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Quinn Coleman, Capitol A&R Director, DJ and Son of Debra Lee, Dies at 31

Quinn Coleman
Courtesy Photo

Quinn Coleman

Quinn Coleman, a major label executive, DJ and son of former BET chief Debra Lee and Randy Coleman, died suddenly on Sunday (Aug. 16) at the age of 31.

Currently, Coleman’s cause of death remains unknown.

Quinn was "a loving son, brother, cousin and friend, a passionate DJ and A&R executive with a bright future ahead of him," reads a statement from a representative of Debra Lee. "Debra and her family are devastated by Quinn’s passing and ask for privacy and respect as they grieve together."

For more than two years, Coleman served as senior director of A&R at Capitol Records, based in Los Angeles, where he signed the group Brasstracks, whose debut album is due this week for release.

Coleman’s passion for discovering up-and-coming artists emerged at Boston College, which he attended between 2007 and 2011. While there, he co-founded the DC to BC concert production agency and a radio show of the same name, on which he and co-host Modele "Modi" Oyewole interviewed then-emerging artists such as J. Cole, Wale and Kid Cudi. He was also a popular club DJ, performing under the name Spicoli.

After college, Coleman worked as a music promoter in Washington, D.C., where he co-founded the single-day music festival Trillectro in 2012 alongside Oyewole and Marcel Marshall. Originally held at the Half Street Fairgrounds, the festival proved so popular it later relocated to the 19,000-set Merriweather Post Pavilion, where artists including Wale, ScHoolboy Q, A$AP Ferg, SZA, Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott and Kid Cudi performed. Coleman and his partners ultimately produced six festivals over a seven-year period.

Coleman worked as a programmer in the electronic music department at SiriusXM in D.C. between 2011 and 2012 before relocating to Los Angeles, where he was hired as a marketing coordinator at Warner Bros. Records and later promoted to A&R manager. He continued working as a DJ, appearing at hotspots including Lock & Key and Los Globos; with the collective W.O.M., he also presented a recurring party at A Simple Bar. He was hired at Capitol in 2018.

Tributes for Coleman are pouring in from across the music industry.

“We are all devastated to learn of the untimely passing of our colleague and friend, Quinn Coleman," reads a statement from Capitol Records President Jeff Vaughn on Coleman's passing. "He will be greatly missed. We offer our deepest condolences to Quinn’s family and loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”

Brasstracks have dedicated their forthcoming album, Golden Ticket, due out Friday (Aug. 21), to Coleman.

“Quinn’s positivity and passion was infectious, he made everyone around him feel good and always felt more than a friend than A&R,” Brasstracks posted on their social pages. “He truly believed in us and worked so hard on this project with us. We were the first act he signed to Capitol and we were so proud to work with him. Quinn was family.”

Producer and songwriter Kenny Beats remembered Coleman as "a legendary person, DJ, A&R, friend, and brother."