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Pepsi Music Lab, a new program from brand Pepsi designed to remove industry barriers, create new opportunities for artists, and shine a spotlight on the next generation of hip-hop superstars through a three-day academy and virtual summit.
For its inaugural year, Pepsi teamed up with legendary producer and artist Pi’erre Bourne (collaborations with Kanye West, Playboi Carti and more) to select three of the most passionate and talented up-and-coming hip-hop artists to attend the Pepsi Music Lab Academy with intimate studio sessions led by Pi’erre.
The three artists selected to attend the academy will leave with an original track fully mixed, mastered, and released by Pi’erre Bourne and Pepsi. Stay tuned for highlights from the 2021-22 academy sessions.
Pepsi Music Lab debuts this year as an annual program, using the brand's rich legacy in the music and entertainment industry to provide resources and opportunities for artists in underserved communities all over the country. Be on the lookout for details on how to enter later in 2022.
Pi'erre Bourne is one of the innovative forces in the rap game today - an acclaimed producer, engineer and artist. He's produced Billboard Hot 100 hits like Playboi Carti's double platinum smash "Magnolia," topped Billboard's Hot 100 Producer chart working with Lil Uzi Vert's Eternal Atake, and eventually became a GRAMMY® Award winning producer on Kayne West's Jesus is king.
Praised by Complex for "redefining trap music," the 28-year old artist/producer brings his creative integrity to a lo-fi yet high-energy sound that's emotionally powerful and entirely unpredictable. Outside of his award-winning work as a producer for some of today's hottest hip-hop artists, Pi'erre is also taking his own artistry to new heights with the drop of his long-awaited critically acclaimed album The life of Pi'erre 5, which was released through his own label, SossHouse and Interscope Records, and written, produced, engineered, and arranged all on his own with uncompromising originality.
Pepsi Music Lab Summit Host
Swaggy Sie
Swaggy Sie, On-Air Host - Sirius XM
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Sienna "Swaggy Sie" Garraway has not only taken the industry by storm, but has also cemented herself as one of the most notable and illustrious digital content creators and multimedia personalities resonating nationwide. With just under 10-years in the music industry, Swaggy Sie has managed to not only grab the attention of celebrities and artists across the country—having scored stream-worthy interviews with some of the music games heavyweights such as Cardi B, Bobby Shmurda, Megan Thee Stallion and the late Pop Smoke—but has also found herself through passions in other realms such as Fashion and Lifestyle, where she has truly tapped into who she is behind her SiriusXM mic.
Pepsi Music Lab Summit Keynote
Mark Pitts
Mark Pitts, President of RCA Records
As a driving force in hip-hop and R&B for over 25 years, Mark Pitts started in the industry working with Sean Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment and managing The Notorious B.I.G. After launching his own management company, ByStorm Entertainment, his career has been one success after another. As SVP of A&R at Arista, he worked with Usher, TLC, and Usher on multi-platinum projects. As President of Urban Music at RCA Records he helped guide the careers of superstars like J. Cole, Miguel, and Chris Brown. Last year he was named President of RCA, where he heads one of the world's most important labels and is responsible for the continued success of artists like Doja Cat, Jazmine Sullivan, H.E.R., Latto, and Flo Milli. He's appeared on Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop list for multiple years and he's had a hand in a remarkable 53 Grammy nominations. Mark continues to be one of the industry's truest tastemakers mentoring artists and rising executives.
Thumbnail of the presenter
Rob Stone, Founder and Co-CEO of Cornerstone Agency and FADER Media
The founder and Co-CEO of Cornerstone Agency and FADER Media, Rob Stone has been a pioneering force at the forefront of music media for almost three decades. Rob got his start at SBK Records before moving to Arista, where he was hired by the legendary Clive Davis. There Rob worked closely with icons like Sean "Puffy" Combs, Notorious B.I.G, Usher, and Outkast. He then founded Cornerstone Agency with Steve Rifkind founder of Loud Records, home to acts such as Wu Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Big Pun and more. Over the past two decades he's overseen the growth and expansion of The FADER from an iconic magazine into an industry-leading website, podcast network, tv and film division, and record label, while ensuring that Cornerstone has stayed a step ahead of a constantly changing marketing industry. He's also a cancer survivor and founding member of mymusicrx a division of Children's Cancer Association delivering the healing power of music to kids facing cancer and other serious illnesses.
Maximizing Your Potential
Baroline Diaz, VP A&R at Interscope
Caroline "Baroline" Diaz is one of the most exciting and innovative A&Rs in the industry. She started out at Def Jam, assisting on national campaigns for 2 Chainz and YG, who gave her the name "Baroline," which has stuck ever since. From there she moved into A&R at Columbia Records, where she signed Polo G and immediately earned the label a double-platinum record with "Pop Out." She quickly jumped from there to Interscope Records, where she’s now VP of A&R. At Interscope, she's been a driving force behind the success of superstars like DaBaby and rising stars like Lil Poppa.
Ian Holder
Ian Holder, SVP of Creative at Sony Music Publishing
Ian Holder has seen every side of the music industry over the past two decades. He started out at Epic in the early-aughts before being taken on as an A&R coordinator at Sony, working closely with Lil' Flip and Xzibit. In 2007 he moved to BMI, where he'd stay for a decade as Director of Writer-Publisher Relations, signing an incredible array of songwriters including Post Malone, Frank Ocean, Rae Sremmurd, Kiiara, MadeinTYO, and Pusha-T. He's now the Senior Vice President of Creative at Sony Music Publishing, where he’s signed Moneybagg Yo, Lil Tjay, Lil Durk, and Jack Harlow, among many others. Ian has also started his own label, his own management company, and the Artistic Reality Thru Search (A.R.T.S.) Music Business Program for high school teenagers.
