We Are Listening presents a diverse panel of contest judges comprised of the music industry's most recognized and accomplished professionals. Our judges' names are synonymous with Warner, EMI, Universal, SonyBMG, Live Nation, The Agency Group, Paramount, MTV, CBS, Comcast, Yahoo Music and many other music and media giants. Collectively, they have helped shape the careers of the biggest recording artists in the last four decades and contributed to the success of the most powerful corporate brands of this century.


Tobin Watkinson Tobin Watkinson
Tobin Watkinson was most recently a consultant to the A&R Department at Atlantic Records while simultaneously holding the title of co-founder/partner at boutique LA based management company, Roxwell Management. Prior to co-founding Roxwell, Tobin was the Director of Artist & Repertoire at MySpace Records, a joint venture with Interscope Records. He has been awarded gold and platinum records for his early involvement in the discovery of recording artist OneRepublic. Their debut single "Apologize" has sold over 10 million singles worldwide and is one of the most legally downloaded songs in U.S. digital history. In 2008 "Apologize" broke the all-time record for the most "spins" in the history of U.S. Top 40 Radio and One Republic went on to sell nearly 2 million copies of their debut album "Dreaming Out Loud" which has been certified gold or platinum in 12 countries. In addition, Tobin has also helped launch the careers of successful touring acts Scary Kids Scaring Kids (RCA) and Madina Lake (Roadrunner/Atlantic). Prior to being recruited to help launch MySpace Records, Tobin was partnered in a joint venture with Warner Music Group and was part of the team that led business development efforts at internet music startup In addition, Tobin has worked with Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group, as well as joint ventures through Columbia Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC.
Chris Jackson Chris Jackson
As Director of Music for the Comcast Entertainment Group, Chris is responsible for the "sound" of the E!, Style, G4 and Fearnet Networks. Chris oversees all aspects of music acquisition, placement, and production for the major cable network group. This includes catalog development and exploitation, rights administration, and strategic initiatives involving music and music-related programming. Chris also works closely with programming, talent, and promotion to leverage network assets in providing opportunities to both emerging and established artists seeking to take advantage of the network's worldwide scope and reach. Prior to CEG, Chris was a partner in Beatscape, providing music supervision for Film, Television, Trailers and Videogames. He also co-founded MustVote, a groundbreaking voter registration campaign coupling viral and social media marketing with the passion of music fans. Chris also co-founded Rightspring, Inc. a pioneering marketplace for searching, licensing and digital delivery of creative assets to professional users. Chris has over 15 years experience in all facets of the music business including major and independent labels, event production and digital media.
Jay Frank Jay Frank
Jay Frank is currently the SVP of Music Strategy for CMT, a division of MTV Networks. At CMT, he oversees the implementation of music across all platforms, including TV, web, mobile and VOD. The new synergy he is developing is changing the face of country music as he identifies future country hits through active monitoring of all platforms. Jay Frank has also managed music programming, along with artist and label relations for Yahoo! Music, formerly known as LAUNCH. His ability to find hits early also led to Yahoo! Music becoming instrumental in breaking many acts in their early stages. This ability has also led Yahoo! Music to be a leading indicator of the future success for an artist.
Eavan Porter Eavan Porter
Graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in Public Relations and Entertainment Communications, Eavan began her music career as an A&R intern at Atlantic Records. In 2007, she joined the Artist Management Department at Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group. Out of Nettwerk's LA office, Eavan works directly with the artists Jars of Clay, Sixpence None the Richer, Maria Taylor, Griffin House, and Lucy Schwartz on a day to day basis. In 2009, she began working with manager Kevin Kocher for the artists Chromeo, Datarock, and Fan Death, as well. In her free time she throws parties and books shows with other music industry friends under the moniker "Less Jack More Jill" and is quite fond of gummy bears and puppies.
Jolene Pellant Jolene Pellant
Jolene Pellant is a partner at Yes Dear Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based talent management, marketing and music publishing company. Prior, Jolene was the VP of National Marketing at Live Nation, overseeing national marketing efforts and working on tour marketing for artists such as Aerosmith, Fiona Apple, Journey, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Damien Rice, Chicago, Backstreet Boys, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley and many others. She was promoted to this position when Avalon Attractions/Clear Channel Entertainment, a marketing and promotions firm where she held the post of Director of Marketing and oversaw entertainment events ranging from Blue's Clues Live to the Rolling Stones, was restructured and branded as Live Nation. Jolene started her career in radio at the legendary Los Angeles rock radio station, KLOS, and as a video editor at Pop Art Film Factory.
Natalia Nastaskin, Esq. Natalia Nastaskin, Esq.
Based in New York City, Natalia is the Head of Business Affairs for The Agency Group, one of the largest talent agencies in the world. Born in Moscow and raised in the US, she holds a J.D. from The Columbus School of Law in Washington D.C. and has long been active in numerous charitable organizations, including the United Jewish Appeal and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. In 1994, she joined the New York law firm of Molot & Associates with a focus in contract and intellectual property law and, in 1996, founded her own law firm, specializing in the music, film, literary and fashion industries. Over the years, Natalia has worked with prominent artists, executives, and entrepreneurs in the U.S., Europe and Russia.
