Meet top executives from the industry responsible for signing and overseeing the development of artists such as Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert Hoodie SZN, Nija, Tash Sultana, Tycho, Beach Bunny, Evann McIntosh, and many others. These majors and indies will share the type of talent they’re scouting and the day-in-the-life of overseeing the development of recording artists.
1. The Art of Record Label A&R: Signing the Future
Amanda Samii is the senior vice president of A&R for Capitol Records, based in Los Angeles.
Before coming to Capitol, Samii was vice president of creative at Kobalt Music Publishing, where she was instrumental in signing a diverse array of writers and producers, including Finneas O’Connell, who this year won five major Grammy Awards—including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Producer of the Year—for his work with Billie Eilish on her worldwide smash album, "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?".
Suzanna Slavin is SVP of A&R at independent record label Mom+Pop. She began her career at the label as an intern in 2013, eventually landing a full-time job in January 2014. Working alongside Founder and Co-President, Michael Goldstone as his Executive Assistant/A&R Scout, she began to research and pitch viable new talent while building a presence in the industry by attending shows and seeking out prospective signings.
As her career progressed, she began to do A&R coordination across the roster. Suzanna was promoted to A&R Manager in 2016. At that time, she had brought forth Australian producer and multi-instrumentalist, Tash Sultana and played a vital role in their signing. In the years to come, Suzanna was instrumental in the signings of French producer and multi-instrumentalist FKJ and GRAMMY-nominated electronic artist, Tycho. In 2019, she stepped into her role as Director of A&R and a year later was promoted to VP of A&R. Suzanna now serves as SVP of A&R as of January 2022. In the last couple of years, she was involved in the competitive signings of Chicago band Beach Bunny and indie-R&B artist Evann McIntosh.
Gelareh “G” Rouzbehani is a highly recognized and unrivaled manager and A&R professional with nearly a decade of experience across music, entertainment, and philanthropy. As Founder and CEO of Rouz Group Inc. – a prominent management company based in Los Angeles – G has built a reputation based on her authenticity, work ethic, and unparalleled perseverance.
At the age of six, G was uprooted from her childhood home in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to America with her family. She was immediately hit with a culture shock when they arrived in the states, as G will lightheartedly admit she learned English while watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as a kid. Nonetheless, G was exposed to the arts at a very young age, starting piano lessons at the age of nine and joining band and theatre shortly after, with encouragement from her artistic aunt & uncle.
Like many other typical immigrant upbringings, G was motivated by her parents to finish school although it was evident that her passion truly lied within music and business. G earned her BA in Psychology and got her start in the music industry interning at Warner Chappell where she learned the ins-and-outs of publishing. She went on to pursue her Masters in Business Psychology while working full-time at Columbia Records in A&R. While there, G worked on notable projects across the roster, from Beyoncé to Juicy J. She knew she’d found her pulse on the culture when she brought in early acts like Travis Scott, Daniel Caesar, & Jessie Reyez to Columbia for potential deals.
After nearly 5 years working her way up through the major label system, G took a chance on herself and in 2016 she founded her company, Rouz Group Inc. She has since built a management roster of diverse artists, writers and producers who now have a number of Grammy-nominated projects under their belts, including Rihanna’s 2016 ‘Anti’ for “Best Urban Contemporary Album”, the 2019’s “Best Rap Album” nominee, Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld,’ and Beyonce/Jay-Z’s “Best Urban Contemporary Album”. Additional projects that Rouz Group’s roster has worked across include Future’s EP ‘Save Me’ and Future/Drake’s “Life Is Good remix” (Fxxxxy), Travis Scott ft. The Weeknd “Wake Up” and Travis’ “Houstonfornication” (Sevn Thomas), Rihanna’s #1 charting single “Desperado” (Rook Monroe), Swae Lee’s “Heartbreak in Encino Hills” (Scorp), Meg The Stallion’s “Rich” (Xavi), among others.
In 2019, G inked the imprint deal for multi-platinum producer Wondagurl through her consultancy at Red Bull Records.
In 2020, G became Vice President of A&R at Motown Records. She is working across a full roster including Lil Yachty, Tiwa Savage, new buzzing artist from the UK, Nemzzz, Malachiii who she signed and releasing music this month.
Liza Levy (she/her) started her career as tour manager for a tween pop band during their U.S. tour cycles. When sales were thriving, they were opening for the Jonas Brothers and flying to venues cross-country. During the lean years, she adapted by picking up additional skill sets, including learning live sound mixing, driving a 15-passenger van, and figuring out how to feed 10 people on a $20 budget. She was subsequently hired at Boston-based label Rounder Records as their children's marketing specialist, and she remained there for over a decade, eventually becoming head of marketing in the Nashville, Tennessee, office. Her favorite roster artists include Alison Krauss, Steve Martin, Bobby Rush, and Sierra Hull ’11, among many others.
She then moved to Los Angeles to work at Universal Music Group in their catalog division, running point on commercial marketing partnerships with Spotify for artist franchises including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Lil Wayne, the Temptations, and Janet Jackson. Currently, she's the talent relations manager at the Berklee Career Center, focusing on creating industry pipelines for students looking to perform and work in the business. In her spare time, she teaches dance fitness and writes birthday song parodies.