Memphis Music Cities Convention will bring together the top minds from municipalities, regions, academics, consultancies and the music industry to discuss, debate and introduce new thinking, action and structure to develop more vibrant, global cities.
Justine Avila, Executive Director Music City Music Council, Nashville Mayor’s Office
Justine Avila was chosen by the Music City Music Council to serve as the first full-time executive director for the organization after an intensive search process led by music industry executives Ed Hardy and Joe Galante with the support of Mayor Megan Barry.
Prior to her current role, Avila has worked as the concert manager of City Winery Nashville, co-founded MJ Booking, a boutique entertainment booking firm, and worked in the entertainment industry in New York City while attaining a Master of Arts degree in Music Business from NYU.
A Saint Cecilia Academy alumnus, Avila graduated with a BS in Hotel Management from Cornell University. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office and pursuing a career in entertainment, Avila worked in Boston, MA as an analyst at Pinnacle Advisory Group, a hospitality consulting firm. Avila also currently serves as the chair for the Cornell Alumni Society of Middle Tennessee.
Dr Andrea Jean Baker, Senior lecturer in Journalism, Monash University
Dr Andrea Jean Baker is a senior lecturer in journalism, School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). She is recognized as a radio journalist and music historian.
In 2013 she was appointed the academic representative on the City of Melbourne’s Music Strategy Committee; and has presented or chaired panels about global music cities, in 2013 at International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Australia & New Zealand; in 2014 at South by South West, and in 2015 at Australia’s first national symposium about music cities, which was held in Melbourne.
Using Melbourne as a case study, in 2017 she designed an algorithm to assess music activities in urban contexts, which was published by Sage Open. Andrea’s second book, The Great Music City (Palgrave Macmillan, London) which examines the music, space and identity of various music cities, such as Melbourne, Austin and Berlin, will be published in 2018.
jesse elliott, Director, The Music District, Fort Collins
Jesse Elliott, Director of the Music District, is a lifelong champion of collaborative creative efforts, social entrepreneurship, and the power of music and storytelling. He is the founder and songwriter of two rock and roll bands, These United States and Ark Life, who have released 6 albums and performed live 1,200 times in the last decade, from SXSW and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and your favorite local dive. Before music recaptured his heart, Elliott wrote books and speeches with economist Richard Florida, co-founded a community nonprofit at the University of Iowa, helped shoot a documentary on water rights in southern Mexico and Guatemala, and ran an Italian deli on the Jersey Shore. With his company Range Music Ecosystems, Elliott and his co-founder Dr. Bryce Merrill researched and wrote the music strategies for the City of Denver and the State of Colorado, and brought together international thinkers on music and community for the City of Austin, the Biennial of the Americas, and more.
Jaanus juss, founder and CEO, Telliskivi Creative City
Jaanus is the founder and CEO of Telliskivi Creative City, an award-winning development that serves as a community platform for the creative industry in Tallinn, Estonia. Once a derelict Soviet-era industrial complex, Telliskivi has been converted into a vibrant hub for 250 companies and 1,000 people in ten buildings.
Jaanus took a curator's approach to tenant selection, providing deep discounts to small tenants in creative industries and balancing that with enlightened companies from more traditional sectors. Encouraging active cultural participation among tenants and the local community, Jaanus mixes business and culture without compromise. It has proven to be a sustainable and profitable model that is already being applied to new projects under way.
Jaanus is also the Managing Partner at Arcis Real Estate which focuses on co-investment opportunities in the Baltic property markets through hands-on asset management. Prior to founding Telliskivi Creative City, Jaanus served as COO at Gild Property Asset Management (korrektne nimetus), where he structured deals, managed investments, and ran investor relations.
David Lewis, CEO & Founder, AudienceNet
Founder & CEO of AudienceNet, David has more than 25 years’ experience of providing full-service consumer and social research, across a diverse range of private and public sector organizations as well as for NGOs and Philanthropic Foundations. David’s innovative application of connected technologies to new research methods has resulted in AudienceNet becoming a truly global insights company. AudienceNet now conducts research in over 40 countries, across six continents, from their offices in London, Washington DC, and Melbourne.