Bahar Tozman Bahar Tozman
Bahar has been working for EMI Music Publishing for more than a decade. She started at the company in 1996 as a radio and television promoter and, in 1999, was promoted to A&R Manager. In 2002, she was promoted again to General Manager of A&R Germany and runs the A&R office in Berlin to this day. Among many others, Bahar signed and developed German chart-topping artists such as Juli, Culcha Candela and AZAD. She is also a member of the EMI Music Publishing A&R Forum which drives creative cooperation between artists and songwriters throughout Europe.
Scott Gunter Scott Gunter
Scott has been working for Almo Irving/Rondor Music (now Universal Music Publishing) for over 14 years. His professional credits include Paul Kennerley (Many Emmylou Harris and Judds hits), Will Jennings - "Please Remember Me" (Tim McGraw) & "My Heart Will Go On" (Celine Dion), Mike Reid - "I Can't Make Me Love You" (Bonnie Raitt), Craig Wiseman - "Live Like You Were Dying" (Tim McGraw), Annie Roboff - "This Kiss" (Faith Hill), Anthony Smith "Cowboys Like Us" (George Strait), Steve Robson - "What Hurts The Most" (Rascal Flatts), Wayne Hector - "Feels Like Today" (Rascal Flatts), Darrell Brown "You'll Think Of Me" (Keith Urban), Tony Mullins - "Me and My Gang" (Rascal Flatts) & Byron Hill "Nothing On But The Radio" (Gary Allan).
Carly Vermes Carly Vermes
Carly has been working in the music department at Paramount Pictures for the past five years. Her responsibilities include screening incoming music from record companies, publishing companies and managers/agents, selecting music for single tie-ins and assisting in the compilation of soundtracks. Some of the more recent projects she has worked on are: School of Rock, Failure to Launch and Mean Girls, to name just a few. She is also working closely with a select group of artists, aiding in the development of their musical careers.
Charlie Mole Charlie Mole
Charlie's musical career began with a music scholarship to Oxford University. After graduating, he signed to Warner-Chappell as a songwriter for ten years before embarking on a career as a film composer. Charlie is perhaps better known in Hollywood than in the UK because of the quality of films he has scored. The dark and moody orchestral score he wrote for Othello (Lawrence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh/Castlerock) "stands up there with those of James Horner, Danny Elfman and John Williams" (US Soundtrack Review). His witty and graceful score to An Ideal Husband (Rupert Everett, Cate Blanchette/Miramax) won numerous international awards and established him as a leading international composer. He is also one of the UK's top pop/R&B songwriters, having worked with Lenny Kravitz, Kylie Minogue, Chaka Khan, Savage Garden, Angie Stone and Ultra Nate.
Paul Zamek 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.
Shele Sondheim Shele Sondheim
Shele's recording and performing credits include Phil Collins, Natalie Cole, Little Richard, Billy Preston, Lola Falana, Wayne Newton, Flip Wilson and Roy Clark as well as extensive worldwide TV & Film credits. Most recently, Phil Collins' Little Dreams Band, penning their title track Donne Le Moi on Capitol/EMI followed by the Phil Collins Limited Edition Swatch Watch campaign, with proceeds going to Little Dreams Foundation in Geneva. Current: Shele functions in dual capacity as a successful songwriter/music producer and music entrepreneur. His company is engaged in the development of competitive materials and artists in pop, r&b, rock and dance. Their work includes the discovery, development and representation of young emerging artists both domestic and international, including growing sponsorship alliances with music industry leaders and brand manufacturers. The company participates annually at all the major music trade events whereby Shele facilitates unique opportunities for presenting original materials and artist to global industry contacts at record labels, tv & film, fashion music branding sponsors and multi-media cross platforms.
Beth Wernick Beth Wernick
Beth began her career in the music industry as a publicist in New York City, working with amazing recording artists like Tom Petty & the Heart Breakers, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Ambrosia, Judy Collins, Tanya Tucker, KC and the Sunshine Band, War, and many others. After moving to Los Angeles, Beth formed Imaginary Friends Music Partners, which licenses the music of unsigned, Indy artists to TV shows, films, commercials etc. Also, Beth is the manager of Composer, Sharon Farber, who recently scored "When Nietzsche Wept" for Millennium Films.
