Speakers

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IMC 2015
Please see below panelists, judges and special guests confirmed for the IMC 2015.
More names are still to be added. Subject to changes.
Verse Simmonds
Singer Songwriter/ Musician

Maurice “Verse” Simmonds has music coded in his DNA. The in-demand singer-songwriter has developed his artistry over the years as a songwriter for Jay Z, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Chris Brown, honing his skill as a scribe while finding his voice as a solo musician, scoring several chart hits with cuts from his Sextape Chronicles series including “Boo Thang” featuring Kelly Rowland and “Buy You a Round (Up and Down)”— just a taste of his unique brand of R&B.

“If a song has the right message, it has the ability to change the world,” explains the Grammy-nominated Simmonds, who’s been penning songs since he was in grade school. “I can’t wait to change the world with my music.”

LaTavia Roberson
2x Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter-actress

LaTavia Roberson is a 2x Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter-actress respectfully known as an original member of super girl group Destiny’s Child. Formed with childhood best friends Beyoncé Knowles, Letoya Luckett & Kelly Rowland, Destiny’s Child went on to be signed to Sony/Columbia Records garnering Roberson singer-songwriter credits on the group’s first 2 albums that spawned numerous #1 hits like “Bills Bills Bills” & “Say My Name”. Following her exit from Destiny’s Child, Roberson along with bandmate Letoya Luckett formed the group “Anjel” with 2 additional vocalists. However after months of recording before their official release, the collaboration decided to part ways in pursuit of solo endeavors. Choosing to enjoy life out of the public eye during recent years has also spawned a literary passion for LaTavia as she is currently readying her self authored memoirs for release. Today we find LaTavia living her best life yet, returning to the acting stage, the music studio and in front of the cameras! Recently she’s starred in season 3 of TVOne’s #1 rated R&B Divas [Atlanta] franchise alongside Angie Stone, Keke Wyatt, Syleena Johnson, Monifah & Meelah Williams of 702. Her involvement in the series drafted the network’s highest rated premiere to date.

Meelah
Multi Platinum Singer, Songwriter, Actress

Kameelah Williams, aka, Meelah was born & raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She became the lead singer of the multi platinum trio 702, which is the Las Vegas area code. Meelah was deemed the voice of the group by her position as lead vocalist on 702s chart topping singles such as the Missy Elliott produced “Steelo” and ladies’ anthem “Where My Girls At”, which stayed in the top 20 for more than 30 weeks on Billboard’s top 40 pop chart, earning a nomination for an American Music Award. Her sultry lead vocals were also displayed on an array of other 702 hits including the R&B top 10 power ballad “Get It Together”. 702 eventually parted ways. Once the group disbanded Meelah spread her solo wings and lent her vocals to the song “Take Away” with Missy Elliott & Genuine. She was also featured on background vocals on the Snoop Dog, Teddy Riley produced recording, “Cool.” Meelah starred in TVOne’s R&B Divas ATL season 3. During this time she released a single called “Give it to You” f/ Musiq Soulchild and shot a video for it, which can be seen on YouTube and the VH1 Soul network. In addition to being inspired musically by her son, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4, Meelah established a non profit organization to raise awareness for Autism & special needs called P.R.O.U.D (Parents Reaching Out to Understand Developmental Delays).

Kawan "KP" Prather
Head of Music, Pharrell Williams' iamOTHER Ent

“KP” is the CEO of Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment and the Head of Music at Pharrell Williams i am OTHER Entertainment. KP began his career at LaFace Records where L.A. Reid, tapped the then 21-year-old KP to A&R the La Face roster. KP transformed local friendships with high school peers into deals that would change their lives forever and change how the world viewed musical talent hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. With L.A., KP guided the burgeoning careers of local friends turned diamond-selling hip hop duo Outkast, multi-platinum selling artists Usher and Pink, and gold selling artists Goodie Mob and Youngbloodz. He launched Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment and signed T.I. as its premiere artist, releasing his debut album “I’m Serious”. KP went on to Sony BMG urban music and became the Executive Vice-President of A&R. There he approved and oversaw debut projects for Omarion, John Legend, and Kanye West’s new venture “G.O.O.D.” Music. In little more than a decade, the name KP has become synonymous with hit records. Although his discography would make many in his field (senior and junior) wonder how he did it, he remains humble. Integrity and consistency is the legacy he will leave in the music business. Longevity is the goal. For those who do know what Kawan “KP” Prather means in the record business, being on his radar can prove priceless.

Harmony Samuels
Award Winning Producer

Harmony Samuels is an English producer, composer and songwriter based in Los Angeles. Harmony’s production career began in the UK where he worked with some of the most relevant artists in the music scene including Alesha Dixon, Chipmunk, and Craig David. He moved to Los Angeles in 2008 after he caught the attention of producer Rodney Jerkins and continued to build on his career by working with artists such as Maroon 5, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia and others. In 2013, he produced Ariana Grande’s debut hit single “The Way” as well as several other songs from her debut album, “Yours Truly.” He also contributed 13 out of 14 songs on Fantasia’s album “Side Effects of You,” the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. Harmony recently produced Fifth Harmony’s newest single “I’m In Love with a Monster,” several tracks for Ciara’s latest album “Jackie” including platinum single “I Bet.” Harmony is currently in the studio working on multiple exciting projects with artists including Nathan Sykes, JoJo, Avery Wilson, Mali Music and many others due out later this year.

Karen Marie Mason
Executive - Artist Launch Series

Karen moves smoothly between the areas of film, television, art and music. She is the founder of the Artist Launch Facebook Group and the Artist Launch Masterclass Series which focuses on giving artists the tools needed to launch and relaunch their music in the “new” music industry. Karen is the former head of the Black Music Marketing Department at East/West Elektra Entertainment and prior to that she was a marketing executive at Sony Music working with groups as varied as Cypress Hill, Kris Kross, The Fugees, Ziggy Marley, Tracy Chapman, En Vogue and Gerald LeVert. Karen is the host of Sunday Night Fyah on WRFG Radio where she also sits on the board. She is also a board member of People TV. Currently Karen manages visual artist Fahamu Pecou and is a music supervisor for film and television supervising placements in web series, commercials and films for UPTV and TVOne. She also hosts the bi- monthly “Door” Master Class Series presented by the City Of Atlanta’s Office of Film and Entertainment.

Xilla Valentine
Editor/ Publisher - Global Grind

Xilla Valentine is a self-taught journalist who overcame insurmountable odds to become an influential media personality. After
starting BlogXilla.com in 2007 and being named best new blog, “BlogXilla” was hired by Russell Simmon’s GlobalGrind.com to help them become the leading voice of the New American Mainstream movement. Since then, he has broken numerous exclusives and is one of the best bloggers online. His work has allowed him to appear as a talking head in national TV news stories regarding sports, music, movies and more. Xilla’s digital content has over 48,000,000 views, which include interviews with Drake, Oprah, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, Will Smith and many more.

