memphis, usa

Confirmed speakers

Music Cities Convention brings 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.

jesse elliott, Director, The Music District, Fort Collins

The Music District brings together the art, business, technology, and community of one of humanity’s longest-standing sources of inspiration, communication, and collaboration. Equal parts creative laboratory, industry incubator, and town hall, the 57,000 square foot campus serves as a bridge between city and university, mountains and plains, in the free-wheeling innovation cauldron of Fort Collins, Colorado. Touring artists, scrappy start-ups, experienced technicians, global scholars, forward-thinking investors, and the hungriest music fans in the country will all find a home at the Music District. Seeded by Bohemian Foundation, which also puts its love, people, and money into other community, civic, and global causes, they will then bring that home to the wider world. Great songs, companies who care, and a commitment to the social fabric that makes life worth living are all at the heart of the District’s ambitious mission.

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.


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.


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. 


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. 


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.


adrian tonon, co-Founder of the Detroit Music Foundation

A entrepreneur and humanitarian, with exceptional skills in the key areas of leadership, management, organization, finance, public policy, social impact and detailed customer service.

Adrian Tonon has trained and mentored numerous individuals and corporations in the art of customer relations and attaining company and/or personal goals.

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. In its nearly four decade long history, Café Cortina has consistently strived to be more than just a restaurant. Founded in 1976 by Tonon's parents, Adriano and Rina Tonon, Café Cortina started out as a "best kept secret" restaurant that has turned into a globally acclaimed culinary destination.

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. ATP follows the philosophy that anyone can be a philanthropist, despite social or economic status.

Adrian's relentless pursuit to bring people together and provide a helping hand to those around him is inspiring and contagious. Through the years, he has often been seen gathering community minded people together while discussing solutions to area issues, resulting in action plans and cooperative bonds for the common purpose of doing good work.

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.

Continuing to unite his many relationships and networks in the Detroit community and beyond, Tonon strives to champion noble initiatives citywide. As Co-Founder of the Detroit Music Foundation and member of the Detroit's creative community, Adrian has bridged government and the arts, in an effort to advocate for a thriving and sustainable creative culture.


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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. His work ranges from oil paintings, to collage, photography, and ready-made sculpture, to music and film. 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. Matthews has had many solo exhibitions spanning painting, photography, and installation including performances and exhibitions with the Brooks and Civil Rights Museum.


anasa troutman, founder and CEO of her company, Eloveate

A writer, producer, entrepreneur, and 20 year veteran of the music industry, Anasa Troutman has dedicated her life and her work to the importance of culture and the power of love. 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, and best for her work with India.Arie, 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.


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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.


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.


Tom Windish, Director, Paradigm Agency

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