AudienceNet has delivered one of the world’s largest ever studies of Millennials (involving more than 30,000 16-35 year olds, across six continents). In 2016/17 AudienceNet research has been presented to audiences as widely as: The World Economic Forum (Davos), The United Nations General Assembly, The White House (Obama Administration) and The European Parliament.
Glenn Max, Artistic director, Village Underground
Glenn Max is the Founder and Artistic Director of Convergence, a cultural initiative and concert series that explores the crossroads of music, art and technology. Convergence has entertained and educated tens of thousands in London. As the artistic director of Village Underground, a 720-capacity art centre in London, Glenn oversees programming and helps set policy. Since the late 90's, Glenn Max has worked as concert producer and curator, first in New York at the Knitting Factory, the home for downtown avant-garde music, then in London as Producer of the Contemporary Culture programme at the Southbank Centre, where he produced Meltdown Festival and created Ether. He also produced Brian Wilson's comeback concerts and early-on championed artists like Antony & the Johnsons, White Stripes and Joanna Newsom. He has worked closely with many great artists including David Byrne, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Massive Attack, David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and John Cale. He has produced concerts in over 6 countries including regularly produced concerts at the Barbican.
Kim Vu-Dinh, Clinical Faculty, University of Arkansas Bowen School of Law in Little Rock
Beginning in fall 2017, Kim Vu-Dinh will be Clinical Faculty at the University of Arkansas Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, where she works with law students to take on legal matters for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and community development corporations. Her academic research focuses on financial inclusion or artists and entrepreneurs in cultural economies. Prior to Little Rock, Vu-Dinh worked in New Orleans with nonprofits and small, local businesses developing affordable housing and arts-oriented, community-based commercial projects through her consulting firm Community Capacity Consulting. She is also an adjunct instructor at Tulane University’s Sustainable Real Estate Development Program, and was an Associate Research Scholar in Law and the Eugene Ludwig/Robert M. Cover Fellow in Law at Yale Law School in their Community and Economic Development Clinic.
Ms. Vu-Dinh is also the proud Founder, Owner, and Janitor of Milo Records New Orleans, an independent label promoting New Orleans-based artists.
Emily Barker, Artist
Emily Barker’s new album was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis with Grammy winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and some of Memphis’ finest session players. Sweet Kind of Blue marks a new sound for Barker as she returns to where her love of music started: far away from Memphis, singing her heart out to Aretha Franklin records in her bedroom in sleepy Bridgetown, Western Australia.
Emily Barker is best known as the writer and performer of the award-winning theme to BBC/PBS Masterpiece crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. She has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands including The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae and Applewood Road. In 2015 she completed her first full feature film soundtrack for Jake Gavin’s directorial debut Hector, starring Peter Mullan in his Scottish BAFTA winning lead role.
Carleton S. Gholz, activist, writer, teacher and DJ
Dr. Carleton S. Gholz is an activist in Detroit music history preservation, as well as a writer, teacher, and DJ. Born in Port Huron, Michigan and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Dr. Gholz’s first post-college job was as a high school social studies teacher in Detroit from 1999-2004. After completing his PhD in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, he taught at Northeastern University in Boston before returning to Detroit to be the Executive Director of Detroit Sound Conservancy. As a writer, he has published academically in sound and popular music studies (see Dancecult and the book Listening Spaces) and has been a professional freelance journalist since 1999 (see, for instance, Metro Times, Time, and BLAC). He is currently working on his first book which chronicles the rise of DJ-culture in Detroit, writing and co-producing his first film documentary entitled The Hook, and, beginning fall 2017, co-curating Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance at MOCAD.
Ashlye M. Keaton, Esq, Co-Founder and Supervising Attorney, ELLA Project
Ashlye M. Keaton, Esq. practices entertainment and intellectual property law and is an advocate for the arts. Ashlye is an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School and also an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans Graduate School in Arts Administration. She is Co-Founder and Supervising Attorney for the ELLA Project.
