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Marisa Pizarro

Partner, Manager, MWA Music, Beatclub

A hip-hop lifer born and raised in New York City, Marisa Pizarro has worked her way from a college internship at The Source to being a Senior VP of A&R at Def Jam to starting a producer driver record label with 6 time Grammy winner, Mike Dean. In the process, she’s been named one of Billboard’s top female music executives, and developed some of the biggest artists of the 21st century.

Pizarro was instrumental in the resurrection of the once dormant Epic Records, signing generational stars like Future and Travis Scott and overseeing A&R operations as it became a hip-hop powerhouse. Her relationship with Scott led to a connection with legendary producer Mike Dean, who she now manages.

As an A&R, Pizarro stresses the importance of loyalty to artists, and finding musicians who have a clear vision of what they want to become. She also says there’s no way to shortcut the developmental process, and that she didn’t get into the industry to turn a quick profit off the latest trend.

While working at Def Jam, she’s worked closely with a wide array of talent, developing charismatic newcomers Fredo Bang, Kaash Paige, ilham and DaniLeigh and even helping Kanye West put together the rollout for Jesus is King and DONDA. Now with her new company, MWA she will continue to nurture young talent. The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Pizarro had to constantly think outside the box to find her place in the industry and was often one of very few women in label meetings. She’s made it a priority to build a diverse team at Def Jam, and to empower female A&Rs however she can.

“Now that I’m in the position where I can provide opportunities for people who wouldn’t necessarily have them, I do,” she says. “It’s about trying to change what these rooms look like.”