Conference Speaker

Shawn Keith


SharpTone Records - Head of A&R Nuclear Blast


On the heels of the most successful year in the 35-year history of Nuclear Blast, Believe (who acquired the company in 2018) appointed Shawn Head of A&R for the world’s biggest heavy metal label.

Founded in 1987, Nuclear Blast is home to genre titans like Rob Zombie, Sabaton, and Nightwish. The label’s roster boasts more than 150 bands from 18 different countries, and the Nuclear Blast catalogue includes classics from Slayer, Exodus, Kreator, Meshuggah, Machine Head, and many more.

Shawn relocated from the Midwest to California in the mid-2000s, where he worked as Vice President at Sumerian Records at the beginning of the label's inception. While there, the fledgling indie startup launched Asking Alexandria and instrumental heroes Animals As Leaders.

Shawn founded SharpTone Records, in partnership with Nuclear Blast, in 2016. Focused on alternative genres, SharpTone signs established acts like Story Of The Year, We Came As Romans, and August Burns Red, and passionately develops new talent, including Loathe, Polaris, Currents, and Don Broco, whose latest album debuted at No. 1 in their native UK. As Shawn himself is fond of saying, “the bands make the brand,” and he’s proven adept, time and again, in recognising and shepherding talent from across the diverse subgenres populating heavy music subculture.

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