Record executive Jason Flom is no stranger to brushing up against stardom. As a teenager, he encountered Ike and Tina Turner, Pete Townshend and Elton John in the elevator of his friend’s apartment building one night, all heading up to the penthouse for the Tommy release party.
“We tried to sneak into the party through the kitchen — didn’t work,” he tells Rolling Stone in this episode of The First Time.
Since then, Flom has had major stints at Atlantic and Capital Records, and in 1995 he founded his own label, Lava, helping to launch the careers of everyone from Matchbox Twenty and Paramore to Lorde and Greta Van Fleet.
“My first impression [of Lorde] is that she was pretty introspective,” he recalls, “and carried herself like a star even at the age of 15.”
Flom recently sat down with Rolling Stone to look back on his career in the music industry, as well as his involvement in criminal justice reform. In 2016, he launched the podcast Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom and has used his platform to advocate against mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses, bringing on guests like Meek Mill, John Grisham and Kim Kardashian West.