Amazon Music's Kirdis Postelle on Her 'Passion' for Breaking Artists, Leaning Into Hip-Hop

Amazon Music’s head of artist marketing, Kirdis Postelle, talks about leaving the label world after decades and connecting artists with the retail giant’s other businesses.

2/22/2021 9:56:00 PM

Amazon Music’s head of artist marketing, Kirdis Postelle, talks about leaving the label world after decades and connecting artists with the retail giant’s other businesses.

Amazon Music’s head of artist marketing, Kirdis Postelle, talks about leaving the label world after decades and connecting artists with the retail giant’s other businesses.

Antonio"L.A." ReidAmazon Donates $1 Million to National Museum of African American MusicCurrently working out of her home, the mother of two starts her days at 4 a.m. with exercise before diving into meetings, wrapping by seven or eight every night. (There's one strict rule:"I have to be eating at noon," she says with a laugh."I don't play with my food.")

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"Marketing hasn't changed as much as you would think it has," says Postelle."It's still our job to get artists' music and brand out there far and wide ... The tools we use are just faster and more efficient now."When you joined Aftermath as GM, there weren't so many women in jobs at that level. Was that hard?

Working for Dre wasn't like working in the music business because while I was there, nobody ever told me,"No, you can't." It wasn't until I left Aftermath that I started to experience the challenges that you're referring to. But I never let that concept of the glass ceiling intimidate me — I just pushed through, worked hard and did damn good work. When I encountered situations where I felt my voice wasn't being heard or I wasn't being respected, I would move on. I inevitably found different situations where my work, vision and voice were respected, where I could do the work I wanted to do.

Yuri HasegawaGlobal plaque for Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP — “the best Eminem album ever,” she says. “Fight me!”After that, you went to Capitol, to work in pop at a time when that was unusual for Black executives. What was that transition like?I went in asking myself if I was qualified to work in pop, because I'd worked in hip-hop basically my entire career, and Steve [Barnett, former Capitol Music Group chairman/CEO] said to me,"You know you have great taste, right? So, the genre doesn't matter." That comment built up my confidence. My team and I developed marketing campaigns for Sam Smith and 5 Seconds of Summer, among other acts, and enjoyed a lot of success.

You're a client of the exclusive executive management firm Making Opportunities Better, which advocates for Black executives in music and was co-founded by your ex-husband. How important has that been for your career?Brian [Postelle] and Steve [Moir, MOB co-founder] have managed me since I left Aftermath. If you feel you don't have a voice as an executive within a company, it's important to have that kind of representation to help advise you. Also, women know the hard work we're capable of doing — however, we often don't know what we're truly worth when it comes to negotiating a salary. Having representatives who will fight to get you everything you deserve is essential, and why it's important for women — especially women of color — to have such representation.

Yuri HasegawaPostelle’s favorite piece of Mac Miller merchandise; she worked two of his projects. “I deeply miss his genius,” she says.Did you struggle over the decision to join L.A. Reid's Hitco [after he exited Epic following accusations of sexual harassment]?

No, I struggled over leaving Warner because of my relationship with Dua Lipa. I knew she was going to be a superstar, and we were starting to lay the foundation. We were at the beginning of everything. But there was a lot of change happening at the label with Tom [Corson, co-chairman/COO] coming in. Then here was L.A., giving me an opportunity to build something with him. After all those years with Dre, I was nostalgic for that: building something from scratch, ownership and being able to have real direction over artists' careers. I was only an assistant when we worked together before.

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And then Amazon came calling. When L.A. and I talked about it, he said,"Listen, I don't want to lose you but if you were my sister or daughter, I would tell you to take that job." It's a different world now with streaming. To work at Amazon with the tools and resources needed to help develop and break artists ... that's my passion.

Amazon Music to Acquire Podcast Startup WonderyAmazon is now in a range of businesses. How does music intersect with the others?My team is the primary entry point into all of the other Amazon business units: Say an artist wants to create a sustainable clothing line. Katie Klein [senior cross category artist marketing manager] on my team would manage the relationships between the fashion team and climate pledge team to put such a campaign together. We also did a major activation with Carrie Underwood, during which Carrie did an original composition for us that Ring doorbell used in its holiday commercial — and Carrie appeared in it as well.

Yuri HasegawaFrom left, Postelle’s mother and Postelle with Dr. Dre in Houston in 2000 during Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Up in Smoke Tour.You built a career developing and marketing new talent. How does that experience play into Amazon Music's larger strategy?

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