Mel Carter

Music Executive/ Investor, Warner Music Group and Republic Records

Born in one of Trinidad’s poorest neighborhoods, Mel Carter’s entrepreneurial spirit has been ingrained in him from a young age. Carter emigrated with his mother and sister to the U.S. and settled in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood when he was 12 years old.

A high school dropout, Carter defied the odds when he was hired by Republic Records as the VP of A&R in November 2019, where he became the first Vice President with zero previous corporate experience at the famed label.

Throughout his Republic tenure, which was preceded by a consulting stint and ended when he left the label in September 2022, Carter also oversaw his Hikari Ultra Records imprint.

His keen eye for talent is credited for most prominently discovering trap metal group City Morgue around the time his mother passed away in 2016. The music mogul facilitated a seven-figure deal for the NYC-bred duo and brought Arkansas rapper Cee Kay into the Republic fold as well.

In late 2022, Carter launched his Second Estate Records imprint in a joint venture with Warner Records, where he also serves as a consultant. Prior to the deal, he turned down an offer to become the EVP of A&R at Warner in order to maintain freedom from corporate ties to continue catering to his array of growing businesses without interruption.

“It’s in my blood, I want to fail or succeed for my own things,” he says of his fearless mindset. The deal with Warner is quickly bearing fruit after inking burgeoning Philly rapper 2Rare to Second Estate last October, who is a member of the 2023 XXL Freshman Class and already has a gold plaque to his name.

Carter diversified his business portfolio when he invested in John Seymour and Nas’ Sweet Chick. Since purchasing a stake in the New York-based restaurant group, Sweet Chick has expanded to seven locations.

He hit the jackpot making a landmark deal in December 2022 when Carter raised $25 million to reach a franchise agreement to become the owner of the 18 existing Bojangles restaurants. The southern fast food chain is expected to open 14 additional locations in the greater Atlanta area.

These days, Mel Carter is finding even more ways to bolster his decorated business résumé. MC teamed up with Steven Manocherian, Daniel Manocherian, and Michael Novogratz to create a mission-based development group focused on affordable housing, which closed a deal on its first lot that’s expected to be completed in 2025. “I just like to grind, it’s part of life at this point,” he adds.

Carter will discuss all things entrepreneurship with the launch of his new podcast alongside mentor-turned-friend co-hosts Galaxy CEO Michael Novogratz and developer David Barry. Season one is set to feature esteemed guests ranging from Quality Control Music’s Kevin “Coach K” Lee to Christopher Burch.

Helping the youth means a lot to Mel, who is always looking for new ways to give back and his philanthropic ventures have ties to his Trinidadian roots where he hosts an annual toy drive that began in 2019. “If one kid can become a better version of me, that’s the mission,” he humbly states.