“Godmother of the music industry” Sylvia Rhone has launched the careers and worked with dozens of genre-spanning, world-renowned artists throughout her career. From her work with MC Lyte, En Vogue, and Brandy, to Missy Elliott, Das EFX, Dream Theater, Tracy Chapman, Metallica, Jason Mraz, and many, many more, Rhone’s impact on the music industry has been wide-reaching and profound.
Raised in Harlem, steeped in the music of that city's cultural renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s, Rhone’s educational career led her out of New York to graduate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Though on a clear executive trajectory in international finance management, she soon realized she wanted something entirely different, and turned her demonstrably capable eye to the music industry.
Rhone began working as a secretary for Buddha Records in 1974, and over the next decade went on to apply her talents at ABC Records, Ariola Records, and Elektra, eventually earning a role as vice president of Atlantic Records in 1986. During her time at Atlantic, she was responsible for such artists as En Vogue, Pantera, and AC/DC. By 1994, she was the chair and CEO of Elektra Entertainment Group and launched the careers of Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, Tracy Chapman, Jason Mraz, and others. After being named president of Universal Motown Records and executive vice president at Universal Records in 2004, Rhone moved to Epic Records in 2012 and was named president in 2014, working alongside chairman and CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid. She has headed the label’s operations since Reid stepped down in 2017, overseeing such stars as DJ Khaled, 21 Savage, Future, and Camila Cabello.