Here’s a listing of our industry judges who we have called on to judge our events. You will see they have a wide variety of qualifications and experience. One thing is for sure, they know and love songs and songwriters!
You remember IRA DEAN as the ”wild,” ”untamed,””crazy,””energetic” bass player of the country trio TRICK PONY, but since leaving the group in 2008, Ira has proven that strength doesnʼt always come in numbers.
Back in 2000, Trick Pony exploded right out of the starting gate with their highly acclaimed and platinum selling self-titled CD. Huge hits co-written by Ira like “Pour Me,” and the Grammy-nominated “Just What I Do,” established him as not only the wild man with headlights in his chrome stand up bass, but as a brand new singer/songwriting force and studio musician in country music.
The trio won both the American Music Awardsʼ“Top New Artist” and the Country Music Associationʼs “Artist of the Year.” The second CD, “On A Mission,” which Ira co-wrote seven cuts, including the hit single, “On A Mission,” brought five more Academy of Country Music nominations including “Album of the Year” and “Vocal Group of the Year”.
Now a few years and more than 50 cuts later, Ira is happy being “a power of one.” He has had songs recorded by Rascal Flatts, Joe Nichols, Chris Young, Trace Adkins, Aaron Lewis, Colt Ford, ex- pony Heidi Newfield, Jake Owen, Gary Allan to including the hit single “Feeling Like That”, and seven cuts by Montgomery Gentryʼ, including their hit single “One In Every Crowd,” and “I’ll Keep The Kids,“ to name a few.
In 2012 Ira released his first solo single titled “Somethin’ Bout a Sunday,” with the accompanied music video reaching the top 10 slot on CMT and GAC.
In 2015 Ira released his long overdue single “Nothin’ To Do Round Here.” The single was the first release from his solo debut album, “It’s About Time.” Dean enlisted a few of his friends to create an all-star band including Ronnie Milsap, Lee Roy Parnell, Montgomery Gentry, Colt Ford, and Jeffrey Steele. “Nothin’ To Do Round Here” can be heard on SiriusXM’s “The Highway” channel.
In 2017, the Oscars recognized Ira Dean for his work with Edwin McCain for writing and producing Edwin’s song, “I’m Back,” which was an Oscar pick for best original music score in a movie.
Ira was been busy in the studio throughout 2018, playing guitars and bass on “FOREVER WORDS” (the never released works of JOHNNY CASH), performed by Chris Cornell, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss , and more. “FOREVER WORDS VOLUME 2” is already in the works with Dean co-producing. He also was hard at work writing and producing parts of the soundtrack for “Under Suspicion,“ —a Chris Mulkey film.
Currently, Ira is producing the soundtrack for upcoming film,“Deep River,” which he is co-starring with Chris Rich (Reba show, Murphy Brown).
All the while, Ira still keeps a busy tour schedule playing all over the United States.
“Itʼs crazy, ain’t it?,” Ira says. “But then again my life has always been crazy. When I first came to town I was drowning. I had this gig for $30 bucks a night and was going to go back home. Then I met this red headed kid ‘bout my age. He came up to me at the club I was playing at and said, ‘Man you can stay at my place for a while.’”
Ira laughs, “That red headed kid was John Carter Cash. My first year in town and I was staying with Johnny Cash, June Carter, and John Carter. God must love crazy.”
Chris Dodson– CHRIS IS KNOWN AS A DEAL MAKER AND HAS MADE 14 MAJOR LABEL DEALS IN NASHVILLE!
CHRIS AND HIS STAFF HAVE BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN THE CAREER GROWTH, MARKETING AND RADIO PROMOTION FOR DOZENS OF SUCCESSFUL ARTISTS INCLUDING TIM McGRAW, FAITH HILL, BILLY RAY CYRUS, TOBY KEITH, TERRI CLARKE, LEEANN RIMES, JODEE MESSINA, KIX BROOKS and KEITH WHITLEY.
CHRIS IS THE #1 INDEPENDENT SONG PLUGGING SERVICE IN COUNTRY MUSIC, STAFF OF 6 SONGPLUGGERS WITH 150 TOP 10 RECORDS, REPRESENTING SONG OF THE YEAR 7 TIMES AND SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR 7 TIMES.
ARTIST MANAGER: HAS MANAGED ARTISTS FOR EVERY MAJOR LABEL. 14 ARTISTS IN ALL. CURRENTLY MANAGES 3 ARTISTS, ONE WITH 3 MAJOR LABEL OFFERS ON THE TABLE.
CHRIS IS A RECORD PRODUCER AND HAS DONE PROJECTS FOR: EVERY MAJOR LABEL. HIS PRODUCTION TEAM CREDITS INCLUDE: MERLE HAGGARD, BILLY RAY CYRUS, VINCE GILL, B. J. THOMAS, KEITH WHITLEY, TERRI CLARKE, SAM & DAVE, BRYAN WHITE and THE GRASSROOTS.
Makin’ Music PUBLISHING DIVISION OWNS MORE THAN A DOZEN #1 RECORDS AND STANDARDS.
CHRIS HAS WORKED AS A STAFF WRITER FOR 3 MAJOR PUBLISHERS. HAS 20 MAJOR CUTS AS A WRITER INCLUDING A CUT ON THE GRASCALS GRAMMY WINNING ALBUM.
CHRIS IS A LICENSED ATTORNEY AND CATALOG BROKER REPRESENTING OVER 3 BILLION DOLLARS IN CATALOG ACQUISITION BUDGETS.
CHRIS IS CURRENTLY HEAD of CREATIVE & ARTIST MANAGEMENT for JOHNNY MORRIS MUSIC GROUP.
Clay Meyers– Clay is a 28-year music industry veteran that has just recently launched a new music publishing company called Big Stage Music. Big Stage Music focuses on signing young artist/writers and assist them in their quest to secure a major label record deal. This company is in partnership with Trey Turner of Turner Nichols & Associates artist Management Company.
Myers started his career in 1986 with the country band Alabama in their publishing company, Maypop Music. In 1989, Myers was hired by Reba McEntire to launch a music publishing company, Starstruck Writers Group. The company yielded many #1 hit singles through out the 90’s.
In 1997, Myers went to work for Creative Artists Agency (CAA) as an agent to head up their music publishing division. While there he helped secure record deals for Little Big Town and Emerson Drive.
In 2002, Myers went to work for the widow of Roy Orbison, Barbara Orbison, and was the VP/GM of Orbison Music / Still Working Music. The company has tremendous success with securing cuts with Taylor Swift, George Strait, Darius Rucker, Brooks n Dunn, Alan Jackson, and many others.
In 2012, Myers was approached by Scott Hendricks (head of A&R for Warner Bros.) to head up his publishing company, Big Tractor Music. While there, Myers secured many hit singles including Blake Shelton’s current hit single “Doin’ What She Likes” and Easton Corbin’s “All Over The Road” and his new single entitled “Clockwork”.
And in February 2014, Myers joined the management team of Turner Nichols.
Dan Hodges-Born in the Washington, D.C area and raised in Nashville, Dan Hodges has built a creditable reputation as a music industry professional over the past 25 years. After receiving his degree in music business, at Middle Tennessee State University, he immediately began his career as manager of BMG Music Publishing’s catalog and tape room. After showing a diligence to “get the job done” and competence in many areas, including his exceptional ability to cast songs for various artists, Dan was ultimately promoted to Professional Manager. Having flourished in that position, in 1997 Dan completed a successful five-year stint at BMG.
Always looking for opportunities that allow him to grow professionally, Dan set out to increase his contacts and experience by accepting a position as Creative Director for legendary Muscle Shoals R&B producer/publisher Rick Hall’s company, Fame Music Publishing.
In 1999, following a 2 year run at Fame, Dan was hired by Hall of Fame Songwriter and veteran publisher Roger Murrah, becoming Creative Director of Murrah Music Corporation. Dan’s tenure with Murrah was briefly interrupted, while he took some time to help form Create Real Music, an independent publishing company which he eventually left. With encouragement from Murrah, Dan returned. As part of his new alliance with Murrah Music, he formed his own publishing company, Large Opportunity Music, along with an independent song plugging service, through which he represented a number of additional clients. In January of 2005, Dan dissolved his independent songplugging service and went to work full-time at Murrah Music Corporation and held the position of Vice President, Creative until April 2008. Murrah’s writing staff included current country star Luke Bryan and Dan placed his first #1 song as a songwriter called “Good Directions”.
Dan Hodges Music opened its doors on April 15, 2008. Operating from just off the round-a-bout on world famous Music Row, DHM builds music careers and catalogs in conjunction with its clients through the development of their songs and networking of their writers. In addition to many cuts since opening DHM, Dan had the opportunity as an A&R consultant for Broken Bow Records from 2009 to 2010 working closely with owner Benny Brown searching for songs for the label’s artists including Jason Aldean and Ash Bowers. In late 2009 Dan shopped client The Bicycle Music Company’s artist/writer Josh Kelley for a country record deal. As a result, Josh was signed by Universal Music Nashville in November 2009. Kelley’s first single, “Georgia Clay” was released Fall 2010 and went to #15. After Kelley left Universal in 2014, Dan shopped him to Sugar Hill Records and produced the XM radio top 5 single “Mandolin Rain”. Dan also Co-Produced Jason Charles Miller’s debut album for Render Records in 2011, which spawned the charting single “Up To Me”.
Dan has successfully placed songs on albums generating over 10 million units in sales throughout his career. Among those songs are the hits “Where Would You Be” by Martina McBride and “I’m A Survivor” by Reba McEntire, which became the theme song for her hit television show, Reba. He was also responsible for pairing artist Rachel Proctor with songwriter Chris Tompkins for cowriting, resulting in Rachel’s hit single and video “Me and Emily.” Dan Hodges Music, LLC. enjoyed success with Billy Currington’s ASCAP 2008 Country Song of the Year and 3 week #1 “Good Directions” and songs recorded by Keith Urban, Chris Young, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Lila McCann, Blaine Larsen, Kenny Rogers, The Isaacs, Carmen Rasmusen, Andy Griggs, Buddy Jewell, Jill King, Little Texas, Dianna Corcoran (Sony, Australia), Jill Johnson (Lionheart Records, Sweden), Swedish Pop artist “The Gentlemen”, Katharine McPhee(American Idol finalist), Pinmonkey and Marie Osmond, as well as two songs on Martina McBride’s “Waking Up Laughing” album which is certified Gold. As a result of Dan’s efforts, other songs have been recorded by George Jones, Randy Houser, Buddy Jewell, Clay Walker, Colin Raye, Jeff Bates, Dean Brody, Blake Wise, Lauren Lucas, Tracy Lawrence, Ricky Van Shelton, Doug Stone, John Anderson, South 65, Keith Harling, Chad Brock, Shannon Brown, and Mark Chesnutt.
In addition to his success at placing songs in his career, Dan has proven that he has an exceptional skill in discovering talented songwriters before they happen. Among those Dan has discovered and signed to their first publishing deals are Grammy winners Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins (cowriters who penned ASCAP 2007 Song of the Year “Before He Cheats” for Carrie Underwood), Victoria Banks (sole writer of the Sara Evans smash “Saints and Angels”), Rachel Thibodeau (the writer of the 3 week #1, ASCAP 2008 Song of the Year “Good Directions” for Billy Currington as well as 2 songs for Martina McBride) and most recently Ryan Griffin and Jason Duke(cowriters of #1 “Dibs” by Kelsea Ballerini).
Tom Jackson– Live Music Producer Tom Jackson is well known for his work on the live shows of artists such as Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Jars of Clay, and 100’s of other major and indie artists. Author of the book Live Music Method and the All Roads Lead to the Stage DVD series, Tom knows how to take what the artist is trying to communicate and help put it in a language the audience understands. Tom travels the world teaching his methods at music conferences and has a great website at tomjacksonproductions.com
Matt Lindsey– Independent Music Publishing Company And Independent Songplugging/Consulting service/Music Production and A&R. Matt Lindsey Music LLC, first writer signed to company was Tony Arata (The Dance).