Chester Wilkins

After years in the music industry working as an executive with record labels such as Rap-A- Lot, Def Jam and Jive Records, Chester Wilkins aka “Massive”, has paved a new way by industrializing royalty collections on music and video recording. Certified GS1 specialist and ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) manager since 2007, Wilkins has built relationships that span the digital industry with entities such as SoundScan, BDS, Media Base, Sound Exchange, and LimeLight. Wilkins is currently using extraordinary talents and insight in a partnership with Microsoft to teach workshops nationwide on ISRC codes. Wilkins strives to educate music artists and executives alike on the importance of music as a business and how to maximize the digital features that create great achievements in the industry.

Tish Simmons
Founder - ConnectiDATL.org

Tish Simmons, a highly skilled, entrepreneurial-minded leader is an accomplished creative-industry professional with a track record of results‑driven success in her career. She is a graduate of Georgia State University and a professional who has worked throughout Atlanta’s creative art scene, including music, dance, film, and the publishing industry. She brings with her exceptional business acumen, coupled with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the creative industry and its market dynamics. She has a passion for developing and implementing new technologies that help connect people within this industry, leading to the creation and business model of Atlanta’s Creative Community Network, ConnectiDATL.org.

Bram Bessoff
Founding Partner - IndieHitmaker

Bram, partner of indiehitmaker.com, started his career as drummer for long-time touring & indie success band Soup. Now he helps artists win more fans, sell more merch and speed up careers. With his company indiehitmaker, artists can engage and sell direct to fans online or on the road while reporting weekly sales to Soundscan enabling any artist to chart on Billboard without a label or distribution deal. When not conducting workshops or speaking at conferences nationwide, Bram works with artists to create live shows that capture & engage audiences, convert them to fans and send them straight to the merch table. Bram also sits on the advisory board of South Plains College Creative Arts program and serves as President of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival.

Rea Davis
Music & Entertainment Journalist - AllHipHop.Com

Rea Davis is a respected voice in the journalism, music, and entertainment realms as she is an established music and entertainment journalist; reporter and videographer. Rea is currently a reporter, videographer, and writer for AllHipHop.com. Although she has several years of adult journalism experience under her belt, she actually began her journalism career at age 12 when she began shadowing her mother who was also a journalist. She received her B.A. in broadcast journalism and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Rea has an extensive background in broadcast, print, and online journalism as well as music history, and she has interviewed your favorite celebrity’s favorite celebrity! Rea has been blessed to cover and or interview many from Diddy to Beyonce and cover prestigious shows ranging from the Grammys to MTV VMAS. Rea’s passion for journalism and ethnography leap off the page as she believes everyone in the world has a story, and as she enjoys being a purveyor of entertainment news and of the stories of others that are extracted from her interviews.

Stacy Epps
Attorney, Professor, Artist

Stacy Epps is an attorney, artist, and professor dedicated to inspiring and supporting creative professionals. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California and her Bachelor of Arts with high distinction from the University of Virginia. Stacy is “Your Creative Counsel” and principal of her own boutique law firm, where she supports creative entrepreneurs and community organizations in the formation, maintenance and success of their ventures by providing strategy, legal and educational services. Stacy Epps currently serves as adjunct faculty member at the Art Institute of Atlanta where she teaches creative entrepreneurship and music business. She is also an adjunct faculty member at UCLA Extension where she teaches digital marketing. Stacy is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Entertainment and Sports Bar Section, the Intellectual Property Section, the American Bar Association and ASCAP.

Toya Elise Brown
Assistant Manager, Patchwerk Recording Studios

Toya Elise Brown is the Assistant Manager at Patchwerk Recording Studios in Atlanta, GA. As Assistant Manager, Toya’s main responsibilities include assisting the owners with scheduling, marketing, internship management, payroll, office management, and more. Prior to her 7.5+ year tenure at Patchwerk Studios, Toya worked 2 years for the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta GA as Program Coordinator, booking educational arts programs in Metro Atlanta Institutions. Toya has also executive assisted Nicci Gilbert-Daniels of Brownstone and TVONE’s R&B Divas. Toya’s additional experiences include stints at MTV, Universal Music Group, Interscope Records and Cornerstone Promotions.

Byron Wright
Senior Director Writer-Publisher Relations at BMI

Named one of Billboard Magazine’s 2011 Top Power 30 Music Executives under 30, Byron Wright is the Senior Director of Writer-Publisher Relations at Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), an Atlanta native and graduate of North Atlanta High School and the University of West Georgia, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing. As Director at BMI, Byron is responsible for bringing new talent to the powerhouse corporation and maintaining relationships with existing songwriters, producers and music publishers. Byron has been responsible for signing Future, Lex Luger, Travis Porter, Kane Beatz, Sonny Digital and Bangladesh to name a few. Byron also assists with the coordination and creation of songwriter events, showcases and seminars both locally and nationally, including the coveted BMI Urban Awards. In addition, Byron assists BMI affiliates and executives with creative and administrative functions.

Jobi Tyson
Award-Winning Branding Strategist

Jobi Tyson is the founder of Starstruck Ventures, a branding and career transition firm for women in sports and entertainment. Jobi has acquired an unparalleled presence in the music and sports scene, catapulting her business into a global marketing and brand strategy conglomerate. Jobi consults with artists, professional athletes, actors, executives and new product launches on how to harness the power of branding. Jobi earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management and Administration from Bethune-Cookman University. Jobi is a founding board member for the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP) Atlanta Chapter, Marketing & Public Relations Board Chair for Bethune-Cookman University, Atlanta Chapter and member of The Recording Academy.

Rico Wade - Organized Noize
Artist/Musician/Producer

Rico Wade is the founder of Organized Noize, an Atlanta based American hip hop production team which included Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown. Among the hit records they have worked on include TLC’s “Waterfalls”, En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go Love”, and Ludacris’ “Saturday (Oooh Ooooh)”. They are most notable for producing a large amount of material for OutKast and Goodie Mob. Both groups are part of Organized Noize’s Dungeon Family collective, which also includes Slimm Cutta Calhoun and Joi Joi. They also contributed on the soundtrack of the 1996 critically acclaimed heist film “Set It Off”. In 2006, they contributed additional music to the film ”Miami Vice”. In 2010 they produced several songs on the critically acclaimed Island/Def Jam solo debut from Big Boi titled ”Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty”. In 2011, they produced the entire album “Nappy Dot Org” for Nappy Roots. Although not widely known, Rico’s younger cousin is award winning Atlanta rapper Future.

Joncier Rienecker
Associate Director - ASCAP Atlanta (Rhythm & Soul Dept.)

Born in the pineapple state, bred in the big apple, and now a peach, Joncier Rienecker has been a vital part of the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) team since 2007. As Associate Director for the Rhythm and Soul Department, she is responsible for managing daily operations in the Atlanta office, servicing members within the U.S. southeast region and overseeing ASCAP’s Gospel market. On the creative end, her primary duties also include spearheading career development and recognition programming such as the bi-monthly “Check It Out” series (created to bring notice to up-and-coming unsigned songwriters, producers and music publishers) and the annual Stellar Awards reception (in honor of ASCAP nominees). Additionally, she maintains online/print communications for her division, serving as writer and editor for publications on the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul webpage including the “On the Come Up” monthly series which is designed to highlight rising Urban talent.

