Andre Harrell (September 26, 1960 - May 8, 2020) was the founder of the record label, Uptown Records. Harrell also served as president/CEO of Motown Records. He was the first half of the hip hop duo Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde. Harrell is perhaps most known as the man that turned Diddy into a music mogul.
Harrell was born in Harlem, New York and grew up in the Bronx, New York.
When he was a teenager, Harrell and Alonzo Brown, his high school friend, formed a rap/ hip-hop duo named Dr. Jekyll (Harrell) and Mr. Hyde (Brown). The group achieved success with three major hit songs "Genius Rap," "Fast Life," and "AM/PM." Despite this early success in the music industry, Harrell had other career intentions.
He continued to pursue his studies by attending Lehman College in Bronx, where he majored in communications and business management. He wanted to become a newscaster. After three years, he dropped out of college and went to work for a local radio station.
In 1983, Harrell met Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records. He went to work for Def Jam and within two years became vice-president and general manager. After a few years working at Def Jam, Harrell left and founded his own label of Uptown Records.
Harrell is credited with having discovered and signing Sean "Puffy" Combs. In 1988, Mary J. Blige recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" at a recording booth in a local mall. Her mother's boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to Harrell, who met with Blige. In 1989, she was signed to the label, and she became the company's youngest and first female solo artist.
In 1988, Harrell was offered a label deal MCA Music Entertainment Group. After he had multiple successful releases, in 1992, MCA offered Harrell a multimedia deal, which involved film and television productions. They developed FOX's hit police drama series, New York Undercover, which aired from 1994-1998.
Harrell renamed Uptown Records as Uptown Enterprises, and its records were featured in productions for Universal Pictures and Universal Television. In 1994, Harrell had a son with Wendy Credle, a music attorney. They named him Gianni Credle-Harrell.
In 1995, Harrell was appointed CEO of Motown Records. After working with (Brad Digital) on the branding of his Pet project, Harrell hosted Champagne & Bubbles on Sunday nights from 6-9pm on Emmis Urban AC WRKS (98.7 Kiss FM)/New York. Harrell was the CEO of Harrell Records, which is distributed through Atlantic Records. He partnered with budding Atlanta-based production company L7 Entertainment for the release of their new artists Hamilton Park and Netta Brielle.
Harrell was the Vice Chairman of Revolt, Diddy's multi-platform music network. On October 17, 2014, he was instrumental in launching the Revolt Music Conference in Miami, Florida, at the Fountainbleau Hotel. The event was attended by such entertainment figures as Guy Oseary, Russell Simmons, and L.A. Reid.
On May 8, 2020, DJ D-Nice announced the death of Harrell during his Club Quarantine set on Instagram Live.