Andre Harrell music director who discovered Sean  Puffy's combs, dies at 59 it

Andre Harrell music director who discovered Sean  Puffy's combs, dies at 59
Andre Harrell music director who discovered Sean  Puffy's combs, dies at 59

Andre Harrell, a music veteran, known to be the founder of Uptown Records, who discovered Sean Combs and then directed Motown Records, has died. He was 59 years old. The cause of death is still unclear.

DJ D Nice revealed the sad news during a tour on Instagram Live for their popular Club Quarantine series on Friday evening (May 8). Variety has yet to receive official news, although sources have confirmed Harrell's death.

Originally from New York, Harrell began his musical career as an artist, half of the rap duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. In 1983, Harrell partnered with Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records, and had one of his first experiences in the business, working as vice president and then general manager of the label. He left to found his own record company, Uptown Records, in 1986, where he brought Sean "Puffy" Combs as a young intern. With Combs elevated to an A&R position, Mary J. Blige was added to the list.

Combs' concert at A&R led him to discover the demo tape of a rapper named Christopher Wallace, also known as Notorious B.I.G. As the story goes, Diddy was fired from Uptown in 1993, after which he released Bad Boy Records and quickly signed a deal with Wallace.

Harrell would later find a home for Uptown in MCA productions, where he developed several projects on film and television in the 1990s, including the film and the soundtrack "Strictly Business". In 1995, he then directed Motown Records as CEO. During all this time, the label has been the scene of concerts such as Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Heavy D, Boyz and Al B. Sure.

Harrell and Combs have long been friends and business partners, with Harrell serving as vice president of Revolt, Combs' multi-platform music network, and producer of his talk show "State of Culture".

A pioneer of hip-hop and R&B and general black entertainment, acting as executive producer of the series "New York Undercover", Harrell has been seen at numerous events on the red carpet on both coasts. He appears in Diddy's 2017 documentary "Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story" and, according to IMDB, he had worked on a television miniseries on Uptown which was in the development phase at BET. The three-part mini-series titled "Uptown" had Harrell on board as executive producer and was slated to hit the air in 2020.

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