Charles Connor
A&R/Manager - Timeless Music Mgmt

Charles Connor is an A&R/Manager at Timeless Music Mgmt, a full-service entertainment firm equipped with a wide range of services including management, marketing, talent and business development. Charles is the day to day point person for producer’s 3GP, LT-mOE, and J. Rob under the TMM roster. Recent placements from Timeless includes Yo Gotti, Sevyn Streeter, Tyrese, Chris Brown, Tinashe, Tamia, Ne-Yo, to name a few, with 5 Grammy nominations for 2015 Grammy Awards. As a manager at Timeless, Charles is responsible for seeking out new talent, building relationships with current songwriters, producers and music publishers. Charles is also a SESAC affiliate which houses his Martha’s Son Publishing LLC, publishing company.

Rico Brooks
CEO of Adella Thomas Management

Rico oversees the music careers of platinum-selling producers Sonny Digital, Metro Boomin, and BWheezy Beatz, as well as hit-makers Ronnie D, D. Rich, songwriter Tasha Catour, and German producer Bobby Johnson. In addition to being a top-notch beat broker, Brooks also co-manages the artist Que. Brooks’ solid industry relationships, stringent work ethic and insatiable appetite for learning have helped catapult him and his company to a new pinnacle of success. Under Brooks’ leadership, his clients have landed on projects for 2 Chainz, Kanye West, Beyonce, Young Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa, Future and Rick Ross. Rico has a penchant for breaking new artists and producers, which he has done so every year since 2005 (Boyz N Da Hood, Yung Joc, Gorilla Zoe, Mykko Montana, Que, Sonny Digital, Metro Boomin, B. Wheezy Beatz). In 2010, that legacy of greatness continued with the success of music producers Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin, who have both topped the Billboard charts. Sonny Digital with the hit single “Racks” by YC featuring Epic MC Future and 2012 anthems “Same Damn Time” by Future and “Birthday Song” by 2 Chainz featuring Kanye West. Metro Boomin with the hit singles “Karate Chop”, “Honest” also by Future. Together in 2014, Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin co-produced iLoveMakonnen’s platinum selling single “Tuesday” and Metro Boomin was the featured Album Producer for Future’s #1 chart topping album DS2 (Dirty Sprite 2). Under Brooks direction, the producers he has managed scored placements with a myriad of top Hip-Hop artists.

Bobby "Jack" Pressley
A&R Executive

Bobby “Jack” Pressley is a seasoned A&R executive working alongside songwriting giant Sean Garrett for RCA records R&B signee Avery Wilson, as well as Garrett’s and Clive Davis’s independent label, Bet I Penned It Music Group. Bobby Jack made his mark in the music industry when he first discovered and managed international pop artist Sean Kingston who went on to deliver huge chart topping hits in American music history. Bobby also found hit producer Bridgetown who has produced songs for Beyoncé, Mary J Blige, Trey Songz and many more. Bobby Jack has over 10 years of experience in the music industry, and with the forever changing obstacles in technology and record sales, Bobby Jack has a strong penchant for staying current and on top of evolving trends and style, which helps to keep his team and artists consistent and relevant.

Joy Young
Management - Wondaland Records

With over eight years of professional experience in entertainment, Joy Young has become a reputable and respected leader and influencer in the entertainment industry. Having a background in marketing, television and music, Joy is laying a strong foundation for a lasting career. She has worked with corporate companies such as Heineken, American Airlines, US Army, Essence Music Festival, Alize’ Liquor, and Trident Chewing Gum as a brand ambassador touring all over the Southeast Region. In her career-to-date, she has been instrumental in coordinating and executing national promotional campaigns and has managed promotional activity, tours and events for a range of artists including Chrisette Michelle, TI, B.o.B., Wiz Khalifa, Musiq Soulchild, Trey Songz, FloRida, and many more.

David Melhado
Artist Manager

Behind the scenes of one of today’s top artist & songwriters Verse Simmonds is managed by David Melhado of the MBM Firm based in Atlanta. David has 10 years of experience in the entertainment business and got his start working with Atlanta based Mauldin Brand Agency. At MBA, he helped plan and execute marketing initiatives for the Scream IV Tour (Bow Wow, Omarion) with brands such as Jamster and Kodak. Today, David’s clients credits include, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Jay Z, Chris Brown, Usher, Kelly Rowland, Fifth Harmony, K Michelle and countless others. Through his partnership with Atlanta nightlife trailblazer Mark “Biddy” Barnes, he’s helped put on some of the best events in the south. Dave Melhado has quietly been making his path to the top of the music business and shows no sign of slowing up.

Ian Burke
Vice President of Live Music - You42

Burke, a native of Mount Vernon, NY relocated to Atlanta in 1984, when an opportunity to head the Hip Hop Department at Ichiban Records, a Georgia based label and distribution company, led him to the new “Motown” of the South. There he focused on breaking new underground Hip Hop artists including Flint Michigan’s own MC Breed, best known for his hit single “Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin.” Later, as an independent manager and A&R consultant, Burke directed the careers of Arrested Development (Chrysalis/EMI), TLC, Outkast (LaFace/Arista), Kris- Kross (Ruff House/Columbia), Xscape (SoSoDef), Sole` (Dreamworks), Debra Killings (Verity/Jive) and Blaque (Track Masters/Columbia). He also served as General Manager of Atlanta-based production companies Organized Noize Productions, Inc. and Playmaker Music, LLC. With a successful and growing list of credits, producer Jermaine Dupri, sought Burke to consult for his label, So So Def, where Burke brought on recording artists, Jarvis (So So Def/Jive) and 16 year-old actor/singer/songwriter sensation, Maestro Harrell (So So Def/Island), as well as, well-known producer, Chadron “Nitti” Moore (So So Def).

Aneesah Bray
Sr. Director/CEO of Backstage

Aneesah Bray is the Sr. Director/CEO of Backstage Federal Credit Union with multi-level experience in administration and management working in film, music and private industry. Aneesah Bray’s talent is to discover, service and manage music and film celebrity talent. Aneesah has used her business acumen to attract and produce talent, develop strategic alliances with global talent buyers, music publishing/licensing organizations and advertising agencies. She is primarily credited with developing the career of rapper/actor Bone Crusher but is also known for working with Chris Lighty (50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Missy, Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Monie Love, Mariah Carey) This progressed to working with numerous artists such as Ice T’s Rhyme Syndicate, Eddie Griffin, Martin Lawerence, David Banner, Lil Jon, Jodeci and many more. Aneesah has long been sought out for her experience, nurturing attitude and keen advice. As Sr Director of the organization of Backstage, she is living her dream of helping people in entertainment live more fulfilling lives.