Company also represents Independent Song Plugging for Clients; Allen Reynolds (NSAI Hall of Fame), Bill Anderson (NSAI Hall of Fame), Rory Bourke (NSAI Hall of Fame), Mike Reid ( I Can’t Make You Love Me, NSAI Hall of Fame), John Wiggins and Jay Knowles (current David Nail single “Kiss You Tonight”
As a songplugger he pitched songs recorded by Garth Brooks, Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Collin Raye, Brooks and Dunn, Tracy Byrd, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, Clay Walker, Rod Stewart, David Lee Roth, Tanya Tucker, George Jones, Don Williams, Martina Mcbride, Suzy Bogguss, Mark Chestnutt, Confederate Railroad, Ty England, Emmylou Harris, Wade Hayes, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hal Ketchum, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Wynonna, Lee Roy Parnell, Alabama, Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea, Chris LeDoux, Delbert McClinton, Gary Allan, Dwight Yoakam, Hank Williams Jr., Keith Stegall, Ricky Skaggs, Eddy Raven, Oak Ridge Boys, Mel McDaniel, Jennifer Warnes, John Anderson, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, Joe Diffie, and many more…
Writers he has worked with over the years included: Tony Arata, Bill Anderson, Jay Knowles, Rory Bourke, Mike Reid, Pete Wasner, Shawn Camp, Pat Alger, Tim O’Brien, Allen Reynolds, Mel Tillis, Andrew Gold, Herb McCullough, Randy Goodrum, Steve Wariner, Buddy Cannon, Iris Dement, Bob Corbin, Dave Hanner, Steve Davis, Tommy Collins, Pam Tillis, Frank Myers, Danny Dill, Pamela Brown Hayes, Lee Roy Parnell, Cindy Walker, Ray Sawyer, and Mel Tillis Jr.
Recent singles & cuts include #1 “Who Are You When I’m Not Lookin’” by Blake Shelton, Josh Turner single “I Wouldn’t Be A Man”. Top 40 hit “It Ain’t The Whiskey” by Gary Allan, Kenny Chesney “Always Gonna Be You” (Welcome To The Fishbowl), Alan Jackson, Joe Nichols, and Randy Travis.
Co-produced with Mark Miller (producer for Garth Brooks) an album on Tony Arata “Way Back When” featuring guest Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, and Lee Roy Parnell.
Co-produced with Tony Arata “Such Is Life” featuring hits Tony wrote for Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, and Emmylou Harris.
As a songwriter his songs have been recorded by Gene Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Diffie, The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Perfect Stranger, Larry Sparks, Moe Bandy, Pam TIllis, and more…
Mike Castronovo– is the founder and CEO of Crowd Music and comes to Music City by way of Chicago, where he was a successful mortgage banker. In 2014 Mike read an article in the Wall Street Journal that opened his eyes to a massive problem.
He learned the current music industry wasn’t fairly compensating those who actually create the music we enjoy, which ultimately hurts all of us as music listeners and fans in the long run.
The more he dove in to trying to understand the problem, the more he was amazed that nobody had come up with a viable solution that would work for everyone.
And that birthed Crowd Music. Crowd Music pays Music Creators FAR MORE than any other platform for the songs they release exclusively through Crowd, and gives them more powerful exposure from a new fanbase that is financially incentivized to tell others about them. Crowd Music is the future of Music!
Logan Crowell is the Founder and President of Helping Our Music Evolve (HOME), a creative incubator and co-working space for musicians, producers, and entrepreneurs.
Logan spent years developing his craft as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist. When he moved to Nashville in 2015 to study music business at Belmont University, he began to see opportunities for innovation in the industry. He’s since devoted his life to rethinking artist development by creating new business models while wearing hats as a producer, manager, talent buyer, and festival promoter.
Shawn Davis has forged his own unique path as a music industry professional, combining his knowledge and experience as a touring musician, songwriter, and business executive. Born into a musical family who nurtured his guitar playing talent from an early age, He honed his skills on the church worship team and began writing songs. Proving his diversity, Shawn became a player and writer for all genres, touring extensively throughout the US and working with many of this generations most notable artists. Dierks Bently, Michael Tait, Further Seems Forever, Dashboard Confessional, Fly-Leaf, Paramore, Dem Franchize Boyz, Kesha, and Fallout Boy to list a few.
Also tapping into the production world, he has worked on various recording projects at some of the worlds top studios, including the Sound Kitchen, New York City Sound Lab, Blackbird, Nightbird Recording, Record Plant and The Ranch. After living in Florida, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, and New York, Davis has made Nashville his home, immersing himself in the music community and establishing valuable relationships. Shawn joined Nashville Underground Management in 2018, actively serving as Shawn Carnes business partner and is a valued industry contributor. He is responsible for Artist Management, A&R and Branding Partnerships.
One of their current clients, Steven Battey recently co-wrote and produced a #1 song for Luke Combs, “One Number Away”
Mark Cawley is a hit U.S. songwriter and musician who coaches other writers and artists to reach their creative and professional goals. During his decades in the music business he has procured a long list of cuts with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Russ Taff, Paul Carrack, Will Downing, Tom Scott, Billie Piper, Pop Idol winners and The Spice Girls. To date his songs have been on more than 16 million records. Mark’s resume includes hits on the Pop, Country, R&B, Jazz, and Rock charts and several publishing deals with the likes of Virgin, Windswept Pacific, and Steelworks/Universal. Mark calls on his decades of experience in the publishing world, as an artist on major labels, co-writer with everyone from Eliot Kennedy and Burt Bacharach to Simon Climie and Kye Fleming, composing, and recording to mentor clients around the globe with iDoCoach. He is also a judge for the UK Songwriting Contest, a contributing author to USA Songwriting, Songwriter Magazine, sponsor for the ASA, judge for Belmont University’s Commercial Music program and West Coast Songwriter events, a popular blogger and, from time to time, conducts his own workshops including ASCAP, BMI and Sweetwater Sound. Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, Mark has also lived in Boston, L.A., Indianapolis, London, and the last 20 years in Nashville, TN.
Rick Barker– Rick is a Personal Manager, Marketing Consultant and Public Speaker living in Nashville Tennessee. Rick has been involved in some amazing careers including Taylor Swift, whom he personally managed from 2006-2008.
Before that, Rick had a 15 year career in radio, and then accepted a job with “Big Machine Records” in 2004. While at Big Machine, Rick developed a unique touring model for their artists called “Nashville To You.” Some of the first acts Rick took out were Sugarland, Josh Turner and Rodney Atkins.
Recently, Rick been a consultant to Sony Music Nashville and Big Machine Records. He’ s also secured Major Label Recording and Publishing Deals for his clients.
Rick is the mastermind behind the “Music Industry Blueprint”, a development service now teaching artists from around the world everything they need to know about the complicated music business. His marketing strategies have since been featured in a number of publications, including Billboard Magazine.”
John Lawry– John is a musician, composer, producer, and songwriter. He is most remembered for being the keyboardist of Christian rock band Petra during their most prolific years. As a member of Petra, John is a recipient of four GRAMMY Awards and multiple Dove Awards. In 2014 was awarded the SESAC LIFETIME LEGACY Award.
One of a kind Nashville based Syndicated Country Music Radio Personality Robert “The Iceman” Golomboski, The last man standing in the world of Throwback Radio Personalities, has aired a number of artists early in their careers before they broke into the mainstream.
Kane Brown, Chris Stapleton, Maddie & Tae, LoCash, Old Dominion, Luke Combs and Kelsea Ballerini are just a handful of artists he has advocated for before their big break. This is why The Iceman is the go to person and hailed as “The Man with The Golden Ears” for the bringing the best new and upcoming new country music artists to the forefront well before they get their big break.
The Iceman recently joined a POWERHOUSE weekend show line up which includes The Bobby Bones Show & award-winning National Crook and Chase Countdown show on the HOTTEST FM Country station in Southern California and the Flagship station for his Syndicated Prime Time with The Iceman show, Kix Hot Country 96.3 and 92.1 FM.
Check out Bobbys show at: theiceman.net
Bob Bender– Born and raised in California, Bob Bender started his career in 1975, working as a production runner for a local concert promoter. Over the next 30+ years, Bender went on to produce over 300 concerts and festivals in the Central California region.
Between 1983 and 1997, Bob worked in the capacity of Tour Manager for such artists that included Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band, Billy Preston, Dwight Twilley, Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam, Rick Derringer, Edgar Winter, A Flock of Seagulls, Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere & The Raiders fame), New Kids on The Block, and Gene Pitney, just to name a few. He has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Mexico.
In 1997 Bob accepted the position of Manager of Artist Development for Curb Records. He went on to represent such label acts as Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Jo Dee Messina, and Hank Williams Jr. By late 1999, he took the reins of the Christian retail division for the label, and helped develop it into a million-dollar division for the company. Soon after, Bender found himself as Director of Sales for Curb Records.
In 2005, country music legend Michael Martin Murphey, hired Bob to manage his label WestFest Records. During the next 3 years, under his management, Murphey re-released his 1970’s hit single “Wildfire” as a new mix with the popular country group “Lonestar”. Michael once again appeared in mainstream radio after an absence of over 20 years, with over 400 country stations playing his hit song, along with appearances on television, including CBS’s “Late Night with David Letterman”.
In 2008, Bob went on to oversee the television promotion and info-mercial marketing campaigns for various country, pop, and Christian artists. He has produced, co-produced, or marketed numerous concert DVD projects, including Tommy Cash’s “Fade to Black” concert, Eric Durrance’s “Turn It Off” video (which climbed to #17 on GAC’s “Country Countdown” charts).
Other various television credits include: the “Celebration for Young Americans” television concert special for George H. Bush’s presidential inauguration, “Billy Preston Live in Atlanta” concert, and the USO’s “Operation Homecoming” television concert special filmed aboard the USS Ranger aircraft carrier.
In 2015, Bender, along with his wife Debbie, entered a new phase by beginning production on a new television show called “Songs in the Spotlight”.
In addition to his television credits, Bob has produced seven album projects including; a live-in concert CD for the Grammy award winning artist Billy Preston, Gospel recording artist Joanne Cash (Johnny Cash’s sister) Americana act Steven L. Smith Band (earning a first round Grammy nomination for Americana Album of the Year), tween pop artist Bailey, country music singer Whitney Wattenbarger, pop group Grant My Wishes, and heavy metal band Se7en Dead.
Other accomplishments include: Serving on the CMTA Board of Directors for the Gospel Music Association from 2000 to 2004, and had the privilege of being a guest lecturer at Belmont University in Nashville, speaking on the business aspects of the music industry.
Currently, he’s producing and hosting a podcast called “The Business Side of Music” recorded in Los Angeles, and Nashville.
Cyndy Reeves– Cyndy is the founder of the Smoky Mountains Songwriter Festival held in Gatlinburg, TN in Mid August. The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is a platform for songwriters to perform their original songs. You will recognize many of these songs from the “Hit” lists. The songwriter not only performs but tells you the story behind the song. It is one of the greatest entertainment venues you will ever see. Public Invited. 4 days of free live entertainment in downtown Gatlinburg.
Scot Sax– Scot knows his way around a solid pop song.
The Philadelphia musician has been writing them for years, whether it was with his own bands Wanderlust and Feel, or as a purveyor of hits for singers like Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. It was Sax, in fact, who co-wrote the country duo’s Grammy-winning smash “Like We Never Loved At All.” His catchy “I Am the Summertime,” penned while with the band Bachelor Number One, was featured in the blockbuster “American Pie.” And he’s netted countless TV credits, with song placements in shows like “Ghost Whisperer,” “NCIS,” “CSI: NY” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”
Sax, whose formative influences include Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles, has been writing pop songs since he was 13.
“It was so easy. Everything else was difficult but that was easy,” he recalls. “I picked up a guitar and I don’t even remember learning more than two chords before I was putting songs together. I didn’t realize how kind of atypical that was until much later.”
When he catapulted into the spotlight with Wanderlust and its chart-topping single “I Walked” from the band’s 1995 RCA Records debut, “Prize,” it seemed his knack for crafting sterling power pop would only steer him to greater things. The band toured with Collective Soul and opened for The Who. When that fame proved fleeting, Sax found success writing for artists like Jason Mraz, Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block and Jennifer Love-Hewitt through a publishing deal in Los Angeles. But he continued to record his own material. He would hit the charts again with his band Feel and the singles “Got Your Name On It” and “Won’t Stand In Your Way.” Later, his collaboration with CBS Records’ artist Sharon Little would result in a career highlight: being hand-picked to open for Robert Plant and Allison Krauss on the duo’s 2008 “Raising Sand” tour.
