Prominent A&R executive and noted hip-hop mentor Dallas Martin has been named to lead Asylum Records as President of the growing Warner Music Group (WMG) imprint. Martin will remain a member of the Atlantic Records executive team as EVP of A&R. Based in LA, he will dual report into Eliah Seton, President of Independent Music & Creator Services, WMG and Craig Kallman, Chairman & CEO, Atlantic Records. Martin will oversee Asylum alongside Co-President Gabrielle Peluso.
In nearly a decade with WMG, Martin has proven an expert judge of talent, with a deep commitment to hands-on artist development and music creation. He has A&R’d hip-hop greats such as Roddy Ricch, Meek Mill, Wale, Rick Ross, Omarion, and the late Nipsey Hussle, and has mentored up-and-coming stars like Cordae and Symba.
Dallas Martin said: “It’s always been my dream to head a label as iconic as Asylum. I’m grateful to Craig Kallman, Julie Greenwald, and Mike Kyser for believing in me and giving me the space to grow at Atlantic, and I’m excited to work with Eliah and Gabby to continue to evolve Asylum. There’s no better feeling in our business than discovering and breaking a new artist, and I learned early on that it’s important to log as much time in the studio as you do in the office. There’s incredible untapped independent talent in the world, and I’m confident that we have everything it takes to be the best home for the stars of the future.”
Eliah Seton noted: “Dallas is a true champion for his artists, with an unflinching commitment to helping them realize their musical visions. He’s the consummate A&R, who’s not only able to spot great talent but nurture that talent by spending endless hours in the studio crafting hit records. That’s exactly the sort of artist-first philosophy that we’re cultivating at the new Asylum. Together, Dallas and Gabby will make a fantastic leadership duo, backed by the brilliant Asylum team, as we continue to build the label into a coveted destination for the best in indie-spirited talent.”
Born in Flint, Michigan, Martin moved to Atlanta to attend Clark Atlanta University. He began his career in 2008 as an intern at Def Jam Records under the late Shakir Stewart, whom he credits for fostering his love of the industry. In 2011, he moved to Los Angeles to join Warner Records, where he secured a deal with Miami rapper Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group. In addition to exclusively A&R’ing Ross’s releases, Martin added Maybach’s Meek Mill, Wale, and Omarion to his roster. He was instrumental in Mill’s iconic debut studio album, Dreams and Nightmares, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and hit No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Martin has A&R’d all of the rapper’s albums, including the Billboard 200 chart-toppers Dreams Worth More Than Money and 2018’s Grammy-nominated Championships.
In 2013, Martin transitioned to WMG sister company Atlantic Records, where he signed the late Nipsey Hussle, releasing the acclaimed, RIAA platinum, No. 1 album, Victory Lap, and the Grammy-winning single, “Racks in the Middle.” Martin has cultivated a new generation of rising talent, including Roddy Ricch, Cordae, and Symba. Ricch, who is nominated for six Grammy Awards this year, exploded on the scene with his multi-platinum global smash, “The Box,” which held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks, and his debut studio album, Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Cordae, whose debut album, The Lost Boy, earned him two Grammy nominations, was named the cover star of XXL’s coveted Freshman Class in 2019. Symba recently released his debut album, Don’t Run From R.A.P.
The legendary Asylum label was relaunched in the U.S. in 2017 as an entrepreneurial-driven imprint focused on streaming and offering uniquely flexible recording deals to new and emerging artists. Upholding the brand’s tradition of artistic freedom, Asylum’s dynamic roster includes Detroit rapper Sada Baby – whose “Whole Lotta Choppas” remix featuring Nicki Minaj earned critical acclaim and major chart success – as well as Seddy Hendrinx, JoeVille, and Dolo Tonight. Martin has already hit the ground running as the label’s new president, signing Justin Laboy, the rapper and promoter behind the explosive virtual “Respectfully Justin Show.”