Mike Elizondo, who has worked with Eminem, Dr. Dre and produced Fiona Apple’s 2005 album Extraordinary Machine, has joined Warner Bros. Records as a staff producer and Senior VP of A&R, the Hollywood Reporter has learned.
It’s the same title recently installed WBR chairman Rob Cavallo held in a previous position at the label. And like Cavallo, Elizondo is known primarily for his production work, having played a key role in some of the biggest hits of the last decade including Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club,” which he co-wrote. For his publishing work, Elizondo is repped by Arthouse Entertainment, the company owned by Kara DioGuardi, who is also a top A&R exec at Warners.
Elizondo’s hiring is the latest move in a dramatic restructuring of the venerable label’s A&R team, initiated in fall 2010 by Warner Music Group head Lyor Cohen. Signs so far point to a realignment with a heavy urban focus (former Jive A&R exec Jeff Fenster is also WBR-bound with a tentative start date of Jan. 17), but Cavallo says it’s about finding “great” talent no matter what the genre. “If I was to find a great rock band right now, or a pop artist, or a hip hop artist, we’d sign it,” he says.
As for additional restructuring, Cavallo reassures the label’s darkest layoff days are behind it. “We’ve been through all the major personnel changes, it’s only minor tweaks now — no wholesale changes,” he adds. “Our team is in place for the most part, we’re still analyzing the roster and aggressively looking to sign new things. Those are my priorities: breaking new artists and doing a great job by the artists we have here.”