In April of 2019, Sylvia Rhone was named the Chairman and CEO of Epic Records. She succeeded her previous boss, and stepped into the position after a career spanning over forty years. She’s worked with about every label and every artist you can think of. She has never stuck to one genre, working with artists like Metallica and Jason Mraz all the way to Missy Elliott and Tracy Chapman. To say she’s established is an understatement. Rhone is the backbone of this industry.
Growing up in Harlem, Rhone started paving a path in international finance management. It was a clear trajectory towards executive level work – but it also was around that time that she realized she didn’t want that. Rhone instead started pursuing a career in the music industry. She started as a secretary of Buddha Records in 1974. In the following decade she became vice president of Atlantic Records. She climbed in those ten years to unimaginable heights.
She recently received the City of Hope’s Spirit of Life award. At her acceptance speech, she said: “It was not a hard decision for me to make — to be the Spirit of Life honoree, because I sat in these rooms for 20 years, wondering if there would be anybody up here that looked like me getting an award, and I sat there with a great deal of respect for those honorees. No question about it. They were amazing men, but it was time for a change. I want each and every one of you, especially for the women and people of color, to understand one of my motivations. … I particularly did it because it will open doors for everybody else, and so, this is for us.”