Although her hiring marks a full career moment, Michelle says Billboard that in some ways it feels like she never left. “It’s interesting because I think everything I’ve done outside of [Def Jam]somehow I always kept in touch, ”she says. “Like when I was at the Roc [Nation] – we obviously distribute through Def Jam, so I was still sort of… working on some[thing] or another with the staff.
A press release notes that the hiring of Michelle is part of an effort to “revamp and re-energize the marketing department of Def Jam Recordings” – one aspect of an overall label reshuffle after Tunji Balogun’s installation as CEO last month.
“Our goal will be to reinvent our creative, experiential and digital marketing initiatives to create more personalized plans for our artists and meet fans where they live,” adds Michelle. “This re-imagining will apply to our strategies, our systems and, ultimately, our ability to execute. Harnessing and sharing the talents, energies and stories of our emerging artists – the 070 Shake and Kaash Paige incredibly talented and unique come to mind – continues to be one of our top priorities at the label. “
Michelle landed her new role in Def Jam after a year of marketing consulting with Def Jam / RBMG artist Justin Bieber. Meanwhile, the singer released his album Billboard 200 No. 1. Justice and a series of hit singles, including “Peaches” feat. Daniel Caesar and Giveon, “Holy” feat. Chance the Rapper, “Lonely” with Benny Blanco and “Stay” with The Kid LAROI, who spent five non-consecutive weeks atop the Hot 100.
After working as a varsity intern in video production at the former Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJ), Michelle was hired into a marketing position at Def Jam in 2005 and eventually became Director of International Marketing. Her work with Rihanna on the label eventually brought her to Roc Nation in 2012, where she served as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing. In this role, she led projects for Jay-Z and other artists and helped revive the streaming service Tidal.