Name Ryan Press
Role Title Vice President of A&R
Headquarters Los Angeles
How did you get started in the music business?
I got started in Philadelphia when I was 21 years old.
My best friend “Chad Wes” was a producer and asked me to manage his career. Kareem “Biggs” Burke was the first major record CEO to hear my creative vision.
How did you come to be at Warner Chappell?
I was hired by former Warner/Chappell GM, Jason Boyarski, in New York. At the time, I was consulting for Notting Hill Music Publishing, where Livvio Harris gave me my first shot publishing. The position became available and Zvi Edelman a friend & my Lawyer at the time, and my friend, Juan Madrid, recommended me for the position. They campaigned extremely hard for me.
What does the Warner Chappell brand stand for?
We stand for providing deep expertise across a range of creative services and the most innovative opportunities for songwriters and copyright holders worldwide.
What are the key values of the company?
Dedication to Excellence
Tell me about the last year you’ve had personally and professionally?
Honestly, It’s been my toughest year on a personal level. I lost my grandmother, my mom had a surgery and I went through a broken engagement. On the professional side, this past year was amazing, and it was my best year in music publishing. My writers Aloe Blacc, Nico and Vinz, Priscilla Renea, Mike Will, Ross Golan, Key Wane, The Exclusives, K Camp, Pierre Slaughter and Wiz Khalifa were all blessed to have had number 1 records this past year! I am also extremely proud of PARTYNEXTDOOR, Rae Sremmurd, ILOVEMAKONNEN, Logic, Vaults, Vance Joy and Knox Brown – they are each artists who are blowing up this year and I am proud to know that we signed them before they released their hit music. It’s a beautiful thing to watch their development and see the world take notice.
Also I was inspired by my writer Ross Golan taking his career in a different direction this year, and executing a one man musical called “The Wrong Man”.
What challenges have you faced?
I think we all are facing tough times in the music business.
I continue to remain very optimistic about the future. Despite those challenges, I try to not let my creative visions be hampered by the budgetary constraints of today’s music business. I am personally willing to lose my job for what I believe in, you have to have that in your soul to be a true A and R.
Looking into the future, what excites you most about Warner’s potential?
What excites me the most is that we have leaders in Jon Platt and Cameron Strang that are all the way committed to being the best music publishing company.
What sort of person thrives as an A&R at Warner Chappell?
You have to be a strong and motivated person to thrive here. It’s a 24 /7 commitment. You must have a different and special motor in yourself to work for Jon Platt. You thrive if you fight hard for what you believe in. Be a risk taker and work your roster.
Which artists inspire you on a visual / creative level?
Kanye West, Sia, Jay – Z (my favorite artist), Miguel, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, The 1975, Ty Dolla $ign, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, Timbaland, Drake Brandy, Jesse Ware, Jazmine Sullivan, Pink, Pharrell Williams, Chris Brown, Kevin Cossom and Jess Glynne.
In what ways can people be more socially responsible for the health of our music industry community?
Buy music. I think its imperative that we support the artist. They put their heart and soul into making the music we listen to everyday. We should all understand as fans and consumers of music that for most artists, music is a very personal journey. They let you in to so much of their personal lives and the best ones make it relatable to your own situations. If we don’t support, it will affect the quality of the music.
Also, leaders need to help build the next young leaders. I always strive to reach back and help the next person out, in any way that I can be of service. Historically that happened, although I am not sure I see that so much in the music business of today.
I have a favourite Winston Churchill quote that says: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
*Photograph by George Byrne