Jeff Fenster has been one of the most successful A&R execs in the music industry for the past 20 years. Starting in 1988 at Geffen Records, Fenster has subsequently held top A&R posts at Charisma, Jive Records, Island Def Jam, Arista, J Records, and Warner Bros. He has worked with a tremendous array of hit artists, such as Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Whitney Houston, Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, A Tribe Called Quest and The Killers; A&R for several American Idol winners and finalists, including Jordin Sparks, Kris Allen, David Archuleta and Crystal Bowersox.
Fenster is known for his A&R expertise in two important ways: (1) discovering and signing top artist talent, and (2) overseeing the A&R on major album projects, which includes finding hit songs for his artists or helping to inspire and guide artists to write their own hits. Certainly, one famous success story for Fenster is his discovery of superstar Britney Spears when she was an unknown teenager. He found Spears, signed her to Jive Records after she auditioned for the label and A&R’d her breakthrough debut album, Baby One More Time (which contained the hits “…Baby One More Time,” and “You Drive Me Crazy,” as well as “Sometimes.”) Fenster also signed the Backstreet Boys to Jive Records; he signed the group in conjunction with A&R exec Dave McPherson.
Fenster’s other notable A&R achievements include: A&R-ing Bon Jovi’s multi-platinum, comeback album Crush, which included the smash hit “It’s My Life;” A&R-ing Maxi Priest’s biggest album “Bonafide,” which included the #1 hit “Close To You;” A&R-ing albums by rappers Too Short and KRS-One; and discovering and signing hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest to Jive Records. Fenster was involved with the chart successes of American Idol artists Jordin Sparks (the hits “Tattoo,” “No Air,” “This Is My Now,” “Battlefield;”) Kris Allen “Live Like We’re Dying,” Cher, Charice, Jason Derulo, The Ready Set, Neon Hitch, Sabi and David Archuleta “Crush” and the list goes on.
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