Andre Harrell (born September 26, 1960 in Harlem, New York) is founder of the now defunct record label, Uptown Records. Harrell also served as president/CEO of Motown Records. He was also the first half of the hip hop duo Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde.
Harrell grew up in 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 and he continued to pursue his study by attending Lehman College in Bronx. There he majored in communications and business management, as 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 Record. He came to work for Def Jam and within his two years became vice-president and general manager. After a few years working at Def Jam, Harrell left Def Jam Records and founded Uptown Records, where he was responsible for discovering and hiring Sean "Puffy" Combs. In 1988, Mary J. Blige recorded an impromptu cover of Chaka Khan 's "Sweet Thing" 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 then sent it to Andre Harrell. Harrell met with Blige and in 1989, she was signed to the label; becoming the company's youngest and first female solo artist.
In 1988, he was offered a label deal MCA Music Entertainment Group, and after multiple successful releases, in 1992, MCA offered Harrell a multimedia deal, which involved film and television productions. Uptown Records was subsequently renamed to Uptown Entertainment, and its records were featured in productions for Universal Pictures and Universal Television. In 1995, Harrell was appointed CEO of Motown Records. After working with(Brad Digital)on the branding of his Pet project Harrell Is now hosting Champagne & Bubbles on Sunday nights from 6-9pm on Emmis Urban AC WRKS (98.7 Kiss FM)/New York. Harrell is now 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 artist Hamilton Park and Netta Brielle.
Harrell is currently the Vice Chairman of Revolt, Diddys multi-platform music network. On October 17 he was instrumental in launching the Revolt Music Conference in Miami, FL at the Fountainbleu hotel. The event was attended by powerhouses including Guy Oseary, Russel Simmons and L.A. Reid.