Clive Davis has been working as a record producer in the music industry for more than five decades, so it makes sense that he’s made a mind-boggling amount of money. The legendary executive can thank his five Grammys, countless other accolades and his 50-year career for earning him a huge net worth.
Clive’s fortune is valued at an estimated $850 million, Celebrity Net Worth reported. Though he’s best known for working with a number of A-list clients, including Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Aerosmith, among many others, Clive actually started his career as a lawyer.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1956, Clive was employed by Columbia Records as a member of their legal department, according to Britannica. He worked at the CBS subsidiary for a number of years, and eventually, Clive was promoted to Columbia’s general counsel. By 1967, he made his transition in the music industry when he was named the president of CBS Records.
In his early years as the head of the label, Clive signed now-legendary artists like Janis Joplin, Santana, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. Despite landing some of the most famous singers to this day, the music executive was ultimately let go from CBS after he allegedly misappropriated company funds, though he denied the accusations.
That certainly didn’t break Clive’s career, however. Just a year later in 1974, he started his own company when he founded Arista Records with the help of $10 million in funding from Columbia Pictures. Throughout the next two decades, Clive got a big taste of success when he signed artists such as Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow and Dionne Warwick. Most notably, he steered the likes of Dionne’s then-19-year-old cousin, Whitney Houston, whom he signed in 1983.
Artista Records wasn’t Clive’s only impressive business venture. In 1989, he cofounded LaFace Records with fellow record exec L.A. Reid and singer-songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Clive’s portfolio expanded to hip-hip and his superstar status only skyrocketed when he landed artists including Usher, Toni Braxton, Sean “P. Diddy Combs” and TLC.
It was in 2000 when Clive left Arista to start a new label called J Records. The Grammy winner — who was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that same year — worked on the label for a decade before it closed in 2011. Since then, Clive has served as the Chief Creative Officer for all of Sony Music Entertainment, which he was appointed in 2008.
Thanks to all of his hard work, Clive has won a total of five Grammy Awards. In 2000, he took home his first and second award in the Best Rock Album and Album of the Year categories thanks to Santana’s Supernatural. But Clive has done a lot more than pave an iconic run as a music mogul.
In 2013, he authored his book titled The Soundtrack of My Life, which “recounts an extraordinary five-decade career in the music business, while also telling a remarkable personal story of triumphs, disappointments, and encounters with some of the greatest musical artists of our time,” according to the summary. He also penned his first-ever book, Clive: Inside the Record Business, decades earlier in 1975.
Looking back on his career, the legend says he “never planned” on paving such a successful career in showbiz. “When I got in, I discovered a natural gift that I never would have known I had,” Clive told BBC in 2017. “I don’t read music, but [I still get] that visceral feeling when I’m looking for that next great star, or the next hit song.”