And now? Scot Sax IS Mr. Chocolate on his latest rock and roll album that feature’s Wilco-drummer Ken Coomer, Bob Dylan’s longtime live guitarist John Jackson and Phil D’Agostino. A return to his glam roots and a salute to all that his hero, David Bowie, stood for. Taking chances.
Kirsti Manna is a Nashville-based songwriter/publisher/producer and an actress with numerous credits that include creating and starring in her own national children’s TV show, “Kirsti’s Manor” viewed by 34 million homes. Her 6 week Billboard #1 smash hit, “Austin” introduced Blake Shelton to country radio. She’s also the co-writer/co-publisher for Big & Rich’s rock-in hit, “Loud” (WB/Nashville) which is the theme song for CMT’s, ” Gone Country” and has been used in everything from video games (EA NASCAR 2008), to Nike NFL ads.
Artists such as LoCash, Gretchen Wilson (Sony/Nashville), Colt Prather (Sony/Nashville), Cowboy Crush (Curb/Nashville) and many others have recorded Kirsti’s songs which have been heard around the world in such places as ESPN, “The Tonight Show,” “The David Letterman Show,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Dance Wars.” Rarely does one find a true renaissance artist, someone whose talent transcends a single genre. Kirsti Manna possesses a versatility found in few artists.
A multifaceted entertainer, motivational speaker and performer, Kirsti connects with her audiences through her infectious energy and enthusiasm, quick wit and spontaneity. Universal emotions and realities of life depicted in her message and delivered with her powerful songs never fail to move, inspire and create an uplifting experience.
Known as the go-to person for inspiration information in 2008 Kirsti launched “Songwriter Girl” and “Songwriter Girl Camps”. Her company offers events focused on songwriting and creative empowerment, as well as a newsletter, blog, webinars and career consultation.
Kami Knake has a B.S.E. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and has spent the last 16 years working at Warner Bros. Records (WBR), Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), The Viper Room, and digital music start-ups.
Knake is the host, curator, and founder of the Bands Under The Radar (BUTR) music podcast, blog and record label founded in 2004 that features unsigned bands and indie artists. BUTR podcasts have been downloaded over 4 million times, growing its grassroots fan base by introducing true music lovers to the best bands and songs that they have never heard of. BUTR’s sole purpose is to be a trusted online music channel for a niche audience of music lovers who love to discover new music. BUTR aims to filter out the noise and present only the best of the best.
Knake launched her music career in 2003 at APA where she assisted booking national tours for Fleetwood Mac, Lenny Kravitz, Robert Plant, Judas Priest, Black Crowes, Boston, Poison, Bret Michaels, Cinderella, Whitesnake, Zakk Wylde, Dan Dyer, and many more. Knake’s passion for indie bands and seeing live music led to her next gig booking and promoting BUTR Presents nights at the world famous Viper Room on the Sunset Strip. While continuing to book monthly nights at the Viper Room, Knake took a job at at Warner Bros. Records in 2005 as a New Medial Marketing Manager responsible for creating and executing online marketing and retail plans for artists, comedians & film/tv soundtracks.
In 2009 Knake left the corporate world and launched BUTR MGMT consulting for artists, labels, entertainment professionals, and digital music start-ups. Some clients Knake has worked for are as follows: G7 Marketing, Beats Music (acquired by Apple Music), The Orchard, Topspin, Mobile Roadie, Damntheradio (acquired by FanBridge), Brite Revolution, Big Kenny and more.
In 2010 Knake was a DJ on South Africa’s largest rock station, 5FM, as part of DJ Jon Savage’s Power Nite of Rock program. Every week, for 3 years, she highlighted a couple new buzzworthy bands from around the world.
For the last 5 years, Knake has been a pioneer in the music streaming space focused mainly on Spotify playlist promotion for major label and indie artists. She published an article in October 2014 that got picked up around the internet titled 10 REASONS WHY EVERY ARTIST SHOULD BE ON SPOTIFY. Knake also curates over 40 Spotify playlists that you can follow on her BUTR Spotify profile.
Chris Love is a multifaceted producer, mixing engineer, session musician, songwriter, studio owner and music educator in Nashville, TN. Chris began his career as an artist, playing clubs on historic Beale Street in Memphis at the age of 13. At the age of 16 Chris won the Jimi Hendrix Guitar Competition in Memphis, sanctioned by The Jimi Hendrix Family. By the age of 21 Chris was playing festivals throughout the country opening for acts like Maroon 5, Gavin DeGraw, and Switchfoot. In 2007 Forbes Magazine named Chris “Memphis’ Most Eligible Bachelor” a list that included George Clooney and Tom Brady. In 2015 Chris received the award for “Best Producer” from the Nashville Industry Music Awards. In 2016, 2017 and 2018 he has been nominated for “Best Producer” by the Nashville Universe Awards and the Tennessee Music Awards. As an educator Chris has taught music privately and in public schools and won over 40 grand championships teaching the Munford High School Band percussion section. Currently, Chris is producing and mixing records from his studio in Lebanon,TN. Chris has worked with artists on Interscope, Sony/ATV, Atlantic Records, and more.
Jeffrey Nelson– Jeffrey is a member of the Independent Pluggers Association. Over the past ten years Jeffrey has placed songs on artist projects produced by some of Nashville’s elite producers, such as Garth Fundis, Kyle Lehning and Brent Mason. Some of those placements have become singles while two others were on an album that was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award.
Jeffrey has represented major publishers, including Chrysalis Music, Curb-Magnatone, EMI Christian Music Publishing, and Larga Vista Music, and contributes commentaries for industry trade magazines like Billboard and Music Row. Nelson is the organizer for monthly meetings with multiple plugger groups and hit writers, leading discussions about artists that are most likely to cut outside songs on upcoming projects.
Phil Madeira-– Phil is a Grammy Award Winning songwriter, producer, musician, singer and author from Nashville, Tennessee. Phil has been a behind-the-scenes shaker and mover as a band member for: Emmylou Harris & Her Red Dirt Boys, Buddy Miller, The Phil Keaggy Band. Phil is also an “A list” session musician / songwriter with Alison Krauss, Mat Kearney, Old Crow Medicine Show, Buddy Miller, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Daniel Amos, Amy Grant, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Civil Wars, Julie Miller, The Band Perry, and many more.
Phil produced Humming People from Norway, and with Lynn Nichols produced The Pawnshop Kings. In 2014, Phil won a Grammy for the song, “From This Valley” for The Civil Wars. Most recently, Phil released his own project, “MercyLand 2” and is producing an album for Mark Heard. Phil along with Lynn Nichols just wrapped up co-producing American Idol’s Elise Testone.
Lynn Nichols– L. Arthur Nichols is a Grammy award winning songwriter, record producer, musician and artist. His 40 years of experience has lead him from touring stages to heading record labels and has earned him a well deserved reputation as an innovator. He’s known for his view of artistic freedom and is a “conscientious objector” to the corporate control of art. He is a believer in the idea that Artistic expressions and creations are an integral part of cultural life.
Nichols’ diverse collaborations and production work spans four decades and include, The Band Perry, Switchfoot, Mute Math, Mat Kearney, The Pawnshop Kings, Delirious, Charlie Peacock, Sam Philips, Stanfour, Amy Grant, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Georgette Jones, Sam Bush, Squeeze,Toby Mack, Mandisa, Elise Testone, Zoegirl, and The Newsboys, to list just a few.
Some of Nichols Film/TV music credits include, The Matrix, The Italian Job, Tomb Raider, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, A Walk To Remember, Pump Up The Volume, MTV Real World, and most recently recording and producing music for AMC’s hit series Hell On Wheels.
His first real break came early, when in 1976, legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy asked him to play guitar in The Phil Keaggy Band. Nichols would go on to produce three landmark rock and roll records for Keaggy. Sunday’s Child, Find Me In These Fields, and Crimson and Blue.
In 1991 Nichols formed the critically acclaimed band Chagall Guevara with Steve Taylor and Dave Perkins. Rolling Stone’s, Parke Puterbaugh reviewed them with the auspicious claim that, “Not since the Clash has a group so effectively turned militant discontent into passionate rock & roll and still maintained a sense of perspective and humor, however black.
His latest production with long time collaborator Phil Madeira, is an “American Roots Jazz” project with singer songwriter, Rachael Davis called “Bandbox Jubilee.” Nichols and Madeira are playing limited live shows with Ms. Davis in support of the project.
Steve Leslie-– Grammy award-winning songwriter Steve Leslie has had songs recorded by Kenny Rogers, Mark Chesnutt, George Strait, Darryl Worley, Rhonda Vincent, Ricky Skaggs, Darius Rucker, and Neal McCoy, to name a few. As a recording artist, Steve has CD’s available on his website.
He teaches his songwriting method online through Skype, in songwriting workshops around the country, as well as mentoring students privately in his Nashville teaching studio. In 2011 Steve joined the faculty of Belmont University, Nashville, TN as Adjunct Professor of Songwriting.
In April 2013 Steve was one of four internationally selected candidates to interview for the Chair of the Songwriting Department at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, MA.
He is currently putting the final touches on his new musical “Umbrella” which will be premiering Fall 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nancy Deckant- Nancy is President and Chief Creative Officer of Nashville Cool, a publishing company which offers services to songwriters including music business mentoring, independent song plugging and events. The company’s flagship event is the Hit Songwriter Invitational songwriting retreat where unsigned songwriters write with hit songwriters.
Nancy recently created a song pitching and plugging service called “ROW CALL” with Shar’n Clark. They are actively looking for great songs to present to their music industry contacts.
Nancy spent 8 years as NSAI Workshop Coordinator, evaluating countless songs and encouraging songwriters on their journey in music. Her song “We Are The Stars” co-written with Anelda Spence, won first place for the Pop Category in the Indie International Songwriters Competition.
Robert Venable- is an award-winning record producer/mixer/engineer in Nashville, TN who has worked with GRAMMY-winning and multi-platinum recording artists including Megadeth, Kelly Clarkson, Twenty One Pilots, Kutless, Kim Burrell, Neal McCoy, and more.
Robert co-owns Off The Wall Studios, just south of Nashville, where he produces and mixes his projects. In addition to music production, Robert has mixed sound for feature length films, television, and commercials. A few of his sound for video clients include Sony, Saturday Night Live, Lexus, Burger King, Disney/Pixar, and more.
Shawn Carnes Nashville Underground Entertainment Co-Founder- is also the founder of Nashville Underground Radio and NU Artist Management. Shawn is a creative/A&R professional who has worked with the most relevant people in the music industry as an artist manager, publicist and consultant. He has held an artist relations position with the Chameleon/Universal/Island Def Jam Music Group, working with notable producers like Max Martin, Dallas Austin, Timbaland, Sandy Vee and Sean Garrett, who have written for Britney Spears, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, TLC, Maroon 5 and Nicki Minaj.
Shawn is a successful songwriter (Gretchen Wilson, Tommy Sims, Bekka Bramlett), a creative consultant and music/media specialist.
Most recently he assists with casting for the TV show “The Voice” (seasons 11-15, bringing 4 top 10 finalists and season 13 winner Chloe Kohanski on the show) and is currently working in artist management.
One of Shawn’s management clients, Steven Batty recently hit #1 with a song he co-wrote and produced, “One Number Away” that was cut by Luke Combs!!
His passion to evolve, create and work with compelling artists is what will cause him to stand out as a “hands on” music executive.
Shawns eye and ear for talent is impeccable, bringing artists to the forefront that not only have something to say, but also have longevity in an ever changing industry.
Diana Garcia specializes in building and implementing innovative marketing strategies for artists and brands. Having over a decade of experience, she has worked with some of the largest entertainment acts and brands in the world. Working alongside acts like Rascal Flatts, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, My Chemical Romance, Muse, The Subways, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Brooks & Dunn, Dolly Parton, Eric Church and many others.
