesuch team to sign and develop artists that we love and music that we believe in.”

A classically trained violinist from the age of 5, Kris Chen began his music career in 1994 as a sales assistant, and eventually a rep at Warner Music Group’s Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA). In 2001, he moved to Tommy Boy Records as a one-man digital marketing department. When Tommy Boy closed its offices the following year, Chen joined the fledgling Domino Records, where he handled sales, marketing, publicity, and finance, and brokered the label’s deal with ADA. At Domino, he developed artists such as Franz Ferdinand, Caribou, Juana Molina, and Four Tet.

When Chen joined XL Recordings in 2005, it marked his first full-fledged foray into A&R, in addition to overseeing U.S. artist development and marketing. The first album he landed was Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s debut solo album, The Eraser. In 2007, Chen signed Grammy winners Vampire Weekend to their first deal, which has so far yielded a trio of gold albums, including two #1 Billboard 200 debuts. That same year, he had a “sign your favorite band” moment when he brought acclaimed Icelandic group Sigur Ros to XL. Among the many artists that Chen has developed from their earliest days is Mercury Prize–winning British group The xx.