Among other boards, Ashlye has served as an officer on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, better known as the Grammy’s. She was awarded the Monte M. Lemann Distinguished Teaching Award by Tulane Law School Class of 2015. She has consistently been voted as OffBeat Magazine’s Best Music Attorney from 2008 to 2015; Gambit Weekly’s 2009 40 Under Forty; 2008 Governor’s Art Award/ELLA Project; and New Orleans CityBusiness 2007 Leadership in Law.
Igor Lozada, Head of Culture, City of Guadalajara
Igor Lozada is responsible for the coordination, promotion, strategic planning, operation and evaluation of all programs for cultural dissemination and artistic promotion as well as the design and accomplishment of cultural policies and cultural projects of the University of Guadalajara. He also manages all the planning for the commercialization, promotion, collaboration and marketing of the productions regarding cultural affairs of the University of Guadalajara.
Jennifer Sien Erickson, Manager of Arts & Culture, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)
Jennifer Sien Erickson serves as Manager of Arts & Culture at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the regional planning agency serving Metropolitan Boston. She heads the agency's newly formed Arts & Culture Division. Her prior positions included managing MAPC's Technical Assistance Program and serving as a regional planner in the Land Use Department. Her work has been recognized with awards from the American Planning Association (APA) Massachusetts Chapter. Ms. Erickson is the co-founder of the APA Arts and Planning Interest Group and has served on the APA's Diversity Task Force and People and Places Task Force. Her work has also been published in the Journal for Planning Education and Research. Prior to joining MAPC, Ms. Erickson worked as a grantmaker, facilitating funding to organizations working to advance the quality of life in the Commonwealth. She received her Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University, where her thesis examined civic innovations at the intersection of arts, culture, and planning.
Tarik Ward, Director of Music Programs, ELMA Philanthropy Services
In 2015, Tarik and his wife, Tresha, moved back to the borough of his birth, Brooklyn, to be the Director of Music Programs for ELMA Philanthropy Services. Here, he manages, and is actively growing, an eclectic portfolio of investments all aimed at supporting organizations that are using music as a youth development tool. His grantees range from large urban school districts to community based youth centers.
Tarik’s previous experience is slightly more eclectic than his portfolio, including several years as a flight controller for the International Space Station for NASA, a consultant at Deloitte, and the COO of a non-profit startup. Through his travels, he has engaged deeply with early childhood systems, human interface systems, and workforce development programs.
He is a (very) amateur runner and fighter and has amassed a music collection that has topped 75,000 songs. He also holds degrees from MIT and Stanford.
Carol Coletta, senior fellow, Kresge Foundation
Carol Coletta is a senior fellow with The Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice. She is leading a $40 million collaboration of foundations, nonprofits and governments to demonstrate the ways in which a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can yield increased and more widely share prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.
She formerly was vice president of Community and National Initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She led the two-year start-up of ArtPlace, a public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the U.S. and was president and CEO of CEOs for Cities for seven years.
She also served as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Conference of Mayors and American Architectural Foundation.
For nine years, she was host and producer of the nationally syndicated weekly public radio show Smart City, where she interviewed more than 900 international leaders in business, the arts and cities.
Deron Hall, Chief Executive & Innovation officer, Memphis Arts Engine
Deron has developed multi-million dollar strategies, initiatives, & programs executed by schools, community centers, community development corporations, major orchestras, and others. He has spearheaded partnerships with various top-tier universities and arts organizations to forge shared value across many metrics.
He was a Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied, "replicable and sustainable arts-based intervention programs for at-risk youth," leading to presentations on behalf of the U.S. Department of State with (1) Community Arts Center Directors from Dakar, Senegal, Africa, and (2) artists and administrators from Iraq representing the Ministry of Culture, University of Baghdad, and the Iraqi National Symphony.
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM '13, Music Education, French Horn) and the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy at University of Pennsylvania, and he currently serves as the Chief Executive and Innovation Officer for Memphis Arts Engine, an ideas and solutions generator focused squarely on innovation at the nexus of arts and society. He was the 2013 Distinguished Young Alumnus award recipient at the Cincinnati Conservatory.