Canton Jones
Artist Musician

CANTON “CAJO” JONES is a singer, rapper, songwriter, producer, vocal arranger, youth pastor and entrepreneur, as well as a loyal husband and father of 4. Canton Jones is a Deerfield Beach, Florida native, currently residing in Atlanta, GA. He has ministered to and performed in front of millions of people during his career as a music artist. Since beginning his career and ministry, Canton Jones has released numerous albums which include 20 Years, 3 Months, & 12 Days….., Love Jones, The Password: Access Granted, Kingdom Business Parts 1-4, Dominionaire, Dominionaire Remixed, Go Mode, Lust, Drugs, and Gospel, and Godcity. Canton Jones has many awards and accolades, which include: 2012 Grammy nomination, Stellar Award nomination, 3 Gospel Choice Awards, Trailblazer in Media & Entertainment Award, Received Resolution from Georgia State Senate, Partnerships with McDonald’s The Gift Tour, and Chick Fil A, Trumpet Awards, Gospel Music Channel, Walmart, Hosea Feed the Hungry, Received keys to the city of Carrollton, GA, serves Georgia school systems by speaking and ministering in song to elementary through high school students, serves troubled youth by speaking and ministering in song to juvenile centers and at risk high schools.

Steve Lucas
General Manager - Upfront Megatainment

In the early 90’s Steve took on a post at Uptown Records owned by music mogul and entrepreneur Andre Harrell, assisting in the growth and development of the label. Uptown spawned the careers of multi- platinum recording artist such as Mary J Blige, Jodeci, Al B Sure, and Sean “P Diddy” Combs. Upon the sale Uptown, the artist were so enthralled with Steve that he later became their manager, directing their careers, causing him to form his own artist management company Steve Lucas management. Here, Steve guided the careers of Mary j Blige, Jodeci, P Diddy and more. His clients would become household brands and gain international notoriety. Additionally, Steve head up the artist development, video production and marketing division of Motown records in New York. In early 2000 he was named Sr. VP at Motown Records overseeing budgets, marketing, artist development and video production. In the mid 2000’s, Steve relocated to Atlanta, to run independent label Upfront Megatainment as General Manager and oversaw the career of international superstar artist Akon.

Bart Phillips
CEO Sunseeker Media TV/FILM/PRODUCTION

With over 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry, Bart Phillips formed Sunseeker with the mission of creating content that makes an impact. As Executive Producer, Director, Producer, or Music Supervisor for everything from television, film, music videos, web-based programming, movie soundtracks, live concerts, reality series, commercials, documentaries, and awards shows, his list of credits is vast and continues to grow. His wide-ranging experience allows him to bridge a gap between all worlds of media.
PRODUCER CREDITS
Emmy & MTV Award Winning Producer
6 year Executive Producer for The Soul Train Awards Las Vegas Producer of Paul Mooney Documentary for Showtime
Producer of Shaq Comedy All-Star
Executive Producer for “BEING” Documentary for Centric
Producer/ Director of multiple brand Jordan & Nike commercials Executive Producer of NFL Superbowl Gospel
Producer of Philadelphia 4th Live Concert Series Special for VH1Executive Producer for Interludes Live Concerts/ Doc series for TVOne.
Episodes include Jennifer Hudson and Trey Songz
Producer of 100+ music videos for top artists ( i.e. Mariah Carey, Lil Jon, and Chris Brown)

Curtis J. Martin II
Miller & Martin PLLC

Curtis J. Martin II is a partner in the Atlanta office of Miller & Martin PLLC. Curtis is a litigator and represents clients in state and federal courts in claims involving breach of contract, business torts, premises liability and employment matters. Curtis has experience in various industries to include manufacturing, banking, hospitality, entertainment and transportation. He has successfully defended and tried cases nationally, representing a full spectrum of clients from start-up businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Curtis represents a range of clients in the entertainment industry to include artists, producers, managers, production companies and other entertainment related entities. In addition to representing clients in litigation proceedings, Curtis also counsels clients on non-litigation matters and resolving disputes prior to litigation. Curtis was recently recognized as one of Savoy Magazine’s 2015 Most Influential African-American Lawyers. He has also been selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers, Rising Stars (2010-2014); marking him as a top Georgia lawyer under the age of 40 (no more than 2.5% of Georgia lawyers can be named a Rising Star). Curtis was recognized by the Atlanta Business League as a 2011 Man of Influence. He has also been named to “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta” (2009-2014), and named to the Atlanta Business Journal’s “40 On the Rise” (2009).

Jacob York
Entertainment Executive

Jacob York has 20+ years of experience in the entertainment industry. One of his early achievements include launching Jacob York Presents, a promotional company, which grew to host some of the biggest names in the nightlife industry including Jay Z, Puff Daddy, Lil Wayne and more. York’s business expertise has been sought after by many which led him to work as a consultant for major record labels such as Sony, Epic, RCA, Columbia, Atlantic and Universal. During his advising from 2001-­2007, York was either responsible for or involved in 85% of the music deals made in Atlanta. Most recently, Jacob York launched Electric Republic (ER); an independently-owned media company that develops and markets talent, film, television, and digital assets which speak to today’s popular culture. Electric Republic currently manages model/actress/host Karrueche Tran, model/social media influencer, Chantel Jeffries and many more. In 2014, ER executive produced their first direct-to-Netflix film ‘Percentage’ starring Cam’ron, Omar Gooding, Ving Rhames, Melinda Williams and Macy Gray. The company released their first theatrical film on April 24, 2015, ‘Brotherly Love’ starring Keke Palmer, Cory Hardrict, Romeo Miller and Eric D Hill, Jr. ER digital assets include ‘Prophytes’, an exclusive networking tools for fraternities and sororities.

DJ Kemit
Vice President Music Digital - You42

You42 Inc is a pioneering company focused on rebooting an ailing entertainment industry. It’s online portal allows partner artists, entertainers, and creators to maintain true control of their content for the very first time. As creators, You42 provides a new, but proven, way to distribute and monetize entertainment around the world, allowing artistry to evolve as it is intended. You42 fosters native artist collaboration, so fans can discover and consume entertainment in new and creative ways. Starting out eight years ago as a video game and CGI animation company named Kiz Studios, You42 developed its first transmedia property, Planet Muck™ . This led to envision a world where all verticals of entertainment could thrive and grow under the company’s proven proprietary model of distribution and monetization. At a time when piracy threatens the financial collapse of the entertainment industry, You42 knows the time is right to launch a solution that will control piracy, monetize, and grant fans access to free content… a solid win for artists and consumers alike!

Alexis M. Kimbrough
Founder - Growth Group

Alexis M. Kimbrough believes without the contributions of music creators, the world would be boring. As the founder and lead accountant of Growth Group, Alexis spends her time helping music businesses be profitable and musicians to live prosperous financial lives. By providing tax, accounting, and bookkeeping services, she settles for nothing less than extraordinary results for her independent artists, record label, and recording studio clients.