Sara Light Sara Light
As a full-time staff writer in Nashville, Sara's credits include the John Michael Montgomery title track and the hit single "Home To You" which was named 2000 SESAC Song of the Year. She is a 2003 Tony Award nominee for Best Original Score for her contribution of original songs she composed for the Broadway musical, "Urban Cowboy". Her first love, teaching, has always remained a part of her and she has given songwriting seminars throughout the U.S. and Canada, co-authored the audio reference series entitled "The Songwriters Survival Kit," and recently hooked up with hit hip-hop writer and producer, Jack Knight, to write the book, The Art of Writing a Hit Song: the Urban . She is the co-founder and President of, an educational website for songwriters that provides online coaching, co-writing and pitching opportunities as well as over 70 multi-level self-paced and instructor-led courses developed and taught by award-winning songwriters.
Jack Perricone Jack Perricone
Co-Founder of Berklee College of Music's unique Songwriting Department, Jack has enjoyed a distinguished career as a songwriter, composer, and arranger. His work includes such hits as "Run, Joey, Run," which reached Billboard's 1975 Top Five, and Angela Bofill's "What I Wouldn't Do (For the Love of You)". His songs have appeared on the Pop, Country, and R&B charts, and have been recorded by David Geddes, Lou Rawls, Jerry Butler, K.T. Oslin, and many others.
John Stevens John Stevens
John is acclaimed for his insight into the life and music of John Lennon. For more than twenty years, he has taught "The Music of John Lennon", one of the most popular courses at Berklee College of Music. He is also a member of "The Blue Meanies", an all-Beatles band in which he sings all the Lennon vocals and plays all the Lennon guitar work.
Chris Farren Chris Farren
Having picked up a Grammy for Country Song of the Year with "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (Carrie Underwood), two previous Grammy nominations, 11 ASCAP Awards, and credited with over 20 million record sales and unprecedented chart activity in the past two years alone, Chris Farren is arguably one of the industry’s most prominent publisher, producer and songwriter. Hundreds of cuts with international acts including Rascall Flatts, Backstreet Boys, Ray Charles, Westlife, Michael McDonald, Warren Brothers and more, as well as movie soundtracks including “We Were Soldiers”, "Shark Tale", "My Cousin Vinnie" and "Casper", have contributed to his publishing company’s (a co-venture with Windswept Pacific) rise to the top and accolades too many to mention.
Pat Pattison Pat Pattison
Pat Pattison is a Professor at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches Lyric Writing and Poetry. In addition to his three books, Writing Better Lyrics, The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, and The Essential Guide to Rhyming, Pat has developed three online lyric writing courses for Berklee's online school, available at He has written over 30 articles for Home & Studio Recording Magazine, and Performing Songwriter. Pat continues to present songwriting clinics across the US, Canada, and internationally in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe. Several of his students have won Grammies, including John Mayer and Gillian Welch.
Stephanie Furgang Adwar Stephanie Furgang Adwar
Stephanie is a founding partner of the intellectual property and entertainment law firm, Furgang & Adwar, L.L.P. She began her career in entertainment by working for The Gersh Agency, N.Y., Inc., DeLaurentiis Entertainment, and went on to produce music videos for Time Shift Video in New York (De La Soul, Peter Himmelman and Savatage). Long considered a "lawyer with ears", Stephanie has been working as an attorney with emerging artists, independent record labels, managers, and producers for close to twenty years, including Fire Media Group, DJ Jay Faire, child DuWop sensation Kid Kyle, Gia Farrell, Clutch, Gwar, The Compulsions, Sonic Bliss, Kivel Records, and Relix Media Group. Stephanie lectures extensively on entertainment law and her speaking engagements have included New York University - Tisch School of Arts, The Learning Annex, the 92nd Street Y, the American Bar Association - Forum on Entertainment and Sports Law, CMJ, Diversafest (Dfest) Music Festival, Composer Expo East and elsewhere. She is often quoted as an expert on the subject of copyright, trademark, and entertainment law.
Kristin Cifelli Kristin Cifelli
A schooled musician and seasoned performing songwriter, Kristin Cifelli took the music scene by storm in 1999 with the release of her debut album, Silver Bowl, to critical acclaim, earning her a Boston Music Award Nomination. Her second release, So Long My Love, brought her increased notoriety, with a Nomination for Best Album and a win for Best Song ("Show Them") in the Independent Music Awards in 2006. Early in 2002, Kristin contributed her song, "Martyr", on the Sony/Heavy Rotation Records compilation, Shekinah 13 Artists, which celebrates the diverse female alumni of Berklee College of Music. The compilation is being distributed by Sony/Epic Records, with part of the proceeds going to help young artists at Berklee College of Music. Upon the release of Shekinah 13 Artists, Kristin was featured on the Oxygen Network's Daily Remix, VH1’s Jump Start, Billboard Magazine, Boston Globe and the Associated Press.
