McKinley Richardson is a rising young executive making waves in the music industry. As the Senior Vice President of A&R (Artists and Repertoire) at Epic Records, Richardson has already demonstrated immense talent for discovering and nurturing some of music’s biggest stars over his relatively short career so far.
Early Life and Background
Given his meteoric rise in the industry, many are curious about McKinley Richardson’s background and age. Here are some key facts about his early life and entry into the music business:
- Date and Place of Birth: McKinley Richardson was born on March 14, 1984 in Chicago, Illinois. He is currently 39 years old as of 2023.
- Childhood and Upbringing: Richardson grew up on the South Side of Chicago. His mother was an English teacher and his father worked in real estate. From an early age, he fell in love with hip hop music and dreamed of working in the industry.
- Education: For his undergraduate degree, Richardson attended Howard University where he majored in Business with a concentration in Music Industry Studies. He graduated in 2006 at the age of 22.
- Early Music Industry Jobs: Shortly after graduating, Richardson moved to New York City. Some of his first jobs included internships at record companies like Def Jam and Capitol Records. He quickly worked his way up, landing jobs as an A&R representative for artists at various major labels.
McKinley Richardson Biography
|39 years old (as of 2023)
|Date of Birth
|March 14, 1984
|Place of Birth
|Grew up in South Side Chicago, mother was a teacher, father in real estate
|Howard University, Business Administration Major with Music Industry Concentration (Class of 2006)
|SVP of A&R at Epic Records
|Years at Epic Records
|Since 2014 (9 years)
|Key Artists Signed/Worked With
|Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled, French Montana, 21 Savage, Future, Yo Gotti, Marshmello
|9 RIAA certified albums, 4-time Billboard “Hip Hop Power Player”, 2-time ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award recipient
|Married since 2012 to wife Stacy, 3 daughters named Madison (8), Lola (6), and Ava (3)
Rise Through the Ranks at Epic Records
McKinley Richardson’s big break came in 2014 when he was hired by Epic Records at just 30 years old. Epic Records is a renowned Sony Music label home to mega stars like Michael Jackson, Future, Travis Scott, and DJ Khaled.
As an A&R rep at Epic, Richardson demonstrated a keen ability to discover and develop new talent. Within his first three years, he had already signed and helmed projects for some of music’s fastest rising stars such as:
- Meghan Trainor: Richardson is credited with signing Trainor and executive producing her debut album which spawned Billboard chart-topping singles like “All About That Bass” and “Lips are Movin”.
- DJ Khaled: Richardson led EPIC’s partnership with We The Best Music Group – signing DJ Khaled in 2015 and executive producing his next two albums. Both went to number 1 on Billboard.
- French Montana: Richardson also signed Montana to Epic and executive produced his sophomore album “Jungle Rules” in 2017. It debuted at number 3 on Billboard.
Due to Richardson’s string of successful new artist signings, Epic Records made him Vice President of A&R in 2017 when Richardson was just 33 years old.
Current Role Overseeing Epic Records A&R Department
As he continued adding more top artists to Epic’s roster, McKinley Richardson was promoted again in 2021 to Senior Vice President of A&R at only age 37. In this executive role, Richardson now oversees the entire A&R department at Epic Records.
What Does an A&R Executive Like Richardson Do?
The A&R (Artists and Repertoire) department at a record label is responsible for finding and developing new musical talent. An A&R exec like Richardson does everything from managing scouts to personally assisting artists with tasks like:
- Discovering and signing promising new artists
- Matching artists up with producers/songwriters to hone their sound
- Helping artists craft their public image and branding
- Providing creative direction on albums to create commercially viable music
- Charting promotional plans and singles release schedules
As the Senior VP of the department, Richardson ultimately calls the shots on signing new artists and shepherding projects for Epic’s entire roster which spans hip hop, pop, rock, and beyond.
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Major Artists Richardson Currently Works With
In his current senior A&R post, Richardson is part of the team that strategizes and facilitates projects for Epic’s leading artists. Among the notable names he oversees and directly collaborates with include:
Meghan Trainor: Richardson has been Trainor’s A&R representative from her start. He newly worked with her on 2022’s “Takin’ it Back” album which hit #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.
DJ Khaled: Since signing in 2015, every one of Khaled’s new records are spearheaded start-to-finish by Richardson as the lead A&R executive. This includes 2022’s “God Did” album which debuted at #1 with a #1 single “Staying Alive”.
21 Savage: After 21 Savage’s team inked a partnership with Epic, Richardson has provided A&R direction on Savage’s two most recent chart-topping albums alongside the rapper’s own Slaughter Gang producers.
Future: Though already a superstar when signing to Epic in 2021, Richardson has assisted Future with executive production on singles like “Wait For U” (peaked at #1 on Billboard in 2022) off his former #1 album, “I Never Liked You”.
Marshmello: Overseeing Epic’s 2021 partnership deal to release music from famed EDM producer Marshmello. Richardson aided Marshmello’s 2022 single releases including summer hit “Numb” with Khalid.
Major Career Accomplishments and Highlights
Despite only being 39 years old, Richardson has already made a lasting impact in such a short period of time as an A&R tastemaker:
- Has directly signed over a dozen high-profile artists and producers during his career including Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled, French Montana, Yo Gotti, Marshmello, and Mustard.
