Def Jam president Joie Manda, 38, makes his management approach work.
Manda, who became the first executive to assume the lead at the famed label since Jay-Z vacated the position in 2007, previously worked under Warner Bros. Records co-president/CEO Todd Moscowitz as head of urban music. Signing Common and Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group during his tenure at Warner Bros., Manda learned the importance of deeply understanding how a company operates.
“[Moscowitz] taught me that you need to know everyone’s job, and to be able to do every job, in the company,” he says. “You have to know how to manage people and make the whole thing work.”
Since joining Def Jam in March, Manda has successfully executed album rollouts for Nas, whose latest, Life Is Good, entered at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 149,00 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and Frank Ocean, whose debut, Channel Orange, bowed at No. 2 with 131,00 sold from an exclusive iTunes distribution deal. With upcoming releases planned for 2 Chainz and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music,
Manda doesn’t just want Def Jam to be the most famed imprint in the world-he’s aiming for it to be the best. “A lot of people get into the trappings, but it’s really about the music,” he says. “I’m excited about making it the most forward-thinking, premier record label.”