is Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records is an American record label best known for its many recordings of rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and jazz...
Craig Kallman signed the legendary lyricist Percee P and released his sought after 12" "Puttin' Heads To Bed" on his imprint Big Beat in the early 1990s. He joined the company in 1991, when Atlantic acquired Kallman's independent Big Beat Records label. He advanced from Vice President to Executive Vice President in charge of Atlantic's entire A&R operation. In January 2002, he was named Atlantic Co-President. With the merger of Atlantic and Elektra Records in March 2004, Kallman was promoted to Co-Chairman/COO of the newly formed Atlantic Records Group. In August 2005, Kallman was appointed Chairman and CEO.
A passionate music fan from an early age, Kallman began his music industry career while still a teenager, DJ-ing at the Cat Club in New York, while working in Columbia Records' dance department. At Brown University, he was the CBS Records college representative, promoting such artists as the Beastie Boys, Sinéad O'Connor, the Bangles, LL Cool J, and Billy Idol. He was also program director of the urban and rock specialty shows on WBRU-FM. After graduating in 1987 with a B.A. in English, Kallman promoted New Order and Joy Division for Factory Records. He worked in the chart department at Billboard Magazine, while continuing to DJ at such classic nightspots as Danceteria, Area, The Palladium, The Tunnel, and Mars.
Happening upon a house music demo in a record shop, Kallman started up his independent Big Beat label and production career with the 1987 single, "Join Hands" by Taravhonty. His second release, "The Party" by Kraze, was an international club and pop smash, selling over 300,000 copies, and prompting calls for Kallman's remixes from such major artists as Soul II Soul. Through the 1990s, Big Beat remained a major imprint in the dance and rap underground, as well as in the crossover pop and R&B fields, with a multi-genre string of international hits by Robin S., Jomanda, Tara Kemp, Bucketheads, The Artifacts, Double XX Posse, Dawn Penn, Inner Circle, Changing Faces, and Quad City DJ's.
When Big Beat was acquired by Atlantic in 1991, Kallman joined the company as Vice President/Assistant to then Co-Chairman Doug Morris. Later, as Executive Vice President, Kallman began to oversee Atlantic's entire A&R operation. His roster of trailblazing artists grew to include Aaliyah, whose "One in a Million" album introduced producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott to the pop top 10; singer and actress Brandy, whose duet with Monica, "The Boy Is Mine," was the biggest U.S. single of 1998; and Notorious B.I.G.'s rap clan Junior M.A.F.I.A., featuring the iconic Lil' Kim; and multi-platinum hard rock band P.O.D.
Kallman was named Co-President of Atlantic Records in January 2002. In the fall of that year, he forged a worldwide alliance with the pioneering dancehall reggae label, VP Records. The first album released via VP/Atlantic, Sean Paul's groundbreaking "Dutty Rock", sold six million copies worldwide, and garnered Sean three Grammy nominations – including Best New Artist, and a win in the Best Reggae Album category. The album yielded a string of hit singles, including the #1 pop smash, "Get Busy," the most successful U.S. crossover record in Jamaican recording history. In 2002, Kallman also inked Florida-based hard rockers Shinedown, who have gone on to RIAA platinum success.
In 2003, Kallman personally signed T.I. to Atlantic, launching the Atlanta-based rapper on an explosive career path that seen him emerge as a Grammy-winning hip-hop icon with an unbroken string of RIAA platinum albums. Early 2004 saw another landmark in Kallman's career, when the first Atlantic album in nearly seven years from Chicago-based rap legend Twista, "Kamikaze", debuted at #1 on the "Billboard 200" album chart.
Over the past four years, Kallman has spearheaded the single biggest transformation in Atlantic's six-decade history. With the new independence of its parent company, Warner Music Group - in the wake of its sale by Time Warner - Atlantic was faced with the challenge of recreating the company for a new era, including the merger of two of the music industry's most legendary labels - Atlantic and Elektra.
Kallman's entrepreneurial roots have made him ideally suited to lead Atlantic at a time of enormous change in the music industry. He has returned the company to its legendary roots in A&R and artist development, while simultaneously pursuing an industry-leading digital strategy and the reinvention of the label as first and foremost a content-driven company. Since 2004, Kallman has overseen the signings of a rich diversity of high-profile artists, including acclaimed indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie, Grammy winner Lupe Fiasco, punk-pop quartet Paramore, hard rockers Buckcherry, hit R&B quartet Pretty Ricky, and #1-charting rappers Flo Rida and Plies. In 2006, Kallman spearheaded the breakthrough of British singer/songwriter James Blunt in the U.S., where his debut album, "Back To Bedlam", was certified double platinum by the RIAA and earned five Grammy nominations.
Kallman's independent-bred sensibility has also made Atlantic a highly desirable destination and partner for indie labels looking to take their artists to the next level of their careers - including Downtown Records (Gnarls Barkley) and Fueled By Ramen (Panic At The Disco, Gym Class Heroes). Since 2005, Atlantic has been partners with Sean "Diddy" Combs and his pioneering Bad Boy label. And John Legend chose Atlantic as the home for new British soul sensation Estelle, the first signing to Legend's Homeschool label.
In April 2008, the Atlantic Records Group achieved another landmark in its storied history. In a single week, the company had four out of the top ten albums in the country (Day26, Panic At The Disco, Danity Kane, and Flo Rida), including -- for the first time in over 25 years -- three out of the top five. A month later, Kallman signing Death Cab For Cutie debuted at #1 on the "Billboard 200" with their second Atlantic album, "Narrow Stairs."
As the number of senior music executives with authentic record-making experience continues to dwindle, Kallman remains a hands-on creative collaborator with his artists. A prime example is the 2008 Grammy Award-winning "Daydreamin'" by Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott, a song produced and co-written by Kallman.
Kallman's life-long obsession with music has led him to become one of the top record collectors in the world, with a vinyl collection now numbering some 300,000 albums encompassing virtually every genre of contemporary music. He is a noted sonic devotee as well, a serious audiophile who was recently profiled in "Stereophile" Magazine.
Over the years, Kallman has also spearheaded Atlantic's release of a number of film soundtracks and original cast albums, including Space Jam (featuring R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly"), "Dr. Dolittle," "High School High," "Anastasia," "Great Expectations," "Jekyll & Hyde," and "Step Up 2 The Streets."
Quote: "It is a challenging time for the entire entertainment industry. Even so, our compass is still set by Atlantic's deep heritage in American roots music of every kind. It is a privilege and an honor for our artist, producers, songwriters, and staff to live up to that tradition, and to make our generation's contribution to it."