Ann MacKeigan Ann MacKeigan
Ann is the Network Executive Producer for the Radio Music department of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where she oversees network music programmes, and is the executive producer of the documentary series "Inside the Music" on CBC Radio. Ann has been working in and around the field of "world music" for 20 years at the CBC, recording and presenting artists in concert and on disc for radio play across the national radio service in Canada. In 1988 she was a lead player in bringing the Womad festival to Canadian radio audiences, overseeing 33 recordings in 4 days of the festival. She since went on to record at hundreds of events and festivals across the country. In 1995 she created the ground breaking world music radio program, Global Village on CBC, which broadcast news and documentary items about world music from contributors in more than 200 countries. Global Village won several radio awards including the Deutsche Welle World Music Award, a New York Festival award, and a Gabriel Award in 2006 for a program looking at African music and its role in AIDS education and awareness. It was also named program of the year at the CBC and was listed in the top 10 radio programs available world wide on short wave radio. In addition to radio work, Ann has sat on music juries for many arts councils in Canada including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. She was the chairperson of the Global Music category of the Junos (Canada's recording industry's "Grammys") for several years, and currently sits on the advisory groups for the Junos for World and Roots music.
Juana Burillo Juana Burillo
Currently serving as President of the EFWMF (European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals), Juana has extensive experience working in the field of Arts & Culture. Following 12 years with the Arts Department of the Provincial Government of Zaragoza, Spain, she established her own company, El Espiritu Del Sur, for World Music artist management and promotion. As far as Juana can remember, all of her working life has been linked to her greatest passion: World Music.
Dubi Lenz Dubi Lenz
Since it's founding in 1998, Dubi Lenz has been the Artistic Director of the Tel Aviv World Music Festival, which is a member of the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals (EFWMF.) He spent one year as the head of the board and three years as the Editor of the Forum's International Newsletter. In 2004, he was appointed to the preparing committee for the Forum Cultural Mundial in Sao Paolo and, in 2006, the international board of this Forum in Rio de Janeiro. Dubi is a member of the Israeli Education Ministry's Music Committee as well as a member of the Music Committee of The Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation. In 2007, he served as Artistic Director for the Israeli International Music Exposure programme, undertaken by the Israeli Foreign Ministry for 40 "buyers" from festivals around the world. He was also the Artistic Director for the very successful 2006 music celebration, "La Fete de la Musique", organized by the French Embassy in collaboration with the Tel Aviv Municipality. To the general Israeli public, Dubi is most renowned as a music broadcaster for the IDF National Radio in Israel, a position held since 1973, and his 15 year tenure as the head of the music department at the station. Today, in addition to his other capacities, he continues to host a popular, weekly World Music radio show which he launched in the late 70's. Dubi also works as a lecturer of World Music at Israeli universities and lectures on Israeli World Music abroad.
Erwin Schellekens Erwin Schellekens
Erwin is the Artistic Director for Mundial Productions, where he has worked for seven years. This position has allowed him to combine his passion for cultural education and programming with Mundial's unique approach to international artist development and global cultural exchange. Erwin is responsible for the artistic development of all Mundial activities including Festival Mundial, Via del Mondo, cultural education programmes, international exchange programmes, and cultural and development programming worldwide.
Benjamim Taubkin Benjamim Taubkin
Brazilian music, and its links and relations with other cultures, has been the playing field for this instrumentalist, arranger, composer and producer. As a musician, Benjamim has participated in several formations that range from soloing (piano) to symphonic orchestras in Brazil and abroad. Some of his most recent collaberations as a musician and arranger include Jobim Sinfônico, Samwad - Rua do Encontro, Milágrimas, Orquestra Jazz Sinfônica, Paulo Moura and Monica Salmaso. Currently, Benjamin is working with The Orquestra Popular de Câmara, The Choro Ensemble Moderna Tradição and Abaçai, in addition to directing the label, Núcleo Contemporâneo, specialising in the recording of Brazilian instrumental music. Benjamin is credited (as a musician or producer) on more than 130 albums, coordinates projects for institutions such as Itaú Cultural and the São Paulo State Secretary of Culture, and developes programs for SESC, CPFL and CCBB. He is the musical curator for the Mercado Cultural da Bahia and is a member of the European Forum for World Music.
Don Grierson Don Grierson
A citizen of the United Kingdom, Don immigrated to the United States from Australia, where he jump-started his career by doing record promotion for several labels, including Chess and Capitol Records. During that time, he was involved in the promotion of The Beatles, and was singularly recognized with the only Golden Apple Award ever presented by them for "outstanding promotion in launching Apple Records in the United States". At Capitol, Don was also Manager of International A&R/Promotion, where he signed Little River Band, and Director of Merchandising and Advertising. When Capitol created a second label, EMI America Records, in 1978, Don became its Vice President of A&R. His credits at EMI America include Michael Johnson, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton, Kate Bush, Sir Cliff Richard, J. Geils Band, and Kenny Rogers. In 1982, Don moved back to Capitol where he signed and helped guide a number of hit-making acts, including Heart, Joe Cocker, Freddy Jackson, Melba Moore, Steve Vai, Megadeth, WASP, and George Clinton. He was personally involved with the recording careers of Tina Turner, Bob Seger, Anne Murray, The Motels, Duran Duran, Power Station, Thomas Dolby, Ashford & Simpson, Billy Squier, and assisted in the emergence of Crowded House, Poison, The Smithereens, and Great White. In 1987, Don resigned from Capitol to join CBS/Sony as Senior Vice President of A&R, Epic Records, where he personally signed and worked with such acts as Celine Dion (via Sony Canada), Bad English (finding their #1 hit "When I See You Smile"), Iron Maiden, Basia, as well as bringing his expertise to bear on the careers of Cheap Trick (finding their #1 single "The Flame"), Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, REO Speedwagon, The Jacksons, and Europe. Under his direction, the Epic A&R staff also signed successful acts, including Living Colour, Indigo Girls, Allman Brothers Band, Alice Cooper, Social Distortion, Firehouse, Suicidal Tendencies, Front 2423, Ottmar Liebert and Joe Satriani. In 1993 Don created Drive Entertainment, a company with emphasis on classic artist and niche market catalog exploitation, where he compiled and packaged over 140 albums. Five years later, Don chose to reenter the broader-based music market and, to date, operates his own independent consultancy and music supervision company.