Diana’s work includes managing all of the marketing and digital strategy for country megastars Rascal Flatts. As well as conceptualizing and managing all of the digital strategy for G7 Marketing (a division of George P. Johnson). Projects include Road to the Ram Jam sponsored by RAM Trucks, Dodge Dart Road to the iHeart Radio Music Festival and ConAgra’s Child Hunger Ends Here program which the entire program benefited Feeding America.
Most recently Diana has taken a position at TenTen Music as head of creative and she has also launched a fashion brand that focuses on funding charitable initiatives through each collection. The company was inspired by a trip to Uganda where she opened a maternity ward alongside Blood: Water Mission, founded by Jars of Clay. To date, House of Darlings has funded 4 initiatives across the world.
Adley moved to Nashville amidst her debut as a member of Team Blake on Season 2 of NBC’s The Voice.
Since 2013, she has continued to live her life in front of the camera and on stages nationwide. She’s a Grammy-awarded entertainer opening up for acts like Blake Shelton, Chris Young, Jake Owen, Chris Janson, Big & Rich & Tim McGraw.
Also a savvy digital marketer with her #1 Amazon Best-Selling book “How They Sell Music,” & Host of The Adley Show presented by Facebook Watch, her viral videos continue to attract some of the nation’s top brands every year. Adley is a true Mover and Shaker!
Craig O’Neill- has spent over a decade in the music business.During the first seven years of his career Craig worked at IODA (later Sony Records) in various roles from label management, marketing to music licensing. During this time at IODA/Sony, Craig built out a brand-new licensing division, working directly with their independent roster focused on opportunities for sync. He worked on large licensing campaigns including Google, Apple, Microsoft among others.
In 2012 Craig decided to take the leap as head of creative licensing at Silver Side Productions, a boutique independent licensing company started by music veteran Mike Locke.
Craig is a now a partner at Silver Side Productions with over 500 commercial and television placements including Call of Duty, Mission Impossible 6, Red Sparrow, Atomic Blonde trailers, TV shows and TV promos on ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, HBO, Netflix, Amazon and many more.
Currently, Craig has set up operations in Nashville, working directly with producers, writers and vocalists, developing them with a focus on creating songs specifically for sync.
Shelly Leatherman- Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Recording Engineer and creative Entrepreneur, Shelly Leatherman (aka Skylo) gives new meaning to the word “versatile.” This multi-talented powerhouse has already earned a long list of professional credits while her resume continues to grow like wild fire, as nothing slows her constant workflow.
She can be found working at some of the most legendary recording studios in the world (Dark Horse Recording in Nashville area, Rumbo Studios in Los Angeles and at times Record Room Studios in Miami which is home to Artist such as DJ Khaled, Kent Jones, and so on) and has recorded bands such as Bob Marley’s band (The Wailers), more recently working with and recording incredible singers such as Amy Grant in a project with the Morgan Heritage reggae band, along with many up and coming artist and bands from around the world crossing genres from Reggae, to Rock, Country, Americana, RnB, Pop and Dance.
She loves working and studying in many genres and constantly expanding her musical range. Beginning her studies in Sound Engineering, Music Business & Live Performance at the Florida Institute of Culture, Entertainment & Arts, where they produced & performed their own live shows across South Florida. She started out performing solo at these shows, embracing her sultry compelling voice, and later forming a female RnB vocal power group where they lit up night clubs and celebrations all over singing classic RnB songs of hitmakers such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, to Beyonce and Alicia Keys.
Later moving on to be Lead Singer in an Rock Band where she wrote and produced most of the bands songs, which later became a Christian Rock band all while still performing & recording solo Dance/Pop music infusing live instrumentation. Dance and Pop music has always had her heart and is where she see’s herself always residing as a Music Artist.
She’s currently found in the studio co-producing with producers such as Paimon Jahanbin, who also works with major artist such as Drake, Logic and Pitbull and countless others.
Consistently continuing to educate herself in the Music Industry, formerly mentoring at Palm Beach Sound Studios, she soon began working at Next Legends Entertainment as Producer/ Engineer. She quickly opened her own Entertainment Production company & commercial recording studio Shell-Tone Productions, Inc. Launching a second location (Elite Studios) in West Palm Beach, FL. Although she thrives behind the scenes, she is currently on the verge of releasing her debut solo album starting with her song “Paradise” May 18th, 2018.
She has credits on an entire flood of music projects, national and international branding campaigns and performing roles in motion pictures (The Heart of Summer, Sex Drive, etc) and spending many days working on the set of TV series (Burn Notice). Working on TV Commercial sets with top brands such as Gatorade, scriptwriting for TV shows (Thrill Seekers TV, etc) and hundreds of TV/ Branding Commercials, her writing skills in any form, are undeniable.
Though you may not recognize it due to her foreign voice impressions in Australian or British, her Vocal Sweeps flood hundreds of networks on worldwide radio stations such as UMF Radio, Sirius XM’s BPM, Electric Area, Evolution Radio on iHeart and so on. She says, “To be
honest, I’ve done it all in order to pay for studio time, building my catalogs, pay mentors & train to obtain the skills for the moment I’m ready to release my own personal projects and build something special that will give others a platform of success to grow on.”
Speaking of, she can currently be found in the studio bringing her album to completion while filming her TV show, MicCheck.TV. Completing Audio Engineering and Music Business at Dark Horse Institute, and now Studio Manager at Dark Horse Institute, she’s very equipped with all the resources and talent backing her musical endeavors that have reached a point where they can no longer be contained, and is finally bursting at the seams.
Since moving to Nashville 2 years ago, she has realized her biggest mission in life is helping others develop their music and expand their careers. She has currently launched her own Record Label (White Horse Entertainment) to assist in doing so, creating a platform for true talented Singers, Songwriters and Producers.
Spending a lot of time as an A&R Executive with Dark Horse Music Group, and training for over 15 years in the Industry she has learned valuable ways to help Develop talented Artist , along with her history of branding and marketing, she’s excited to be able to provide knowledge and wisdom to help launch those careers to new heights. Being a very entrepreneurial spirit, she’s excited more for this project than any other company she’s ever built.
DANIEL ROBERT FORD AKA: DR FORD- is a 6x Award Winning Producer & Mixer. #1 on iTunes, 2018 Billboard Radio Top 20. Internationally renowned Audio Educator, Mentor, and specializes in working with dynamic powerful singers.
Dr. Ford got his start DJ’ing during the infamous 90’s San Francisco Rave scene, moving to Los Angeles to learn the art of recording, and earning several degrees in Music from Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, CA. He then studied under Industry giants Ronnie King (Mariah Carey / Tupac Shakur / Snoop Dogg / Dr. Dre), and Jack Joseph Puig (Sheryl Crow / Counting Crows / Goo Goo Dolls / John Mayer / Black Crows / Weezer / U2) and honed his skills, becoming a true Artist in the studio.
Dr Ford has a private studio suite at the world-famous Sound Kitchen in Franklin TN, Dr. Ford is a master Producer and Mixer. Specializing in strong, powerful vocalists, he is known for his “lyrical mixing” strategies, and the ability to take a good record and make it great.
Endorsed by some of the top companies in Pro-Audio, Dr. Ford’s private studio hosts a collection of “tier 1” equipment, in a beautifully treated room, guaranteeing that your music will translate perfectly to the world stage.
Mark Barnowski- is a singer/songwriter who moved from “Motown” to “Music City” five years ago. He hit the ground running and in 2015 won the (TSAI) Tennessee Songwriters Association International Male Songwriter of the year award, TSAI’s 2016 Song Of The Year and received a special award from the TSAI Board Of Directors for outstanding contributions to the songwriter/music community.
As an artist, “Mark Edwards” charted 4 top 50 singles and reached #43 on Billboards Adult Contemporary Charts. His Debut single “Just Having Touched” peaked at #15 and was the highest Charting independent AC single in the Gavin Report’s history.
Mark earned 20 Gold and Platinum Records as a record promoter for artists such as Michael W Smith, Bruce Hornsby, Harry Connick Jr. and has a multi- platinum award for promoting the longest running single in Billboard History “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes.
Mark is now the acting membership Director at TSAI.
Chad Jeffers is a songwriter, touring musician, author and producer. Chad began his career in the band, Pinmonkey, that he co-founded and was signed to RCA. He then went on to tour with Keith Urban, Kenny Loggins, Jamie O’Neal and many others. In 2007, he started touring with country superstar, Carrie Underwood. In 2008, he authored and published his first book, “25 Notes for the Successful Musician.” When he isn’t in the studio producing other artists or touring the world, he is avidly continuing his passion as a songwriter.
Classically trained pianist. 8 years study at The Toronto Conservatory of Music.
– Signed as songwriter to SONY, EMI and ORBISON Publishing Companies for a combined 9 years.
– Signed as artist to A&M, COLUMBIA, RCA and EPIC record labels.
– Wrote, performed and produced over 150 songs used in TV and film. Shows include The Middle, Beverly Hills 90210, Smallville, Party of Five, Shameless, Necessary Roughness, The Young and The Restless, Ghost Whisperer, Blue Mountain State, Big Tips Texas, Do No Harm, The Alectrix, The Listener, DeGrassi, Us and Them, Harvest Moon. Films include A Cinderella Story, Playing for Keeps, Loser, Trick ‘R Treat, Screwballs, All In, A Million Happy Nows.
– Wrote, performed and produced theme songs and/or background music for documentaries on Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, The Mamas and Papas, The Lovin’ Spoonful and others.
– Network TV clients include Disney, Sony, ABC, NBC, Paramount, Universal, MTV, Bravo, Fox, Showtime, USA Network, The Ovation Network, Hallmark, Lifetime, CTV.
– Over 150 songs recorded and released by such artists as Gregg Allman, Jeff Healy, Carmen Electra, Jimmy Hall, Joy Lynn White, Hemingway Corner, Junkhouse, Rebecca Black.
– Founding member of Sony recording artists Hemingway Corner – four Top 5 singles in Canada including one Number 1. Co-wrote, co-produced, played and sang.
– Played keyboards, guitar or drums with B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Jerry Garcia, Roy Buchanan, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Cropper, Steve Miller, Mike Bloomfield, Domenic Troiano, Bob Babbit, John Stewart.
– Toured with and/or opened shows for The Temptations, Earth, Wind and Fire, Van Morrison, The Doobie Brothers, Loggins and Messina, Emmy Lou Harris, The Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Iron Butterfly, Canned Heat, J. Geils Band, Elvin Bishop, The Romantics, Carl Perkins, The Stray Cats.
– Currently lives in Brentwood, Tennessee where he owns and operates his own recording studio and publishing company.
Larry Cox– gained professional songwriter status in the 1980s, capturing 69 awards in The American Song Festival. Since then, Cox has had more than 30 of his songs released as records and/or featured in broadcast commercials, full-length movies & TV films, and prominent TV shows such as “Miami Vice,” “All My Children,” “General Hospital,” and others.
The youngest and seventh son in a Missouri farm family of 10, Cox comes from a lineage of Country and Rockabilly musicians. But, he was to gain his first success writing Pop, Rock and R&B music in Los Angeles. Cox says: “My older brothers all played Country, which I still love and understand. But Elvis, The Beatles and Dylan really turned my head – and writing direction around.”
Cox has written and produced songs and song demos for publishing houses Jobete Music, Lorimar Music, Dale Kawashima Music, Michael O’Connor Music and Lion’s Share Music (Kenny Rogers) and others. As a consultant, he advised Island publishing executive Gary Heaton to sign Christian roots-rock band The Call, which Heaton ended up managing.
He also critiqued and made rewriting tips for a dozen unreleased U2 songs at a time, according to Heaton, that Island owner Chris Blackwell was considering dropping the band from its label, a decision that Cox strongly recommended not doing. For Island publishing, Cox also co-wrote songs with long-time collaborator Brian Curtin – and with Don Was and Robert Palmer.