Shawn King, DeVotchka & Colorado Music Ambassador
Shawn King is best known as the drummer and trumpeter for DeVotchka. The multifaceted indie folk group has released six studio albums and provided the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for the 2006 film "Little Miss Sunshine”. In 2015, King created music with Raul Pacheco of Ozomatli for Dreaming Sin Fronteras, a musical storytelling performance that eventually became the band Los Dreamers, telling stories of immigration and American identity with collaborators from all over the US.
King is a co-founder of ColorWheel Music, who licenses and creates custom music for film and video. Currently he advocates for musicians and thinks big as the inaugural Colorado Music Ambassador.
Matt Masters, Program Leader, Alberta Music Cities
As program leader of Alberta Music Cities, Matt and his team are mapping and measuring their local music industry, working to maximise the impact of music on cities in Alberta and advocating for the music sector. Matt works as a professional country and western musician based in Calgary. He is also the president of the Matt Masters Corp, a music consulting and event production company. Over the past 20 years Matt has worked in festivals, venue booking, not-for-profit management, fund raising and corporate partnership development as well as civic arts policy development.
Like all good Canadian musicians, Matt has performed in the centre of a frozen lake, on horseback and on a greyhound bus speeding across the prairies.
adrian tonon, co-Founder of the Detroit Music Foundation
Born in Michigan, Tonon grew up in the restaurant business starting with his family's original restaurant, Rina's of Detroit, located for decades on Detroit's Westside. In 1995, Adrian joined his mother at their family-owned Café Cortina.
Tonon Attended Detroit Country Day School and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. In addition to his entrepreneurial responsibilities, in 2007 Tonon established The Adrian Tonon Project a non-profit 501-C3 to promote his grassroots message that everyone has something to offer to make the world a better place.
After serving on the then Detroit Mayoral Candidate, Michael E. Duggan's Executive Campaign Team to help promote world-class customer service in the public sector and raise awareness of Mike's ability to lead the City, Adrian is now the founding Director of Customer Service for the City of Detroit.
As Co-Founder of the Detroit Music Foundation and member of the Detroit's creative community, Adrian has also bridged government and the arts, in an effort to advocate for a thriving and sustainable creative culture.
Tom Windish, Director, Paradigm Agency
Tom Windish is the founder and owner of The Windish Agency, a three-time winner of Pollstar's Independent Agency of the Year Award, and is credited for the success of such acts as Lorde, alt-J, Diplo, and Tove Lo. Since 2004, Windish has grown his agency from his Chicago apartment with two employees to more than 80 employees with offices in six cities, and has recently expanded into a partnership with Paradigm Talent Agency.
His agency books nearly 20,000 concerts per year in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia and Australia, making for a diverse and innovative roster. His artists have dominated stages at major festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza and Electric Daisy Carnival; many have earned Grammy nominations and wins. In 2014 and 2015, Windish was included in Billboard’s Power 100 and was named one of Rolling Stone’s 50 Most Important People in EDM.
Tonya Dyson, Marketing and Programs Director, Memphis Slim House Collaboratory & Founder, NeoSoulsville
Tonya Dyson is the founder of Neosoulville where she shares her passion for what's she's coined "soul culture" online and via live event production. She also cultivates that same love of music in burgeoning artists by way of the Memphis Music Initiative as an in school fellow and as the Marketing & Program Manager of Memphis Slim Collaboratory. With 13 years in music promotion and event marketing experience, Tonya has been a driving force in the Memphis music scene producing shows featuring Corinne Bailey Rae, Robert Glasper, Foreign Exchange, and more in addition to serving as "curator-at-large" for an impressive list of clients. One of two of her signature events- "The Word" is the longest running open mic in Memphis. The other- Soulsville USA Festival is an annual celebration of the Soulsville USA neighborhood. As a singer/songwriter, Tonya is preparing for the debut release of part one of her highly anticipated “Finding My Way” series. She's also been featured on Vh1 & The Grio and has also shared the stage with & written for several notable artists.