Steve Williams Steve Williams
Steve's credits as a music producer, mix engineer and composer are almost too many to mention. Having worked with artists such as Sting, Eric Clapton, Britney Spears and Lisa Stansfield, as well as composing for many Hollywood films, Steve has achieved an extraordinary measure of professional and academic success. Steve has worked in the music business for over 20 years and his talent exudes a wealth of experience, skill and knowledge. His roster of work also includes a variety of media compositions including TV adverts for brands such as Ribena, Barclaycard, Toblerone, to name a few. He is the owner and chief producer of The Chapel Studios (London). Steve says, "To produce truly great music, you have to understand and appreciate several things: emotion, dynamics, musical structure, the importance of the space between notes, the psycho-acoustic impact of the piece and its energy flow… but most of all, you have to give it a soul!"
Charles Foskett Charles Foskett
Charles is an inspirational, veteran record producer with a wealth of experience in many areas of the music industry. Throughout his career, Charles has worked with international music stars including Elvis Costello, Paul Young, Bonnie Tyler, Kim Wilde, Cliff Richard, Suggs (Madness), Mick Taylor (The Rolling Stones), as well as two Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, among many others. He has also leveraged his services to the film and television industry where he produced and composed for brands such as Coca-Cola, Visa, Ford Motors, Guinness, Cadbury, NatWest, and many more. In 1986, Charles developed The Anti-Heroin Project, a Band Aid for the anti-drug campaign, which not only resulted in a double album entitled "It's a Live-In World" but also the offer of a top position at the London home office, working as David Mellor's right hand man. The album was released by EMI where Charles had an office and was responsible not only for the original idea, the writing and production, but also for bringing together hundreds of big names for a worthy cause.
Justin Levenson Justin Levenson
Justin Levenson is SESAC's Manager, Licensing Operations. An eight year veteran of the performing rights organization, Justin works to develop, implement and review processes in order to grow SESAC's licensing operations. Hailing from Birmingham, AL, Justin attended Jacksonville State University before embarking on a career as a professional musician and educator working with such superstars as Donna Summer, James Otto and many others. He joined SESAC in 2001 and worked for both the Licensing Department and then Writer/Publisher Relations before assuming his current role back in the Licensing Department. He also contributes his time as an active member of S.O.L.I.D. (Society of Leaders in Development), a leadership organization for young executives in the music industry, and as a member of the W.O. Smith Music School Advisory Board.
Daryl Berg Daryl Berg
In the past six years, Daryl has licensed over 30,000 tracks for commercial use, booked over 350 artists for television performances, and executed numerous network-sized music marketing campaigns. A native of Long Island, NY, Daryl began his career as the minority founder and VP of Strategic Development at The Orchard, the world’s largest independent digital music distribution company. He left The Orchard to join EMI Recorded Music in LA as the Director of Business Development New Media. Daryl made the transition to music supervision and licensing by founding a company called Crusty Old Timer, Inc. that handled music supervision and music placement on behalf of its media clients. At Crusty, he helped launch FUEL TV, charged with the network's music supervision duties. Currently, Daryl serves as FUEL TV's Director of Music Supervision & Licensing, responsible for everything from music marketing, music supervision, licensing, and artist booking.
Richard Kirstein Richard Kirstein
In 1992, Richard established Nim Nim Musik, a music production company targeting the advertising & TV markets. In March 1994, he joined Zomba Music Publishers, establishing their Film, TV & Media division. Whilst at Zomba, Richard signed several writers (including film composer, Chris Elliott) and managed synch licensing & promotion for acts such as Britney Spears, Daft Punk, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Ocean, Stone Roses, Nitin Sawhney, Kinobe & Joy Division. Richard also struck publishing administration deals with TV broadcasters and production companies including Channel 4, September Films, Transworld International, The Television Corporation and Aardman Animations. In April 2003, Richard left Zomba to establish Leap Music Limited, a joint venture with Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), the UK's first music publishing company based inside an advertising agency.