Drea
Artist

Houston, Texas singer/songwriter Drea brings a refreshing flair to gospel music. Her debut EP, “New Day,” is a diverse, multi-faceted collection of songs designed to inspire, enlighten and uplift. Through them, Drea shares her love for God and allows us to travel with her on her faith walk, a walk that she says is rooted in her personal view of God’s word. Drea will be moderating our special “Evening With… Gospel Magic” panel.

Taffi Dollar
President and CEO of Arrow Records

An aficionado of gospel music in all of its various forms, Taffi Dollar is the President and CEO of Arrow Records, a cutting-edge, Christian-based record company located in College Park, Georgia. Established in 1998 with the motto “Music That Pierces the Heart,” Arrow Records is home to an impressive roster of urban contemporary, traditional Gospel and Rhythm and Praise (R&P) artists. Its debut gospel release, From the Heart of God, featuring Creflo Dollar and the Changing Your World Mass Choir, put Arrow Records on the map, and recent projects by R&P sensation Canton Jones are taking the label to new heights. A world-renowned author, teacher and conference speaker, Taffi established Arrow Records to fulfill the mandate given to her by God—to produce music that heals the sick, delivers the captive, restores the brokenhearted and saves the lost. With the support of her husband, Creflo Dollar, the pastor and founder of World Changers Church International, Taffi is enthusiastically promoting music that transcends the age, race, beliefs and customs of listeners worldwide and ushers in the power and presence of God as never before. Taffi Dollar is a pioneer in the music industry and strives for excellence in all she does. She believes that music, in its purest form, can transform lives and enable people to recognize and experience the immeasurable goodness of God’s love.

Amy Hanks
Founder & CEO, Amy Hanks PR

Amy Hanks is a seasoned representative of communications and public relations her job includes crisis communications, public affairs, community relations, and media relations. Amy specializes, in placements on national, regional and local television to placements in national trade and consumer magazines. She also oversees all aspects of press kit development, publicity, marketing and advertising campaigns, press conferences, event planning, print broadcast placement and Internet exposure. Amy attended Georgia State University achieving a BA in Communications. During this time she obtained an internship with music production company, The Bottom Line Entertainment. It was here where Amy began her journey towards a public relations career in the entertainment industry and worked her way up to Public Relations Director after 3 years. Amy is known for her service-intensive approach which has benefited her elite and diverse group of clients: Andre Rison, Business Entrepreneur Leadership Association, Ying Yang Twins, Rocsi Diaz, Lipstick-N-Lead, Ali Owens, Angelic Moore, Xtra Point Films, Airess Motorsports, Kellem Racing, G-Force Performance, Juice Magazine, Goodie Mob and Stone Mountain Art. Amy Hanks, along with partners, has taken her company to a new plateau of progression by utilizing their integrity, professionalism, teamwork and dedication from which the foundation of the company was built. Amy cites these components as the main elements of her success.

Solomon Smallwood
Founder & CEO, TSG Financial Management LLC

TSG has represented celebrities, entertainers and other high net-worth individuals for over 19 years. Known as the “financial guru to the stars”, TSG’s roster includes Justin Bieber, Usher, The Dream, Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj. From accounting and tax preparation to estate planning, insurance coverage and investment portfolios, TSG oversees virtually every aspect of its clients’ fiscal matters. Solomon is an Atlanta native. He attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, where he received a Bachelors degree in Accounting. He currently serves on the board of directors for both Usher’s New Look Foundation and Bank of Atlanta. Solomon is committed to giving back to his community and is in the formative stages of developing Solomon’s Temple, a non-profit organization which will serve to support innovative projects in the fight against social injustice. Solomon’s Temple will serve as a conduit for change through grant making and technical support for organizations and individuals seeking to strengthen families, to promote community development, and to foster economic success for disadvantaged populations.

Will “ill Will” Lavin
International Popular Culture Journalist, Hip Hop Music & Lifestyle Specialist, and Media Expert

Ill Will is considered one of the go-to guys in UK when it comes to information about the history of Hip Hop history, culture, current events, new artists and everything in between. He has dedicated his life to learning everything about Hip Hop, R&B and soul culture. Becoming a temporary writer for UK music magazine Tense, in the early 2000’s, Will went on to be a full-fledged journalist writing for Blues & Soul, the longest serving black music magazine in the UK. Also contributing to the pages of Touch, Undercover, RWD, One Week To Live, Shook and the MOBO magazine, he went on to write for U.S. publications Vibe, XXL, The Source and many more. Interviewing names such as Chaka Khan, Akon, Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Robin Thicke and Chris Brown, to name but a few, when the digital age kicked in Will continued to write for sites such as Complex, HipHopDX, AllHipHop, Soul Culture and various others. He now has his own website – illwill.co.uk – which hosts interviews, album reviews and general music news. Handling the UK PR and marketing for the likes of Mack Wilds, Jared Evan and rock band Avenue of the Giants, Will has also acted as a UK liaison for the camps of Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and TGT (Tyrese, Ginuwine, Tank).

French Spencer
Platinum Music Producer & Media Production Professor

French Spencer, The Producer/Professor, is a multi-platinum music producer, media production professor, and unscripted television producer. French hails from a diverse and distinct musical background. His career as a professional songwriter/producer launched in 2000 when he inked his first publishing joint venture with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. French’s music production credits include Epic recording artist Ciara, Interscope records recording artist Keri Hilson, OMG Girlz and more. He also has production featured in big screen blockbuster hits for Paramount Pictures “Coach Carter: and Warner Bros Pictures “ATL”. He scored the TLC/Discovery Kids two-time Emmy Award nominated, kids television series, “Hip Hop Harry”. French resides in Atlanta, GA where he lectures several Music Business and Production courses at the Art Institute of Atlanta. His vast experience and knowledge of the music business makes him a valuable asset to the student body he teaches and mentors, which resulted in him being elected “Faculty of the Year 2014”. As an entrepreneur, he is credited with the formation and launch of Greektonez.com, an Internet based technology company he founded to provide Divine 9 Fraternities and Sororities with chant themed ringtones and animated computer screensavers. French is currently composing original music for an online music catalog with Audio Motion Music and writing and production various television projects for pitching.

