Today, Columbia Records announced that Abou “Bu” Thiam has been hired as the company’s executive vice president.
Thiam has been a power player in the music industry for quite some time. His brother – the award-winning singer, songwriter, and record producer Akon – brought him on as an A&R during negotiations for his first record deal. As his brother’s star began to rise, Bu also saw success on the business end of entertainment; helping launch the careers of superstars such as T-Pain and Lady Gaga.
After being hired as Def Jam’s youngest vice president of A&R at the age of 28, Thiam then began to manage Kanye West, and ultimately was able to A&R chart-topping albums such as Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative effort Watch The Throne, along with 2010’s Loud, and 2011’s Talk That Talk – both by Rihanna.
According to Variety, Thiam will serve at the capacity of Columbia’s CEO Ron Perry, whom he has a long working relationship with through his company, Buvision. His new position will include spearheading strategic initiatives for the label, along with the traditional duties of an A&R.
“We all know breaking a new artist is very difficult, and to see the Columbia team be so committed in the early stages of KayCyy’s career — from marketing, strategic branding, his EP rollout etc. — was very impressive,” Thiam said of Columbia’s standard of excellence. “Columbia’s culture is breaking new artists — like Fivio, Lil Nas X, Polo G, the Kid Laroi — and Ron is a true music man at heart, you don’t see that type of artist development anymore.”
“Bu’s incredible musical instincts distinguish him as a great executive,” as Perry spoke glowingly of Thiam’s qualifications. “His experience and success with some of the greatest artists of recent times make him a truly valuable addition to the Columbia team.”