Adrian Posse, the veteran composer, producer and industry exec who for years led the A&R departments at BMG and EMI Latin, has died.
The cause was pulmonary fibrosis, diagnosed after doctors recently found a tumor in his lung. He was 67 years old.
Posse, a short man with a bigger than life demeanor and boundless enthusiasm was instrumental in developing the careers of artists like Belinda, Aleks Syntek, Patty Manterola and Mijares. During his tenure at BMG, he also had key roles in Alexander Pires’ crossover into Spanish and Christina Aguilera’s extremely successful Spanish-language album.
“Adrian dedicated his entire life to music as an author, composer, producer and executive,” said his longtime friend and colleague Nestor Casonú, now MD for Kobalt Music in Latin America. “He was a man of tireless creativity and his name is linked to the history of many Latin music acts. His search was permanent and his optimism endless. He transmitted great energy to those around him and was always looking to make his projects a reality. He lived as he wanted and I’m sure we all have great anecdotes about him!”
Born in Argentina, Posse began his career in music as a member of 1970s folk group Los Huanca Hua and as a producer for well-known tango acts like Osvaldo Pugliese.
Although Posse toyed with the notion of a recording career — he won the OTI festival representing Argentina in 1978 — he found fame as a songwriter, producer and A&R in the 1980s, initially working for EMI Argentina.
In the years to come, Posse worked both independently and with labels, primarily EMI and BMG Latin. In his run as A&R director for EMI Mexico he worked with the likes of Aleks Syntek, Thalia and Ricardo Montaner. Later, as international VP of A&R for BMG’s Latin operation, he produced albums for Juan Gabriel, José José, Alejandra Guzmán and Rocío Durcal, among others.
Posse was also instrumental in helping create EMI Televisa, the joint venture between TV network Grupo Televisa and EMI Music Latin America that launched in 2005. There, he was appointed senior creative VP of the company.
Posse was a big risk-taker, and not all his projects took hold. But he was always singularly enthusiastic about everything he put his name on. When he was particularly excited about a project, he would insist one visit his office or recording studio, where he could pump the volume and dissect the recording — the lyrics, the key changes, the particularities of an arrangement. The excitement was contagious.
Although Posse worked with all genres, and was very vested in reggaeton since the beginning, his true calling was pop, a genre he lived and breathed through multiple generations of artists, and whose evolution he recognized early on.
“At this point you can’t release an album that has no musical fusions,” he told Billboard in 2006, when he took the creative reins of EMI Televisa. “All pop songs ultimately have the same structure. When you incorporate fusions, you have unique opportunities, where you can mix our folklore — which all has the same four by four rhythm — with other styles. It’s not a question of marketing. It’s a need people have. They like that sound.”
At the time of his death, Posse wasn’t working directly for a label but was producing several acts through his company, Del Angel Music.
He is survived by sons Nico Garibotti, Rocco Posse and wife Cynthia Posse.