Stone Stafford
Co-Owner Icon Studios/ Music Manager

Stone began his career as an artist and songwriter working with producers; Tony Rich, Dallas Austin, Shek’spere and former Bad Boy hitmen, Anthony Dent and J-Dub. In January 2000, Stone was selected to open and co-spearhead Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s new Atlanta office which became, the #1 office in productivity of all Sony U.S. offices (Santa Monica, Nashville, Miami and NY) with spawned for artists B2K, Blu Cantrell, Monica, 702, Mandy Moore, Whitney Houston and more both foreign and domestic, including TV and Film. In 2004 Stone was hired as Sr. Creative Director for Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Productions and Dieniahmar/EMI Music Publishing where he was responsible for overseeing Dupri’s roster of writers and producers. While at Dieniahmar, he signed hit songwriter, Cristyle (Mariah Carey’s – “Touch My Body”, Rihanna’s – “Only Girl In The World”, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, etc.) In 2008, Stone became A&R consultant for Atlantic Records and Justin Timberlake’s Tennman/ Interscope Records. Currently, Stone is co-owner of Atlanta’s premiere recording studio, ICON Studios, a 10,000sf facility visited and recorded at by Akon, Justin Bieber, Usher, MTV, Atlantic Records, Universal Records, EMI Music Publishing and many others. As a music publisher and songwriter, Stone owns copyrights on artists Justin Bieber, Keke Palmer, Stacie Orrico and Tiffany Evans. Additionally, under Stoneworx Entertaiment, Stone manages the careers of Pop/Urban artist Beth Spangler, Mathai (The Voice: Season 2 Top 10 semi-finalist) and co-manager for producer Babygirl (Justin Bieber, Lyfe Jennings, etc.).

Serge Durand
A&R & Publisher, Empire Distribution

Serge Durand is an A&R at Empire Distribution handling publishing administration deals and scouting talent. Prior to this, Serge enjoyed stints at Atlantic Records, and working at Debra Antney’s Mizay Entertainment. Raised in the heart of Jamaica Queens, NY, Serge Durand was destined for greatness. Never once did this ALL-CITY basketball player think that his love for music would soon turn into a successful career. Shortly after moving to Atlanta to attend Clark Atlanta University, he became fast friends with recently retired Bad Boy recording artist MA$E, which gave him his first look at the ins and outs of the music industry. Upon Mase’s return to rap in 2004, Serge took on the job to be Ma$e’s personal assistant which entailed being in the studio with the known Hitmaker/songwriter day and night. Watching Ma$e create night after night is what sparked his interest to be an A&R for a major label. In 2005, a chance encounter with producer NO I.D would be the first of many new open doors for Serge, who went on to manage him. Roughly two years later, Jermaine Dupri hired Serge as the Creative Director of A&R of his publishing company DIENIAHMAR/EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING. Dieniahmar’s roster included award winning songwriter Cristyle (Mariah Carey “Touch My Body”), Nitti(Young Joc “It’s Going Down”), Natural Disaster (Soulja Boy “Turn My Swag On”), L Roc (Usher “Yeah”, Nelly “Grillz”), Marvelous J (Rocko “This Morning”), Marcus John (Day 26 “I Need That”), Free Agentz, and Young Juve. Later, Atlantic Records Executive Vice President of A&R, Mike Caren caught wind of Serges’ hustle and work ethic, landeding him a position as an A&R Consultant at Atlantic in early 2009. Today, Serge continues to work on projects for artists such as T.I., Plies, Trey Songz, Pleasure P, and Flo-Rida alongside his duties as A&R at Empire Distribution.

Patrick "Guitarboy" Hayes
Award Winning Producer

Patrick “Guitarboy” Hayes was born into a musically inclined family. As a child, he received a guitar as a gift and made magical sounds through the strings. The Hayes Family sang and played several instruments. They performed with the famous Staples Singers and toured many cities. Their gospel group, The Harmony Doves recorded 3 albums. Patrick obtained his formal education from Mendenhall High School in MS. Upon graduation, he attended and obtained two degrees from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. Early in his career, he toured with Blues legends Bobby Rush, Tyrone Davis and B.B King. After Patrick graduated from college; he relocated to Chicago so that he could further pursue his musical endeavors. While residing in Chicago only one year; he was introduced to superstar R. Kelly. Kelly attended one of Patrick’s concerts and the rest became musical history. After Patrick’s tenure was up with R.Kelly, he decided to explore new opportunities. He then relocated to Atlanta, GA and teamed up with Troy Taylor to collaborate on a mixtape. The up & coming artist they worked with was Trey Songz. 3 smash hits were selected for Trey’s upcoming album “Ready.” The songs, which,became Billboard hits were “Panty Dropper,” “Your Side of the Bed” and “Neighbors Know My Name.” The video for “Neighbors” received high acclaim and was in heavy rotation on MTV. Patrick’s newfound success opened many doors for him. These opportunities caught the attention of Manny Halley, president of Imani Entertainment Group. Upon their meeting, Patrick was immediately signed to WB Music Group. Under the leadership of Manager T. Younger; Patrick began working with WB Nashville’s VP, Steve Markland. Over the years, Patrick has collaborated with some of the world’s greatest artists, songwriters and producers. Some of which include the following: Jennifer Hudson, Chris Brown, Ben Hayslip, Rhett Atkins, Micheal Dulaney, Mike Caren (Atlantic Records), JayDee Springbett (Sony Music Australia), Lionel Richie, DJ FrankE, Keyshia Cole, 112 and Ann Nesby. His motto is “Always follow your heart and believe in your dreams.”

Suncera Johnson
Social Media Expert

Suncera Johnson is an entertainment industry vet who turned a temp job as an Administrative Assistant at Spike TV into a career. Her bio spans across companies such as Atlantic Records and MTV along with credits on top rated television shows; NBC, FOX, VH1, OWN and more. As a radio show host/producer, her Blog Talk Radio Show “Musings Of A Muse” was rated as “Best of Blog Talk Radio” seven times within the first ten months of being on air. As a result of her foray into social media, as @thatwritingchic she “accidentally on purpose” developed an online brand as well as becoming a published author. Her recent transition took her into the world of digital media, running targeted digital campaigns for brands such as JAY Z’s Life+Times YouTube Channel, Grand Marnier, McDonald’s, Vitamin Water, Toyota, Fiat and Mazda as the CEO of amass digital. Her specialty is attracting audiences to content through strategic targeting on social media platforms. Her Facebook Ad campaigns consistently elicit a 8-10 relevancy ranking, her Twitter Ads always result in double digit click through rates, and her Google Adwords campaign expertise permit her to work with only very select clientele. Ms. Johnson also conducts workshops on various aspects of the Entertainment and Digital Media industries. Her written work has been featured on websites such as Rolling Out, Stupid Dope and Interactive One’s Elev8. She is currently working on the next installment in her “Pro Series” line of Instructional Books: “How to Be Well Liked Online and IRL”, dealing with the impact of Social Media Platforms on our professional and personal lives as well as the development of a food blog under the pseudonym @thatcookingchic which already has a significant Facebook following.

