THR Names Music's 35 Top Hitmakers
This story first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Equal parts A&R man and guidance counselor, Mark Pitt’s skill set stems from his days as a manager to Notorious B.I.G. and Nas. “Half that job is finding the music,” says the mild-mannered guru whose lofty titles include president of Urban Music at RCA Records and CEO of Bystorm Entertainment, “but the other half is motivating them.” In 2012 alone, Pitts assembled the production-songwriting team that worked on No. 1 albums from Usher (Looking 4 Myself) and Chris Brown (Fortune). But his true bragging rights come from breaking R&B singer Miguel, whose 2010 debut, All I Want Is You, underperformed. Pitts’ strategy for the follow-up? “Don’t mess with the formula,” he says, noting that he even re-recruited All I Want co-producer Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, Nas) to refine Miguel’s sound.
The result, Kaleidescope Dream, snagged Miguel five Grammy nominations. Meanwhile, his single “Adorn” captured the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart for an unprecedented 11 weeks, before winning enviable crossover appeal with the indie-rock crowd. “He wants to be different,” explains Pitts. “I always tell Miguel, ‘I know there’s a lot you’re trying to do. But we still have a lot of albums to make.’” The exec’s next challenge: making another album for the perennially embattled Brown. “People have been focused more on his life than his music,” he says. “Where we’re starting is going to be a different direction musically. My goal is to make an incredible album.”
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