He and Curtin first met at an Orange County, Calif. studio in the early 1980s and decided to pool their talents, writing four songs in four weekends. Two of those songs: “Whispers From the Back of Your Mind,” and “You Dream In Color,” were immediately signed by Motown’s Jobete Music. And, “Whispers…” was soon recorded by a prominent Japanese artist on Casa Blanca Records. Cox and Curtin later wrote and produced three radio commercials for GTE California, now Verizon, which became the most successful radio spots in that company’s history. A Cox-Curtin composition, “Wanted Man,” recently was inked, to be featured in an upcoming 2018 episode of the Netflix smash show, “Grace & Frankie,” soon entering its fourth season.
Cox and former Bee Gees lead trumpeter Bill Purse in the mid-‘80s collaborated in writing “Stop and Think,” and “Guys Like You Give Love a Bad Name.” “Stop and Think” was recorded by The Ritchie Family on RCA Records and was a smash dance single for “Fire on Blonde” on Atlantic Records and by Michele Goulet on Island Records in the 1990s. Guys Like You…” was recorded by a 15-year-old Stacy Lattisaw on Atlantic/Cotillion Records and by R&B diva Donna Washington on Capitol Records.
Cox joined Isaac Suthers of the MCA Records R&B band “Klique,” in co-writing “Another Day, Another Night.” That song was released as the “B” side of a remake of Jackie Wilson’s “A Woman, A Lover, A Friend,” which reached No. 3 status on the Billboard charts. Later, Cox and Barry Manilow jazz producer Eddie Arkin answered an ASCAP pitch request and co-wrote “Don’t Start Somethin’,” launching the singing career of Vanessa Williams, on the NBC network pilot of “Partners in Crime.”
Cox is an entertainment Expert Author on the Ezine network. He is a former sports and entertainment newspaper reporter, news bureau chief and fashion photographer. He is a pioneer in integrated marketing communications, and an award-winning public relations professional. He is an ASCAP writer and publisher.
Cox has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University. A self-taught guitarist and keyboard player, Cox studied voice with Vocal Coach to the Stars Ron Anderson, whose many clients include: Adele, Axl Rose, Adam Levine, Adam Lambert, Sting, Bono and others.
Cox now resides in the Nashville area, where he continues to write and produce music – and nurture young talent.
Andrea C. Renfree
Andi (as her friends call her) is a Performing Singer/Songwriter with an amazing conceptual and creative base for songwriting. Primarily a lyricist, she is also quite adept at top-line melody creation. She has had over 40 song placements, including “The Buffalo Grass” (co-written with Willie McCullough and Clay Canfield) which was recorded by the late Chris LeDoux on his “Horsepower” CD on Capitol Records.
Andi is also former founding member of the award winning Texas vocal trio 2-Bit Palomino (2011 & 2013 Texas Vocal Group of the Year) and Currently with Renfree Isaacs (recently signed with PuffBunny Records). She was nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year in the 2011 Texas Music Awards.
Together with husband Peter “Ren” Renfree, they own AREN Creative, since 2008, a complete artist services company offering a one stop approach to musical production and artist development services.
You can check out their websites at www.arencreative.com
Ren (as his friends know him) is a Performing Singer/Songwriter and Producer/Engineer. Ren owned Studio Orange, in Southern California (mid 1980’s) and trained under Disney Master Engineer, Don Dorsey. He has worked on numerous projects and his engineering credits include Stevie Wonder and Kenny Loggins, just to name a few. Ren is always looking for new talent to work with.
He has also had nearly 40 song placements. Ren is more of a top-line melodist but is quite adept at crafting a great hook and creative lyrics. Andi and Ren, together, penned 2015 #55 Roots Americana Radio Chart single “97 Acres” along with many songs on 2-Bit Palomino’s #5 Roots Americana Record (2015) “Things I Dream About”.
Together, Andi and Ren own AREN Creative, since 2008, a complete artist services company offering a one stop approach to musical production and artist development services. Currently “The Renfrees” have a new CD Release entitled, “Drive By Town” They have partnered with Blue Eclipse Films to offer live audio/video recording as well as cinematic video production.
Andy Sheridan– Andy is a musician and producer in Franklin, TN. Andy toured with Phil Vassar as his full-time keyboardist for 4 years. He is now the full time band leader, keyboardist/acoustic guitar player for Hunter Hayes and has had the opportunity of performing with well-known artist such as the legendary Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Jason Mraz, Ashley Monroe and Patrick Monahan from Train. Andy has also shared the stage with Jennifer Neetles from SugarLand, Charles Kelley from Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown, Will Hoge, Danielle Bradbery, Chris Janson, Will Hoge, Cole Swindell, Eric Paslay, Dan + Shay, Charile Worsham and countless more!
Crystal Burks- Crystal is a producer, engineer, musician, and songwriter currently living in Nashville, Tn. Crystal started her career in music at age 15 as an artist, as well as playing professionally as a keyboard player. Later on, she co-founded a band where she was a lead vocalist and keyboard player for several years. During the process of recording a project with this group, Crystal developed a love for production. She relocated to Nashville, and has since produced and engineered for artists and songwriters in every genre including Rock, Country, Pop, Christian, Singer/Songwriter and R&B. With a heart to help songwriters and artists develop their sound, in 2016 she founded ProTrax – a company designed to offer affordable, quality demo and song production to up and coming artist and writers.
Jim Frazier- B Side Productions is the studio of Multi-Instrumentalist/Producer/Engineer and Arranger, Jim Frazier. Jim has been working in Nashville since 1989. Jim has produced artists and projects for labels such as Curb, Word Entertainment, and Sony, as well as many of the largest publishing companies, Sony/Tree, BMG, and EMI. Jim has enjoyed working in the studio with artists such as Brad Paisley, SheDaisy, Jim Brickman, Joy Williams (Civil Wars), Phil Keaggy, 4 Him, Jennifer Paige, as well as many wonderful independent projects, most recently with artists such as The Nathan Buttrey Band, Sam Mullins, Brooks Maguire, Jamie Gallo, and Joanna Carlson. Jim also composed and produced music for television, having music used on Undercover Boss, Sons Of Guns, Guys Grocery Games, America’s Top Model, MTV, Wild Celebrity Wife Swap, among many others, as well as national commercials. Jim has a blast playing with, and subbing regularly for several Nashville area bands like The Eaglemainacs, 12 Against Nature, Make Me Smile, Live From Ventura Boulevard, Reunion -A Tribute To The 70’s, as well as his own bands, Soul Confidant, Sam & Jim, and a founding member of the Toto tribute band, “Child’s Anthem”. Jim’s philosophy in the studio is a simple one. Encourage and help bring out the best in every performance, in a highly creative environment… and always honor the song.
David Webb- Nothing has ever been more exciting to David Webb than the work there is to be done in the media and television fields. Given his natural entrepreneurial drive, this field is a perfect fit for him as he has put a great deal of effort toward making himself known as a producer who follows through on promises and delivers results.
Since 2001, he has worked at Cedar Rock Media, where he has developed multiple television programs, co-creating and producing the kids’ show Karpool Kids, co-creating and producing the game show Culture Quest, which aired in Asia for five seasons, and co-creating the performance show Dance Time.
He is currently focused on Nashville Dreamin’, a multi-genre, multi-album singer-songwriter music series. The procedures of putting together this series has been extensive, as he has overseen the entire process from concept to online and in-person auditions, selecting singer-songwriters, to recording the songs thus far. This latest project, Nashville Dreamin is the culmination of passions that he has developed over a three-decade career in production.
David also recently launched “The Great Page of Country Music.” It is a website where songwriters and artists can list and promote themselves on a very easy to use site.
Sher Ross came to Nashville via California, and has been an A&R & Talent Scout for labels and artists such as Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) and Kiefer Sutherland.
She is the CEO of “Last Train Home Nashville” an artist development company, and handles booking for several artists in the US and most recently the UK.
She recently partnered with producer Daniel Ford in their latest venture co-hosting a Podcast called “Nashville Unsung,” featuring artists and industry executives.
Sher recently was tapped as an ambassador for Ashton Kutcher’s Foundation “Thorn” and “The End It Movement” that helps rescue victims of Human Trafficking.
In her spare time (hah!) she hosts her very own monthly original music showcase at Tin Roof Broadway called “Rise 615” the first Tuesday of every month!
James Lugo is a Master Vocal Coach / Record Producer Mixer / Guitarist / Singer / Songwriter, who made his way to Music City by way of Los Angeles in 2015.
James toured for years, playing in Los Angeles, Nashville & Austin and wrote countless songs in all genres with many TV and film placements. James also played guitar with the rock band Dokken, and sang in the classic rock band, Nazareth.
James was a vocal coach for American Idol for 10 years. His years on screen and behind the scenes with Idol made him a household name in the Hollywood music and vocal coaching scene and landed him on the rosters of almost every major label as a vocal coach and producer, for many people in the industry he was their go-to guy!
James also made a huge change in his life the past few years, shedding over 100 pounds and is now coaching others to regain control over their health and lifestyle. Way to go James!
Mark Jones- Mark Jones’ career in the entertainment industry has taking him from musician, artist, and songwriter to agent, talent buyer, and manager. Upon graduating from the renowned Berklee College of Music, he toured as a jazz guitarist and vocalist before moving into the major label pop world as an artist on EPIC and later Capitol records with the MTV award winning group NEW MAN. Between record deals he worked as a talent buyer and then agent booking national and regional acts into clubs and colleges across New England.
In 1990 he was invited to join the iconic country pop group EXILE as they joined the newly established ARISTA Nashville records label. A string of hits and non-stop touring made them a staple at country radio across America.
As the band wound down after years of touring and recording Jones drew on his agent experience to become the Director of Entertainment at Nashville’s premier country venue the Wildhorse Saloon. There he booked and promoted some of the genres top acts and facilitating several successful TV shows produced there for TNN. The club won the prestigious Academy of Country Music nightclub of the year award during his tenure.
In 1999 he signed on as tour manager for country artist Chely Wright and soon after was invited to manage her at Spalding Entertainment. Over the next 14 years Jones went on to be the day to day manager for Wright, Sara Evans, Pat Green, Ashley Monroe, Terri Clark, SheDaisy and Aaron Lines.
Most recently Jones joined the ranks of Flood, Bumstead, McCready, and McCarthy where he worked in Entertainment Business Management for a number of Grammy, CMA, and ACM award winning artists and songwriters.
Sheree’ Spoltore’– understands every nuance of the singer/songwriter journey from her own personal experience as a successful Indy artist. Born into a life full of music, her mother and father, Jackie and John Young, were singer/songwriters. Mr. Young owned a state-of-the-art studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Sheree’ experienced great success in her early career, touring the United States and Europe with the National Choir, performing a solo at Carnegie Hall and in an off-Broadway production. Sheree’s songs have been cut by numerous independent artists and featured in film, television, and commercials. She was also honored to be invited to perform her original song “A Place Called Hope, America” at President Clinton’s 1993 Inaugural festivities.
Sheree’s love of music led her to Music Row where she gained extensive experience working in various industry roles, including as a song plugger, a staff writer, and several management roles. She has worked side-by-side with music industry legends, such as Barbara Orbison, wife of the late Roy Orbison, Merle Kilgore, who co-wrote the classic Johnny Cash hit “Ring of Fire;” and Hank Williams, Jr.
Service to the songwriting community is Sheree’s biggest passion. For seven years, she filled the role of National Membership Director and Assistant Executive Director of Membership for the world’s largest songwriters association, Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). While at NSAI, she created programs that developed thousands of songwriters worldwide and resulted in over 180 publishing deals, record deals, and innumerable successful independent artist careers. Sheree’ has worked with Grammy award-winning hit songwriters, producers, label executives, creative directors, artist managers, publishers, and many other industry professionals.
Sheree’ has been featured as a music industry expert speaker at world class songwriter events, such as the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival, Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival, East Coast Songwriters Convention, the Gospel Music Association’s Immerse Program, as well as local colleges and schools such as Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, Volunteer State Community College, Belmont University, and Hendersonville High School. Sheree’ is fiercely devoted to remaining connected to her local community while serving songwriters across the globe. She was recognized as one of Nashville’s top Community Role Models in the Nashville Scene’s Best of Awards 2013 and also received the WMBA Ambassador Award.
Sheree’ is a member of the Women’s Music Business Association, Country Music Association, Source, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. She currently serves on several boards, including the Gallatin Arts Council and Tennessee Songwriters Association International.