Jullian Boothe
A&R Executive/ Artist Manager

Jamaican Born and Miami raised, Jullian Boothe attended Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for Music Business, but his life took a dramatic turn when he took an internship at Entertainment Resources, where he met the man who would become his mentor, industry leader Luther Campbell (former 2 Live Crew members). Jumping back and forth from job to job, Jullian’s energy and commitment earned him the leap from intern at Entertainment Resources to Director of A&R at the age of 19 of Luke Records. Shortly thereafter, he engineered the careers of Luke Records artists Uncle Luke and Luke Records. There he discovered and started delvopling Pitbull. In 1999, Jullian helped launch the very successful Luke Freak Show DVD and ended up selling over 500,000 copies nation wide. In 2000, Jullian left Luke Records, but he reemerged later the same year at Slip N Slide Records. There he helped A&R some of the biggest records and artists that Miami has offered with Trick Daddy and Trina. In a few years he became the VP of the company and helped launched the careers of Rick Ross and Plies. He started his own management and record label in 2013 (The Executive Club Worldwide) where he has recording artist Trina, Pleasure P, Bahja Rodriguez, pop singer Qwote signed through Ultra records and has worked with several upcoming singers and artists. He worked with Waka Flocka 2013 branding him over to EDM with success tour with Steve Aoki. Branding is big business so when he met the owner’s of the small local franchise Miami Subs, he brought fellow business partner Pitbull into the company and struck a equity deal with them and the Cuban American Rapper to be owners in the company. Now since then, the company has seen huge growth international and new stores are in the hundreds.

Bernie Lawrence
B. Lawrence Watkins & Associates, PC

Bernie Lawrence-Watkins is a seasoned attorney and principal in the law firm of B. Lawrence Watkins & Associates, PC, concentrating in the areas of Entertainment, Music Licensing, Copyright, Trademark, Business Contracts/Formation and Litigation. Some of her clients include Grammy® Award winning music producers and songwriters, artists, music industry executives, independent record labels, managers, music and film/television production companies, screenplay writers, and clothing designers. She has a plethora of experience drafting and negotiating contracts ranging from licensing, employment, corporate transactions, to product endorsement agreements on behalf of corporate and entertainment clients. Mrs. Lawrence-Watkins’ sharp negotiating skills have earned her clients over millions of dollars in royalty income and advances. She periodically appears as a guest lecturer and panelist at conferences throughout the country.

Over the years some of her clients include Brandon “Dirty Bird” Parrott (“P.I.M.P.” — 50 Cent), Bad Boy “Hitmen” Producers Ron “Amen-Ra” Lawrence, Jeffery “J-Dub” Walker and Record Exec Conrad Dimanche, Marquinarius “Sanchez” Holmes (“A.S.A.P.”–T.I.), “Play” and “DJ Wiz” from “Kid N Play”, Shondrae “Mr. Bangladesh” Crawford (Lil’ Wayne, Beyoncé, Kelis), Austin “Ayo” Owens (“John, If I Die Today” – Lil’ Wayne), JonJon (Deja Vu – Beyoncé), Alexander “AJ” Parhm, Jr. (Usher, Justin Bieber), the legendary Jennifer Holiday, Perri “Pebbles” Reid, VaShawn Mitchell (“Nobody Greater”), Jagged Edge, Roscoe Dash, ByStorm/RCA Record Exec Keith “Tha Beef” Thomas, and Capital Records recording artist Silento (“What Me Whip/Nae Nae”) to name a few.

Mrs. Lawrence-Watkins received her Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Howard University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore, School of Law.

Dorothy McClung Lewis
SINGER, SONGWRITER, WORSHIPPER

A native of Pickensville, Alabama, Dorothy McClung Lewis, fondly called, “The Mississippi Songbird,” is the eighth of nine children born to the late John Franklin and Emily Magnolia McClung. After the death of her father, the family moved to Columbus, Mississippi, where Dorothy completed her middle and high school education. She received her BS Degree in Elementary Education from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. After college, she became a teacher, retiring after 38 years in the classrooms of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. Since retiring, Dorothy moved to Austell, Georgia, where she joined and continues her ministry in music as a psalmist and member of the New Life Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of Ronald McCrary, founder and pastor. Through her many years of doing concerts and making television appearances, Dorothy McClung Lewis has received an abundance of awards, trophies, and certificates, as recognitions of her faithfulness during her many years as a psalmist.

Kim Smith Dockery
Manager/A&R & Publishing Executive

The old adage, ‘good guys finish last,’ definitely doesn’t apply to Kim Smith Dockery. The 20-year music industry veteran, who is known as much for her pleasant demeanor as she is her incredible ear and business savvyness, is easily one of the most well liked, respected and sought after women in the game.

Having gotten her start at Teddy Riley’s Future Recording Studios in 1991, the Norfolk, Virginia native has worked as an engineer, A&R executive, talent manager and production manager with some of the biggest names in music, including Michael Jackson, Black Street, Patti Labelle, Rolling Stones, Leona Lewis, Fantasia, J.T. Money, Asher Roth, TLC, and Pink, etc.

A multi-tasker with a vast knowledge of the music industry, Kim has worn a variety of hats. She went from working as an intern at Future to becoming a staff engineer. After that she joined Perri “Pebbles” Reid’s Savvy/A&M Records as A&R Director and later signed on in that same capacity for Dallas Austin’s Freeworld/Capitol label.

Kim’s relationship with Austin would last for many years and would find her working with the multi-platinum producer in various roles, including Joint Venture Manager for his partnership with Elektra Records and head of production for his Atlanta-based DARP Studios.

Kim currently provides production and publishing administration services through her company KSmiles5 Management and Consulting, which also represents artists, songwriters, and producers. A 2015 BMI award winner, some of her clients include GRAMMY nominated producer/songwriter/artist – NOVEL, Rich Homie Quan, YFN Lucci and Trinidad James.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Norfolk State University.

Sean R. Taylor
Director of Publishing and A&R Reach Records

Sean is a GRAMMY voting member with 20 years of management experience working with artists, writers, independent and major labels, music publishers and radio stations contributing to bottom-line audience and revenue success.

Currently Sean is Director of A&R and Publishing at Reach Records home of GRAMMY Award artist LeCrae, Andy Mineo and more. Day to day consists of managing licensing opportunities, production and business affairs for the company’s roster along with Red Distribution and Kobalt Publishing. Sean also manages music producers Cool & Dre, and K.E. on the Track’s music and publishing assets with Universal Publishing.

Formerly General Manager for eight years of GRAMMY award artist Ludacris’ Disturbing tha Peace Records, with Island Def Jam Music Group and Universal Publishing. Prior, Sean was Sr. Director of A&R at Sony Music in NYC, responsible for production, budget allocations and administration of Wyclef Jean, 3-6 Mafia, Jagged Edge, Mobb Deep album releases.

At Radio One’s Hot 97 in Atlanta as Program Director, and Emmis Communications Hot 97 in NYC as Music Director, Sean garnered 10 years radio programming and Birthday Bash/Summer Jam concert production experience. During this time, accomplishments included WQHT in NYC was ranked #1 overall in the market several times. Awarded 1999 Music Director of the Year by Gavin and BRE. In these positions, Sean is most known for ‘bringing the south to the north’ on the airwaves during the height of Hip Hop giving early exposure to Outkast, Usher, Sean Diddy Combs, JAY Z, Ludacris and more.

Sean continues to thrives in helping creatives understand their potential reach and holds a Bachelor of Science in Physiology from Auburn University.

