Clive Davis, a renowned American music industry executive and record producer, has a net worth of $850 million. He has been instrumental in heading legendary labels such as Columbia Records, Arista Records, and J Records and has signed major artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, and Billy Joel. Davis is also known for launching the careers of artists such as Janis Joplin, Barry Manilow, and Alicia Keys. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Early Life and Education
Born on April 4, 1932, in Brooklyn, New York City, to Jewish parents Herman and Florence, Davis was raised in the Crown Heights neighborhood. After losing both his parents within a short span, Davis lived with his married sister in Queens. He attended New York University, graduating magna cum laude in 1953, with a degree in political science. Davis went on to attend Harvard Law School on a full scholarship, where he graduated with a law degree in 1956.
Following law school, Davis practiced at a small New York law firm before joining Rosenman, Colin, Kaye, Petschek, and Freund law firm. This led to his hiring as an assistant counsel for the CBS subsidiary Columbia Records, where he moved up to the position of general counsel.
As general counsel for Columbia Records, Davis was later promoted to the position of administrative vice president and general manager of the label during the company’s reorganization in 1965. After CBS formed the newly created music operations arm CBS Records, Davis headed the new unit. He also signed several successful artists to Columbia, including Bruce Springsteen, Santana, and Billy Joel. However, he was fired from Columbia/CBS in 1973 for reportedly misusing company funds.
In 1974, Clive Davis founded Arista Records, where he signed several hugely successful artists such as Barry Manilow, Whitney Houston, and Dionne Warwick. Davis also co-founded Arista Nashville, where he signed country artists such as Brad Paisley and Brooks & Dunn. In 2011, Arista was dissolved during the restructuring of RCA, and Davis was later fired from the music label.
In 1989, Davis co-founded LaFace Records with L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. The record label experienced tremendous success thanks to artists such as TLC, Toni Braxton, and Usher.
J Records and Sony
After leaving Arista, Davis launched the label J Records, distributed through the RCA Music Group. Later, Davis became president and CEO of RCA before being promoted to chief creative officer at Sony Music Entertainment. Davis created Bad Boy Records, launching the careers of The Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans.
Clive Davis married twice and has four children. Davis came out as gay in his 2013 autobiography “The Soundtrack of My Life.” He owns multiple properties in New York City, including at least five units in a single building located at 465 Park Avenue.
Davis has won five Grammy Awards for producing albums such as Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” soundtrack and Santana’s “Supernatural.” In 2000, he received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement.
Clive Davis is among the richest music industry executives globally, with a net worth of $850 million. Throughout his long career, he has transcended genres, launched the careers of several successful musicians, and won numerous accolades for his contributions to the music industry.