Lindsey Kirkendall– has been working as a performer and industry professional for over 15 years. Originally from So Cal, she began her career in front of the camera. She began her music industry career in Nashville nearly 10 years ago and has since held roles in digital marketing, artist management, editorial, artist development and national radio promotion.
She currently owns her own development + consulting company where she teaches artists to marry the principles of online entrepreneurship with their music careers to create sustainable and profitable businesses without the help of a label.
Barbara Cloyd– is a hit songwriter and the host of the open mic at Bluebird Cafe since 1986! She is also a teacher and mentor that includes critiques, consultation, classes, workshops and a guitar/vocal demo service. Her “Pitch to Publisher” events are well known throughout the songwriting community as a premier discovery mechanism.
Will Rambeaux– Will was born in Lafayette, Louisiana in the heart of cajun country. He grew up listening to the classic pop, rock and country music of his day, as well as a healthy dose of the Cajun, Zydeco and New Orleans R&B native to Louisiana.
With a degree in Literature under his belt, Will left home on a musical odyssey that took him first to Austin, Texas and then to New York City. On a chance visit to Tennessee in the 1980’s Will managed to get a tape to his boyhood idol, Roy Orbison. Mr. Orbison took note of his talent and offered to bring Will to Nashville where his career as a writer and producer has blossomed.
Will fronted his own original roots-rock band for years, but really hit paydirt with his first cut as a songwriter in 1993. Recorded by Warner Bros. artist Faith Hill, “Wild One” took the country charts by storm staying at #1 for four weeks and breaking all records for a new female artist.
Will then had a pair of back-to-back #1 songs for country crooner John Michael Montgomery, the first one, “How Was I To Know”, followed by “Hold On To Me”. He has also had several other Top 10 singles, including “Nobody Gonna’ Rain On Our Parade” (Kathy Mattea) and “Can’t Get Enough” (Patty Loveless) and his songs have been recorded by such diverse artists as Dolly Parton, Hal Ketchum, Jo Dee Messina, Trick Pony Tammy Cochran, Lee Greenwood, Danielle Peck and Ronnie Milsap.
Will’s songs have also garnered many BMI “Most Performed Songs of the Year” awards, as well as several BMI “Million-Air” awards. More recently, Will has been dividing his time between songwriting and record producing. He has recorded four albums for singer/songwriter Sherrie’ Austin, “Words”, “Love In The Real World”, “Following A Feeling” and “Streets Of Heaven” which have yielded many chart singles including “Lucky In Love”, “Put Your Heart Into It” and “Never Been Kissed”. He is also currently working on several new artist projects which should see the light of day in the coming months.
Michael Whittaker– Emmy nominated Michael Whittaker is a unique hybrid of his diverse upbringing as session pianist, producer and film composer.
After attending UCLA’s school of music and majoring in film scoring, Michael has gone on to compose music for over 300 television episodes and TV movies including the popular Power Rangers. Currently Michael is scoring and producing for companies like Disney, Sony, NBC and Lions Gate Films. In 2011 his theme was chosen as the main theme of the new Disney Family Movies channel.
Michael’s orchestration and production skills have won many awards such as the Telly award for his score to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, A 2013 Emmy nomination, Bank of America Musical Achievement award, International Association of Jazz Educators player excellence award, and the Clarence Brown Memorial scholarship for jazz.
Michael’s experience in many styles, has allowed him to work with many notable artists including Lionel Richie, Jimmy Kimmel Live house band, Mack Davis, Paulina Rubio, Wayman Tisdale, Lionel Richie, 98 Degrees, Cake, Brenda Russell, and many others…
Notable shows Michael’s music is featured:
Americas Next Top Model, Funniest Pets and Animals, A&E Toby Keith Documentary, Battleground Earth Best Damn Sports, Biography of Tiger Woods, Dr 90210, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Leprechaun 6, Modern Marvels, Naruto Movie, Xyber 9 New Dawn, Access Hollywood, X Men Marvel Cartoon, The New Addams Family, The Power Rangers, The Ninja Turtles, Americas Most Wanted, Action Man and Nobel Peace Awards 2000 theme.
His new studio is a state of the art music production facility in Franklin, TN called Velvet Cinema studio.
George Cocchini- George has been a session guitarist since age of 19. Has performed on 23 gold & platinum albums, mostly in CCM, 3 of which were awarded Grammies. Some of the artists are, Michael McDonald, Steve Winwood, Steve Curtis Chapman, Michael W Smith, DC Talk, Safetysuit, Kevin Max. Some of the legendary players George has recorded with are: Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Billy Preston, Jeff Porcaro, Matt Chamberlain, Kenny Aranoff, Rick & Jerry Marrota (steely dan & peter gabriel) , David Garibaldi, Alex Acuna, Luis Conte & Lyle Workman. Since the move to Nashville, George has appeared on approximately 140 albums. George has also written some of the biggest songs in Christian music, including the song “Colored People (Co-written with Kevin Max) and others.
Jason Wyatt- Jason was the very first winner of Rising Star, when we started the contest 8 years ago.
Since that time, Jason was the former lead singer of the ACM nominated 4 time top 40 band “The Lost Trailers.” Jason now focuses his time developing new artists, and has made a name for himself writing and producing projects from country to pop to Rock. Jason’s most recent success story is “Sweet Tea Trio” who was recently signed to Kid Rock and Ken Levitan (Vector Management) management. Jason produced their 6 song EP and wrote 2 of their songs. He worked on their
His new production company is Nashville Artist Development.
Check them out at Nashville Artist Development
Mason Douglas has covered a lot of bases of the music business over his 16-year journey in Nashville. Currently in his 7th year as staff writer for the boutique publishing company, Judy Harris Music, Mason is a Top 40 Hit Songwriter, “American Beauty” He is currently working on his own long-awaited full length album due in mid-2017. Mason also enjoys serving and mentoring songwriters and has been a mentor with NSAI
Mason authored a book on Nashville pop-culture, titled “Now You Know Nashville”, which features the stories about Nashville you never knew about: where hit songs were written, studio stories, celebrity houses and grave sites, foodie items, and over 350 locations in town that you can’t miss.
Mason is also an actor, appearing in a number of “Nashville” episodes, most notably as the “Beverly Sound Guy”, as well as featured in numerous commercials for Ram, Nissan, Dayton Tires, Twice Daily, and UpDesk, to name a few.
Mason is on staff at Nashville Artist Development
Loren Johnson For over 20 years, Loren has as served as the founder and CEO of the Christopher Entertainment Organization (C.E.O.), a production and consulting firm primarily focused in the entertainment business. During this time he gained extensive experience in music production, marketing-management, distribution, creative consulting, and new technologies.
He has earned credits and served as a consultant and/or producer on over 50 album projects for ten national record companies including Grammy Award winning producers, INC 50 entrepreneurs and world-renowned artists.
He is an award-winning, cross-genre, modern record producer with many years of experience in both DAW as well as classical recording environments. In 2015 he produced and was a co-writer on Louisa Wendorff’s Arrow EP which reached #1 on the Billboard Heatseeker Charts and # 2 on the iTunes Singer Songwriter Chart.
Currently working with the country group Sweet Tea Trio (for the past year) developed the growth of their platform and their recent signing of a joint venture W/ Vector Management’s Ken Levitan and Kid Rock
Loren and also currently working with two time Grammy nominee and seven time dove winner Nicole Mullen on her first release in 7 years.
Loren is a partner in the recently launched lifestyle brand #Country HashTagCountry.com
Paul Zamek– Paul’s 37 year tenure in the music and entertainment industry includes serving as the US President/CEO of European Multimedia Group Inc. (EMG), Co-President of RPM Record Group, and a member of the Board of Directors of the South African based Gallo Group whose record label and music publishing representation includes Sony/BMG, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. Paul also served as VP/General Manager of Capitol/EMI Records, South Africa.
As President/CEO of his own Zamek World Marketing, Paul has performed a wide range of services for clients, including artist management, entertainment marketing, licensing consulting, publishing and master catalogue representation and procurement, branding strategy and sponsorship procurement.
Among the corporate sponsorships and licenses that Paul has acquired are Remy Martin Cognac, Jim Beam, Coca Cola, Pepsi Co., Proctor & Gamble, Campbell Soup Company, Jack Daniels, American Airlines, Tommy Hilfiger Apparel, Miller Beer and South West Airlines.
Paul has also worked in various capacities for a long list of dignitaries and recording artists from around the world. Among others, the list includes Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Conway Twitty, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Tina Turner.
His current clients and business relationships include Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and guitar legend, Duane Eddy, Naomi Judd, Laura Turner, The Beach Boys, BB King, George Jones, Kenny Rogers, and the estates of Elvis Presley, John Denver and Roy Orbison.
In addition to performing artists, Paul’s corporate client list continues with Apple Corporation UK, Yahoo Music, Mobile Entertainment Forum, AARP (American Assoc. of Retired Persons), REED MIDEM Organization, Warner Brothers Consumer Products, Warner/ Chappell Music, Warner Music Group, Wal-Mart Stores, DreamCatcher Entertainment, Capitol/EMI, SONY/BMG (SBMG) Music, Curb Records, Curb Entertainment, Jive Records, Sanctuary Records Group, Koch Entertainment LLC, Eagle Rock Entertainment, Barbara Orbison Productions, Atlantic Records, BMG Europe, Universal Music Publishing, Universal Music Enterprises, Navarre Distribution, Virgin Records, CAA, ICM and the William Morris Agency.
Kim Copeland– Kim is the creative heart of the company that bears her name.
Long recognized as one of Nashville’s top independent producers, she brings an incredible array of experience and industry relationships to the table. As a trained vocal coach, performance coach and songwriting coach, she daily helps artists and songwriters bring their best efforts into the studio.
She has written, performed and produced country, Christian, pop and rock music. Her track record as a performer, musician and songwriter makes her the perfect conduit between singer and band, between musical vision and sonic reality.
Her clients have won numerous competitions and topped print and online music charts, and her work for artists including Nashville Star finalist Rachel Williams, James Kevin O’Connor, Lisa Lambert, Tim Sweeney, Chris Monaghan, McKenna Faith and Leather & Lace has drawn critical raves.
Her position as owner of one of the best-equipped project studios on Music Row, and her hands-on experience in many of the nation’s top recording facilities, means she can offer the complete recording experience. The combination has helped many of her clients attain publishing and record deals.
Perhaps the best indication of the respect in which she’s held in the industry is her inclusion in The Art & Science of Sound, the acclaimed video series on music production and recording put together by world-renowned producer/artist Alan Parsons and also featuring legends like Michael McDonald and producer Tony Brown.
“Being a woman in a male-dominated industry might make me stand out a bit. I’m probably more nurturing and a little different in my approach, but I’m dead serious about the quality of my work. I’ve been working with songwriters and artists for over 20 years, and I love what I do. I want to send every client out the door with a great-sounding project, and a little farther along on their musical journey.”
Ricky B Rogers- Bassist, Guitarist, Producer & writer; RickyB (nickname) has worked in the music industry for the last 25+ years and has written and recorded numerous major projects.
Holding positions with various major record labels in the capacity of A&R and Marketing director, Ricky also was the co-winner of songwriter of the year in 1997.
Rogers has extensively toured since a teenager, and has worked along side a number of very successful major artists to bring an aggressive sound, personality and life to any project he works with.
Current touring as rotating Bass player for Kid Rock, 2016 tours with Alanis Morrisette (20 year Jagged little pill summer tour, Paul Allan (co-founder of Microsoft and owner of Seattle Seahawks), and releasing a solo Pop/Jazz project on a division of Sony Records (LA Based label) end of 2016)
Ricky has toured with everyone from: Funk Diva band (Vhi Dive tv show), Shanice Wilson (LaFace Records), Tony Bennet, Eddy Money, CeCe Winans, Kurt Carr, Fred Hammond, Bob Carlisle, Bryan Duncan, Kevin Max (Dc Talk) Darius Rucker, Sheldon Reynolds (Earth Wind & Fire), Rachel Lampa, Dan Akroyd (Actor Blues Brothers), Michael Peterson, Roby Duke, Doctor Funk (Strokeland Records/TOP), Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Regie Wooten, Tim Minor (Motown Records) Mycle Wastman (The Voice), Lou Lou (From He Show), Barbra Mandrell, and many others.
