The phantom menace of inclement weather was not going to ruin Dina Marto’s day. While cold—but not freezing—rain pelted the outside of the party tent in the parking lot behind Marto’s Twelve Studios on Monday, inside corks popped and the sparkling wine flowed to toast the 31-year-old Marietta-raised record exec’s latest achievements.
After city councilmember Kwanza Hall presented Marto with a council proclamation lauding her past contributions to the city’s music industry (which includes the production of hits by Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus at her Midtown studio), the crowd of eager onlookers parted for the (hour-and-15-minute late) arrival of hip-hop impresario Rick Ross. Imposing in a massive fur-collared peacoat, Ross announced that his label, Maybach Music Group, would be setting up operations in Atlanta at Twelve Studios. “Atlanta is the fastest-moving place to make music,” said Ross. “And watching [Marto] build her empire…these things coincided.” Marto has known Ross since she was a young exec with L.A. Reid’s Island Def Jam and he was a budding artist. “I was working with [Marto] already without no choice since ’06,” joked Ross. “I grew to know her… I’ve seen [Marto] be tested by time, and she’s still here, shining brighter than ever. So it’s only right that she be a partner.”
Ross also announced that Marto will help him launch Artists First, a new talent search for young artists and producers. Details were sketchy, but Marto mentioned that the first tryouts might be held in the posh theater of Ross’s new Atlanta home—the sprawling 235-acre Fayette County estate and mansion formerly belonging to boxer Evander Holyfield. The manse listed for $6.875 million.