memphis, usa

Confirmed speakers

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.

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.


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. 


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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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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. 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.


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. 


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.


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.


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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.


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.