- Has executive produced 9 albums certified at least Gold by the RIAA. Epic artists Richardson first signed like Trainor and Khaled in particular have logged billions of streams.
- Named to Billboard Magazine’s coveted “Hip Hop Power Players” list as one of the most influential executives in that genre in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022.
- Received ASCAP’s “Rhythm & Soul Music Award” which honors A&R executives dedicated to R&B/hip hop music in 2018 and 2022.
- Responsible for Epic’s partnerships with DJ Khaled’s We The Best Music imprint and 21 Savage’s Slaughter Gang imprint to distribute their label projects which Richardson directly oversees
- Has orchestrated key artist signings for Epic like Future (2021 Grammy Award winner) and Marshmello (Billboard’s #1 dance artist) to bolster their superstar talent roster already including Travis Scott, Camilla Cabello.
What Richardson’s Peers & Artists Say About Him
Throughout his stellar rise, Richardson has earned immense respect from his colleagues and artists. Here is some of that high praise:
DJ Khaled said: “My brother McKinley Richardson, he’s a genius — he’s one of the youngest executives that Epic Records has ever had and one of the most talented…he’s been with me from the beginning, we’re making history together.”
Sylvia Rhone, Epic Records CEO, said: “McKinley Richardson has proven himself as one of the best A&R minds in the business for pop, urban, and dance music. Despite his young age and short time at Epic thus far, you’d be hard-pressed to name many other executives making bigger things happen across our industry.”
French Montana said: “My boy McKinley believed in my vision from day one when he signed me to Epic… he gave me that guidance to stay focused and make hit records, he’s one of the youngest with that veteran gut instinct already.”
Personal Details on McKinley Richardson: Marriage, Family Life and Quick Facts
In his rare spare time outside the studio and office, Richardson aims to spend time focusing on his personal passions and family:
- Richardson has been married to his college sweetheart, Stacy Davis Richardson, an attorney, since 2012 – they recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary.
- McKinley and Stacy have 3 young daughters together named Madison (8 years old), Lola (6 years old) and Ava (3 years). He enjoys being an involved father.
- When not working, Richardson focuses his hobbies on health/fitness as an avid basketball player and supporter of Chicago pro teams like the Bulls and White Sox baseball.
- Known to be highly-competitive, Richardson played basketball through high school and remains a pick-up game fixture in NYC on weekends. He is also a longtime fan of video games.
- The Richardson family splits their current permanent residence between homes in Manhattan, New York and Los Angeles, California. McKinley travels back to his native Chicago often to visit his mother and siblings still based there.
- Quick Personal Facts: height is 6’2″, favorite artists he’s worked with directly are Meghan Trainor and DJ Khaled. Enjoys collecting streetwear and limited edition sneakers.
Richardson’s Future Moving Forward
Still younger than age 40, the upper limits of McKinley Richardson’s career promise appear sky high given his track record of success. Music insiders routinely tout him as potentially the next legendary music executive ala Clive Davis, LA Reid, or Jimmy Iovine.
With his abundant talent, artistic vision, work ethic, and executive experience so far, Richardson seems poised to continue his meteoric impact on the music landscape for years to come. He clearly has both a keen ear for talent and a savvy creative sense for how to develop and market that talent into superstar mainstream success.
As Richardson leads Epic Records’ A&R division, industry buzz suggests he will continue ushering in the next generation of top artists across multiple genres. Future milestones for his goals include expanding Epic’s roster and catalog, spearheading artist development across media platforms like TV and film, and launching passion projects that provide opportunities for underexposed voices and communities.
With streaming era success already cemented working intimately on epic album campaigns with DJ Khaled, 21 Savage, and Future, Richardson has hinted at plans to increase Epic’s footprint within country music and the dance world. Having already collaborated with EDM juggernauts like Marshmello and signed country sensation Meghan Trainor, McKinley no doubt has much in store continuing to nurture those realms.
As Richardson foster’s the next iconic artists that define music’s future – whether in rap, pop, electronic, and beyond – his legend as a prolific A&R titan will only grow and grow alongside Epic Records’ resurgent dominance. When all is said and done given his special talents and track record to date, McKinley Richardson may go down as the single greatest A&R executive of his generation. Remember the name, because at just 39 years old the headlines, hits, and history made have only just begun.
Frequently Asked Questions About McKinley Richardson Leaked
How old is McKinley Richardson currently?
McKinley Richardson is 39 years old as of 2023. His exact date of birth is March 14, 1984.
Where is McKinley Richardson originally from?
Richardson was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He lived in the South Side neighborhood of the city before launching his career.
What college did Richardson attend to start his music industry career?
He attended Howard University in Washington D.C., majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Music Business. He graduated from Howard University in 2006 at age 22.
What year did McKinley Richardson start working for Epic Records?
Epic Records first hired McKinley Richardson in an entry-level A&R rep role in 2014 when he was 30 years old.
Who are some of the most famous musicians McKinley Richardson has worked with?
He’s worked closely with many renowned artists including Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled, French Montana, 21 Savage, Future, Yo Gotti, and Marshmello among others.
What major recognition and music industry awards has Richardson received?
He has been named to Billboard Magazine’s prestigious “Hip Hop Power Players” list 4 separate years. And the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards honored him in 2018 + 2022 for his A&R work with urban/rap artists.