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Kirdis Postelle On MusiCares, Brothers Johnson & Lessons From Dr. Dre
As Vice Chair of MusiCares' Board of Directors, Kirdis Postelle brings more than 25 years of experience in the music industry. With prior stints at LaFace Records, Aftermath Entertainment and Capitol Records, she possesses a wealth of knowledge and relationships having worked with A-list talent such as Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Antonio "L.A." Reid and Dr. Dre, and Sam Smith.
Currently, Postelle is the senior vice president of marketing at Warner Bros. Records, where she develops and implements marketing strategies for artists such as Dua Lipa, Andra Day and Lil Pump.
— Kirdis Postelle (@Kirdisp) January 16, 2018
While some people are apt to forget their first job, Postelle looks back fondly at her first gig as an important career stepping stone that benefits her still to this day.
"My first job was as an administrative assistant at LaFace Records in Atlanta," says Postelle. "Working at LaFace was like music industry boot camp. I worked long, hard hours and learned a lot of the basics that have guided my professional career to date."
Postelle segued to working with Dr. Dre at Aftermath Entertainment for nearly 20 years. There, she managed multiple divisions, including marketing, promotion, publicity, and A&R, in addition to working with talent such as Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and The Game. Her fruitful tenure with the GRAMMY-winning business mogul was challenging but ultimately provided a treasure trove of learning opportunities.
"One of the most important lessons I learned working for Dr. Dre for 17 years was: Always strive for excellence," she says. "He would set the bar for us so high that in most instances we couldn't reach it, but when we did the results were extraordinary. He also taught me not to be afraid to walk away from or let something go that didn't meet the standards we'd set.
"[Dr. Dre also taught me to] never take no for an answer, even from him. People tend to work from 'no' as a default position. I learned that a compelling argument, new information or enough money was often enough to turn a no to a yes. I can count on one hand the number of times I had to tell Dre something couldn't happen."
Making positive things "happen" for the music community is a big part of MusiCares' mission. Whether it's financial assistance, assisting clients with medical care, aiding with disaster relief or providing addiction recovery resources, the Recording Academy's health and human services charity works tirelessly year-round to provide a safety net for the music community. Postelle became aware of the charity via its annual GRAMMY Week event, Person of the Year.
"As a young executive I always wanted to go to the MusiCares Person of the Year event," says Postelle. "You'd see the photos and hear the gossip and knew it was a place you wanted to be if you were in the music business. I wasn't as familiar with the charity until Bill Silva recruited me for the board."
Having been on the Board since 2014, Postelle has had a front-row vantage point of the organization's critical work.
"Being on the Board we get to see how MusiCares is directly impacting lives in the music community all of the time," says Postelle. "The work we do is inspiring and heartbreaking. I'm personally in awe of the medical professionals and the staff at MusiCares that work tirelessly to provide our addiction recovery and mental health services.
As an elected leader for MusiCares, Postelle has supported initiatives such as the Young Ambassadors program. Meanwhile, she has targeted bolstering the charity's profile in the hip-hop community as an action item.
"I think the work we're doing with our Young Ambassadors program is bringing awareness to younger, more tech-savvy executives," she says. "I'd like to see MusiCares have more of a presence at more hip-hop festivals [like] Rolling Loud. The need for the services we provide is overwhelming in the hip-hop community, and there is just a general lack of awareness about MusiCares in this space."
Speaking of hip-hop, Postelle name checks A Tribe Called Quest's "Bonita Applebum," Jay-Z and UGK's "Big Pimpin'" and Lamar's "A.D.H.D" as some of her favorite songs. But what's her favorite of all time?
"My all-time favorite song is 'Strawberry Letter 23' by the Brothers Johnson. The memories tied to this song always make me happy."