Keith Stancil– is the President/CEO of Artist Garden Entertainment, an artist management and marketing firm based in Brentwood, Tennessee. Keith served twenty years in various sales and marketing roles at Capitol/EMI, Warner/Elektra/Atlantic and Word Entertainment. His most recent label years were served in the role of Vice President of General Markets/International/Digital for Word Entertainment. While personally overseeing sales of over fourteen million records, Keith worked on sales and marketing strategies for Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Tina Turner, Madonna, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, MercyMe, Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Jaci Velasquez, Hillsong, Randy Travis, Point of Grace, Francesca Battistelli, the WOW Brand and many others.
Keith and his wife, Diana, launched Artist Garden Entertainment in 2009. In addition to artist management, Keith serves as a marketing consultant on projects with various independent artists and record labels spanning contemporary Christian music and Christian hip-hop with a client list that includes Reach Records, RMG Music, Save The City Records, Lampmode Recordings, Collision Records, Flame and Social Club.
In 2009, Keith founded TheMusicGardener.com blog which was honored multiple years by the Nashville Scene in the “Best of Nashville” awards. He regularly blogs about music industry trends, artist development, music marketing and new music.
Jeb is one of the most accomplished guitarists here in Nashville. He is a Berklee School of Music graduate, and he tours worldwide full time with his duo, Danika and Jeb. Jeb is the creator of an excellent online guitar lesson resource, Six Month Guitar.
Mark Edwards Barnowski is a singer/songwriter who moved from “Motown” to “Music City” five years ago. He hit the ground running and in 2015 won the (TSAI) Tennessee Songwriters Association International Male Songwriter of the year award, TSAI’s 2016 Song Of The Year and received a special award from the TSAI Board Of Directors for outstanding contributions to the songwriter/music community.
As an artist, “Mark Edwards” charted 4 top 50 singles and reached #43 on Billboards Adult Contemporary Charts. His Debut single “Just Having Touched” peaked at #15 and was the highest Charting independent AC single in the Gavin Report’s history.
Mark earned 20 Gold and Platinum Records as a record promoter for artists such as Michael W Smith, Bruce Hornsby, Harry Connick Jr. and has a multi- platinum award for promoting the longest running single in Billboard History “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes.
Sandy is the CEO of The Songtuner. Her songs have appeared on over 25 million CDs, having been recorded by the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Lee Greenwood, Neal McCoy, Anne Murray, & Kenny Rogers and many others. She has had multiple ASCAP writer and publisher awards as well as Billboard Top 5 & 10 hits and a #1 Dance hit with “I Brake For Brunettes” recorded by Rhett Akins. Sandy loves to help songwriters make their songs better! Learn more at: thesongtuner.com
Kim has had a long career in the music business. He is a Producer, Songwriter, Artist Management & Owner of Dream Music Group. Kim has worked with many top companies including Opryland, BMI, SONY/BMG, Walt Disney World, and others. Dream Music Group is an artist development company who helps artists realize their musical ambitions.
Learn more at dreammusicgroup.us
Austin Evans is the owner of The Workshop, Nashville’s only 24-hour writing space. Austin has operated the Workshop for over three years and in that time has had the opportunity to work with hit writers, artists, publishing companies, non-profits and more. Austin is more than just a businessman, he’s also a songwriter. He’s had multiple songs cut with Big Machine’s newest act, Radio Romance, as well as several songs with the artist Filmore, including “Headlights” which has over 1 million plays on Spotify. Austin loves judging Rising Song because he always enjoys getting to hear new songs from talented people.
Learn more at theworkshopmusic.com
Julia Ross has been a performing artist and songwriter since 8 years of age! Starting out with her sisters in Pennsylvania as the group “Everlife”, they grew from an independent group performing local/regional shows, to being signed to Disney’s “HollyWood Records” and playing in arenas worldwide They shared the stage with “The Jonas Brothers”, “Cheetah Girls”, Miley Cyrus and many others.
Julia has performed worldwide with Miley for the past 8 years as her background vocalist, as well as with The Chainsmokers and others. Julia is currently launching her solo career, working with hit songwriter, Adam Watts with Broken City Music. Their combined work has contributed to over 50 million albums sold worldwide. She is an accomplished songwriter herself, having written a string of hit songs over the years. Learn more at JuliaRossOfficial.com
Micah started his music career in 2005. Hopping on a tour bus as lead guitarist for the band Falling Up (Tooth and Nail Records) and the group Disciple. After several national and international tours, moved to Nashville, TN. In 2010, Micah met Travis Terrell, a friend, fellow musician and eventually, business partner. The two built a studio and began producing artist records, composing jingles and custom score.
In october 2013 they Co-Founded SoundStripe. Soundstripe is a technology driven music licensing firm dedicated to connecting the worlds best and brightest artists to advertisement agencies, music supervisors and film makers of all kinds. Learn more at Soundstripe.com
Jason Jordan– Jason moved to Nashville in 1996 from Gadsden, AL. He has over 17 years touring /session/lesson experience. Jason currently tours with Love & Theft as guitarist & md…Some other touring/recording credits: Thompson Square, Jeff Bates, Michael Peterson, Jason Michael Carroll, David Ball, Sarah Johns, Opry, Opryland, General Jackson as well as many morning & late night show appearances. Jason has been featured in Guitar Player, Guitar World & Vintage Guitar Magazines for his solo instrumental work called “Genuine Vinyl”
Ashley L Evans– Chicago Native, Cubs enthusiast, former MLB photographer, Ashley L. Evans has been making waves in the Nashville music scene for the last 4 years. After taking a “winter break in the south”, she says “this town just felt like home and tugged on my heart to stay longer than the off-season.” After photographing several up and coming Nashville artists during their shows in the Chicagoland area, it was easy to reconnect with them when she decided living in Nashville full-time was where she wanted to be. Full-time graphic designer, part-time photographer, and @Spotlight615 show host, Ashley is recognized for seeking new music and developing artists before they break. Having worked with Lee Brice, Lewis Brice, Ricky Young, Ingram Hill, Megan Rüger, Ali Dee and many other artists who have placed well on various tv shows, she is on point with what’s trending. Ashley has helped each artist she’s worked with develop their brand; publishing professional media around the web, designing everything from logos and merch to album design. She has also worked on the road as tour manager for several acts. Ashley has experience with every aspect of developing an artist’s brand, helping them move forward into more successful careers and wider opportunities. For project samples, visit Ashlevans Entertainment: www.ashlevans.com
Don Demumbrum– Don owns and operates Chateau Music Group, a full service artist development and services company. Don is well known as one of the top mastering engineers in Nashville, mastering many top projects in the Christian and Country genres. Don’s industry career began at Capitol Records. Don worked with the regime that “broke” Garth Brooks.
While at Capitol Records, he continued producing projects which led to the birth of his studio / indie label/ production company Château Music Group. He is both a Grammy and Dove nominated mastering engineer.
Most recently Don has partnered with pop artist Gavin DeGraw , his brother AAA artist Joey, and their dad Wayne of the DeGraw Entertainment Group to launch National Underground Records. They are currently wrapping up production on Joey DeGraw’s forthcoming release “The Business of Love” due in late summer 2014.
Chris Omartian– Chris is a multi-platinum selling producer/songwriter who started out on the road playing drums for Donna Summer and songwriting for PMP Music and EMI Publishing, before founding VZN Entertainment. Collaborating with companies like Universal, Warner, and Dreamworks, Chris has spent the majority of his 17-year career producing records in various genres. He has worked with artists affiliated with Disney and Hollywood Records, and contributed music to movies such as Lizzie McGuire and Camp Rock 2.
His music has been placed in a wide variety of television shows including MTV’s The Hills, Friday Night Lights on NBC, All My Children (ABC), and Dawson’s Creek on the WB. Chris’ work can also be found in several popular video games including Rock Band 2 and Dance Dance Revolution. Chris frequently writes and produces material used by Fox Sports, the NFL Network, ESPN, and the Speed Network. His work has been featured in ESPN’s College Gameday, Sunday Night Football on NBC, NFL Total Access (NFLN), and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Currently, Chris has running themes on 2012 Thursday Night Football (NFLN) and 2013 NHL on FOX (FSN)
Charles Alexander is an independent singer/songwriter, digital music strategist and music technology educator. He is the founder of Outside The Box Music, a digital services company.
He helps artists, musicians & songwriters create and extend their online presence. He implements strategies and runs campaigns on behalf of his clients to increase fan acquisition, fan engagement, as well as, create brand awareness. The intent of these efforts are to acquire and nurture a fan base that would help artists build and maintain sustainable careers.
He manages the career of Americana/Roots artist, Keeley Valentino and has run digital campaigns for such diverse artists as Keb’ Mo’, SHEL and Gabe Dixon.
He has been quoted in The Washington Post and The Tennessean and featured on the front page of international music technology blog, HypeBot. He has been a speaker and panelist at the Leadership Music Digital Summit, Americana Music Conference, ASCAP, The International Folk Alliance, Nashville Songwriters International (NSAI) and has contributed to the national discussion on SOPA, the online piracy bill.
He also established “Rock The Net”, a digital music initiative geared towards educating artists, songwriters, artist managers and other music business professionals on how to leverage the internet and other online platforms.
He has been a NewSong Music regional finalist and performs at venues like The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee on a regular basis. He is an ardent advocate for independent music.
Jeff Parker– A Touring/Studio Musician & Producer/Engineer, Jeffrey was born in Arkansas City Kansas and raised on the plains of North-Central Oklahoma, in Newkirk. At an early age he and his family moved to St Louis, MO. After which he moved back to Oklahoma and started his professional music career in Norman OK. and later in Stillwater Ok, where he lived for 11 yrs. Both his parents were musicians, his father a jazz musician, theater actor and barbershop singer, and his mother a music teacher, pianist and organist.
Parker has been a performing musician and composer for 30 years. As a performer, he has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada with various road bands, playing all styles of music and sharing the stage and performing with acts such as Jefferson Starship, Alice Cooper, Buck Owens, Rodney Crowell, Johnny Paycheck, Baillie & the Boys, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kevin Welch, Jimmie LaFave, Brewer & Shipley, The Great Divide, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and countless others.
Jeffrey has, for the past several years, found his original music in demand for film and television projects and it has been featured internationally on PBS and the Discovery Network. His work has also been featured in Museum exhibits such as the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. As a Producer/Engineer/Musician, and owner of Cimarron Sound Lab, Jeffrey for many years has been an integral part of Oklahoma’s vibrant RED DIRT musical community, working with such artists as Tom Skinner & Farmboy, Bob Childers, The Red Dirt Rangers, Cross Canadian Ragweed (co-producer/engineer/musician ‘Carney’,’ Live & Loud’), Jason Boland and the Stragglers, & The Great Divide.
On the national front, Jeffrey has also worked with the CMA/CMT winning Carrie Underwood, Nick Wheeler (All-American Rejects), Grammy winner Rita Coolidge, the NAMMY Award winning Cherokee National Youth Choir, Nammy Winner Gil Silverbird, and the world renowned Tulsa Oratorio Chorus. As a music educator, Jeffrey has taught well over l000 stringed instrument students over a 10 year period.
Nathan Waters– After selling more than 1.2 million records, winning a Dove Award, gracing the covers of popular teen magazines, and appearing in TV shows ranging from “Entertainment Tonight” to “Touched By An Angel” as apart of the music group Plus ONE, Nathan Walters has switched roles with a career behind the curtain in music production and artist development.
Among producing major label acts like: Rachael Lampa, Hawk Nelson, Mizzie (of RAZE), and his own group Plus ONE, Nathan has recorded and developed many independent artists and bands too.
With a deep network of labels, marketing heads, radio promoters, managers, and booking agents, he has developed a team of professionals that can give his artists an exclusive strategy in taking their music to the next level.
Ray Hamilton– Ray is president and CEO of Merf Music Group. They are a music publishing company based in Nashville, TN. They specialize in song placement to Major and Indie Recording Artists as well as placements for Film, TV and other multi-media formats. They have recently had cuts on Miranda Lambert’s new project, as well as numerous other high profile placements.