Hiten Bharadia Hiten Bharadia
Hiten started his career as a singer/songwriter signed to BMG and then MCA. He was then headhunted by Universal where he worked for the next 12 years in both Marketing and A&R, while continuing to write songs as a hobby. He was responsible for the A&R and Marketing of the English language launch of Enrique Iglesias which resulted in 7 million world-wide sales. He left Universal in 2005 to follow his dream of songwriting and developing artists full time. Together with some very talented songwriters, producers and artists, he formed a new publishing, production and artist development company called Phrased Differently. The company has managed 90 song placements since its inception including three No. 1, thirteen Top 10 and eight Top 20 records around the world. As a songwriter, Hiten has collaborated with artists such as Craig David, Lemar, Ben's Brother among many more. Hiten believes that only a continuous stream of great songs can save the music industry as we know it!
Thomas Scherer Thomas Scherer
As well as independently developing new acts with international appeal, working with BMG Records and BMG Music Publishing, and establishing his own label within BMG, Thomas is the Managing Director of Parasongs Group, a leading Japanese music publishing company and a member of JASRAC. The company's main focus is the administration of foreign publishing catalogues and original publishing in Japan for foreign songwriters. Combining "German engineering" with detailed knowledge of the Japanese market, Parasongs Group claim and account for 100% of the copyright income in Japan. Thomas also lectures at various universities about the music industry in Europe.
Dory Benami Dory Benami
As a distribution executive at film and television studio - New Regency Productions (Mr.& Mrs. Smith, Elektra, Guess Who, Runaway Jury, Daredevil, Big Momma's House, Big Momma's House 2, Date Movie, Bedazzled, Man On Fire, L.A. Confidential, Fight Club, Heat), Mr. Dory Benami currently oversees all international theatrical releases, foreign television, output deals, worldwide DVD releases and 95+ title film library catalogue. As well as playing a key role in the sales and acquisition of incoming projects, Mr. Benami works with other executives at Regency to insure that the marketing, media and publicity matters of a film are consistent in message in every country and format in the world.
Frank Ilfman Frank Ilfman
This internationally acclaimed film composer, with a career spanning over 30 years, has several dozen films to his credit both in Europe and the US. Recent credits include the up coming new British film, "The Ferryman" (starring: John Rhys Davies, Kerry Fox), "Hollywood Flies" (starring: Vinnie Jones, Caprice), the award winning, "The Journey of Vaan Nguyen" and Guy Ritchie’s "Revolver" (starring: Ray Liotta, Jason Statham). Frank is also a highly sought after re-mixer and songwriter with artists like Marianne Faithfull, Duran Duran, PollyannaFrank, KT Tunstall and Oi Va Voi to name just a few.
Katia Cadet (Babykat) Katia Cadet (Babykat)
This singer/songwriter penned her first song at the tender age of nine, began performing at age twelve and never stopped since. Back in Canada, she toured all over Quebec with her father and that is when she began an amazing relationship with music. In 1999, she got picked up by Wyclef Jean and signed a group deal with him with Interscope Records. This relationship afforded her the opportunity to work with some of the greats in the business, notably Stevie Wonder, Marc Anthony, Macy Gray, Eric Clapton, Steven Marley, Bono and an unforgettable live performance with Whitney Houston on the David Letterman show.
Sharon Farber Sharon Farber
Board member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, Sharon has received critical acclaim as a composer in the Concert world as well as that of Film and TV. Her film credits include "In A Class Of His Own" (National Television Review Board Angel Award for Excellence in a Television Movie, the Gabriel Award, the Cine Golden Eagle Award of Excellence and the Film Advisory Board Award for Excellence), "Superman" (music for the animated TV series) and "Call Me Sirr" (nominated for the DGA Award, Chicago International Children Film Festival Certificate of Merit Award, DGA Award for Best Director, Young Artists Award) "Every now and then, the film music business witnesses the emergence of an exceptionally gifted and highly specialized talent... She is, without a doubt, one of the most talented composers working in the industry today..." - James Newton-Howard, Composer (The Sixth Sense, Water World, The fugitive, Unbreakable, Prince of Tides)
Andrea Stolpe Andrea Stolpe
Andrea Stolpe is a staff songwriter for Universal Music Publishing Company. For over a decade, Andrea has written songs for the commercial music industry, pitched her own material and performed as a solo artist. After relocating to Nashville, TN, Andrea began as a staff writer for EMI Music Publishing. Her experience there led to extensive work singing demos for such artists as Faith Hill and Joe Dee Messina. Andrea has collaborated with great artists such as Mike Reid, Don Schlitz, Stephen Robson and penned songs for pop and country artists including Faith Hill, Steve Azar, Josh Gracin, Shonagh Daly and Daniel Lee Martin. Her writing style spans all genres of contemporary commercial music.
