Darcus Beese OBE (born 1969) is a British music executive and the former president and Chief Executive Officer of Island Records from his appointment in 2018 till his departure on 3 February 2021. During his time at the label, he signed several top musicians including Amy Winehouse and Jessie J. Beese, who has been described by Music Week as "one of the great A&R people of his or any other generation", relocated to New York City as president of Island Records USA, effective on 1 July 2018.
Darcus Beese grew up in Fulham, London — the son of Barbara Beese and Darcus Howe — and has said: "The music in my household growing up was definitely a mixture of reggae, soul and calypso. My father was from Trinidad and my mother was of mixed heritage. So, yeah, my upbringing musically ranged from soca to reggae." Leaving school early, Beese worked in a hairdressing salon before eventually being employed in 1993 as a tea boy in the promotions department at Island Records, where he progressed upwards through various jobs, including A&R Director, and in 2008 co-president of the label, until in 2013 he became president of Island Records. Among his key signings have been Amy Winehouse, Jessie J, Taio Cruz, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Dizzee Rascal, and Rizzle Kicks.
In May 2018 it was announced by Universal Music Group (UMG) that Beese was to become President of Island Records USA, taking over from David Massey, and relocating to New York. Describing Beese as someone who "has impeccable creative instincts and takes a long-term view of artist development", the Chairman and CEO of UMG, Sir Lucian Grainge, said: "Few in the music industry have Darcus’s track record of creative and commercial success.... I'm excited to support him in signing, developing and breaking many more artists."
In February 2021 it was announced that Beese was leaving the label and returning to the UK "for personal reasons and to pursue new career opportunities".
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