Building Your Brand & Audience
Chris Atlas
Chris Atlas, Marketing Executive
Chris Atlas has spent a quarter-century forging partnerships and spearheading campaigns for some of the world's biggest brands and most impactful artists. He joined Cornerstone as VP of Urban Promotion and Marketing in 2001 and, after a brief spell at Amp'd Mobile, returned to The FADER's sister company as VP of Strategic Marketing. In 2008 he moved to Def Jam, where, over the course of almost a decade as EVP of Marketing, he was behind campaigns for Kanye West, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Jhene Aiko, and Ludacris, among others. Since 2018, he's been building strategies for marquee artists like NLE Choppa, Saweetie, Wale, and Shordie Shordie.
Courtney Lowery
Courtney Lowery, EVP of Media Strategy and Lifestyle at Motown Records
Over the course of his career Courtney Lowery has worked with some of the world’s most impactful artists, celebrities, brands, and social causes. He's been behind strategies for Future, DJ Khaled, and Swizz Beatz, and the internet-breaking phenomenon VERZUZ, been named to BET's list of "29 People You Should Know," and received a 2017 Culture Creators award. He’s now the Executive Vice President of Media Strategy and Lifestyle at Motown Records.
Building Your Team
Solomon Sounds
Solomon Sounds, SVP of A&R Capitol Records
In his yearbook photo from Elmont Memorial High School, Solomon Sounds is seen holding up $61 in cash and three debit cards; the quote beneath him reads: "I want to be the next big music mogul... doesn't the stack speak for itself?" He's been making good on that goal ever since. He discovered and managed XXXTentacion until the rapper's death in 2018, and he's overseen the release of two posthumous X releases, 2018's Skins and 2019's Bad Vibes Forever. Sounds secured deals for ppcocaine, Cochise, 645Ar, and BFB Da Packman as well as managing StaySolidRocky. Last year he became Senior VP of A&R at Capitol Records, where he signs and develops artists for the company's flagship label.
Angela Rogers
Angela Rogers, Principal at Rogers Law Group
Angela Rogers has over 15 years of experience as an entertainment lawyer, representing artists, producers, songwriters, publishing companies, and executives, as well as fashion bloggers, YouTubers, and start-ups. Angela received her Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law and received her Bachelor of Science from Hampton University. She interned at Sony and then at Epic before moving to James McMillan, where she was made partner and named to Billboard's prestigious 30 Under 30 list. She started her own practice, Rogers Law Group, in 2013.
Monetizing Your Work
Chayce Cheatham
Chayce Cheatham, Music Label Partnerships at TikTok
Chayce Cheatham is an integral part of the label partnerships team at Tik Tok, where she works as the liaison between artists, managers, and labels to execute marketing initiatives and assist in artist on platform growth strategies. Prior to that, Chayce was the Sponsorship coordinator at Live Nation, where she worked with some of the biggest brands in the world to help create impactful music marketing campaigns. She also worked at HITCO, an indie label, where she was a key player in pushing SAINt JHN’s “Roses” to No. 1 four years after its initial release.
Drea Jackson
Drea Jackson, Artist Development at SoundCloud
Drea Jackson is an Artist Development and Relations Manager at SoundCloud. There she is responsible for building and maintaining SoundCloud’s relationships with artists, managers, producers and agents, as well as educating the creator community on how to best utilize SoundCloud and its artist services to build and grow their careers. Prior to SoundCloud, Drea was a Strategist on the Brand Partnerships team at SoundCloud & Pandora, where she crafted narratives and sales strategies for potential sponsorships. In addition to her professional role, Drea helps lead Clouds of Color, one of SoundCloud’s diversity resource groups.
Demystifying Independent v. Major Label
Charlene Thomas
Charlene Thomas, VP Marketing Def Jam
Charlene Thomas is one of the most influential executives in hip-hop. She signed and A&R’d Three 6 Mafia and Lil Flip at Loud Records, ran a 50-artist roster that included Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Funkmaster Flex, and Big Pun, and spearheaded marketing campaigns for heavyweights like JAY-Z and Rick Ross. Thomas has worked as a consultant for brands like Pepsi, Hugo Boss, and Levis, and sports stars such as Floyd Mayweather, Kenny Smith, and Kenyon Martin. She's now the Vice President of Marketing at Def Jam, where she's developing marketing strategies for Kanye West, Big Sean, Hit-Boy, LL Cool J, 2Chainz, and Jeezy.
Junia Abiadoo
Junia Abiadoo, Co-Founder & COO LVRN Records
Junia Abaidoo started Love Renaissance nine years ago with four of his classmates from Georgia State University. Since then it's grown into one of R&B's most important record labels, boasting platinum-selling artists like 6lack, Summer Walker, and BRS Kash, and managing Shelley FKA DRAM, Westside Boogie, and Dvsn. In 2017 LVRN signed a distribution deal with Interscope Records and launched LVRN Studios, a creative space in Atlanta. Since then Junia has helped the label to expand further, signing artists like Cruel Santino, Kitty Ca$h, and OMB Bloodbath.