Micky Guy Micky Guy
In 1999, Micky left Naples and brought his Deep Funky- House style to London where he quickly attracted the attention of the promoters, Rosario Cascio and Manuela D'Alonzo, of the prominent dance club Vertigo. During his time as a resident DJ at Vertigo, he has worked with some of the best DJs in the world: Danny Rampling, Satoshi Tomie, Pete Heller, Ricky Morrison, Kenny Carpenter, Bobby and Steve, David Piccioni, Smokin' Jo, Harvey, Cosmo, Ricky Montanari, Paul "Trouble" Anderson, Ralf, Flavio Vecchi, Lorenzo Lsp, Alex Neri, Walter S and Claudio Basile.
Jimmy Kachulis Jimmy Kachulis
Look through the bios of some of today's best songwriters and you will find that Jimmy's name comes up again and again. An accomplished songwriter, composer and arranger, his credits include George Coleman, Jon Hendricks, Eric Gale, John Lewis and Martha Reeves, and his work has been featured on critically acclaimed television productions such as The Sopranos, Touched by an Angel and The Jamie Foxx Show. Listed in 'The Who's Who of American Teachers', Jimmy is responsible for training Grammy nominated artists and staff writers at Almo Irving, Sony, Warner Brothers and EMI. Currently, Jimmy resides at Berklee College of Music where he teaches songwriting and lyric writing whilst conducting seminars across the US.
Henry Gaffney Henry Gaffney
Henry Gaffney, a songwriter/producer, began his career in music as a solo recording artist, releasing albums on both RCA ("Waiting For A Wind"), and United Artists Records ("On Again Off Again"). He was a staff writer for Koppleman/Bandier (EMI) for 9 years. His songs have been recorded by artists from all over the world, including: Roberta Flack, Judy Collins, The Four Tops, Jennifer Warnes, Tanya Tucker, Stephanie Mills, Glen Campbell, The Pointer Sisters, Nana Mouskouri, Chris Thompson, Peaches & Herb, Faye Wong and Camillo Sesto among many others. He wrote numerous songs for the Emmy winning Television series "Fame", in addition to other TV features and in 1987 composed, arranged and produced the original score to "Sidewalk Stories", winner of the Prix Du Public at the Cannes Film Festival.
Chris Van Belkom Chris Van Belkom
As the Creative Director at the prominent music publishing outfit, Combustion Music, Chris works closely with Nashville-based producer/songwriter and President of Combustion Music, Chris Farren (Deana Carter, Aaron Lines, Olivia Newton John, Jo Dee Messina, and the Warren Brothers), at the prominent music publishing outfit, Combustion Music. Chris' client roster includes Ashley Gorley (Carrie Underwood "Don't Forget To Remember Me" and "All-American Girl" / Jason Aldean "Laughed Until We Cried"), Blair Daly (Rascal Flatts "Stand" / Backstreet Boys "Crawling Back To You") Gordie Sampson (Carrie Underwood "Jesus Take The Wheel" / Jack Ingram "Measure Of A Man") and songwriter/producer Drew Ramsey (Marc Broussard "Home" / Robert Randolph "Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That"). Combustion's artist/writer signings include singer/songwriter Michael Logen, Neil Mason from the Warner Brothers band, American Bang, as well as Sam Brooker and Ruby Amanfu of Nashville acoustic duo, Sam and Ruby, and Blackledge Music recording artist, Josh Hoge.
Kyler England Kyler England
There's a good reason why Kyler has won numerous songwriting awards and garnered such acclaim as being named one of Music Connection Magazine's "Hot Unsigned Artists 2007" and "Best Alternative Rock Album" in the Indie Acoustic Project Awards. With a natural instinct for melody and lyrics, honed during a stint at the renowned Berklee College of Music, she crafts songs that are not only addictively catchy but full of depth. Having studied classical music theory at North Carolina State University and contemporary-pop and jazz at Berklee, Kyler is a self-professed music geek. But her music studies extend far outside the classroom. Over the last few years, she has sharpened her skills through extensive co-writing in Los Angeles, where she currently resides, and in Nashville, including with hit songwriters Dave Berg, Maia Sharp, Eve Nelson, and Kim Richey. Kyler also considers "the road" to have been one of her most important teachers, having played over 150 shows each year for the past 5 years including the Toronto Film Festival, Bele Chere Festival and opening for Sting, Annie Lennox, Melissa Etheridge, and Vienna Teng, to name a few. She has released five records on her own label, Gypsy Rock Records, and has had songs featured on TV shows including Guiding Light, Rollergirls and Zoey 101.
Albert Reguant Albert Reguant
Albert, a Catalan music journalist born in Barcelona, is one of the most active in the South of Europe. He is a regular attendee of the most well-known music events in the world, including WOMEX and Folk Alliance. Additionally, Albert has the privilege of working in radio ("Hidrogen" at iCAT FM - Catalunya Rdio), television ("Planeta Msica" at Canal 33 - TVC) and several world music magazines (World 1 Music). He is most renowned for broadcasting world music in weekly TV programs and as an activist promoting Catalan culture and new opportunities for fledgling young artists. Albert is a member of World Music Charts Europe and takes part in the UER-EBU World Music Workshop.
