The NYC label head is busy snapping up artists who make her "geek out" in the front row.
For Rani Hancock, becoming president of Sire Records was something of a childhood dream come true. Growing up in upstate New York, the former executive vp A&R for Island Records would lock herself in her room and listen to Warner Music's most iconic records by Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths and The English Beat. "I never really dreamed of doing anything else," she says. "I was singularly focused on being in music in some way."
Hancock's obsession evolved into a keen instinct for hitmaking talent that has defined her career. Starting out in A&R administration and operations at Arista Records, the Berklee College of Music graduate followed mentor Clive Davis to J Records, the imprint he established in 2000. Following the merger with RCA Records, she moved into an A&R role and signed Miley Cyrus and then-upstarts Kesha, Becky G and MAGIC! and worked with chart-topping artists like Britney Spears, Pitbull, Gavin DeGraw and American Idol star Chris Daughtry. "If you look back at my career, it has all been left-leaning, edgy pop artists who are corrupting America, which is a goal of mine," says Hancock.
Then, just over a year ago, Max Lousada, CEO of global recorded music at Warner Music Group, enlisted Hancock to run Sire, the label co-founded by Richard Gottehrer and Seymour Stein that now falls under Warner Bros. Records' new co-chairmen, Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson. "Rani embodies Sire's authentic, independent spirit and culture-shifting pop ambition," says Lousada. "She has a true fan's infectious belief in every artist she signs, and a wise, soulful approach to the art of recordmaking."