Darren Isom, Executive Director, Memphis Music Initiative
Darren is the Executive Director of the Memphis Music Initiative, a five-year, $25M grantmaking and community arts development initiative. Prior to leading the Memphis Music Initiative, Darren was a manager with the The Bridgespan Group where he was a strategic advisor to nonprofit and foundation leaders in youth and community development, foundation strategy and education policy.
Before Bridgespan he worked in direct services in New York, most recently as the Art, Design, and Public Programming director for Times Square Alliance. Prior to working at Times Square Alliance, Darren served as the program director for Groundwork, a start-up youth services organization in East New York, Brooklyn, helping young people in underserved communities develop their strengths and skills through experiential learning and enrichment programs. Before joining Groundwork, Darren worked as the director of Global Logistics for CSI, an international trade finance group, where he managed strategy, organization, and change management projects in Belgium, Spain, France, The Netherlands, and Germany.
Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer, City of Philadelphia
Kelly Lee is the Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia, appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney. As Chief Cultural Officer, Ms. Lee leads the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, which works to increase access to quality arts education, job opportunities for artists, and cultural experiences in the city’s neighborhoods, and is the steward of the largest and oldest public art collection in the country.
A Philadelphia native and University of Pennsylvania graduate, Ms. Lee serves on the Board of Directors of Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia History Museum, Please Touch Museum, and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She serves on the advisory boards of Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, PHL Diversity, Arts and Business Council, and Penn Museum and is also Co-Chair of the City of Philadelphia Music Industry Task Force.
lawrence matthews, artist
Born in Memphis, TN in 1991, Lawrence Matthews III came from a family who encouraged him to be an artist from a young age. Being raised in a racially tense environment his experiences and interests manifested themselves in his visual art. Matthews graduated from Germantown High School in 2009. After experimenting with different styles and influences, Matthews came into his own creating visual art combining Post Modernist, Pop Art, and contemporary influences to tell the story of the African Descendant living in America. Musically Matthews’s style incorporates hip-hop, alternative rock and electronic music resulting in emotionally vulnerable storytelling and eclectic production. A recent recipient of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Memphis, he has shown work in multiple group exhibitions around the mid-south. He was awarded “Best of Show” in the University’s 31st Annual Juried Student Exhibition in 2014. He also was awarded the Deans Creative Achievement Award and Department of Art Creative Achievement Award in 2015. In 2016 he was awarded the Arts Accelerator Grant from Arts Memphis.
anasa troutman, founder and CEO, Eloveate
As founder and CEO of her company, Eloveate, Anasa works to build and execute artistic and business strategies for artists that are aligned with her vision of a loving world and her belief in creativity as a pathway to personal, community and global transformation.
Based in Nashville, Anasa has shepherded many artists and creative thinkers through the process of manifesting their own creative vision and provided strategic support in important cultural, political and social justice spaces. She has produced and curated countless albums, videos, tours and festivals. She has also designed and facilitated national learning exchanges, trained nonprofit leaders to integrate cultural strategy into their work, and has twice been invited to the White House by the Obama administration to advise on cultural policy.
Anasa's latest vision, her work for girls and woman has spawned two incredible projects; Shelectricity a STEAM curriculum for middle school aged girls, supported by the Memphis Music Initiative, and SheStories, a storytelling platform for women that launched at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Chris Zacher, Founder & Executive Director, Levitt Pavilion Denver
Chris is a social entrepreneur and champion for live music that is accessible for all. He is the Founder & Executive Director of the non-profit venue Levitt Pavilion Denver.
Chris has a wealth of experience in non-profit operations and live music production. As a regular attendee of industry booking conferences Chris works to identify emerging artists to present in Denver. Chris has served as a panelist for both the Arise Music Festival and SXSW.
Chris was recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of Denver's "Forty Under 40" in 2013 for his commitment and leadership to Denver's non-profit community. Colorado’s Scientific & Cultural District recognized Chris for his leadership and volunteerism in November of 2013. In 2014 Chris was named one of the top influential people in Denver entertainment by AXS. In 2015 Chris received the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts Cultural Leadership Award for his impact on arts and culture in Colorado.