Legendary music executive and GRAMMY-winning producer Clive Davis recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's Icons of the Music Industry series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Davis reflected on his five-decade career, offered advice to aspiring music executives and discussed his new book, The Soundtrack Of My Life, among other topics.
"[I received] great advice from my parents," said Davis. "'Book knowledge is great but you got to couple it with people' … I always was encouraged and got out there."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Davis began his music career at Columbia Records in 1960 and was appointed president in 1967. At the label he signed such legendary rock artists as Aerosmith; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Earth, Wind & Fire; Janis Joplin; Santana; and Bruce Springsteen. In 1974 Davis co-founded Arista Records and signed Barry Manilow, Whitney Houston and Patti Smith, among others. Davis' business ventures include forming LaFace Records in 1989 with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid, and creating Bad Boy Records in 1994 with Sean "Diddy" Combs. In 2000 Davis' J Records was born (in partnership with BMG) and emerged as a dominant force, releasing the works of Alicia Keys, Maroon 5 and Luther Vandross.
A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Davis is currently chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment Worldwide. Davis has won four GRAMMY Awards, including his most recent win for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson's self-titled release in 2008. The Recording Academy partners with Davis for the annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala, a celebration taking place on the evening before the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast.
In February Davis released The Soundtrack Of My Life, an autobiography that recounts his five-decade career and a follow-up to his 1975 book Clive: Inside The Record Business.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Reel To Reel: Greenwich Village: Music That Defined A Generation (June 24).