Helmut Bürgel Helmut Bürgel
Founder and artistic director of Stimmen-Festival & the Performing Arts Center Burghof Loerrach, Helmut has been organising World music programs for 30 years and has worked with singers from all over world including Bobby McFerrin, Meredith Monk, Paolo Conte, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Dimi Mint Abba (Mauritania), Alim Qasimov (Azerbaijan) Sabri Brothers (Pakistan), Susana Baca (Peru), Les Mystres des Voix Bulgares (Bulgaria), Eleftheria Arvanitaki (Greece), Huun Huur Tu (Tuva) and many many others.
Ben Mandelson Ben Mandelson
Ben is a freelance record producer working in all areas of World music. He is the co-founder and A&R manager / house producer for the influential GlobeStyle Records label in London and his production credits include Music & Words (NL), Piranha (D), Polygram (SF), Sony (JP), Xenophile (USA), Rogue (UK), World Music Network (UK), Sony/BMG (CZ), Rice Records (JP), WestPark (D), DoubleMoon (Turkey) which resulted in a great many releases over the years. His work as a producer for Piranha Records include albums of Lusafrican top singer, Bonga (Angola), Klezmer worldstars, Klezmatics (USA), master drummer of the Nile, Mahmoud Fadl (Egypt), king of the PianOriental, Maurice El Mdioni (Algeria/France), Nubian allstars, Salamat (Egypt), African mbira queen, Stella Chiweshe (Zimbabwe), award-winning Chama maestro, Chango Spasiuk (Argentina), and Brass stars, Boban & Marko Markovic (Serbia). 2005 saw Ben's production of 'ReCovers' by Tuvan ThroatCult growlfolk band, YatKha, receive rave reviews; and the 2005 Sony/BMG release by the group, Czechomor 'Co Sa Stalo Nove', gained Ben & co-Producer, Rob Keyloch (with whom Ben works in production partnership), a 1.5 times Platinum Disc. Current productions with Rob Keyloch include the award-winning debut album by English all-folkstar big band, BellowHead, the first international album for Turkish roma clarinet-player, Selim Sesler (star of the cult film 'across the bridge'), and first album by Hungarian village fusionists, Napra (already awarded best World music album of the year 2008 by the Hungarian Association of Labels). Ben is the founding director of the premier World music tradefair, WOMEX 1994 - 1997 (and current supervising board-member). A pro-active sitter on various panels, committees and juries, he balances that by standing up to play as string-twanging member of Billy Bragg's fabulous orchestra, The Blokes.
Petr Doruzka Petr Doruzka
A music writer since 1968 and radio presenter since 1980, Petr runs his weekly show, Borderline Music, on the Czech National Radio and contributes to the leading Czech papers. He was one of the founding members and producers of the Bonton record company (now owned by Sony Music) and has written books on alternative, contemporary, and world music. Since 1992, he is a member of the WMCE panel (World Music Chart Europe In recent years, he has also written for music magazines in Italy, Germany, France and the UK, and contributed to the Global Village programme in Canada. For the past four years, Petre has been lecturing on world music at the Charles University in Prague and, in 2007, he began serving as one of the 7 Samurai jury for the Womex music fair. Along with the London based writer, Ken Hunt, he runs the bilingual
Marie-José Justamond Marie-José Justamond
Marie-José is Vice President of Zone France, a professional French-speaking network for World Music, which is a member of the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals. She is also the founder of SUDS, à Arles, a one-week, World music festival in France. She got her start as a communications executive with Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d'Arles, a position she held from 1977 to 1989 and has since worked in the art and music world in numerous professional capacities. In 1989, she began organising photography exhibitions for renowned artists such as Koudelka, Hervé Guibert, Isabelle Muñoz and Gilles Peress, among many others. She also worked as a press-attaché for art publisher, Marval, in Paris, and as a communication officer for "Danse, Musique et Théâtre à Nîmes", before taking charge of executive production at Festival Mosaïque Gitane alongside Chico from the Gipsy Kings (in Nîmes and then in Arles). Marie-José is a recognised expert in the field of World music and cultural arts, often called upon for debates, panels and selection committees for musical commissions.
Christine Semba Christine Semba
Since 2000, Christine has been the Director of Content & Programmes at WOMEX - the World Music Expo. In addition to coordinating all programming content, she is the Executive Producer for the WOMEX conferences and showcases as well as its offspring activities including Porto Musical. Christine began her career as the Manager of a French travel agency based in St. Petersburg, specializing in business and cultural travels. This role inspired her to organize concerts for Russian artists abroad and, eventually, took her on board the German culture ship, "Stubnitz", a mobile cultural platform that travelled throughout Europe.