College Radio: Musical Matchmaker

My AU soundtrack: Jen Tanner, SOC/BA ’12


Apple iPod
  • "Poker Face," Lady Gaga
  • "Rude Boy," Rihanna
  • "Super Bass," Nicki Minaj
  • "Best I Ever Had," Drake
  • "Monster," Kanye West (featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Bon Iver)
  • "Play Your Part (Pt. 1)," Girl Talk
  • "Nothin’ On You," B.o.B. (featuring Bruno Mars)
  • "American Boy," Estelle (featuring Kanye West)
  • "Danza Kuduro," Don Omar (featuring Lucenzo)
  • "Descontrol," Daddy Yankee
  • "Verano Azul," Juan Magán
  • "Down," Jay Sean (featuring Lil Wayne)
  • "BedRock," Young Money (featuring Lloyd)
  • "Give Me Everything," Pitbull (featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer)
  • "DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love," Usher (featuring Pitbull)
  • "Blow," Kesha
  • "Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepsen

What brand of toothpaste do you prefer? What gaming console do you use? Where did you work before you broke into the music industry? 

As vice president and head of global brand partnerships with RCA Records, Jen Tanner, SOC/BA ’12, is a musical matchmaker with an ear for “natural storytelling moments,” peppering artists with questions about their habits and hobbies to craft chord-ial collaborations with brands.  

Her team discovered Fousheé drove for Lyft before signing with RCA in 2020, which allowed the R&B singer-songwriter to make her own schedule as a musician and promote her music to her passengers. “No pun intended, but that was a vehicle for her to get to where she is now,” says Tanner, who steered a partnership with the rideshare company and Fousheé, who cowrote Steve Lacy’s 2022 hit “Bad Habit,” and has since become a successful solo artist herself.

Tanner and her small team—who work with a dozen or so of RCA’s 200 artists at a time—synced SZA with Sony’s LinkBuds and delivered a collaboration with the R&B singer and Postmates. They hit the lotto with Latto and Wingstop and poured a partnership with Patrón and Lucky Daye. They crafted a purr-fect pairing with of Doja Cat and Girls Who Code and scored big with Tate McRae starring in the same Essentia Water campaign as Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. 

If she had become a recording artist herself, Tanner might have partnered with music store FYE—a mall staple of the early 2000s where she worked in high school, which still boasts 200 locations today. Or, it could have been DC’s famed 9:30 Club, where she interned as an AU student, discovered Allen Stone, and saw Janelle Monáe open for Of Montreal—long before she appeared in Hidden Figures or Glass Onion.

Tanner, who went from RCA intern to VP in just nine years, executed a record-setting 150 deals in 2021. Last year, she was named to Billboard’s 40 under 40 and Variety’s list of Hollywood’s New Leaders. 

Whether it’s songs she discovered while studying abroad in Argentina or the early sounds of young Drake drifting through her dorm room, music will always be nostalgic for Tanner.

“Certain songs take you back to a specific place or moment in time; there are few things in life that can do that.”

Tune in to Tanner's mix on Spotify.