Andre Harrell, a legendary music exec who gave Diddy his big break and, among many other accomplishments, ran Motown Records, is dead.
DJ D-Nice broke the news Friday night on Instagram Live. The cause of death is not yet known, but the day before his death Andre posted this … “Whoever need a ride to 2021 … we leave tomorrow morning,” and … “Skip the virus and Let’s Pick it up again at the top of the year.”
Andre’s career began as half of the rap duo, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde back in 1981. Andre and Russell Simmonsworked together and Andre ultimately became a veep for Def Jam Records.
But by 1986, Andre became restless and wanted a label of his own, and he did just that with Uptown Records. It was enormously successful, with artists like Teddy Riley, Al B. Sure, Heavy D and many others. He signed Mary J. Blige when she was a teenager. And, get this … his former intern helped jump-start the label … an intern named Sean “Puffy” Combs, who quickly became an exec for the label.
And, as they say, the rest is history. Combs discovered Notorious B.I.G., but it was short-lived. Combs was fired in ’93 and created Bad Boy Records, bringing Biggie along for the ride. But, Andre and Diddy stayed close over the years. Andre was Vice-Chair of Revolt.
Andre made another move in ’95, when he became the head of Motown.
But, there’s more … Andre went on to become E.P. of the series, “New York Undercover.”
Tributes are pouring in … Mariah Carey said, “Why Andre … My heart is breaking and I can’t stop crying. He was an amazing friend and I will miss him forever.” DJ D-Nice said, “Truly heartbroken. Rest peacefully, Andre Harrell.” Viola Davis … ” RIP Andre Harrell … thank you for the gift of so many incredible artists. Gone too soon.” And, Ava DuVernay tweeted, “Saluting Andre Harrell. The architect of so much music, so much culture.”
Andre is survived by partner Wendy Credle and a son, Gianni Credle-Harrell.
Andre was 59. RIP.