President of Asylum Records Dallas Martin Explains How to Develop Trust With Artists and Get the Most Out of Them
Title: President of Asylum Records / EVP of A&R at Atlantic Records
Interview: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
Be true to what you believe in. That’s the motto that Dallas Martin, the new president of Asylum Records, has followed throughout his career. The Flint, Mich. native started in the music industry as an intern at Def Jam Recordings during his senior year of college at Clark Atlanta University in 2006, being mentored by well-known music exec Shakir Stewart and working with artists such as Rick Ross and Jeezy.
In 2008, Dallas got his first official gig with Def Jam, but it ended soon after Stewart’s passing that same year. This left Dallas without his mentor and eventually without a job. In 2011, Dallas landed a gig at Warner Records—then-known as Warner Bros. Records—as Director of A&R and brought Ross’ Maybach Music Group to the label while working with Wale and Meek Mill. Two years later, Warner folded into Atlantic Records and Dallas signed rappers like Nipsey Hussle and Roddy Ricch, to name a few. Martin still holds the title of EVP of A&R at Atlantic and this past January, Dallas got his new job as the boss of Asylum and is focused on Sada Baby, Yella Beezy, KenTheMan and others.
Here, Dallas, 37, discusses developing trust, building relationships and more.
On Developing Trust With Artists
You can’t be afraid of being truthful with them because artists aren’t always gonna agree with you. One thing about artists, if you’re solid with them, regardless of how mad they get at you, they’re gonna come back and fuck with you because they know you have their best interests at heart.
On Getting The Most Out Of An Artist
Put in the work with them. Bring things to the table that’s gonna accelerate their career. Be in positions that’s gonna help them get to the next level. That’s with your relationships or connecting them with the right producers or songwriters.
Advice For Up-And-Coming Presidents
So many things change in the music business. You have to be true to what you believe in as far as what gravitates you towards artists. At the end of the day, it’s all about timeless music and it’s about artists that are gonna be here for a long time.
Check out more from XXL magazine's Fall 2021 issue, on stands now, including our cover story with Tyler, The Creator, Lil Nas X's battle for respect in hip-hop, Wale talks about his new album, Folarin 2, find out more about Maxo Kream in Doin' Lines, Bia reflects on how far she's come in her career after "Whole Lotta Money" success, BMF actor Da'Vinchi talks rap music in Hip-Hop Junkie, Isaiah Rashad keeps it real about his faith, SoFaygo discusses signing to Travis Scott's Cactus Jack label, CupcakKe's fresh outlook on life with new album on the way, OhGeesy's new solo career and goals, Blueface embraces the good and bad of going viral, Vory is hip-hop's rarely seen, always heard new voice, Baby Tate wants Black women to get all the respect, and more.