David Browning– Producer/Programmer/Songwriter David Browning has been an active force in the professional music scene for two decades. Starting his professional career as a touring keyboardist, David traveled with many of Christian music’s top artists, including Avalon, Natalie Grant, Greg Long, Michael English, Billy Graham Ministries, Tony Vincent, Al Denson, Joel Osteen Ministries, Lisa Bevill and Beyond The Blue.
Progressing further as a songwriter and producer, David worked with many renowned artists, including the infamous “Christian years” with Katy Perry, Amy Grant, Ce Ce Winans, Jump 5 and Japanese sensation JP Lam, as well as broadcast production work for NFLʼs Monday Night Football and Pro Bowl, ESPN and others.
David has also worked remotely with talented greats such as Neal Schon (Journey), Mickey Thomas (Starship), Dez Dickerson (Prince), soul diva Linda Clifford and platinum- selling country great Paul Brandt, and side-by-side with songwriting and production moguls Diane Warren, John Bettis, Dennis Matkosky, Keith Thomas, Peter Zizzo, Ric Wake, Brett James, Martin Briley and James Slater.
In 2005, David co-produced the #1 Inspirational hit song “Adore You” for Andy Chrisman (4Him), as well as several radio hits by Canadian artist Janelle, which landed both Juno and Western Canadian Music Award nominations for Album of the Year. David has continued to be a part of many international radio hits throughout the world for artists such as Canadian boy-band Hollywood Heroes, Korean pop artist Gummy, and dance up-and-comer Gabriela.
Currently, David is in producion and co-writing with many different artists and genres, including Chris Lockwood (33 Miles), Brett Loewenstern from American Idol fame, country up-and-comer Kerri Leigh, upcoming Disney Next Big Thing artist Kathryn Hughes, new prog rock group Distorted Priorities (Rod Morgenstein, Dave LaRue, Steve Lukather, Steve Morse and others), “popra” artist Jason Catron, indie rocker Jen Woodhouse and guitar virtuoso Michael Ripoll (Babyface).
Tony Morra– Tony is a “in demand” live and session drummer who has shared the stage with, Michael Bolton, MC Hammer, Wilson Phillips, C & C Music Factory, New Kids On The Block, Amy Grant, and many of the pop acts of the time. Tony currently keeps quite busy tracking drums for all kinds of projects, Country, Rock, Pop, Christian Contemporary and Jazz. He has most recently been featured on Discrete Drums’ “Heavy Mental” Sample Library, worked with Grammy-Nominated producer Matt Bronleewee on Rebecca St. James’ most recent single “Alive,” and one of his most favorite projects, “Songs From The Neighborhood,” a tribute to Mr. Rogers.
Tony is available to add drum tracks to your song. Recently, he cut drums for Rising Star contestant, Doug Mathis for his song, “America,” which is creating quite the buzz!
Alvarado Road Show– The Nashville-by-way-of-Texas-based, brother duo Alvarado Road Show are led by singer/ bass player/guitarist, Cleve Clark and feature A.J. Clark, singer/guitarist. The brothers create and perform rootsy American music about life, love and relationships. They are brothers, singers, performers, musicians, producers & songwriters.
Some of the guy’s works have been showcased on the recent release by Joey Plus Rory, Ty Herndon’s forthcoming country project; Gwen Sebastian’s self named album. The legendary songwriter Mentor Williams’ “Just Another Songwriter” project which was also produced by the brothers and features Williams’ rock classic “Drift Away”; & the new Universal Records artists, The Elderlin Chicks. Kim Williams, Mentor Williams, David Z, Tom Douglas, Stan Lynch, Rick Carnes… these are a list of a few hit songwriter legends who Cleve and AJ share catalogs with.
Brian Bonds– Brian was born and raised in Miami Fl. He started playing guitar at 10 and in bars at 13. At 16 he was recognized by the Grammys and selected to play in the Grammy All Star high school band for the next 3 years of high school. Soon after high school he moved to Atlanta and signed a record deal with his own band.
He moved to Nashville in 2006 and since being here has toured with several national artist including Chely Wright, Love and Theft, Chase Rice, Florida Georgia Line and many more.
Brian is an author, speaker, and offers career counseling to musicians in all genres and all skill levels.
Brian Lucas- is a sought after vocal coach located in Nashville, TN. Brian combines a strong educational background with real world professional experience to offer customized lessons to each individual client. On the educational side, Brian holds a performance degree with honors from the #1 music school, the Berklee College of Music, with additional studies at the Boston Conservatory. On the experience side, Brian has been a vocal coach, casting associate, musical director, band leader, pianist, vocalist and actor for: HBO, Dreamworks, ABC and Paramount, as well as numerous theaters and several Top 40 artists. He serves on the board of directors of SAG-AFTRA and is a member of the Pan American Vocology Association.
Brian’s approach to teaching is focused on indentifying each person’s unique strengths and weaknesses and prescribing specific, easy-to-follow exercises for the fastest improvement. The goal is to always see a noticeable improvement in every lesson, including the very first lesson.
Andy Selby– Andy Selby is a two time grammy winning musician, engineer, and producer. He has worked with a long list of artists and producers, encompassing a wide range of styles, including:
Bernie Herms (Natalie Grant, The Tenors, Felicia Barton), Robert Marvin (Mat Kearney, Kelly Sweet, Matt Redman), Tommy Sims, Josh Crosby, Michael Ochs, Jeff Cohen, Anthony Skinner
Kelly Sweet, Mat Kearney, The Tenors, Michelle Williams, TobyMac, Brandon Heath, Hot Chelle Rae, CeCe Winans, Adam Lambert, Matt Redman, The Murrills, Krystal Meyers, Nicole C. Mullen, Darlene McCoy
Mike Smith– Mike Smith is president of Michael Smith & Associates and a thirty year veteran artist manager managing the careers of the band, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, Salvador, Go Fish, artists, Yancy, Jaci Valesquez. Mike also manages comedians Brad Stine and Chonda Pierce. Mike runs two record labels, Pure Blue Records and Right Minded Records, a booking agency, a men’s ministry and a conference company. There’s a lot more to Mike’s story and all he has done in the music business. Most recently, Mike launched on online resource to teach all he knows about artist management.
Dennis Dearing– For over 25 years, Dennis Dearing has been passionate about creating quality music. His initial training at Belmont University in Nashville, mixed with his invaluable experience working with the very best in the Music Industry, has made him a sought after record producer, recording engineer, studio musician and songwriter. Dennis has the sincere desire to bring your artistic vision to life. Whether you are a major label artist with national distribution or an independent singer-songwriter just starting out, connect with Dennis and begin your creative journey.
Robin Earl– Robin is a well-known and respected global voice coach, working with artists and singer/songwriters from all over the US and around the world. Her clients’ credits include: Grammy nominations, Major Label artists, Radio Disney, HBO, X-Factor, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Voice audition finalists, NY Ad Agency commercials, Colgate Country Showdown winners, Next American Superstar, film/tv placements, and more. Her own vocals are featured on HBO, Showtime, Disney Channel, numerous films, tv shows, and CDs.
Gary Earl– Songwriter, Producer, Mixer, Multi-Instrumentalist Gary is connected to an impressive list of clients: DISNEY, HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, label artists, major film companies, Madison Ave Ads, & artists globally. His songwriting was honored with a National Kennedy Center for the Arts Music Award, and his work producing, playing and mixing has been Grammy nominated.
His film and TV work includes songs for HBO and Disney movies, instrumental cues for The Bachelor, Ellen DeGeneres, Pokemon and Batman, scoring for HBO movies, music coordinating “All Dogs Go To Heaven”, Dick Clark’s gameshow “the Challengers” and the animated musicial Dicken’s “Cooperfield”.
Apple has consulted with Gary on their audio recording software app. He is the host of Music City Online-your destination for the best interviews with Nashville hit songwriters, artists, publishers, labels, Film & TV Supers, & more.
Chuck Whiting– Chuck is a Nashville-based publicist, music publisher, author and composer. His company, Music City Arts Network, represents country artist Scott Coner (Tanya Tucker duet/”Maybe She Lied”) and Chakra Bleu (number one pop/rock hit “All Of Me”). He also is the founder of the monthly “Tunesmithing” songwriters showcase at the Aloft Hotel West End.
Chuck is the co-songwriter/co-author of the holiday song and storybook “The Littlest Star” featuring Margo Smith, Denny Jiosa and Connie Ellisor. His publishing company, Striking Moon Music, handles the song catalog of the late Marcia Jones, whose song “Closer Than We’ve Ever Been” was featured in the Hallmark movie “Lake Effects.” Chuck also serves as the editor of the arts publication Music City Arts Update. Connect with Chuck on Facebook and Twitter @MusicCityArts.
Bruce Michael Miller is one of Nashville’s most requested song evaluators. Bruce has taught songwriting at the college level and is active in the Nashville songwriters’ community. He has evaluated upwards of 12,000 songs and has been a judge for the CMT songwriting contest for several years.
Bruce is not only an award-winning writer, but a producer, performer, and music educator. He has performed with such notable artists as Paul McCartney, Kenny Loggins, Jim Messina, Laura Branigan, The Standells, John Densmore of “The Doors”, Gary Wright, Jeffrey Steele, and others.
Bruce has had cuts by Steve Holy, Legendary Blues artist Miranda Louise, traditional country great Allen Carl, pop artist Lisa Nemzo, Nancy Terzian, Miss Jeannie and others. Bruce’s songs have been featured in motion pictures, performed internationally by other artists, and he has scored and produced movie soundtracks. His song “Voodoo” was chosen as an Oscar contender for Best Song in a Motion Picture for 2013.
Billy Smiley– is a music producer, songwriter, and musician. He is best known for being one of the core members of the Christian rock band White Heart. He was the band’s’ guitarist, vocalist, and one of the main songwriters since 1982.
Billy also helped A&R, discover, develop, produce, and/or write for such artists as The Newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman, Susan Ashton, The Normals, Aaron Shust, Margaret Becker, Clay Aiken, Johnny Cash, Petra, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Geoff Moore and the Distance, Rachel Rachel, The Gaither Vocal Band, 4 Him, and Michael English.
As a songwriter for Curb, Sparrow, BMG, Warner/Word, and Brentwood/Benson Billy has co-written 25 no. 1 songs, and over 50 top 10 songs.
Billy has 5 Grammy Award Nominations, 27 Dove Award Nominations, GMA Songwriter of the Year. Received Soul 2 Soul Honors Award 2006. White Heart was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame 2010.
Billy continues to develop and produce talent here in Music City, and has a new band, The Union of Sinners and Saints, with members of Petra and White Heart.
Darwin Moody- Darwin owns and operates Embassy Music. For over 20 years Embassy Music has discovered and developed new artists and songwriters in the music industry. Embassy’s discoveries have been signed to major publishing and record deals and nominated for numerous awards and Grammy’s. Embassy’s artists have appeared on CMT, MTV, American Idol, The X Factor, The Stellar Awards, and have toured with major artists such as Taylor Swift, Third Day, Casting Crowns, Tim McGraw, among others.
Keith Urban hand-picked one of Embassy’s discoveries, out of 6000 aspiring artists, to join him on his “World Tour.” * Darwin is also a songwriter and had a number 1 radio single that he co-wrote with an independent artist he discovered.
Jim O’Brien– Originally from New York, Jim moved to Nashville in 1999. Jim toured with “Plain Jane” from 99-2005, and won several songwriting awards. Jim opened Studio 2212 in 2005 and has recorded several signed and independent artists. Jim has played guitar on several Fox Sports shows. In 2013, Jim began writing songs for the t.v. program “Parenthood” and has had several placed on the show.
Bill Diluigi– Bill Diluigi is a staff writer at Rhyme Partners in Nashville. The TV shows Alaska Goldrush and Hart of Dixie have licensed Bill’s songs. He is a 2013 Covenant Award nominee. “Wait” by Amber Hayes made the Billboard Top 100 in 2012. He’s had many cuts including “Always There For Me” by Richie McDonald . He was the Grand Prize Winner in the NSAI/CMT and American Songwriter song contests.