Steve Bartels, named CEO, Def Jam Recordings in April 2014, is the driving force behind some of the most successful breakthrough new artist campaigns and records over the last three decades.
Spanning a career of over 30 years in the entertainment industry, he has worked closely with artists to develop and promote such diverse talent as Kanye West, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Avicii, Mariah Carey, Outkast, Big Sean, Janet Jackson, Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, Amy Grant, Jennifer Lopez, Alessia Cara, The Killers, Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, Sarah McLachlan, Pink, Jeezy, Sting, Avril Lavigne, Bon Jovi, NAS, Annie Lennox, Santana, Usher, Barry Manilow, Rick Ross, Ne-Yo, Lionel Richie, Toni Braxton & Babyface, Fall Out Boy, Frank Ocean, Jhene Aiko, YG, Afrojack and Iggy Azalea to name just a few. In 2014, Def Jam returned to its roots as a standalone label within the Universal Music Group, with a strategic forward focus garnering 15 Grammy nominations, many in the new artist categories.
From his start as a club DJ through his rise in the music industry, Bartels passion for music has remained his inspiration. He has been part of or overseen over 34 separate Billboard Hot 100 #1 Artist singles campaigns in his career. He has worked alongside and for industry veterans Herb Albert, Jerry Moss, Clive Davis, LA Reid, Barry Weiss and Lucian Grainge through his tenure at A&M Records, Arista Records, the Island Def Jam Music Group, and now Def Jam Recordings.
Steve Bartels is the recipient of a 2010 MTV VMA Award and the 2008 MTV Teen Choice “Choice Music Man.” As a Recording Industry of America Association (RIAA) Board Member, he remains active advocating free speech and anti-piracy legislation on Capital Hill. He also sits on the Board of the City of Hope Cancer Research Center within the Entertainment division and annually hosts their most successful East Coast fundraiser. Bartels is a graduate of Hofstra University and the University of California Los Angeles.