Jini D. Thronton
CEO, Envisions Business Management

Jini D. Thornton is a seasoned CPA with over 19 years of experience in the business management and accounting professions. Her company, Envision Business Management Group (EBMG), empowers individuals with the information and knowledge needed to make sound financial decisions and achieve personal financial security. EBMG has the privilege of representing some of the music industry’s hottest entertainers such as Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, CeeLo, Jeezy, and August Alsina.

A native of Rochester, New York, Jini began her professional career with KPMG in Atlanta after completing her graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There she received a Master’s of Science in Taxation. Jini also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from North Carolina A&T State University.

Jini’s passion for education is apparent in both her personal and professional lives. She has dedicated herself to helping others improve through education. Shortly after being recruited to Atlanta, she served as an adjunct professor at Spelman College where she taught accounting to undergraduate students. Jini successfully used the medium of radio to share advice on financial matters with the general public on a large scale. She created and served as the host of the award winning Money Talks, a financial commentary segment, which aired Monday through Friday on the Atlanta Radio One station WHTA-FM, Hot 107.9 and the Macon station WFXM-FM Foxie 107.1 for over eight years. She has also contributed to the James Fortune and Rickey Smiley shows.

Jini has been featured and quoted in articles published by The Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Upscale Magazine, and Rolling Out Magazine.

Suzanne Burge-Taylor
Writer Relations and Copyright Advocate, SongSplits

A Columbia College Chicago graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Marketing Communications, Suzanne held various marketing positions starting as an intern at PolyGram Distribution in
Chicago to Def Jam Music Group (Universal Music Group) and Elektra Records (Warner Music Group) in NYC as National Director of Retail, Product Manager and Vice-President of Marketing from 1995 – 2005 responsible for over 20MM albums sold, generating over $220MM gross sales.

As Product Manager to GRAMMY Award artists Jay Z, Ludacris, Missy Elliott plus Fabolous, Kelly Price, Rich Homie Quan and more, Suzanne has developed successful branding campaigns with Spotify, ESPN, Music Choice, Sirius XM, MTV, BET, Universal Pictures, Warner Pictures, iTunes, NBA, Clear Channel, MAC, Adidas, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Reebok. Suzanne has enjoyed being ‘ahead of the curve’ surrounding herself with trend-setters and the use of digital technology in music.

Over the last ten years Suzanne has been a Marketing Consultant and was a featured speaker at the Dialogue Conference in Sweden in 2009. The last three years have kept her busy as a Writer Relations Advisor and Copyright Advocate for SongSplits.com, a global songwriter-focused, web-based platform that captures and verifies song split information directly from songwriters and manages that information for publishers and copyright collecting organizations.

SongSplits has created a simple and universal process for songwriters to submit and declare their ownership in created works while simultaneously enabling publishers and music societies to execute on their core business: claiming music royalties and distributing those royalties to their songwriters. Suzanne is dedicated to helping bring awareness to music creatives on managing their song’s data and value.

In 2013, SongSplits was invited by Midem and Berklee School of Music to present at ReThink Music’s `Venture Music Day` as 1 of 12 finalists from 50 applicants in 19 countries. Presently SongSplits has attracted more than 50,000 songwriters in nearly 55 countries.

Corey Guevarra
Talent Manager/Entertainment Exec

Corey Guevarra is a Trinidadian-American Songwriter, Talent Manager, Celebrity Photographer & Entertainment industry tour de force. After receiving his first music publishing offer from Hollywood Records at age 11, he officially began his industry career at 15 with Atlantic Records servicing Brandy Norwood’s marketing street team. A 2005 graduate of Temple University, Corey’s relocation to New York City led to a Jr. Music Marketing Executive position at Kedar/Universal/Motown Records.

These days Corey continues a bountiful career at the helm of his usually exciting start-studded ship. Dividing time between Atlanta, Los Angeles & present UK expansions Corey spends his days running what he calls his “2.5 companies”. Company # 1 is a boutique talent management & branding consulting group where his years of education and experience serve him well navigating his clients through today’s intricately crafted entertainment industry. Passionately atop his list are his General Manager duties for LaTavia Roberson (2x Grammy award winning original member of Destiny’s Child) & partnership of her Entertainment LLC. Company #2 is a lucrative, full-scale fashion and lifestyle photography house offering a complete celebrity experience to his lofty clientele. Company .5 however is his ASCAP affiliated music publishing leg, focused heavily on EDM & Urban/Pop music.

Depending on who you ask and when they might’ve met him, you’ll get a myriad of monikers following Corey’s name. “Vocalist, Songwriter, Journalist, Actor, Producer, Radio Host, Label Exec, Talent Manager, PR Person, Creative Director & Art Director” are all earned titles that aptly fit under Corey’s belt. With all of these attributes obviously comes an equally as hefty resume boasting works alongside: Chaka Khan, Kelly Rowland, Brandy, Monica, VH1, BET, We-TV, Derek Blanks, Ebony Mag, Essence Mag, Kontrol Mag, Wendy Williams, Bravo TV, Tracee Ellis Ross, Meelah, Melanie Fiona, Jacob Latimore, Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton, Sony Music & so many more.

Jas Ancrum
ATL Beat Battle

Jasmine has over fourteen years of experience in the music and entertainment business with an insider look at the profound affect Hip Hop has on fashion, politics, trends, and global engagement. In 2014, she maintained and curated the social media platforms for the Hip Hop sensations, ‘We Are Toonz’. Her marketing and social media efforts helped to land the group a recording deal with Epic Records.

Although a native of Connecticut, Jasmine has resided in Atlanta for the past 14 years and attended Kennesaw State University, earning an Integrative Bachelor’s degree with two majors, Music Business & Marketing.

Jasmine gained international experience while managing Akon’s Official DJ, Benny-Demus. Her travels to Austrailia, China, South Korea, Liberia, and elsewhere allowed her to see Hip Hop’s impact on other cultures and races. For the last seven years, Jasmine has had her pulse on the producer trend in Atlanta, GA by operating ATL Beat Battle and ATL Songwriter Society, a producer and songwriter event that provides dynamic opportunities to young rising talent. Several hit making producers such as Sonny Digital, Metro Boomin, Needlz, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, Kane Beatz, and others continue to attest aboutt the opportunities being bestowed upon up and coming producers through the event.

In her spare time, Jasmine enjoys staying updated and engaged with Hip Hop trends, news, and music by attending events in and around the city of Atlanta.

Dvante Black
Grammy Nominated Mastering Engineer

Atlanta native, (Frederick “Dvante” Black, is a multi-talented, Grammy Nominated Mastering Engineer. Raised in the city of Atlanta. Dvante’s passion for music began at an early age and he has been a part of the recording industry for over 14 years. Dvante’s focus is on his Imprint (DvanteBlackMastering LLC) doing album consultancy for different artist projects and more. Credits/Features/ETC Includes: Verse Simmonds | Yung Joc | Rocko | Future | Cap1 | Sammie | MIGOS | 2 Chainz to name a few.